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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 16 November 2019

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 16 November 2019]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ Turkish president Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was in Washington this week for a meeting with President Trump. At their White House meeting, the two presidents discussed mainly Syria and Turkey's purchase of Russia's S-400 missile system.

  Despite the historic lows in the relations between the two NATO allies, Trump and Erdoğan heaped lavish praise on each other.

  "We've been friends for a long time, almost from day one. We understand each other's country. We understand where we are coming from," Trump told Erdoğan in the Oval Office.

  According to the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, many media outlets around the world commented on the good relationship between the two presidents. The Economist also had an article titled "the strange love-in between Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan". It further said that both populist leaders have mixed their family and work life with politics. Both leaders also promoted their daughters' husbands instead of their sons.

  On the occasion of Turkish presidents' visit to the U.S., in an article in the Washington Post columnist Max Boot penned an opinion article titled "Trump's corrupted foreign policy: Coddle the dictator, abuse the ally".

  "The Trump administration's corruption and degradation of U.S. foreign policy were on shameful display on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue on Wednesday.

  "In the White House, President Trump was fawning over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a vicious anti-American dictator who has ethnically cleansed the Kurds in northern Syria, locked up his domestic critics and established close ties with Russia. 'You're doing a fantastic job for the people of Turkey,' Trump gushed. Of course, he did: By Trump's lights, this is how a leader should behave," Max Boot said.

  In the meantime, the pro-government papers in Turkey all published on their first page what Turkish president purportedly said: "We are not tied to the U.S. by an umbilical cord".


  Lindsay Graham and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in January 2019

★ Not all went well in Turkish president's visit to the U.S. According to news reports, a group of GOP senators attended the Oval Office meeting and rebuffed Mr. Erdoğan's depiction of the Syrian Kurdish forces as terrorists.

  Mr. Erdoğan played a video for the Republican senators about the Kurds, Sen. Lindsey Graham then asked Mr. Erdoğan "do you want me to get the Kurds to play a video about what your forces have done?". The senators also told Mr. Erdoğan that he is risking economic sanctions for buying Russian antiaircraft missile system.


★ According to the British daily Independent, James Le Mesurier, a former British army officer, who helped start the "White Helmets", an emergency response group in Syria, has been found dead near his home in İstanbul, just days after the Russian foreign ministry menaced him, accusing him of being a spy.

  Le Mesurier, 48, was the director of Mayday Rescue charity that trained members of the Syria Civil Defense, nicknamed the White Helmets, playing a major role in its creation in Turkey in 2013.

  Turkish police in its initial assessment considered the death suicide, but others call it suspicious.

  Read more at >> here << and >> here <<

★ As we reported to you last week, journalist Ahmet Altan who was released from jail last week was rearrested by the police this week.

  The chief public prosecutor successfully appealed the earlier decision to release him, the Anatolia News Agency reported.

★ In a bid to reduce foreign influence on Islamic religious leaders, Germany will support a new pilot project that educates imams, the Moslem clerics, locally, DW reports. Experts say it is a positive step, but a more comprehensive approach is needed.

  Among Germany's nearly 4.5 million Muslims, around 3 million are of Turkish origin.

  DITIB is Germany's largest Islamic umbrella group, with 900 affiliated mosques. Its imams are educated, financed and sent from Turkey. So the language and cultural barrier together with many of these imams' loyalty to the Turkish government, has pushed the German government to deal intensively with the issue in recent years.


★ İstanbul Mayor seeks to bond with Investors on London charm offensive, the New York Times wrote on Friday for Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu's visit to the British capital. The New York Times also points out that Mr. İmamoğlu is "a political opponent of Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan".

  Reuters reported on Mr. İmamoğlu's trip and wrote that he is in talks to borrow in international markets to finance ongoing rail projects.

  Last week, the French Development Agency signed a $95 million loan agreement with İstanbul for construction of an underground metro line.

★ The share price of Turkish state lender Halkbank fell 4.21% on November 14 after the previous day's White House meeting between Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. counterpart Donald Trump failed to produce public standpoints addressing the indictment filed in Manhattan against the bank for allegedly taking part in a huge scheme to evade sanctions on Iran.

★ Get.com, the self-described "Frequent Flyer, and Card Perks Site" reports that after more than 25 years, Turkish Airlines will be making a return to Newark Liberty International Airport on May 25, 2020, with non-stop flights from İstanbul.

  In short, Turkish Airlines is boosting its capacity to New York. The İstanbul-Newark route complements the carrier's existing İstanbul-New York JFK service. Turkish Airlines has made it clear it will not be reducing frequencies for its existing flights to New York JFK.


★ The 23rd İstanbul theater Festival organized by İstanbul Culture and Arts Foundation started on November 13.

  The Festival will present a total of 78 performances by 28 theater and dance companies--12 from abroad and 16 from Turkey.

