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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 15 December 2018
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 15 December 2018]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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Turkey's Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül, Turkey's Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkey's Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak and Turkey's Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu speak to the press after their meeting
★ Turkish ministers are pledging to speed up judicial reforms as Turkey tries to get its European Union membership effort back on track. They met Tuesday to address Turkey's European Union membership aspirations, which have all but collapsed amid growing human rights concerns, reports the VOA correspondent Dorian Jones.
The ministers gathered under the auspices of the Reform Action Group, which was created to expedite European Union-required membership reforms, as part of Turkey's decades-long membership bid.
"Turkey wants to improve ties with Brussels. It's realized it was endangered of becoming isolated. I expect more efforts to repair ties," said former Turkish diplomat Aydın Selcen.
★ A crackdown on political dissent in Turkey is widening to participants in a major civic unrest five years ago. Prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for a prominent actor, a leading journalist and civil society activists, Dorian Jones of VOA reports.
The arrests are in connection with the 2013 protests known as Gezi. The unrest began over plans to turn Gezi Park in central Istanbul into a shopping mall. The protests quickly transformed into broader demonstrations opposing the government and, in particular, then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. At its peak, the unrest saw millions of people take to the streets across the country.
For Erdoğan, who is now president, the scale of the unrest posed the most significant challenge to his power, analysts say.
"There is an element of fear about Gezi. Gezi is a message. It was something which he [Erdoğan] really couldn't control, and he hated it," Turkish political scientist Cengiz Aktar said.
The arrest warrants followed the detention of 13 leading members of Turkey's civil society in connection with Gezi. Following a national and international outcry, all but one were released. Investigations, however, are reportedly continuing into all 13 people.
Read more at >> here <<
★ Turkish jets bombed Northern Iraq on Thursday night, striking the rebel Kurdish camps. Iraqi government called the Turkish Ambassador in Baghdad to complain, reports the VOA.
Turkey says strikes are for preventing terrorist infiltration into Turkey from the camps.
★ According to the Wall Street Journal, Turkish and US presidents talked on Friday while tensions are escalating between the two countries.
The journal says that the Trump Administration is working furiously to avert a new Turkish offensive against the US Kurdish Partners in Syria. Turkey has been voicing its longstanding concerns about the Kurdish fighters in Syria. Turkish officials say that the Syrian Kurdish fighters are an arm of the banned rebel Turkish Kurd militia.
The two men "agreed on the need for more effective coordination" in Syria, the official said, but it wasn't immediately clear whether they had reached a deal to avert a looming Turkish offensive.
US is worried that Turkish offensive would endanger the US military presence. It would also end the fight against the Islamic State.
Read more at >> here <<
★ Turkish government has indicted a number of journalists from the opposition daily Sözcü with claims that they are members of the Gülen network, the online site Ahval reports.
Among the journalist that will appear at a hearing are Emin Çölaşan, Necati Doğru, Editor-in-chief Metin Yılmaz, Internet editor Mustafa Çetin Internet news coordinator Yücel Arı.
Cleric Fethullah Gülen and his followers are accused of orchestrating the failed 2013 coup attempt in Turkey. Gülen lives in self- exile in Pennsylvania. His followers were instrumental in ruling Turkey in the initial years of the Erdoğan and Justice and Development Party era.
Sözcü paper and its staff are staunchly secularist. Analysts are saying that Turkey's Justice and Development party Administration is using trumped-up charges to eliminate the opposition.
Read more at >> here <<
★ Speaking of Gülenists, Turkey's semi-official Anatolia News Agency reports that Turkish prosecutors ordered the detention of 267 people, mostly military officers and defense industry staff, for suspected links to the cleric.
So far more than 50,000 people are arrested.
★ Speaking of Gülenists again, the Ahval news site reports that
two diplomats and an administrative officer working in the Turkish Embassy in Washington have been called to Ankara reportedly due to an investigation over their suspected links to the Gülen network.
★ Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party sees human rights as a burden, a former opposition deputy and journalist Barış Yarkadaş said on Sunday.
Yarkadaş, in a statement he released for the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Human Rights Day, said that the Justice and Development Party systematically annihilated human rights such as fair trial, right to information, rights of working and sheltering, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, right to health and right of organization
The government has been ignoring human rights for the last 16 years and it was enough to understand the wide-scale human rights abuses in Turkey by only examining the thousands of people who were dismissed from their jobs with decree-laws, Yarkadaş stated.
Yarkadaş also said 162 journalists were behind bars, former deputy and journalist Eren Erdem was one among them. "With arresting journalists, Justice and Development Party usurps one of the most basic human rights; the right to information," he continued.
★ Can Dündar is the former editor in chief of the leading Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet. After sensing that he will be arrested, he left Turkey and now lives in exile in Germany.
On December 13 he wrote in the Washington post an opinion piece titled "when it comes to defending the press, President Erdoğan is the world's biggest hypocrite".
Dündar then writes: "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has played up the despicable killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to his own considerable advantage. From his relentless pursuit of Khashoggi's murderers, you'd almost think he has genuine concern for freedom of the press. Don't believe a word of it."
Dündar says in his initial years in politics after forming the Justice and development party, Erdoğan flew to the United States to meet senior US officials, met with Fethullah Gülen. Then in Davos Switzerland he met with George Soros and asked his help.
