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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 29 December 2018

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 29 December 2018]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

TURKISH CULTURAL PROGRAM, every Saturday from 2 P.M. to 4 P.M.

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★ According to the Washington Post, the Syrian army said Friday it has entered a key city in northern Syria at the behest of Kurdish fighters, raising the government flag in a bid to thwart Turkish plans for a military offensive.

  But both the U.S.-led coalition in Syria and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan contested the claims about Syrian troop movement.

  Turkey says that the Kurdish militia controlling the town is affiliated with the rebel Turkish Kurds.

  In related news, according to the EU Observer, Turkey's Anatolia News Agency has exposed the location of French army bases in Syria, just days after French president Emmanuel Macron criticized a decision by the US to withdraw forces from Syria, leaving France's approximately 200-man strong special forces units as the largest Western troop contingent in Syria.

★ Turkish prosecutors in Istanbul have started investigating local Fox TV news anchor Fatih Portakal for inciting criminal activity after he questioned the ability of the Turkish people to protest freely, Sözcü newspaper reported.

  Portakal had been targeted by the Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the past two weeks for saying on television that the Turkish people were afraid to take part in peaceful demonstrations. He also criticized Turkey's response to the ongoing yellow vest protests in France as hypocritical.

  In a statement on December 17, Erdoğan said that Portakal was inciting protests in Turkey.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The Nation weekly's Cole Stangler wrote on Friday that Turkey's president Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's crackdown on dissent is extending to the country's fractured labor movement.

  One of the events that galvanized the labor movement in the past year was the number of deaths at the construction of the new Istanbul airport.

  According to daily Cumhuriyet as many as 400 people have died in the construction process. President Erdoğan's communication office says that only 52 people died.

  When the union representing the workers at the airport started protests and strikes, the leader and numerous workers were arrested and sent to jail.

  Stangler's article ends with the following:

  "For the last three years, the International Trade Union Confederation has labeled Turkey one of the world's 'ten worst countries for workers,' a distinction matched only by Colombia and Guatemala. As the report put it, Turkey has 'no guarantee of rights,' with firings and detentions of union activists all-too common."

  Read more at >> here <<

★ According to Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry, 37.5 million foreign visitors traveled to Turkey in the 11 months of 2018. With the Turks who live abroad and came to for a visit, this figure is nearly 43 million.

  As compared to 2017, this is a 22 percent increase.

  Russian Federation citizens were up at the top of the list. The number of visitors by top three countries is as follows: The top three entry points of entry were:

★ According to Reuters, Turkey's banking watchdog BDDK said on Thursday that the banking sector's non-performing loan ratio may rise next year to 6 percent and capital adequacy ratio may fall to 15.5 percent.

★ Turkish annual inflation is expected to fall to 20.5 percent in December, declining for a second month from a 15-year peak in October, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, as tax cuts and discounted products decreased prices.


★ Performing Arts:


★ Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland will be staged as a musical in Istanbul starting February, but the tickets for the first performance is already sold out, in fact, within one hour after they were made available.

  The stage adaptation of Carroll's work is simply named "Alice". Beyhan Murphy worked on the choreography of the adaptation and Serdar Biliş is directing it.

  The play starts with Alice following an invitation by a mobile app message by a white rabbit. She then finds herself in a surreal world.

  The play is the growing up story of a girl, who has been thrown into a virtual world of the contemporary, after the real life communications has made her lonely.

  Serenay Sarıkaya will be playing Alice. She is a 27-year-old model and actress, and a runner-up for Miss Turkey 2010.

★ Swedish winter Ajvide Lindqvist's best-seller book "Let the Right One In" has been adopted to stage in Turkey. The play is named "Let me in" in Turkish, and the director is Murat Daltaban.

  The first performance of the play will be on February 5, 2019 in Istanbul.

  Let the Right One In (Swedish: Låt den rätte komma in) is a 2004 vampire fiction novel. The story centers on the relationship between a 12-year-old boy, Oskar, and a centuries-old vampire child, Eli. It takes place in Blackeberg, a working-class suburb of Stockholm, in the early 1980s. The book focuses on the darker side of humanity.


★ In the Turkish capital, Ankara State Opera and Ballet Modern Dance troupe will be staging a performance titled "Frida", telling the story of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

  The choreographer of the performance is Özgür Adam İnanç.


★ Istanbul's Fabula Theater is staging American writer Jane Martin's play Criminal Hearts .

  Pulitzer Prize awardee Martin, whose real identity is not known, tells in Criminal Hearts the story of a woman who teams up with burglars breaking into her apartment to rob back her belongings from her estranged lawyer husband.

