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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 20 April 2019
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 20 April 2019]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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★ After 17 days of recounts and controversies, Turkey's opposition Republican People's Party was confirmed the official winner Wednesday in the Istanbul mayoral election.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is seeking to overturn the historic vote, which ends his Justice and Development Party's, and other Erdoğan-affiliated parties', 25-year control of Turkey's largest city.
In related news, rather than setting Turkey on a path toward depolarization, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's response to the opposition victories in Turkey's March 31 local elections could further undermine Turkish democracy, said an analysis for the Washington Post.
"If their demands are met, this would amount to an election reversal and threaten to put an end to one of the last vestiges of Turkey's long-standing democracy under Erdoğan: No longer fair, no longer free, yet still competitive and winnable, elections," Murat Somer, professor of political science and international relations at Istanbul's Koç University, wrote on Thursday for the Washington Post.
"Istanbul has long underwritten the Justice and Development Party's national machinery of winning elections and engaging in social engineering," said Somer. "Multibillion-dollar pork-barrel projects and partnerships have been financing election campaigns, charity to the poor, pro-government media owners, GONGOs and religious endowments" he added.
GONGO stands for "Government Organized Nongovernmental Organization".
★ As tensions escalate between Turkey and the United States over the procurement of Russian missiles, Turkey is looking to NATO, which it sees as taking a more nuanced stance on the controversial weapons purchase, reports the VOA's Dorian Jones.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's warning this month that Turkey's future in NATO could be at risk if it takes delivery of Russian S-400 missiles drew an angry response from Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın.
"We are one of the members. We are a country that has a say in all decisions," Kalın said. "Therefore, we will not allow the questioning of Turkey's position in NATO."
Washington claims that the S-400 missiles, which are due to be delivered in July, pose a security threat to NATO military systems in Turkey — in particular, America's latest fighter jet, the F-35. Russia is developing the S-400 system to counter the F-35's stealth technology.
However, the rest of the NATO members are not pushing Turkey to not to buy the Russian missiles.
International relations professor Hüseyin Bağcı of Ankara's Middle East Technical University says that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg tells Turkey every ally has the right to buy any system. Read more at >> here <<
Also, on Friday Turkish foreign affairs minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced that NATO welcomed Turkey's proposal to form a joint working group to resolve difficulties over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile systems.
In related news, Reuters reported on April 16 that Turkey is expecting President Trump to use a waiver to protect it if the U.S. Congress decides to sanction Turkey over the planned purchase of the Russian missile defense system, a Turkish presidential spokesman said in Washington on Tuesday. Read more at >> here <<
★ Turkey will not be able to bear potential U.S. sanctions over its looming purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should not sacrifice the country's economy over for anti-U. S. sentiments, consultant to the U.S. Department of State John Sitilides told the VOA's Turkish service.
"If Turkey formally enters a recession, it may be forced to take out a loan from the IMF to save its economy,'' Sitilides said, adding that uncontrollable inflation, unemployment and a serious debt crisis are knocking on Turkey's door.
★ Last week Turkey's Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also the son-in-law of President Erdoğan, was in the U.S. and made presentations at various venues for the reforms that the Turkish government will implement to say the economy.
The news that circulated in the West said that people attending the presentations that Albayrak made did not impress the investors and bankers.
This week Turkey's pro-government press started attacking the Western news media that circulated these news reports. We should add here that almost all of the Turkish press these days is under the government control or owned by companies friendly to the government.
"It's clearly a bad sign when their only response if going after the message," Paul McNamara, who oversees more than $10 billion in emerging-market assets at Switzerland's GAM Investments, said in response to questions.
President Erdoğan has always been blaming that Turkey's economic woes are part of a plot by foreign banks and governments.
★ Ceyda Çağlayan of Reuters reported Thursday that Turkey's slumping housing market is getting some support from foreign property investors, especially from the Gulf region, who are drawn by the weak lira and a government effort to ease the path to Turkish citizenship.
