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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 13 July 2019
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 13 July 2019]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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★ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan could be facing his biggest political challenge, with the resignation of his former economic czar Ali Babacan threatening to split his ruling Justice and Development Party. Party discontent is escalating amidst economic malaise and deteriorating human rights, reports VOA's Dorian Jones.
"Under the current conditions, Turkey needs a brand-new vision for its future," Babacan said Monday upon resigning. "It has become inevitable to start a new effort for Turkey's present and future. Many of my colleagues and I feel a great and historic responsibility toward this effort."
Babacan is expected to launch a new political party as early as September. A founding member of Justice and Development Party, Babacan served as foreign affairs and economy minister in the early years of the party's rule. He is widely credited with presiding over Turkey's economic transformation with unparalleled record growth.
According to sources linked to the new movement, Babacan is receiving financial support from conservative businesses, who traditionally back the Justice and Development Party. Such support is likely facilitated by former President Abdullah Gül. He is another Justice and Development Party founder, who is backing Babacan and has close links to conservative companies.
However, openly challenging Erdoğan has risks. Observers say some Justice and Development Party dissidents who've sought to set up a new party or break ranks have run into legal troubles on trumped-up charges from a compliant judiciary.
Read more at >> here <<
Military vehicles and equipment, parts of the S-400 air defense systems, are unloaded from a Russian transport aircraft, at Murted military airport in Ankara, Turkey, July 12, 2019.
★ Russia is delivering its S-400 missile system to Turkey, a move that could hurt Turkish-U.S. relations and puts Russian military technology inside a key NATO alliance member, reports VOA's Dorian Jones, Carla Babb and Mehmet Toroğlu.
The $2.2 billion missile system is also causing concern in NATO.
The U.S. says the S-400, with its advanced radar that could potentially be used to target NATO jets, threatens to compromise NATO military systems in Turkey. The United States says it will stop delivery of its latest F-35 jet if the Russian missiles are deployed, and Turkish firms may lose contracts to build significant parts of the expensive and complex F-35.
Potentially more damaging for Turkey are U.S. sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which could hit Turkey's already weakened economy.
The top Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), issued a joint statement Friday condemning the delivery and urging President Donald Trump to fully implement the sanctions.
On the other hand, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is blaming former U.S. President Barack Obama and Congress for the crisis, pointing to the blocking of the purchase of U.S. Patriot missiles during the Obama administration.
Read more at >> here <<
★ The Trump administration is urging Turkey to stop oil-and-gas drilling off the coast of the divided island of Cyprus, VOA reports.
"This provocative step raises tensions in the region," the State Department said late Tuesday. "We continue to believe the island's oil-and-gas reserves, like all of its resources, should be equitably shared between both communities in the context of an overall settlement."
There has been no comment so far from Turkey which sent a drilling ship to the Mediterranean off Cyprus Monday, sparking a protest by the Greek Cypriots.
"Turkey's declared intention to illegally conduct a new drilling operation northeast of Cyprus is of grave concern," the European Union foreign policy branch said in a statement.
Cyprus has been split between a Turkish Cypriot north and Greek Cypriot south since 1974 when Turkey sent troops to the island in response to a Greek military coup.
The Greek south has international recognition while only Turkey recognizes the government in the north.
Negotiations to reunify the island have been hung up over several issues, including sharing the energy resources and the presence of Turkish forces.
★ In an opinion piece titled: What's next for journalism in the Erdoğan era? on Deutsche Welle site, Bülent Mumay former editor of the Turkish daily Hürriyet
discusses how Journalists have had a hard time in Erdoğan's Turkey: initially dismissed from their jobs, hundreds went on to be arrested. Now, they're grappling with the publication of a blacklist. He then asks
Here is Bülent Mumay's opinion piece:
"It has never been easy to work as a journalist in Turkey. Erdoğan, the inventor of "advanced democracy," has created a climate in which journalism has become one of the most dangerous professions in the country. At a time when the nation is ruled from a palace, when the media has essentially been taken out of action via legal and financial means, Turkey has, in effect, turned into the world's largest prison for journalists, Mumay writes.
"Now, a "think tank" known to be in Erdoğan's back pocket has presented a report on foreign media showing that Turkish-speaking foreign media are the next target. Among those on the list are Deutsche Welle journalists who were denounced and downright blacklisted with the publication of personal information such as CVs, their ideological attitudes and their social media activity.
