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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 23 October 2019

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 23 November 2019]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

TURKISH CULTURAL PROGRAM, every Saturday from 2 P.M. to 4 P.M.

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★ A new poll conducted by The Economist and YouGov found that Americans don't have a positive opinion of Turkey--or its president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Kathy Frankovic of YouGov reported.

  The American opinion of Turkey was affected by its takeover of part of Syria from the Syrian Kurds, allies of the United States in the battles against the Islamic State, ISIS.

  Turkey moved into Syria after President Trump ordered American troops to leave the disputed area. It was a withdrawal that the public overall opposed 51% to 30%, while Republicans supported by nearly three to two.

  Still, last month Republicans saw Turkey as an unfriendly nation. They still do but by a much narrower margin. The 22-point difference in October is now a difference of just six points.

  But the improvement in the opinion of Turkey among Republicans doesn't mean they like Erdoğan. Overall, those with an opinion of Erdoğan (45% of the public) are more than five times as likely to have an unfavorable opinion of him as a favorable one. Republican opinion is also negative by more than three to one.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ The Washington Post had an article on November 13 titled "Trump's 'little conflict of interest' in Turkey draws scrutiny as he offers Erdoğan a generous deal".

  When Donald Trump appeared on Steve Bannon's radio show in December 2015, the then-Breitbart host asked his future boss how he'd approach Turkey if elected president.

  "I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul," Trump replied. "It's called Trump Towers -- two towers, instead of one... And I've gotten to know Turkey very well. They're amazing people. They are incredible people. They have a strong leader." Mr. Trump said.

  The article continued on to say that Mr. Trump's softness toward Turkey and his bromance with Mr. Erdoğan is striking and, to some former Trump aides, suspicious.

  Former national security adviser John Bolton suggested during a private speech in Miami last week that the president's approach to U.S. policy on Turkey is motivated by personal or financial interests, six people who were present for the remarks told NBC News.

★ According to the Associated Press, a political fundraiser accused of funneling foreign money into U.S. elections offered six witnesses in his case more than $6 million to keep quiet, federal prosecutors said Friday.

  Prosecutors also revealed new allegations that the donor, Imaad Zuberi, acted as an unregistered agent for the Turkish government and Libyan government officials, among other foreign countries.

  Zuberi is claimed to have given Murat Güzel, a Turkish American businessman, money who then donated to Democratic Party. Mr. Güzel is said to have ties to the administration of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

★ According to the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, a Turkish court this week upheld its conviction of 12 former employees, acquitting a 13th defendant.

  The employees were accused of supporting the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party, Revolutionary People's Liberation Party Front and also the US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen's organization.

  Most analysts say that the charges were made up to silence a vocal group of opponents of the Justice and Development Party regime headed by Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

  The convictions come despite Turkey's highest court ruled in September that the 13 defendants except one should be released.

  Since the 2016 coup attempt, the Justice and Development Party administration has been clamping down on opponents with trumped-up charges. Since then some 150 media outlets have been closed and 120 journalists are in jail, a media watchdog reports.

★ The U.S. Treasury Department announced Monday the new round of sanctions targeting four individuals and five companies operating in Syria, Turkey, Afghanistan, and several other countries for their involvement in supporting IS financially and logistically, reports the VOA.

  Two of the four individuals and four of the five companies targeted in Washington's sanctions are based in Turkey. The individuals are Ismail Bayaltun and Ahmet Bayaltun, two Turkish brothers who operate ACL Ithalat Ihracat, a company also targeted by the U.S. move.

  Experts say the U.S. sanctions raise questions about the Turkish government's handling of IS networks inside Turkey.

  The Turkish authorities reportedly have increased their crackdown on IS networks on Turkish soil, but some experts believe significant parts of the terror group's financial structure continues to operate in the country.

  Read more at >> here <<

  In related news, the U.S. defense intelligence officials are saying that the Turkish offensive in northern Syria is enabling the Islamic State time and space to expand its ability to conduct transnational attacks targeting the West.

★ The arrest of a lawyer working for Germany's embassy in Turkey has prompted a protest from German Foreign Affairs Minister Heiko Maas to his Turkish counterpart, DW reports.

  They're both attending a G20 meeting in Nagoya.