Foreign housing investments jumped 82% in the first quarter of the year. However, according to the daily Cumhuriyet, overall, in February home sales were down 25% compared to the same month in 2018.
★ The Financial Times reported on Wednesday that Turkey's central bank was increasing its foreign-currency reserves via short-term borrowing on the swaps market.
Net reserves were less than $16 billion excluding the swaps, compared with the $28.1 billion officially stated by the bank for early April.
Turkish central bank owes investors a thorough explanation to end speculations on its foreign-currency reserve data and to regain credibility, according to many economists, Bloomberg said on Thursday.
★ A Turkish court in Ankara on Friday lifted a governor-imposed ban on the LGBT events in the capital, ruling that "the public order can be preserved by not imposing a ban but taking the necessary measures," Euronews reported.
For years there were public LGBT events in both Turkey's largest city Istanbul and the capital Ankara, but starting in 2015 the authorities started banning the pride parades, citing security.
★ Turkey' s renowned pianist Idil Biret had a recital in Paris on April 16 at Salle Gaveau, a concert told renowned for its acoustics.
The date was the 70th anniversary of Idil Biret's arrival in France with a special law enacted to support her education in Paris. Biret is 77 years old.
Biret started her recital with Bach's which she dedicated to Notre Dame Cathedral, serial the damaged due to the recent fire there.
The recital was an occasion for the new and old students of the Paris Conservatory for a reunion.
★ Another piano recital, this time around in the Turkish capital Ankara, took place on Thursday evening. One of the renowned French pianists, Jean-Bernard Pommier performed at the CSO Concert Hall as part of the 36 Ankara Music Festival.
Sevda-Cenap And Music Foundation And the Ankara French Culture Center sponsored Pommier's concert.
★ April 23 is a national holiday in Turkey. It celebrates the convening of the Turkish Parliament in 1920 for the first time. The holiday is dedicated to the children of Turkey and is called "National Sovereignty and Children's Day".
The Turks and Turkish schools here in the Bay Area are also celebrating the holiday with various events this weekend.
As part of the celebrations of the April 23, Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra had a special concert today at Istanbul's Lütfi Kırdar Convention and Exhibition Palace. British conductor Howard Griffiths led the orchestra.
★ The 30th Ankara Film Festival started with a big fanfare. The more than 100 sponsors of the festival received their plaques.
Then the renown Moğollar group and their legendary instrumentalists Cahit Berkay gave a musical feast to the guests.
The evening continued with the presentation of honorary awards to actress, scenarist and columnist Gülse Birsel, author Nazlı Eray, and actor Kadir İnanır
★ The international jazz days will be celebrated in Istanbul with five concerts. Turkey's Garanti Bank is organizing the concerts. The day will be celebrated on 30 April.
★ Renowned Turkish author Yaşar Kemal was honored with an exhibition in Istanbul. The exhibition featured, among others, photographs of the southern Plains of Çukurova where some of Kemal's novels and stories took place.
The exhibition also has music performances and discussions on the author.
Yaşar Kemal, who lived between 1923 and 2015, was a Turkish writer and human rights activist. He was one of Turkey's leading writers. He received 38 awards during his lifetime and had been a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature on the strength of Memed, My Hawk. Memed, My Hawk is available in English.
★ The April 15 World Art Day was celebrated in Kartal, Istanbul. The celebration was organized by the Kartal municipality, the International Association of Plastics Arts and Kartal Culture and Art Association.
Many officials, Republican People's party politicians, renowned painter and the president of the International Plastic Arts Association Bedri Baykam, painter Murat Havan were present.
In a speech, Bedri Baykam talked about the problems that art and artists are experiencing recently. Baykam also expressed his sorrow about the fire that destroyed the Notre Dame Cathedral. He said that the cathedral is a heritage of the world art and very important in terms of art.
After the delivery of awards and talks, the attendees took a walk through the graffiti exhibition and then the fliers exhibition. Other activities throughout the celebration were music performances and a live sculpture performance. Then the attendees visited the 100 portraits exhibition.
