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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 11 May 2019
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 11 May 2019]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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★ Turkey's Supreme Electoral Council ruled on Monday, May 6 that the election for the Metropolitan mayor of Istanbul has to be repeated.
The re-run will take place on June 23.
On elections held on March 31, the ruling Justice and Development Party candidate lost the post with a very small margin.
Immediately after the council's announcement that the election has to be repeated, Turkish lira started losing ground against the major currencies. By Thursday, Turkish there was down 4 1/2% against the U.S. dollar.
However, Turkey's state-owned banks sold $1 billion on Thursday and overnight to curb the depreciation in lira, according to Reuters. The lira ended at the same level as it was on Monday.
Most economists say that the re-vote and the instability it created is threatening to plunge the country into political and economic chaos.
The broad coalition of opposition parties all reacted negatively to the re-vote decision in Turkey. From elsewhere in the world there was also criticism of the decision. "Erdoğan does not accept defeat and goes against the will of the people," said Kati Piri, European parliamentarian and the European Union's Turkey rapporteur. "Justice and Development Party pressured the Supreme Electoral Council to re-run local elections in Istanbul. This ends the credibility of democratic transition of power through elections in Turkey."
The U.S. State Department, without directly criticizing the election body's decision, said that free elections were "a fundamental pillar in any democracy."
Analysts are saying that Turkey's president Mr. Erdoğan is taking a risk in asking for a re-run.
Also, the defeat of the Justice and Development Party candidate and pronouncements of the party officials and President Erdoğan is creating splits and frictions within the party. According to analysts, members of the ruling party dissatisfied with Erdoğan's policies may leave and form new parties.
★ There were many reactions around the world to the re-run ruling of the metropolitan area mayoral election in Istanbul. Here is a summary:
- The Foreign Policy magazine: The re-run election will be between the opposition candidate and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
- Vice president of the German Federal Parliament Claudia Roth said that a re-run of the elections in Istanbul province is a "declaration of war against the remnants of democracy". He said that the Supreme Electoral Council's decision was due to "forceful pressure from above".
- The Economist magazine: "Before the evening of May 6th, and despite the miserable state of their country's democracy under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turks could console themselves with the thought that, on election day, they could anyway vote freely.
That assurance was dashed when the country's electoral board cancelled the result of the mayoral election in Istanbul conducted on March 31st. It ordered a new one for June 23rd, thereby deposing Ekrem İmamoğlu, the first opposition politician to preside over Turkey's biggest city in a quarter century."
Mr. İmamoğlu, whose campaign had succeeded against seemingly insurmountable odds, appears in no mood to surrender. Some observers reckon Mr. Erdoğan may have miscalculated, and that his actions will give Mr. İmamoğlu an even larger margin of victory next month. Others warn that Turkey's strongman may go to extremes to wrest back control of the city that elected him mayor three decades ago, a position he used as a springboard to national power. 'Erdoğan did not call a new election to roll the dice and see what happens,' says Howard Eissenstat, an expert at the Project on Middle East Democracy, a research and advocacy group in Washington, DC. 'The cost of losing [again] would be an unacceptable demonstration of weakness.'"
- PEN, the International Writers Association condemned the efforts to prevent mayor-elect Ekrem İmamoğlu from serving his people.
"We condemn the pressure and threats made openly to the Supreme Electoral Council, which has the duty and responsibility to ensure election security and to defend our votes. We also condemn the Supreme Election Council's cancellation of the election" PEN also said.
- Stratfor: "Turkey: a re-run of the Istanbul mayoral election raises the economic risk.
In pushing for an election re-run in Istanbul, Turkey's cultural and economic capital, the ruling Justice and Development Party is prioritizing political continuity at home above peaceful relations abroad and near-term economic stability. Still, the party must tread carefully, lest it deepens the economic pain as it courts the nationalist vote that could help it regain the city."
★ According to Deutsche Welle, for the first time since being released from Turkish custody, German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel spoke about the torture he experienced while being held in pretrial detention at a prison near Istanbul.
Testifying before a Berlin district court on Friday, Yücel spoke about the physical and psychological violence he experienced during his near year-long detention in the prison
The testimony that he gave in Berlin is part of an ongoing trial against him in Turkey, where prosecutors have recommended an 18-year prison sentence. A Turkish court recently ruled that Yücel, a 45-year-old former Turkey correspondent for the Germany daily Die Welt, is allowed to testify while in Germany.
