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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 29 June 2019
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 29 June 2019]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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★ The repeat of the Istanbul Metropolitan area Mayor elections took place last Sunday. This time around the opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu won with a landslide.
In the May 31 elections, İmamoğlu's margin was only 13,000 auto 8 million voters, this time he increased the margin to over 800,000 votes.
Turkish opposition voters were jubilant in wresting away the most prized post in Turkey from the ruling Justice and Development Party.
Istanbul hosts 20% of the total population of Turkey and generates two-thirds of the tax revenue.
According to the British newspaper The Times reporter Hannah Lucinda Smith, President Erdoğan's party is urging him to reform before it is too late after the Istanbul elections delivered the biggest setback to his authority in years. Ms. Smith writes that over the years Mr. Erdoğan has turned the Justice and Development Party into his fiefdom and family business.
The loss has been attributed to public anger over Mr. Erdoğan's years of divide-and-rule politics and the recall of the original elections in March.
Ekrem İmamoğlu ran his campaign on a ticket of unity, reaching out to the Kurdish minority and reassuring Istanbul's religious communities.
★ According to Orhan Coşkun of Reuters, two senior figures in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling party are planning to launch a rival political group this year, people familiar with the matter said, a move that could further erode support for the country's long-time leader on the heels of a stinging electoral defeat in Istanbul.
Behind the breakaway plans are former deputy prime minister Ali Babacan and former president Abdullah Gül, both founding members of Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party, according to two political advisers.
The two are expected to form the new party in the fall.
If a new party is established, it could lead to more resignations and defections from the Justice and Development Party, breaking its hold over a large swathe of pious and conservative voters, said Galip Dalay, a visiting scholar at Oxford University.
"The Justice and Development Party's monopoly over the conservative sector of society will be broken," he said.
★ The Constitutional Court of Turkey announced Friday that Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel's year-long detention was illegal, robbing him of his freedom and security as well as his freedom of speech and freedom of the press, the Deutsche Welle reports.
Judges were unanimous in their decision that the journalist, who writes for the German daily newspaper Welt, had been wrongfully imprisoned.
The judges found no grounds for a lower court's decision to jail Yücel after prosecutors claimed he was spreading propaganda for an illegal organization. The claim was based on an interview that Yücel conducted with Cemal Bayik, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which Turkey says is a terror organization. The European Union and the United States also considers it to be a terrorist organization.
In their opinion, the judges said: "Persecuting or punishing a journalist for things an interview partner says would greatly hamper the media's ability to publicly discuss relevant topics."
★ According to the QS World University Rankings, Turkey's leading universities have fallen drastically down the global rankings, a decline that students and staff say has been caused by President Erdoğan tightening his grip on power and purging the country of his enemies, reports Hannah Lucinda Smith of The Times.
Academia has been one of the sectors worst affected by Mr. Erdoğan's curbs on free speech and political opposition. In early 2016 more than 2,000 academics were indicted for signing a petition calling for an end to violence in southeastern Turkey after the collapse of a ceasefire between the Turkish government and the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party.
Since then, scores of academics have left the country, while the number of foreign experts taking up posts at Turkish universities has fallen amid calls for an academic boycott of the country.
★ According to Ezgi Erkoyun and Ali Küçükgöçmen of Reuters, nearly a year after currency crisis, unemployed Turks still "can't dream".
Turkey's unemployment rate has spiked to close to its highest levels on record, 14.7% in February, while the GDP growth rate is in negative territory.
The economy tipped into recession late last year brought on partly by years of major building projects cheaply funded by foreign credit that became hard to maintain after the collapse of the Turkish lira.
The Turkish government expects a 3.5% economic growth next year, but the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development forecasts only 1.6%. Experts say that this means that unemployment will be an issue for an extended period.
Read more at >> here <<
★ In an interview with Bloomberg, economist Daron Acemoğlu said on Friday that the Turkish government has to make radical economic reforms to overcome the downturn.
The Turkish economy entered a recession in the second half of last year before growing quarterly in the first three months of 2019. Many economists are now predicting a return to negative economic growth.
The Turkish economy has major structural problems and the current account deficit and the budget deficit are just reflections of the problem, according to the economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. According to Acemoğlu, Turkey faces those deficits, as it failed to increase its productivity during a decade of high economic growth.
The economist also criticized the Turkish government's efforts to put pressure on market prices to curb inflation, adding that Turkey should focus on structural problems instead. Turkey is also using other unconventional methods to reverse the economic slump such as special lending, tax breaks and help for the real estate industry.
Turkey also needs to strengthen democracy and its checks and balances mechanisms as the collapse of the institutions is the root cause of the economy's medium-term problems, according to the economist.