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 5.80
Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz
* In games played so far this weekend:
Kasımpaşa - Bursa Sp 1 - 1
Göztepe - Erzurum Sp 0 - 1
Akhisar Sp - Antalya Sp 1 - 2
G. Saray - Kayseri Sp 3 - 1
Trabzon Sp - Malatyaspor 2 - 1
Alanya Sp - Fenerbahçe 1 - 0
Başakşehir - Rize Sp 1 - 1
Ankaragücü - Konya Sp 0 - 0
Sivas Sp - Beşiktaş 1 - 2
* Standing in the league as of week ending 29
1 - Başakşehir 62
2 - G. Saray 59
3 - Beşiktaş 56
4 - Trabzon Sp 52
5 - Alanya Sp 41
6 - Antalya Sp 41
7 - Rize Sp 38
8 - Malatyaspor 38
9 - Kasımpaşa 38
10 - Konya Sp 37
11 - Ankaragücü 36
12 - Kayseri Sp 36
13 - Sivas Sp 35
14 - Fenerbahçe 33
15 - Bursa Sp 29
16 - Erzurum Sp 28
17 - Göztepe 27
18 - Akhisar Sp 24
★ Playoffs are continuing in Euroleague Basketball
Fenerbahçe had two games with Lithuania's Zalgiris, defeating it once and getting defeated once.
Efes played twice with Barcelona, again defeating it once and getting defeated once.
★ The 55th presidential cycling tour of Turkey started in Istanbul and will end in Sakarya some 125 miles away on Sunday.
The tour is an annual international road cycling competition that began in 1963 as a national Marmara Tour. It grew to the international level and gained the status of a presidential tour in 1965. Nowadays, the week-long race involves dozens of professional cyclists from all over the world. The route compounded of a number of stages stretches across a vast patch of Turkish lands overlooked by both urban and wild landscapes. The main spots on the cycling map are Istanbul, Cappadocia, Aksaray, Konya, Seydişehir, Alanya, Kemer, Kumluca, Elmalı, Fethiye, Marmaris, and Selçuk.
★ The Iznik Ultra Marathon has started. Runners will run for 100 miles along ancient ruins and beautiful nature. 1000 athletes from 26 countries are participating.
★ The 70th UWW European Wrestling Championships was held in Bucharest, Romania, between 8th and 14th April 2019.
Turkey came in second place in medal count after Russia. The third-place went to Ukraine.
The Turkish gold medal winners are as follows:
57 kg Süleyman Atlı
70 kg Mustafa Kaya
125 kg Taha Akgül
67 kg Atakan Yüksel
130 kg Rıza Kayaalp
76 kg Yasemin Adar
★ In equestrian events, Turkish rider Ömer Karaevli, received the first place in the sunshine tour in Spain.
★ Also in Spain the Turkish national taekwondo team finished the Spanish open taekwondo tournament with 12 medals.
296 athletes from 28 countries participated in the tournament.
[Saat 14:30 and 15:30 'da iki kez okuyun]
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*** Alpiny Design is available for the design of your dream home, with
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*** 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 email@example.com
TAAC Monterey chapter is having Turkish night:
Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 18:30 – 22:00
Club 9th Ave.
Corner of San Carlos, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California 93923
Join us for a fundraising evening with live music, dance, and food.
Enjoy Turkish chili and rice "kuru fasulye ve pilav" (included in admission) while listening to Turkish and International music.
Featuring Group Hadi Hadi and Friends and the Horon Junior Folk Ensemble
For more information about the event write to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (831) 277-2258.
This event is organized by the Turkish American Association of California (TAAC) Monterey Bay Chapter to benefit the 22nd Annual Monterey Turkish Festival (August 3 and 4, 2019).
*** 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 these schools, drop an email to email@example.com.
*** Heart to Heart Anatolia
Providing scholarships and bringing people together while promoting Anatolian cultural values
Visit their pages at
*** 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