"A look at the Justice and Development Party's media policy since it took office in 2002 helps one to understand why this threat against Turkish-speaking foreign media has now occurred. Before Erdoğan, most of the media moguls bought newspapers and television stations to put pressure on the respective governments and increase their own assets.
"When Erdoğan took over, he didn't change that scenario, but altered the method, making sure that entrepreneurs whose pockets he had filled with the help of state tenders took over the media. Previous media owners were forced to use contractors whom Erdoğan had made rich with major projects such as airports and bridges. Anyone who dared to report critically in the media after the change of ownership was either fired or arrested.
"The Turkish media, 95% of which, according to reports by Reporters Without Borders and the International Press Institute IPI, are directed directly or indirectly from the presidential palace, were transformed into propaganda instruments. We're talking about media in which the word "price increase" was banned and replaced by "price adjustment" in times when the cost of living was rising due to constant inflation.
"After a while, however, the audience grew tired of publications that constantly praised the government while demonizing the opposition. To obtain facts instead of reading propaganda, citizens turned to alternative outlets and the sales and ratings of the palace propaganda media collapsed.
"Increasingly, foreign media in particular which publish and broadcast in Turkish via the internet, filled the vacuum created by Erdoğan's handling of the domestic media. An annual study conducted by the renowned Kadir Has University in Turkey provided a reason for the panic in the palace regarding foreign media. In 2015, 49% of the citizens still used newspapers as news sources. According to the most recent study released in 2019, only 20% do so now. In contrast, digital media, which Erdoğan cannot control, has developed into an alternative that reaches nearly 90% of people.
"When control over the Turkish media world was no longer effective, "the extended arm of international media organizations in Turkey" came into play. A report by the same name was released by the Foundation for Political, Social and Economic Research. The foundation is run by Erdoğan loyalists and headed by Serhat Albayrak, the elder brother of Erdoğan's son-in-law, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak. He is also Chairman of the Board of the largest government-related media group in Turkey. Virtually all of the Foundation for Political, Social and Economic Research's senior management is active in an advisory capacity for Erdoğan. This is why it would not be inaccurate to say that Erdoğan is behind the denunciation of Turkish journalists who work for foreign media.
"I am one of the "extended arms" of foreign media, as branded in the 202-page report. In 2015, I was dismissed from the Hürriyet newspaper after 19 years of pressure from the government. As if that weren't enough, I was arrested shortly after the coup attempt of July 15, 2016, so that I couldn't take up a new position elsewhere. After my release, I had no possibility to continue working as a journalist in Turkey. The only way to report on events in the country was through foreign press organizations.
"For three years I have been regularly writing the column "Letter from Istanbul" for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. I also work for Deutsche Welle's Turkish editorial department. Apparently, however, this refuge has also been taken from us journalists. According to the
Foundation for Political, Social and Economic Research report, which reads like an indictment, we will either foreseeably lose our freedom or become victims of the vandals who have been incited against us."
★ The daily Cumhuriyet reported that the 47th Music Festival organized by the İstanbul Culture and Arts Foundation has ended on July 8th.
The festival started on June 11th and hosted 600 foreign and domestic artists at 15 different venues, where a total of 150 compositions were performed at 22 concerts in 21 days. More than 18 thousand people have attended the festival.
The theme of the 47th. İstanbul Music Festival was declared as "Darkness of Being, Lightness of Being".
★ A Turkish teenager cellist bagged first prize at international competitions in Austria and Ukraine, reported the Hürriyet Daily News.
Arya Nur Güneş, a 15-year-old musician, won the Grand Prize Virtuoso at the Salzburg International Music Competition in Vienna, Austria and first prize at the International Violin, Cello and Viola Competition in her age group in Ukraine.
Currently a student at the Conservatoire Music and Ballet Middle School of Dokuz Eylül University, Arya won the Jury special mention prize at the Kaunas Sonorum International Classical Music Competition in 2017, among 590 musicians from 18 countries aged between 10 and 23.
She also received first prize at the second Luthiers Clar held in Kiev, Ukraine.
"I've been interested in music all my life, but after finding the cello, I can say my life is complete," Güneş told Anatolia News Agency expressing her happiness at being "rewarded for her efforts."
Voicing her goal to be a world-class soloist, she said: "It's a big dream, it won't be easy to achieve, but if I work hard and believe, I can do it, considering that every great musician was once a student like me."
