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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 15 June 2019

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 15 June 2019]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ U.S plans to remove Turkey from the F-35 program is the right thing to do, but Turkey's decision to buy Russian S-400 missile systems is probably the wrong reason to do so, said Harold Hutchison, a U.S. journalist covering military issues, in the Washington Examiner on Saturday.

  The U.S. since last month has increased pressure on Turkey to cancel plans to acquire Russian missile systems, which according to Washington could collect data on NATO military operations.

  Hutchison said in the past there had been other purchases of Russian systems by American allies that had not been seen as deal breakers. "South Korea acquired T-80 main battle tanks and BMP infantry fighting vehicles. Greece bought S-300 surface-to-air missiles (also known as the SA-10 Grumble) in the 1990s," Hutchison pointed out.

  "So, the S-400 isn't necessarily a deal breaker, and in fact, Turkey getting it was a potential intelligence coup," the journalist said.

  According to the journalist, the real reason for kicking Turkey from the F-35 program should be Turkey's human rights records and the country turning from being a reliable ally into a borderline enemy under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's rule.

  "Should Erdoğan's regime leave power, perhaps America can look at resuming Turkey's participation in the program. But until then, sending F-35s to a regime that could turn hostile would be a big mistake," Hutchison said.

★ Turkish interior minister Mr. Süleyman Soylu on Saturday said that the ruling Justice and Development Party was hard at work to cleanse Istanbul from illegal migrants and a total of 50,000 would be sent home by the end of the year.

  Turkey hosts large communities of Afghans, Pakistanis and Iraqis, and also others from African nations who have ended up in the country generally to pass to a European country. Some 286,000 irregular immigrants, referring to those who arrive without proper documentation, landed in Turkey in 2018, according to immigration authority figures.

  The city is also home to over 500,000 Syrian refugees with many locals objecting to their presence, fuelled by often fake viral reports of their misdeeds, as well as inaccurate reports on the benefits offered them by the Turkish government.

★ Former U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn's testimony at a trial for his former business partner accused of involvement in a secret Turkish lobbying campaign involving his consulting firm, will indicate that Turkey was secretly funding Ekim Alptekin's firm Inovo BV, Washington-based Daily Caller website reported.

  Turkish businessman Alptekin faces charges related to his lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government, including conspiring with former Flynn business partner Bijan Rafiekian to extradite Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, the leader of a religious group the Turkish government accuses of orchestrating a coup attempt. Gülen has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Turkey has become the "elephant in the room" thanks to its battered relations with the West, a commentator on Turkish affairs Robert Ellis said on the Jerusalem Post.

  Ellis said the latest European Commission report on May 30, citing considerable backsliding in the rule of law and the judiciary, fundamental rights, economic institutions, anti-corruption measures, media freedom and other areas, showed that Turkey's European Union accession process has come to a halt.

  "The criteria for European Union membership include a guarantee for democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities. Since the establishment of an executive presidency last June, where parliament has been sidelined in favor of government by decree, Turkey - under President Tayyip Erdoğan - has followed a path of divergence from NATO and the EU norms", Ellis adds.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ratcheted up tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, declaring he will do whatever is necessary to protect Turkey's interests over energy exploration rights in Cypriot waters, reports Dorian Jones of VOA .

  The Mediterranean island has been divided into Northern Cyprus, recognized only by Turkey, and Cyprus since 1974, following a Turkish military intervention sparked by an Athens-inspired coup.

  An internationally recognized government led by Greek Cypriots runs Cyprus and has declared an exclusive economic zone around the island to search for hydrocarbons.

  Turkey contests the Greek Cypriots' sole rights to search for energy and has sent exploration ships to Cyprus.

★ With Turkey's Istanbul mayoral rerun election on June 23 looming, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling Justice and development party is eyeing the Kurdish vote, as speculation rises about a resumption in peace talks with Kurdish rebels, reports Dorian Jones of VOA.

  Lawyers met this week for a third time since May with imprisoned Kurdistan Workers' Party leader Abdullah Ocalan. Prior to May, he had not seen his lawyers in eight years. In a statement released by Ocalan through his lawyers, he stressed coexistence, saying Kurds cannot exist without Turks, and Turks cannot exist without Kurds.

  The ending of Ocalan's isolation is stoking speculation of a return to a peace process between the kurdistan workers party and Turkey. In 2015, talks collapsed amid mutual recrimination, and ensuing heavy fighting saw the leveling of many towns and city centers across Turkey's predominately Kurdish region.

  Speaking anonymously, a senior Western diplomat said tentative efforts have been made to find ways of ending the fighting.

  The United States sees the resumption of peace talks as a way of defusing tensions with Ankara over Washington's support of the Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG, which Turkey considers a Kurdistan workers party proxy.

★ Turkey on Monday condemned the treatment of the country's national football team upon arrival in Iceland ahead of a European Championship qualifying game.

  Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency said the national team players were kept at passport control for more than two hours at Keflavik Airport on Sunday while their belongings were repeatedly searched.

  Iceland beat Turkey 2 to 1.


★ The show "Sutra", produced by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Sadler's Wells London, will be in Istanbul in September again after 12 years of absence.

  The show has been staged in 64 cities in 32 countries and 190,000 people watched it.

  Cherkaoui and Antoni Gormley choreographed the award-winning show and 19 Buddhist monks from China's renowned Shaolin temple have collaborated with them.

  The show features the lively music of Polish composer Syzmon Brzoska.


★ Turkeys Turkcell Company's digital TV platform TV+ is sponsoring the screening of award-winning movies with a project called "Other Movie Days in the Open Air".

  The screenings started with the Palm d'Or Decorated movie "Shoplifters".

  There will be 14 other award-winning movies within the program and the screenings will continue through September 18.

  All attendance at the screenings is free of charge.

Galata Bridge, Istanbul by Devrim Erbil
★ Turkish painter Devrim Erbil's 16 years in arts is being celebrated.

  For the occasion, a new book titled "The Voyage" is out. The promotion of the book took place with an event at Kadıköy Municipality's Windmill Arts Center.

  Prominent individuals in the arts and Turkish intellectual world such as Metin Akpınar, Müfit Can Saçıntı, painter Bedri Baykam, writer Mario Levi, Buket Uzuner, Mahir Ünsal Eriş, Murat Menteş, Gülşah Elikbank, Yalın Alpay, Journalist Osman Balcıgil, Deniz Bayramoğlu, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Zihni Sungur, and Kadikoy mayor Şerdil Dara Odabaşı attended the event.

  As for the book, numerous writers and artists contributed to it with their stories and articles.

★ Master of the bowed instrument kamacha Mark Eliyahu will be in the Turkish capital Ankara for a concert on June 26.

  His father discovered Mark's interest in music when he was only four years old. He then started living with the dream of joining his father on the stage.

  And now Mark himself is a true master of the instrument.

  Mark was born in Dagestan. When he was a child his family emigrated to Israel. His father is also kamancha master.


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

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