"As Erdoğan accumulated ever greater power, his arrogance increased as well. One by one he declared his erstwhile allies -- the United States, Gülen and Soros -- to be his enemies" Dündar writes and adds "He regarded any criticism as defamation, responding with countless lawsuits. He labeled his critics as 'traitors'".
Read more at >> here <<
★ Replying to a parliamentary inquiry, Turkey's Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan indicated that the number of Turkish firms declaring bankruptcy protection more than doubled in a month..
★ Turkey's central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged as expected yesterday after inflation eased from a 15-year peak, but a change in the wording of the bank's policy statement signaled possible loosening ahead, Reuters reports.
The one-week repo rate remained at 24%, up 11.25 percentage points since the start of this year.
★ Istanbul's Pera Museum is preparing for an exhibition titled "The Time Needs Changing". Curated by Alastair Hicks the exhibition will display the works of Cao Fei, Nilbar Güreş and Raqs Media Collective. The works of the artist approach the traditional time concept from a different angle. The exhibition will be on through March 17, 2019.
Read more at >> here <<
★ The Pera Film organization is celebrating the 100 birthday of Swedish writer and film director Ingmar Bergman with a special selection of his works.
There will be nine Bergman films that were never shown in Turkey will be screened December 14 - 29.
★ The 29th Istanbul International Short Film Festival has started. The festival features many short films from Turkey and elsewhere around the world. The festival will end on December 21.
★ "What human rights?" Human Rights Film Festival will not be held this year. The organizer of the event Documentarist say that they were not able to find funds. Even the European Union funds were not available this year. It was never expected to have the Turkish government give funds for an event like this. Also, the collapse of the Turkish lira this year made it very difficult to pay copyright fees for the films.
★ Istanbul's Flow Radio, a station dedicated to hip-hop culture and social responsibility, and the volunteers of Sulukule Association organized a graffiti workshop at a local school. Turkey's first graffiti artist Turbo Dindaş taught the youth of the neighborhood the art of graffiti.
Dindaş was accompanied by another artists by the name of Asil Slang.
★ The 21st Rendezvous Istanbul International Film Festival ended with an award ceremony at the Istanbul French Culture Center.
The award for Contributions to the Culture and Arts went to Kariyo and Ababay Foundation.
The film Festival was organized by TÜRSAK, Turkish Foundation for Film and Audiovisual Culture.
TÜRSAK was established in 1991 with the participation of 275 members, active and well known in the fields of film, television, fine arts, literature, mass media, business and politics.
★ Turkey's Emin Alper, a filmmaker with over 50 awards has been invited to take part in the 69th Berlin Film Festival with his film "Three Sisters".
The screening at the Berlin Film Festival will be the world premiere of the movie.
The film tells the story of three sisters who were given away as domestic help to the town folks when their mother dies. Many years later the sisters come back to their village and face each other.
The Berlin Film Festival will take place February 7 -17.
★ Turkish calligraphy artist Muhammed Başdağ has made a calligraphy art for the NBA's Chicago Bulls.
The art was requested by the Chicago Bulls, the artist says. Muhammed Başdağ published the work on his histogram account in the accompaniment of a one minute clip, whose music he has composed.
See the Chicago Bulls calligraphy >> here <<
★ According to the site Eurosport, Portugal's Porto struggled to a 3-2 away
victory over Turkey's Galatasaray in their final Champions League group match on Tuesday but the Turks
in Group D and secured a spot in the Europa League's round of 32.
* Results for week: 15
Alanya Sp - Beşiktaş 0 - 0
Sivas Sp - Göztepe 2 - 0
G. Saray - Rize Sp 2 - 2
Trabzon Sp - Konya Sp 3 - 0
Akhisar Sp - Fenerbahçe 3 - 0
Bursa Sp - Antalya Sp 0 - 2
Erzurum Sp - Malatyaspor 1 - 3
Kasımpaşa - Kayseri Sp 0 - 3
Ankaragücü - Başakşehir 0 - 1
* In games played so far this weekend:
Göztepe - Bursa Sp 0 - 0
Başakşehir - G. Saray 1 - 1
Konya Sp - Kasımpaşa 3 - 2
Rize Sp - Alanya Sp 1 - 1
Sivas Sp - Ankaragücü 4 - 0
* Standing in the league as of week ending 15
1 - Başakşehir 33
2 - Kasımpaşa 26
3 - Antalya Sp 26
4 - Beşiktaş 25
5 - Malatyaspor 25
6 - Trabzon Sp 25
7 - G. Saray 25
8 - Konya Sp 21
9 - Sivas Sp 21
10 - Ankaragücü 20
11 - Bursa Sp 19
12 - Göztepe 18
13 - Akhisar Sp 16
14 - Alanya Sp 16
15 - Kayseri Sp 15
16 - Erzurum Sp 14
17 - Fenerbahçe 14
18 - Rize Sp 11
★ In the European league Turkish team Fenerbahçe beat its arrival on Olympia Milan 92 to 85. So far this is the 11th victory of the team. Fenerbahçe is leading the pack with 23 points, Spain's Real Madrid is in second place with 22 points and CSKA Moscow is in third place with 22 points.
Another Turkish team in the league Anadolu Efes was speeding by Greece's Olympiacos but it remained in the fourth place ahead of
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