★ U.S. sanctions are not certain to force Turkey to compromise on its purchase of Russian S-400 missiles, and the debate may continue to spoil bilateral relations in the future, U.S.-based analysis platform Stratfor said on Thursday.
The two NATO allies have been in a row over the S-400 purchase for months, with the U.S. arguing that the Russian systems are both incompatible with and pose a security threat to NATO defense systems.
The U.S. is preparing to impose measures against Turkey, including sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act and expulsion from the F-35 fighter jet program over the purchase.
★ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday that President Donald Trump stated the U.S. would not impose sanctions on Turkey over Turkey's decision to buy Russian S-400 missile systems, state-run Anatolia News Agency reported.
Mr. Erdoğan said Turkey's deal with Russia had already been completed and the S-400 systems were in the delivery process, during a press conference at the end of the G-20 summit in Osaka.
"About sanctions, Mr. Trump clarified the issue today in his statement. We heard from himself that such a thing will not happen," the Turkish President said, referring to Trump's comments during a joint presser of two leaders before a bilateral meeting earlier in the day.
Mr. Erdoğan said Turkey's defense procurement decisions were based on the market economy, adding that Turkey and the U.S. were strategic partners.
The Turkish president also told the press that Turkey was currently purchasing Boeing jets from the U.S.
"For example, while this S-400 issue is ongoing... we are purchasing 100 Boeing jets from Lockheed Martin,'' Mr. Erdoğan said.
President Donald Trump said on Saturday that the United States and Turkey were in a complicated situation over Turkey's decision to purchase Russian S-400 missile systems, adding that Turkey had not been treated fairly as the former U.S. administration under Barack Obama had not allowed Turkey to buy U.S.-made Patriot batteries.
Mr. Trump said Turkey and the U.S. were looking for a solution to resolve current tensions during a joint presser with Mr. Erdoğan.
"So, I have to tell you, he's a NATO member, he's somebody that I have become friendly with. And you have to treat people fairly," Mr. Trump said about Mr. Erdoğan.
"We have a complicated situation because the president was not allowed to buy the Patriot missiles. So when he bought the other ones -- the S-200s or 400s -- when he bought them, he wanted to do this, but he wasn't allowed by the Obama administration to buy them until after he made a deal to buy other missiles," the U.S. president said.
Trump also complimented the Turkish delegation that were present to meet their U.S. counterparts. "They're so easy to deal with. Look at them. Central casting. There's no Hollywood set where you could produce people that look like them," he said.
But the statement issued by the White House about the Trump-Erdoğan meeting set a different tone.
"The president expressed concern about Turkey's potential purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, and encouraged Turkey to work with the United States on defense cooperation in a way that strengthens the NATO alliance," the White House said.
The United States approved a $3.5 billion sale of missile systems to Turkey in December. The package included 80 Patriot missiles, 60 PAC-3 missile interceptors and related equipment. Turkey sought to buy the Patriot batteries during Obama's presidency, but the U.S. Congress declined the offer for the sale.
According to Trump, the U.S. officials offered to sell Patriot missiles, only after Turkey decided to acquire Russian systems.
"Now he (Erdoğan) says it is too late, I have already bought it," the President said. "In the meantime, he bought 100 F-35s, greatest jets in the world. Now he wants delivery, he paid tremendous amount of money."
"So it is a mess. It is not really Erdoğan's fault," Trump added.
Read more at >> here <<
★ Speaking of Mr. Erdoğan, a poll conducted by BBC among 25,000 Arab youth for opinions on various subjects had a question about the most-liked foreign leader. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan turned out to be the
★ A special selection from the Istanbul Fourth Design Biennial will be on display in Belgium's Design Biennial.
The Fourth Design Biennial in Istanbul fetched over 200,000 visitors during the six months that it was open in the fall of 2018.
The selection was also on display in France earlier. It is made up of over 100 projects.
★ An exhibition titled "March Lockstep!" is in Istanbul's Salt Beyoğlu.
The exhibition examines how the Swedish system formed the basis of the Turkish physical education system at the beginning of the 20th century during Turkey's modernization process.
Maria Andersson and Nancy Atakan have organized the exhibition after seven years of research.
The exhibition centers around the story of Turkish pioneer of physical education and Olympics Selim Sırrı Tarcan and his daughters Selma and Azade who followed in his steps.
It focuses on Selma who was born in 1906 and compares her methods to the American dancer Isadora Duncan's approach of simplicity and naturality.
★ The 26th Istanbul Jazz Festival is continuing in 27 different venues with over 300 participants from home and abroad in 50 concerts.
