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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 21 December 2019

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 21 December 2019]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ Hundreds of people staged a march Friday in Istanbul to protest human rights violations in East Turkistan.

  The Silent Scream march, organized by Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), urged Muslims to raise their voices against China's systematic campaign against Uyghur Muslims.

  China is accused of carrying out repressive policies against the Turkic Muslim group and restraining its religious, commercial and cultural rights.

  Gathering in front of the Fatih Mosque in the district carrying the same name, demonstrators marched to the Beyazıt district carrying Turkish and East Turkistan flags in Uyghur sky blue.

  IHH head Bülent Yıldırım thanked the crowd for not leaving East Turkish alone. "How could East Turkistan be freed? How could the persecution of people there be averted? We all will work together. Our way is not short but is not long as well," Yıldırım said.

  The main cause behind the Chinese persecution is economic concerns as East Turkistan is situated along the ancient Silk Road and 70% of China's underground resources are in East Turkistan, he said.

  "Uyghurs, worried about their lives under the long-standing Chinese occupation, are trying to survive without their most basic needs," according to a written statement said by the IHH.

  More than 1 million people, or about 7% of the Muslim population in the Xinjiang region, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of "political re-education" camps, according to U.S. officials and UN experts.

  Human Rights Watch accused Beijing of carrying out a "systematic campaign of human rights violations" against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, in a report last September.

★ In related news, the British soccer team Arsenal star Mesut Özil has been deleted from Chinese computer games in an apparent response to his social media posts criticizing the persecution of Uyghur Muslims in China that we reported to you last week.

  The publisher of the PES franchise in China, NetEase, said the Turkish German had "posted an extreme statement about China on social media" which "hurt the feelings of Chinese fans and violated the sport's spirit of love and peace".

  It confirmed Özil, who is a German Muslim of Turkish origin, had been removed from three games: Pro Evolution Soccer, Pro Evolution: Kings Assembly, and Pro Evolution Club.

  "We do not understand, accept or forgive this," NetEase added in a statement on the Chinese social media site Weibo on Wednesday.

  The situation is causing further repercussions in the world of sport, with German side FC Cologne announcing it is withdrawing from a deal to run a football academy in China.

  The head of the club's members' council, Stefan Müller-Römer, welcomed the decision, telling the local newspaper the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger that Cologne should not cooperate with a country he said was building a "total surveillance state."

  Özil posted messages on social media last week calling minority Uyghurs "warriors who resist persecution" and criticized both China's crackdown and the silence of Muslims in response.

  China has repeatedly denied any mistreatment of Uyghurs. But the United Nations and rights groups estimate up to 2,000,000 mostly ethnic Uyghur Muslims have been detained as part of what Beijing calls an anti-terrorism campaign.

★ The Turkish parliament on Saturday ratified a motion on the approval of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on security and military cooperation with Libya, reported Anatolia News Agency today.

  On Nov. 27, Ankara and Tripoli signed two separate MOUs; one on military cooperation and the other on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.

  The maritime pact asserted Turkey's rights in the Eastern Mediterranean in the face of unilateral drilling by the Greek Cypriot administration, clarifying that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus also has rights to the resources in the area. It went into effect on Dec. 8.

  Following the military cooperation deal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Ankara may consider sending troops to Libya if the UN-recognized Tripoli government made such a request.

  Since the ouster of late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and another in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.

  The Turkish parliament in a vote also ratified a motion on approval of the Social Security Agreement between Turkey and Moldova.

★ At least 80,000 Syrians moved near Turkey's border in the past five days following intense attacks by Bashar al-Assad's regime, Russia and Iran backed-groups in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, the Director of Syria's Response Coordination Group Mohammad Halaj said Friday.

  Halaj said at least 180,000 civilians were displaced since the beginning of November in Idlib due to the attacks.

  He said Russia and the regime attack hospitals, schools, mosques and houses to force civilians out of the city and keep them away from their homes. He keeps data on displaced people in Idlib that is announced as a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

  In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

  Since then, more than 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the de-escalation zone.

  According to the local administration, Idlib is home to 2.4 million, and 1.3 million internally displaced persons. If aggression by the regime and its allies continues, Turkey and Europe face the risk of another refugee influx.

  Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in nearly 4 million fleeing Syrians, making Turkey the world's top refugee-hosting country.

★ A Palestinian group Friday chose the chairman of the Turkey-Palestine Friendship Group in the Turkish Parliament as its Person of the Year, who Supported the Palestine Cause.