★ Visual arts:
★ Turkish artist Okay Özkan's exhibition titled "Rocks" will start on January 3, 2019 in Istanbul's Bilsart. The name of the exhibition is taken from a video installation the artist has put together.

  The artist has a project that he started back in 2014 at the Hague Royal Academy, and it is still continuing. He started the project after it started catching the attention of "the people who are not part of the order" on "sterile" streets.

  Özkan was born in the Turkish capital Ankara in 1987. He completed his undergraduate studies at Marmara Univ. and received a master's degree on art and design at Yıldız  Technical University. He later studied at the Royal Academy of art in The Hague.

  The artist reverses the symbols and codes of power in his works and uses various disciplines ranging from sculpture to video, from installation to performance.

★ Music:
★ Italian pianist Paolo Zanarella has hit the streets of Istanbul .

  He is performing at stages set up in front of the Vakko stores. His first performance was December 26-27.

  The artist likes uniting with the people on the streets and carrying his music to them.

★ Turkey's acclaimed pianist and composer Fazıl Say had not been getting along with the Turkish authorities for a while. At one point the relations with authorities was so bad that Say said that he may be moving abroad.

  It seems like there is some thaw in relations, at least with the president. A few month ago when Say's mother passed away, President Erdoğan called him on the phone and expressed his condolences.

  This week news outlet OdaTV reported that Say invited President Erdoğan to the premiere of his new work "Trojan Sonata" in the Turkish capital Ankara. Erdoğan has accepted the invitation.

  The Trojan Sonata had its Istanbul premiere on December 24, 10,000 music lovers attended the performance.

★ The residents of Turkey's Black Sea city of Samsun will be treated to a concert on December 29 by the local branch of the State Opera and Ballet. Since the concert was immediately sold out, the organizers will have a repeat of the concert on January 5.

  The concert will feature music from Bizet, Mozart, Lehar, Puccini, Kalman, Rossini, Chaykovski, Bernstein, Verdi and Pierpont. The Samsun State Opera and Ballet artists will be accompanied by the children's chorus.

★ On December 25, Istanbul's Boğaziçi University Classical Music Concerts concluded the year 2018 with the performance of pieces from popular Broadway musicals.

  Vocalists Seren Akyoldaş and Elerki Taşkın was accompanied by pianist Doruk Görkem Tokur.

  Among the musicals were "Around the World", "Bohemian Rhapsody", "People", "The Girl in 14 G"; "Fiddler on the roof", "Moon River" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You ".

Click to see a larger view

★ The American Turkish Association of Houston will be having the second annual Turkish Music Festival on January 18 and 19.

  The Festival will feature music from three traditions that exist in Turkish music; folk music, Ottoman court music, and contemporary classical music of Turkey.

  The events will be presented by Hoppa Project and feature award winning musicians from the traditional Turkish music and classical music worlds.

  Highlights of the events at the Festival are:

  January 18, Dr. Mehmet Ali Şanlıkol presents his own works at the Rice University

  January 18, Dr. Mehmet Ali Şanlıkol performance of "Vecd for String Orchestra" "Turkish Music of the Past" at the Asia Society of Texas center.

  January 19, Dr. Mehmet Ali Şanlıkol lecture on traditional Turkish music at the Rice University.

  January 19, Dr. Mehmet Ali Şanlıkol performance of Turkish music now at the Rice University.

★ On last Saturday, Renowned Turkish singer Mazhar Alanson had a concert to have packed hall on Istanbul's Asian side in Üsküdar-- known in English as "Scutari".

  Mahmut Mazhar Alanson (born February 13, 1950) is a Turkish musician, guitarist, member of the popular Turkish pop music band MFÖ, and an actor.

  He has been on stage since 1966. In 2009 he was in the Bay Area with MFÖ band and had a concert in Redwood City.

★ Literature:
★ The 12th Çukurova  Book fair in Turkey's Mediterranean province of Adana will take place between January 5 - 13 in 2019, the organizer TUYAP Adana announced.

  The fair will feature the books of over 500 authors and poets. In addition to exhibitions of books, the fair will have 70 events such as panel discussions, workshops and even activities for children. 300 publishers and NGOs will also present at the fair.

  Many renowned names from Turkish literary world will also meet their readers.

★ The Union of Turkish Publishers gave out its awards for freedom of thought and expression on December 15 in Istanbul at a ceremony attended by prominent names in the literature and arts.

  Kenan Kocatürk, the head of the union, in his opening speech said that people around the globe celebrated the 70th anniversary of the UN declaration of human rights, and pointed out that the 19th article of the declaration states that each individual has the right to think and express himself freely.