The Festival has started with "Jazz in the Parks" this weekend.
Among the musicians and bands are:
- Minus Two
- Standart Mafyası
- Blue Monk
The Festival will continue through July 18.
★ Turkey's northern Aegean province of Çanakkale will be hosting the International Chorus Festival this year between July 2 and 7.
There will be 44 choruses taking the stage, 9 of them are from abroad. The number of soloists is around 1500.
In addition to the concerts, there will be seminars, panel discussions. Some of the concerts will be free to the public.
★ Turkish tenor Murat Karahan will be singing at the Verona Opera Festival. He will be the lead singer in Il Trovatore, Carmen, Tosca and Aida operas.
Murat Karahan is the general director of the Turkish State Opera and Ballet.
★ Grammy award-winning American rapper Future was in Istanbul at a concert on June 26.
At the concert, there were also Turkish bands and musicians Sagopa Kajmer, Gazapizm, Şehinşah, Anıl Piyancı, İstanbul Trıp, Nihayet and Khontkar.
Remains of Dionysus Temple
★ Due to lack of support from the state budget in conducting excavations, many archaeological sites in Turkey are not being explored these days.
Only private sponsorships are helping the archaeologists.
Turkey's İş Bank is sponsoring this year excavations at the Aegean site of Teos. Explored since 2010, this year's excavations and restoration work are being led by Ankara University professor Musa Kadıoğlu.
Dr. Musa Kadıoğlu says that this year excavation work on the Dionysus Temple and antique theater will continue. Since 2010 the assembly hall is completely dug out.
The excavations have also revealed stage structure of the antique theater and the 160 m long South Harbor peer has been brought to the surface.
The British conducted the first excavations at the site between 1764-7065.
Teos history goes back to 600 BC. In 540 BC Cyrus the Great invaded the area.
An interesting rental agreement chiseled into stone was uncovered in 2016 in the ruins of Teos.
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey : 75/55 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean : 95/79 Mostly Sunny
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey : 70/50 Thunderstorms
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 82/68 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean : 90/72 Mostly Sunny
Trabzon, on the Black Sea : 72/66 Thunderstorms
Snow depths at skiing locations:
Black Sea measured at Trabzon : 76
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdağ : 76
Aegean Sea measured at İzmir : 75
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya : 82
Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz
★ Efes beat Fenerbahçe 4-3 in seven games and became the champion in the premier league
★ Women basketball:
Turkish national women team lost to its Italian rivals in the EuroBasketball competitions 54-57 on June 27. Later the Turkish team also lost to Slovenia 55 to 62 on June 28.
The games are taking place in Serbia.
★ Turkish swimmer Derin Toparlak won a silver medal in European Adults Swimming Championships. The championships were taking place in Greece.
★ In the European championships taking place in Belarus capital Minsk Evin Demirhan received a bronze medal in Women's Wrestling 50 kg category.
[Saat 14:30 and 15:30 'da iki kez okuyun]
*** Turkish American Association of California (TAAC)
In cooperation with the TAAC Monterey Bay Chapter and
Horon Turkish Folk Ensemble proudly presents...
22nd Annual Turkish Art and Culture Festival in Monterey
Aug 3-4, Sat & Sun, 11am - 7pm
Location: Monterey Custom House Plaza, next to the Fisherman’s Wharf
(http://www.turkfestca.org, http://www.monterey.com )
Featuring many fun activities for the whole family, the two-day festival will include
Live Turkish music and folk dances performances,
Turkish art and crafts exhibits and vendor booths,
Food and Drinks (Turkish Coffee/tea, Soft drinks, Turkish Raki, Efes beer, wine) and Many special activities for children.
We are looking forward to seeing you with your families and friends at the 22nd Annual California Turkish Art and Culture Festival in Monterey.
COME and CELEBRATE THE TURKISH ARTS AND CULTURE TOGETHER IN MONTEREY!..
For questions please contact:
Ilge Karancak-Splane: (831) 277-2258,
Yavuz Atila: (831) 238-6104.
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*** Turkish American Association of California
is a non-profit
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understanding between Americans and Turks.
if you have any questions about Turks and Turkey,
e-mail them at email@example.com
*** Azerbaijan Cultural Society of Northern California
Organizes many events throughout the year. Follow their activities through
their web pages, or subscribe to their e-mail list by sending an email to:
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 three schools:
Los Altos, San Ramon and Berkeley
For more information on these schools, drop an email to
*** Heart to Heart Anatolia
Providing scholarships and bringing people together while promoting Anatolian cultural values
Visit their pages at