  The Lady of the Earth Foundation gave the 2019 award to Hüseyin Tanrıverdi during an award ceremony in the West Bank city of Ramallah, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  Tanrıverdi is the first Turk to receive the award, which has been given since 2008.

  "We've not protected the Palestine cause and al-Aqsa to receive an award," Tanrıverdi told Anatolia News Agency after the ceremony. "We've protected Palestine both in Turkey and the international arena as it is a must for humanity and our belief."

  Palestine is an "honor" and a "heritage," Tanrıverdi said. "Protecting our honor and heritage is both our humanitarian and Islamic duty," he added.

★ A panel on Friday paid tribute to Mehmet Akif Ersoy, the writer of the lyrics of Turkey's national anthem adopted in 1921 by the Turkish parliament, two years before the republic itself.

  The panel, co-organized by the Social Sciences University of Ankara in the Turkish capital and Sebilürreşad magazine, started after the participants, including former ministers, lawmakers, and a mayor, observed a minute of silence for Ersoy, who is also known in Turkey as the "nation's poet."

  Ersoy is remembered by the Turkish nation not only every time they sing the national anthem but also through his rich legacy of poetry and memoirs.

★ Turkey will unveil the prototype of its first indigenous car on Dec. 27, the nation's president said on Friday.

  Erdoğan's remarks came in Malaysia where he attended Kuala Lumpur summit of Muslim world leaders this week.

  The car publicity will be held in Gebze, a district of northwestern Kocaeli province, Erdoğan told reporters.

  Just after Erdoğan's comments, Turkey's Technology Minister Mustafa Varank shared two photographs on Twitter, showing two vehicles blanketed with covers, and bearing the logo of Turkey's Automobile Initiative Group.


ASELSAN and Ukranian officials
★ With a shipment of software-based radios to Ukraine, Turkish defense giant ASELSAN scored its biggest-ticket, single-shipment export to date, officials from the company told Anatolia News Agency on Friday.

  The company completed the deliveries of four of the radios and intercom systems under a contract signed with Ukraine's state-run Spets Techno Export, said the officials.

  Ukraine is among the countries that use ASELSAN solutions to meet their armed forces' communication needs, and the first contract with Ukraine Spets Techno Export was signed in December 2016, followed by eight shipments under eight different contracts.

  ASELSAN, which has been delivering software-based tactical radio to the Ukrainian Armed Forces since 2017, launched a local production facility in the capital Kyiv in October, taking into consideration the country's long-term needs.

  ASELSAN was established in 1975 to develop national and original products in the wake of communication problems in the Turkish Armed Forces' 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation.

  The company exports communications systems to more than 30 countries, prioritizing local needs and conditions to meet the needs of users.

★ Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters in Malaysia on Friday the threat of U.S. sanctions on Turkish companies involved in a pipeline project is a "violation of our rights."

  He vowed that Turkey would retaliate with sanctions of its own on the U.S.

  A defense budget passed by Congress this Tuesday included sanctions on companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 as well as the TurkStream project, arguing the projects would make Europe dependent on Russia for energy.

  On Friday, Turkey condemned the use of "negative language targeting Turkey" in the U.S. budget bill.

  The Nord Stream project -- operational since 2011 with an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters -- brings Russian gas directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea.

  The Nord Stream 2, spearheaded by Russia's state-owned energy company Gazprom, is nearly completed and has the same annual capacity, running almost parallel to the first pipeline route.

  Together they will meet the annual gas demands of a quarter of the European continent.

  The TurkStream natural gas pipeline has a total capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters, out of which the first line will carry a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Turkish consumers. The second line will carry another 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe via Turkey.

★ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at his official residence to witness the signing of 15 goodwill agreements on science, technology, and defense.

  The agreement on science and technology was signed between Turkish Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank and Yeo Bee Yin, Malaysia's energy, science, technology, environment, and climate change minister.

  The defense pacts were signed by Hulusi Akar, Turkey's defense minister, and Mohamad Sabu, his Malaysian counterpart.

★ Anatolia News Agency reported that On Aug. 17, Turkey launched Operation Kıran in the country's southeast against the YPG and Kurdistan Workers Party terrorists in the Van, Hakkari and Şırnak provinces, followed by the launch of Operation Kıran-2 on Aug. 27 in the Mardin, Şırnak, and Batman provinces. Six more iterations of the operation followed, including Operation Kıran-8 which is underway in rural areas of the eastern Bitlis and Siirt provinces.

  With Turkey ramping up its fight against terrorists, security forces launched the domestic anti-terror operation's eighth phase, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.