  Despite this declaration Kocatürk  said that confiscating books, preventing publication and distribution, even the banning of some older books which has been in circulation for years are still common-day occurrence in Turkey. He then gave information on the recently published report titled "Freedom of Printing". The report covers indictments and legal action taken against publishers, verdicts ordering banning of books, and censorship for the period June 2017 - November 2018.

★ Archaeology:
★ The oldest known temple in the world is in Turkey's southeastern province of Urfa on a mound named Göbeklitepe. The stone artifacts on top of the mound is dated back to 12,000 years ago.

  Göbeklitepe is on UNESCO's world heritage list. UNESCO just declared that 2019 will be the year of Göbeklitepe.

★ The daily Cumhuriyet writer Öznur Oğraş Çolak wrote on December 25 that bad restoration of historical structures are growing in Turkey.

  She says that latest episode of bad restoration took place in the Safranbolu town in Northwestern Turkey.

  A contractor was awarded the restoration project of 51 historical fountains in the town. 15 of them restored, but nine were found to have undergone restorations not faithful to the originals.

  The contractor was stopped from restoring the rest of the fountains.

  Çolak asked why so many there are so many bad restoration to an expert in the field.

  The expert, Professor Mete Tapan, says that restoration work is very difficult to start off with. The restorer has to know the structure and restoration process. He says these days the restoration works are awarded to inexperienced students.

★ Other
★ The prominent business magazine Forbes gave 24 Turks an award named "Turkey's Living Greatest Minds Award".

  Forbes says that it was for celebrating the magazine's 100th year anniversary.

  One of the recipients of the award is Dr. Suat Günsel, the president and founder of the Near East University.

  Günsel's Near East University is located in Nicosia, Cyprus. It was founded in North Nicosia in 1988. It has 16 colleges, 98 departments and over 25,000 students.

  Günsel started another university in Girne city on the Mediterranean coast. He will also start manufacturing an all-electric vehicle.

  Forbes page on Gürsel: Read more at >> here <<

★ A TCF grant was awarded in 2017 for a project by the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Ireland to conserve one of the earliest printed books in Turkish, the Cihan-nüma (Mirror of the World, 1732). The book was written by the Ottoman Turkish scholar Katip Çelebi, and printed by İbrahim Müteferrika in 1732 in Istanbul. The Chester Beatty's rare and complete copy of the Cihan-nüma has survived with all of its original 13 astronomical and 26 geographical maps intact. The conservation project was completed this month and Kitab-ı Cihan-nüma is now on exhibition at the Chester Beatty Library Arts of the Book Gallery.

  The project's completion and the subsequent exhibition of the book was widely covered in the media.


★ THY Basketball Euroleague
★ Latest games for the Turkish teams:

★ The Turkish Taekwondo Federation head Metin Şahin says that Turkey is a depot for medals for the sport. In 2018 Turkish Taekwondo sportsmen won 167 gold, 136 silver and 261 bronze medals, a total of 564 medals.


[Saat 14:30 and 15:30 'da iki kez okuyun]

*** Sama Uyghur Cuisine on Decoto Rd. in Union City is giving our listeners 10% off! Call them at (510) 400-3300
*** LaLe restaurant on Irving St. in San Francisco is giving our listeners 15% off! Call them at (415) 566-8814
*** TB Mezze on Murphy Ave in Sunnyvale is giving our listeners 10% off! Call them at (408) 663-6644

*** Turkish American Association of California

is a non-profit
charitable organization established to promote better
understanding between Americans and Turks.

if you have any questions about Turks and Turkey,
e-mail them at taac@taaca.org


*** For more music from Turkey and the Middle East tune to

International Cultural Program with host George Geevargis.

San Francisco World TV Channel 29
Sundays at 9-10 A.M.

*** Yore dance invites you to:

Free Turkish Folkdance Classes.

Please contact with Yore Folk Ensemble for the details.

TELL YOUR FRIENDS who might be interested joining our group.

Yore Folk Ensemble

*** Azerbaijan Cultural Society of Northern California

The local Azeri community organizes many events throughout the year. Follow their activities through their web pages, or subscribe to their e-mail list:



Azerbaijan Cultural Society of Northern California
16400 Lark Ave., Suite 260
Los Gatos, CA 95032

*** Turkish schools in the Bay Area are starting:

There are currently two schools:
Los Altos and Berkeley
For more information on the Berkeley school go to http://www.berkeleyturkishschool.org/
Spring session starts February at new LOWER TUITION rates
For more information only in Los Altos school visit https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/batcs/info

*** Heart to Heart Anatolia
Providing scholarships and bringing people together while promoting Anatolian cultural values

Visit their pages at https://h2ha.org/