★ A video presentation of artist duo Webb-Ellis's "For the First Baby Born in Space" and Richard Whitby's "The Lost Ones" is slated for SALT Galata between July 9 and Aug. 23.
Commissioned jointly by Jerwood Arts and Film and Video Umbrella, the works were intended to mark the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, commonly known as Brexit. During the first public exhibit, however, Brexit was delayed once again, pushing the country into further crisis.
Departing from the withdrawal decision and the continuous heated debate surrounding it, both of the videos reference mounting civil anxieties and uncertainties embedded in the recent past and extending into the immediate future.
"Webb-Ellis have regularly involved young people in their projects, and their two-screen channel installation 'For the First Baby Born in Space' is no exception," according to SALT Galata's website.
Filmed during the long, hot summer of 2018 and featuring a number of teenagers from the artists' home base of North Yorkshire and elsewhere, the video gives voice to the youth who have had little say in the tumultuous political events that have unfolded around them, or in the nature of the world they will inherit.
The Anatolia News Agency reported that the "Sacred Road" between two ancient Greek cities in what is today western Turkey have been unearthed.
The 3,000-year-old pathway in Turkey's Aegean Muğla province listed as tentative World Heritage site by UNESCO runs between Stratonikeia and Lagina.
The towns have remained inhabited throughout the Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Turkish Republic periods.
The Northern City Gate and columns on the Sacred Road as well as the tombs in the regions were unearthed during excavations this year.
"The Sacred Road was used as a ceremonial path for the Lagina Hecate sanctuary from antiquity to the present," dig site head Bilal Söğüt, who is also a lecturer in Turkey's Pamukkale University, told Anadolu Agency.
★ Süleyman Ateş, a resident of the Süleymaniye neighborhood noticed a stone with a pot and flower engravings at the end of the road. Ateş took the stone, brought it to the museum authorities. It was determined that it was part of the sarcophagus which was estimated to belong to the beginning of the 19th century. The sarcophagus is now protected by the museum authorities, reported daily Cumhuriyet.
Süleyman Ateş who lives in Trabzon and spends his summer holidays in his hometown Gümüşhane visiting historical places said, "I found on the road sarcophagus I put it in the museum and delivered it to the museum. I believe it will be very useful in terms of history. A work that has visuality and needs to be protected. I think that our citizens also need to be more sensitive on this issue".
Historian-writer Serhat Doğan also says that Süleymaniye neighborhood's history goes back to 1560's and recalls that Armenian, Greek and Turkish people used to live together, and said "such reflections as folkloric combination is perfectly normal. A combination of mosques, churches and cemeteries. A tombstone from the early 19th century was found here. Our citizen exhibited a conscious behavior and gave the stone to our museum directorate. Süleymaniye neighborhood is a rich geography, many remains can be unearthed with excavations to be done here."
★ Third installment of the electronic music festival "Big Burn İstanbul", will take place on July 26-27-28 at Şile Woodyville Treehouses.
100 foreign and domestic DJs and producers will be performing at Big Burn İstanbul music and entertainment event on five stages for three days. Clapton, Damian Lazarus, David Mayer, Adiel, Antigone, Behrouz, Be Svendsen, Carlita, Peggy Gou are among the musicians participating in this years event.
★ British guitarist, singer and composer Eric Clapton, who came to the Turkish western holiday resort of Kuşadası this week, cut his holiday short after he learned about the death of his dog and left the country, reported the Anatolia News Agency.
Clapton's luxurious yacht anchored in the Kuşadası Yacht Marina at night on July 9. Clapton, who was planning to visit the historic places such as the ancient city of Ephesus and the House of Virgin Mary, canceled his plans after he was told that his dog in England had died.
The singer waited for his private plane for a while and came to İzmir Adnan Menderes Airport Kuşadası by road at noon. He was accompanied by two officials in the airport.
Clapton did not speak to press members, and after saying goodbye to officials, he got on his private plane.
Three guitars and other personal belongings with him were taken to the plane, too. It was reported that his yacht will soon leave Kuşadası, too.
[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.
*** 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
*** Van Ness Cafe Gyro in San Francisco, is giving our listeners 10% off! Call them at (415) 589-7900
*** Alpiny Design is available for the design of your dream home, with
designers with decades of experience. Call them at (408) 431-7987
*** 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
*** 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