  Lawyer Yilmaz S. was arrested in mid-September, prompting fears that he held sensitive data on Turks exiled in Germany since Turkey's failed 2016 coup. He is being held in Ankara's Sincan Prison.

  The lawyer had been commissioned by German authorities to identify the grounds for Turkey's pursuit of exiles, even to the extent of viewing files of Turkish prosecutors.

  Turkish authorities have accused him of espionage and seized documents on dozens of asylum-seekers when they arrested the man in September.


★ As we have been reporting to you over the past several months, Turkey is in a deep economic crisis. Turkish currency lira has significantly depreciated against the dollar, resulting in companies holding loans in dollars unable to pay them back. Inflation has skyrocketed, and unemployment, according to some analysts, climbed up to 14%, and among the youth to 27%.

  In a sermon for the Friday prayers, Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate urged the believers to accept "predestined" financial problems.

  "Financial and spiritual difficulties are your fate. This world is a testing ground. Do not turn your distress into rebellion" the sermon said.

  The sermon came after a few families and individuals committed suicide with cyanide due to their alleged financial difficulties.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Turkey's SunExpress announced it will be buying 10 of the troubled Boeing 737 Max jets, grounded globally after crashes that killed nearly 350 people after take-off from Indonesia and Ethiopia, Associated Press reported.

  SunExpress, based in the Turkish coastal city of Antalya, said this brings its Max fleet order to 42 overall.



  Robert L. Long and wife Joan Rebecca Siregar-Long at Istanbul's Bosphorus Bridge

★ Harvard University is inviting Turkish journalists for a fellowship. The fellowship is fully funded and supports fellows in two semesters of study at Harvard University.

  This is the third year of the fellowship given in honor of Robert L Long Neiman. The fellowship honors the memory of journalist, filmmaker and news executive Robert L long.

  The fellowship was established by Joan Rebecca Siregar-Long, Long's widow, to honor his legacy by supporting journalists from Turkey he dearly loved.

  The application deadline is December 2.

★ With more than a 1000 costumes, India's most talented dancers and a sparkling show, prepare to cross over to the colorful world of India never seen and experienced at Istanbul's Zorlu PSM between November 26th-December 1st.

  With 2 hours 20 minutes of dancing, "Beyond Bollywood" is not just a musical; it's a theatrical experience never seen before outside a Bollywood movie.

★ Hosting talented musicians from different genres, "Very Very French Festival" will be at Istanbul's Babylon this year between November 28th and December 20th, with the partnership of Institut Français.

  Combining Bossa nova's finesse, new wave's melancholic melodies and bringing the ''new French wave'' to life, Nouvelle Vague is taking the scene for their ''15th Anniversary Tour'' on November 28th and 29th.

  Among the musicians at the event will be Sofiane Saidi and his band Mazalda. Saidi is originally from Algeria and performs a blend of rai, discoi psychedelia, and electronic dance music.

★ An electronica marvel hailing from East London's Hackney Wick, Zola Blood are Matt West (vocals), Ed Smith (synths), Sam Cunnington (drums), and Paul Brown (guitars) will be performing in Istanbul's Salon IKSV on November 29.

  The story of Zola Blood began in 2013, and they attracted attention with the speed of light thanks to only a few demos.

★ Turkish opera artist Mustafa Koray Damcıoğlu has been singing as a tenor for the past 20 years. However, he has another talent in addition to singing. He is a champion arm wrestler.

  Mr. Damcıoğlu came in second in the Arm Wrestling Championships of Turkey and entered the Turkish team to take part in the World Arm Wrestling Championships.

  Aside from having a strong arm, Mr. Damcıoğlu is one of the rare talented Turkish drama tenors. While studying at the Izmir Fine Arts School, he moved to Moscow on his professor K.P. Lisovsky's recommendations and studied at the Gnesin Music Academy there. He graduated in 2000 and has started singing with the Antalya State Opera and Ballet.

★ In excavations north of Van Fortifications in Eastern Turkey, archaeologists found a 2700-year-old skeleton belonging to a woman. The skeleton is missing the skull.

  The archaeological site is on a mound that dates back to the Urartian civilization.

  The 50-strong archaeological team is trying to solve the mystery of the skeleton.

★ A barn in a village in Gürün town in Turkey's east-central province of Sivas revealed historical riches, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  When the owner of the barn noticed mosaics under the barn floor, he notified the authorities.