  This year, the festival's slogan is "life upside down." The festival will seek to answer questions such as "where is the stage?" and "who is the actor?" with its program consisting of performances with unusual staging techniques and structure in which the generally accepted patterns of performing arts are questioned.

  The festival staged Şahika Tekand's tragedy "Io" at the opening night. Veteran Turkish actor Genco Erkal who is celebrating his 60th year in theater, and "Friends Theater" which is celebrating its 50th year were also on the stage.

  On Saturday, Ultima Vez, one of the leading dance companies in the world, was the guest of the festival with their deeply affecting show "TrapTown". Well known for their impact on dance history, the Belgian company had joined the festival with "Blush" in 2004 and received high praise for their creative interpretations. Directed and choreographed by Wim Vandekeybus, "TrapTown" is Ultima Vez's extraordinary work about the ordinariness of our daily lives.

  The Festival will continue through December 1.

★ "Nadas'a Bırak" had its Open Studios on Saturday. The Open Studios was the final event of Nadas'a Bırak Fall Art Residency -- a chance for family, friends, and all interested, to view works and studio practices of resident artists.

  It took place at NADAS Creative House located in Yeldeğirmeni, Kadıköy, İstanbul.

  Nadas'a Bırak Fall Art Residency was a week-long program offering space to artists or creative individuals who seek to develop their work in a peaceful atmosphere among a sustainably-minded community.

  This year the following artist participated in the residency: 

★ As a part of the Garanti BBVA Concerts, İstanbul's Babylon will be hosting London based trio The Comet is Coming on November 21.

  With King Shabaka at the saxophone, The Conqueror at the keyboard, and Betamax Killer at the drums, The Comet is Coming combines jazz, funk and psychedelic aspects with an Afro-futuristic approach. Being inspired by Sun Ra, Frank Zappa, and Jimi Hendrix, they share a dreamy apocalyptic sound.


★ After a successful career in New York City, being back in İstanbul, Korhan Başaran's Company RAu premiered it's newest creation "X" at the Kadıköy Entropi Stage on the 3rd of November. The show will repeat on November 29, December 23 and 26.

  Entropi Sahne was founded by Yurdaer Okur in 2017 and has been a hosting / producing venue for various edgy, interdisciplinary productions.

  Ataman Girişken will be accompanying Başaran on this production with the visual designs.

  Başaran will be challenging himself to some vulnerable places with this interdisciplinary piece, after his internationally recognized contemporary dance works with his Company RAu.

  Korhan Başaran is an internationally recognized dancer/choreographer who holds a BA from Bilkent University's theater department and an MBA in art management from Yeditepe University, he is the artistic director of his project-based company RAu.

★ The renown American thriller writer Tess Gerritsen is in İstanbul for the İstanbul Book Fair. At the fair, she signed her book published in Turkish.

  25 million copies of Gerritsen's books have been published in 40 countries. She is by training a physician and was born to Chinese immigrant parents in San Diego.

★ An 89-year-old Ataturk bust made by Italian sculptor Pietro Canonina is being displayed now at a museum. For years it has been outside but the locals at Turkey's Simav city in the Kütahya province decided to take it under the protection of the Museum.

  Sculptor Pietro Canonina is also the artist behind the renowned Republic Statue in İstanbul's Taksim Square.

★ Canadian play writer Maurice Panych's black humor play "The Dishwashers" started in Kadıköy, İstanbul on Friday.

  The play tells the stories of three extraordinary dishwashers working in the basement. The play was also staged Saturday and will be on stage on November 22 and 23.

★ Turkish cartoonist and humor writer İzel Rozental has a new exhibition at İstanbul's Schneidertempel art center. The exhibition displays artist's photographs of cities throughout Turkey and his notes.

  Rozental was born in 1951 in Turkey and has been publishing his cartoons in the Shalom Newspaper since 1991 under the title "The End of the Tunnel".


★ Turkish director Alpaslan Ertüngealp had a talk on music and improvisation, and Turkish folk music and its reflections in the western classical music in Hungry at the Turkish-Hungarian art and academic day on November 12.

  Afterward, Ertüngealp directed the orchestra to perform renowned Hungarian composer Bela Bartok's Romanian folk dances, and Turkish composers Ferit Tüzün's "Breezes", Ulvi Cemal Erkin's "Köçekçe" and Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly's "Galata Dances".

★ Turkish-Italian film director Ferzan Özpetek received an award from the Salento University. The award is titled "the Ambassador of Culture and Promotion".

  He received his award Friday at a ceremony at the University from the president of the University. Özpetek received recently an award from the Italian president as well.

Opening the Cartoon Festival
★ The 4th Çukurova International Cartoon Festival started. The municipality of Çukurova in the southern Mediterranean city is the organizer of the event.

  Many cartoonists from Turkey and abroad are participating.


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz

★ England, Czech Republic, France, and Turkey passed the Euro 2020 qualifiers in soccer, reports the Associated Press.


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

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