Read more at >> here <<
★ According to the Deutsche Welle, the Justice and Development Party administration canceled the press accreditation of 682 journalists in the past four months. In Turkey a journalist needs accreditation to be able to attend meetings of the president, national assembly and other official institutions.
The Association of Media and Law Studies founder and co-director lawyer Veysel Ok says that the process is manipulative. The administration is using it to increase the pressure on the journalists.
Ok says that the Turkish constitution does not require a journalist to have a press accreditation. But the Turkish government is using the press accreditation bureaucracy as a weapon. In statements made abroad, the administration officials claim that there are no journalists in jail, meaning that there are no accredited journalists in jail.
A former member of Parliament from the opposition Republican Peoples Party and former Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper Cumhuriyet, Utku Çakırözer also shares the same view with Ok.
He says that many writers, cartoonists and journalists are only prosecuted for expressing their critical views, but charged with terrorism, and are threatened with cancellation of their press accreditation.
★ Speaking of journalists, speaking at the Contemporary Journalists Association Award Ceremony, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the head of the main opposition Republican People's Party, said that every journalist is actually a public servant. He added that Turkey is the country that has jailed the most journalist in the world, reports the daily Cumhuriyet.
"Why are the journalist of the daily Cumhuriyet Eren Erdem and Osman Kavala are in [jail]? Have they done any corruption? No, they only prepared news, sought after news" he said.
★ Turkey has dismissed a report in a German newspaper that claimed Turkish officials had canceled a deal to acquire a Russian anti-aircraft missile system due to U.S. pressure, reports Deutsche Welle.
"The S-400 delivery is a done deal," Fahrettin Altun, a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, wrote on Twitter.
In its Saturday edition, the German Bild newspaper quoted a high-ranking Turkish diplomat as saying: "There will be no delivery of the S-400 in July, as the Turkish president had [earlier] announced."
The diplomat reportedly said his government feared that the U.S. could respond with sanctions if the country bought the system, which would be the "economic downfall" of Turkey.
Turkey's plan to buy the air defense system has been a cause of tension within the NATO military alliance, which both the United States and Turkey belong to. The U.S. and other member states fear that Russia could spy on NATO aircraft through the S-400 system.
To discourage Turkey from entering the deal, the U.S. suspended a joint F-35 fighter jet program and threatened it with further economic sanctions.
★ According to the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, Turkey's Board for Protection of Personal Data fined Facebook 1,650,000 Turkish liras.
The board says that last September due to an error in an API, photographs of Facebook users were exposed to the public at large. They estimate about 300,000 users in Turkey were affected.
The fine is approximately $270,000.
★ EBRD, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development on Wednesday announced it has renewed its renewables push in Turkey by investing $100 million in shares in the Ictas Surdurulebilir Enerji Yatirimlari clean energy arm of Turkish construction and power conglomerate IC Energy Holding.
Neither party disclosed the size of the stake the EBRD investment had secured in the target company.
Turkey has already surpassed the 5 GW of solar it was aiming for as part of the renewables ambition drawn up with the aid of the EBRD, mostly in the form of smaller projects.
Read more at >> here <<
★ According to Reuters, dozens of Turkey's most prominent artists have taken to social media to support Istanbul's ousted mayor, responding to his call for them to speak out against a decision to annul his election victory over President Tayyip Erdoğan's party.
"I couldn't sleep last night. But, the light coming from the horizon in the morning was brighter than ever. I understood that #HerSeyCokGuzelOlacak," Tarkan, one of Turkey's best-known singers, tweeted on Tuesday.
Read more at >> here <<
★ Turkeys Contemporary Istanbul is trying to reach more art lovers and increases presence abroad.
After its activities in Berlin and Dubai, Contemporary Istanbul had a reception coinciding with one of the most important fairs of the world, Frieze New York.
At the reception, Dr. Hasan Bülent Kahraman, a member of the Executive Board of Contemporary Istanbul, said that the fair is one of the most important art activity in Europe, Asia and Middle East in Istanbul, a venue that has been a giant studio for artists for thousands of years.
Dr. Kahraman said that the art market is expanding at a very fast pace in Turkey, and the number of domestic and foreign collectors who are investing in contemporary Turkish art is also increasing at a very fast pace.