  In excavations, the archeologists unearthed mosaics dating back to the Roma era.

  The excavated floor measures 18 ft. x 8 ft. It depicts birds and plants.

  It is the first find of this nature in the Sivas province.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 5.71


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 55/30 Mostly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 68/59 Thunderstorms
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 46/23 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 64/52 Mostly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 68/52 Mostly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 63/50 Partly Cloudy


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz

★ A bocce tournament for Older Youth--a euphemism in Turkish four elderly--took place in Turkey's southern Mediterranean province of Antalya. 39 retirement homes and veterans were represented.

  For four days people over 60 years old showed their skills in bocce. At the end of the tournament, Çivril Retirement Home from Turkey's Aegean province of Denizli came in first. Second place went to Kırşehir Retirement Home from central Turkey, and the third-place Fethiye Municipality Retirement Home from the Southwestern Mediterranean region.

★ A 17-year-old Turkish teenager who won the 2019 World Championships in kickboxing is also a transplant survivor.

  Melike Sürücü has received a kidney from her mother in 2016 after she was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure at age 11.

  She started kickboxing only eight months after the surgery.

  Now she says her goal is to become a nurse. Her doctor says that Melike has embraced an active life after her operation and became an example to the rest of the transplant community, whose individuals usually prefer a sedate life saying that they had a major operation.

★ The Chess Federation of Turkey organized the 54th 2019 Chess Championships of Turkey this year in Kemer, Turkey in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.

  11 chess players participating in the championships. The championships will end on December 3.

★ Turkey's Women Curling National Team came in second in the European Championships that took place in Sweden.

  The Turkish curlers received a gold and a silver medal during the competitions.

  The Turkish ladies will now be able to take part in the World Championships Qualifiers for curling.

  The men's team received a fourth place in the competitions.

★ Turkish athlete Melek Özkaya received a gold medal in 2016 World Karate Championships for Individuals with Hearing Impairment. Within the past three years she also received a Turkish championship, third-place in the Olympics and also in the European championships.

  Melike was born to a family with hearing impairment. She herself is 71% hearing-impaired. She says her goal is to win a gold medal in the world championships and then in 2021 participate in the Olympics Games for the hearing impaired.

★ Salim Kayıcı, the head of the Turkish kickbox Federation says that Turkish kickboxers won a record number of medals in 2019 in international competitions. The total of gold, silver and bronze medals that Turkish kickboxers won has reached 926.

  Kayıcı says that in the world kickbox championships that will take place in Turkey's Mediterranean province of Antalya between November 26-30, the goal of the Federation is to get 20 medals. There will be 1000 kickboxers from 70 countries at the world championships. Turkey will be represented with 49 kickboxers.

  Naim Süleymanoğlu on a 1989 Paraguay stamp

★ The First International Naim Süleymanoğlu Weightlifting Tournament took place in Turkey's southeastern city of Gaziantep.

  120 weightlifters from 22 countries participated.

  Turkish women weightlifter Berfin Altun won a silver medal in the 64 kg. category.

  The tournament ended last weekend with Turkish weightlifters receiving five medals.

  The tournament was named after the legendary Turkish weightlifter Naim Süleymanoğlu.

  Known internationally as "The Pocket Hercules", the 4 foot 10 weightlifter broke many records throughout his weightlifting life. He won many medals, among them were 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympics Championships.

  He died at age 50 in 2017.

★ Turkey's National Fencing Team returned home from the European Championships that took place in Romania with medals.

  The national team won a silver and the Turkey-3 team a bronze medal.



★ In games played so far this weekend::  In the rankings:
1.	Sivasspor     21
2.	Fenerbahçe    20
3.	Trabzonspor   19
4.	Alanyaspor    19
5.	Başakşehir    19
6.	Galatasaray   19
7.	Malatya       18
8.	Beşiktaş      18
9.	Gaziantep     15
10.	Ç.Rizespor    14
11.	Göztepe       13
12.	Konyaspor     13
13.	Kasımpaşa     12
14.	Y.Denizlispor 11
15.	Antalyaspor   11
16.	G.Birliği     10
17.	Ankaragücü     9
18.	Kayserispor    7


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

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Azerbaijan Cultural Society of Northern California
16400 Lark Ave., Suite 260
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