Contemporary Istanbul is the leading annual art fair in Turkey.
★ An interesting exhibition is taking place at Istanbul's Nişantaşı neighborhood. Yalçın Gökçebağ is having an exhibition titled "Anatolian Dreams" at the art gallery İstanbulArt 212.
In this exhibition, the artist, who was also an educator, will be displaying 13 of his works through May 15.
Yalçın Gökçebağ has been painting the people and landscape of Anatolia since 1961 when he was assigned as a teacher to a village in Turkey's Western Aegean province of Denizli.
His paintings depict scenes from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, Aegean to Eastern Anatolia with richness and accuracy.
★ Istanbul's Pera film is showing award-winning director Aykan Safoğlu's selected films made between 2013-2015.
Among the films are:
- Without a name (At Berlin portrait)
- Broken White Tulips
- Suffering My Nightingale
- Without a Name (Gülşen and Hüseyin)
On Friday evening after the screening of a movie, Bilge Taş moderated a discussion.
The activities for these series of events are free of charge.
★ Turkish films are being screened in Chicago at the Gene Siskel Film Center as part of the Chicago Turkish Film Week.
Among the films are two that will be shown for the first time in the U.S.: "Turkish Style Ice Cream" and "Cicero ". Those attending both of these two films will be in a drawing for two round-trip tickets to Istanbul, courtesy of the Turkish Airlines.
Other films that will be screened are "My Father and My Son", "Wheat" and "The Cold of Kalandar".
The Chicago Turkish Film Week will end on June 4.
★ The 10th Antalya International Film Festival will start on May 17 with Izmir State Theater staging a play titled "Canto Singer".
The festival will host renown theater companies from around the world. So far it hosted 48 foreign and 35 domestic troupes since the film festival first started years ago.
This year the festival will host troupes from Brazil, France, Britain, Spain and Georgia, and from Turkey from Izmir, Istanbul, Bursa, Ankara and Diyarbakır.
The Festival will end on May 27.
In addition to theater plays, there will also be exhibitions of visual arts and workshops. One of the workshops will be on the traditional Turkish shadow theater "Karagöz".
★ The 58th Venice Biennial International Art Fair has invited two Turkish artists Halil Altındere and İnci Eviner. The fair has started on May 11 and will continue until November 24.
The artists' exhibitions will be at the Turkish Pavilion. SAHA, a Turkish organization established to support contemporary art in Turkey, will be giving production assistance to the two artists.
Halil Altındere will be exhibiting his work titled "Neverland", İnci Eviner "We Elsewhere".
"Neverland" intends to challenge the 100-year-old Venice Biennial's model based on national representation. The artist erects a temporary pavilion, resembling other national pavilions, with its large scale of 7x10 meters. When seen from the front, the Palladian-style facade looks like any other established and prominent pavilion at Giardini, but the side view will reveal the fact that metal stage braces support the facade. It opens up a discussion on unrepresented and marginalized peoples, minorities, unwanted, immigrants and refugees, and asylum seekers' right to be represented. Read more at >> here <<
"We Elsewhere" is an investigation into the spaces that we create, and are created for us as a result of collective displacement. Read more at >> here <<
★ According to the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, the musical instrument makers in Turkey are organizing. Last Saturday the artisans got together and decided to form an association.
The attendees at the meeting formed a commission. A statement after the meeting said that the instrument makers contribute immensely to the artistic activities in Turkey, but unlike artists, they do not enjoy the financial support of government.
★ An unknown assailant killed the daily Cumhuriyet investigative journalist Uğur Mumcu with a bomb outside his home in 1993.
The Presidential Symphony Orchestra performed two works composed in his memory, "Objectionable Infantry" and "Uğur Mumcu Cantata" in the Turkish capital Ankara. The performance was the world premiere of the works.
Turkeys 10th president Ahmet Necdet Sezer and the leader of the main opposition Republican peoples party Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu were in the audience.
In addition, the orchestra performed Münir Nurettin Beken's composition for kemençe and violin for the first time in Ankara. Beken is currently a professor of ethnomusicology and the director of World Music Center at the University of California Los Angeles.
★ Pink Martini will be touring Turkey between May 14 and 21. Their tour will have concerts in six Turkish cities.
In their latest album "Je Dis Oui" the group surprised its Turkish aficionados by including the Turkish song "Aşkım Bahardı", "My Love was the Spring".
Pink Martini is a musical group that was formed in 1994 by pianist Thomas Lauderdale in Portland, Oregon. Members of the band call it a little orchestra that crosses the genres of classical music, classic pop, Latin music, and jazz. The co-lead vocalists for Pink Martini are China Forbes and Storm Large.
★ The play "A Home of 100 Years" that has been made with international collaboration under the leadership of 2018-2019 GalataPerform, premiered in Turkey in the 22nd Istanbul Theater Festival.
It has recently also premiered in Berlin, Zurich and now is being staged in Macedonia, Britain and Romania.
Macedonia's Monodrama Festival featured the play. It will next be on the stage at Edinburgh Fringe Festival that will take place between August 1 and 16. The play will be on there for 16 days and it will be in English.
The play tells the story of an old mansion by mixing videos and traditional techniques. It is a new interpretation for the traditional Turkish Meddah, "sit-down storyteller", style.
During the Ottoman times, meddahs played in front of a small group of viewers, such as a coffeehouse audience. This form of performance was especially popular in the Ottoman Empire from the 16th century onward.
The meddah would use props such as an umbrella, a handkerchief, or different headwear, to signal a change of character, and was skilled at manipulating his voice and imitating different dialects.
The tradition of the meddahs ended by the middle of the 20th century.
★ Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Theater is having the 35th of its traditional Youth Days.
The Youth Days started on May 6 and will continue through May 20. Nearly 100 troupes from high schools, conservatories, clubs and colleges will be staging performances.
During the Youth Days, experienced artists, writers and directors will also have workshops for youth.
★ The Calpulli Mexican Dance Troupe will be performing on May 16 at Istanbul's İş Sanat Concert Hall.
Art director Alberto Lopez, Myrta Duran, Daniel Jaquez and Juan Castano established the troupe in New York in 2003.
With its dances, the troupe tells about the influences on Mexican culture and exposes different perspectives on it.
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 5.95
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey : 68/45 Thunderstorms
Antalya, on the Mediterranean : 77/57 Showers
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey : 61/39 Thunderstorms
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 72/55 Showers
Izmir, on the Aegean : 81/57 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea : 63/55 Thunderstorms
Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz
* Results for week: 31
Sivas Sp - Başakşehir 0 - 0
Ankaragücü - Rize Sp 2 - 2
Erzurum Sp - Bursa Sp 2 - 0
Kasımpaşa - Fenerbahçe 1 - 3
G. Saray - Beşiktaş 2 - 0
Göztepe - Antalya Sp 4 - 1
Akhisar Sp - Malatyaspor 0 - 2
Alanya Sp - Konya Sp 2 - 4
Trabzon Sp - Kayseri Sp 4 - 2
* In games played so far this weekend:
Antalya Sp - Bursa Sp 0 - 1
Rize Sp - G. Saray 2 - 3
Fenerbahçe - Akhisar Sp 2 - 1
Göztepe - Sivas Sp 3 - 3
* Standing in the league as of week ending 31
1 - G. Saray 63
2 - Başakşehir 63
3 - Beşiktaş 59
4 - Trabzon Sp 56
5 - Malatyaspor 44
6 - Alanya Sp 42
7 - Antalya Sp 42
8 - Konya Sp 41
9 - Rize Sp 40
10 - Kasımpaşa 38
11 - Sivas Sp 37
12 - Fenerbahçe 37
13 - Kayseri Sp 37
14 - Ankaragücü 37
15 - Göztepe 33
16 - Erzurum Sp 32
17 - Bursa Sp 30
18 - Akhisar Sp 25
★ In the 4 x 100 m relay race in Yokohama Japan the Turkish men's team is in the finals. In the preliminaries the Turkish team came in third.
★ For the sixth time, thousands of people around the globe ran for the ones who can't, to be a hope for the ones who can't and it was great! 9000 people ran in İzmir and now we have two winners. Gülçin Arasan is the winner in women's category in İzmir, while Ivan Motorin, who ran for 64.3 kms, became men's champion and also the global champion of the race!
In addition to Izmir Turkey, the run took place in 11 other countries with the participation of hundreds of thousands of people.
The run is for helping spinal cord treatment research.
★ In the 57th Turkish National Assembly Cup race, a horse named "Denizim" won.
[Saat 14:30 and 15:30 'da iki kez okuyun]
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