  Operation Kıran-8, under Interior Ministry coordination, is underway in the rural areas of the eastern Bitlis and Siirt provinces with nearly 3,500 security forces.

  Since the operation's start in August, 139 terrorists have been neutralized and 321 caves, shelters and warehouses destroyed, and large amounts of weapons and ammunition seized.

  In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the Kurdistan Workers Party -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the Kurdistan Workers Party's Syrian offshoot.

Ambassador Christian Berger
★ Head of the European Union delegation to Turkey commemorated on Tuesday the 746th anniversary of the Islamic scholar, Sufi mystic Rumi's death in central Konya province.

  "For us in Europe, he [Rumi] is a very important humanist and very important philosopher who had a great influence on teaching [not only] here in Anatolia but worldwide," Ambassador Christian Berger told Anatolia News Agency during his visit to Konya.

  Rumi's teaching is "well known all over the world," Berger said, adding: "We are following one of his invitations. Because several hundred years ago he [Rumi] said 'come whoever you are. Here we are."

  Berger and other 18 ambassadors from European Union countries attended the commemoration ceremony. They also visited a neighborhood where Christians and Muslims lived side by side in peace.

  In Turkey, Rumi is fondly remembered by his followers as Mevlana -- which means scholar.

  Upon his death in 1273, Rumi's followers founded the Mevlevi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for the Sufi dance known as the Sema ceremony.

  Every year, an international commemoration ceremony marking the anniversary of Rumi's union with God is held in Konya between Dec. 7-17 in his honor.

  Read more at >> here <<

★ Turkey has chosen the names for a far-flung planet and its local star, said a Turkish astronomer on Tuesday.

  In June, Turkey got the naming rights to the star known as WASP-52 as well as its exoplanet, WASP-52-B, under a campaign by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

  Turkey named the star Anadolu for Anatolia, the Turkish heartland and the exoplanet Göktürk for the name of a groundbreaking medieval Turkish empire, according to Ibrahim Küçük, head of the Turkish Astronomical Society.

  Küçük said that member countries were given the naming rights to stars easily observable from their capital cities -- in this case, Ankara -- even through small telescopes.

  The star Anadolu, some 457 light-years from Turkey, will be observable from spring to fall.

  For its 100th anniversary commemorations, the International Astronomical Union organized the NameExoWorlds global campaign to allow "any country in the world to give a popular name to a selected exoplanet and its host star," according to the group's website.

  The Turkish Astronomical Society serves as the local representative of the international group.


★ "Fiddler on the Roof" has arrived in Turkey. On Thursday, December 19 in Istanbul and today (Saturday) it was on the stage at Zorlu PSM.

  Fiddler on the Roof, based on the Tevye and his Daughters tales written in the Yiddish language, is one of the longest-running shows on Broadway.

  Having won 9 Tony Awards with its Broadway production, the musical was staged in Ankara in 1969 for the first time in Turkey by the Ankara State Opera and Ballet.

★ "Alice the Musical" has hit the stage in Istanbul at Zorlu PSM.

  Based on Lewis Carroll's ravishing classic "Alice in Wonderland", the enchanting tale has now become a contemporary musical, directed by Serdar Biliş and choreography by Beyhan Murphy.

  "Alice the Musical" is the story of a coming-of-age of a young girl who is isolated by the daily virtual world.

  The musical will be on stage through April 26, 2020.

★ Nekropsi, the progressive rock dream team from the Istanbul music scene, was on stage Friday at Salon IKSV and today.

  The band, consisting of Cem Ömeroğlu (guitar/vocals), Cevdet Erek (drums/vocals), Gökhan Goralı (guitar/vocals), and Kerem Tüzün (bass guitar/vocals), has been the prominent face of progressive and experimental rock in Turkey.

  Ada Müzik released their debut album "Mi Kubbesi" in 1996. At their concerts blessed by the spirits of mechanization and improvisation, they have delivered performances that have astounded the audience with the command of their instruments.


★ The movie "Portrait of Beauty", released on December 13, is now available with English subtitles in selected locations in Istanbul.

  The movie stars Burçin Terzioğlu, Birkan Sokullu, Serkan Keskin and Melisa Şenolsu, Feridun Düzağaç, Şencan Güleryüz and young actress Lara Tonka.

  The original story, which belongs to Korea, had been applied in Korea and Thailand concurrently with Turkey and the movie met with audiences first in Turkey in the world. Portrait of Beauty is a film that will be understood by the audience from all languages ​​with its universal story.

  The story of the movie: April (Burçin Terzioğlu), who receives important news about her father, whom she has not met for years, gets back home with her daughter Alin (Lara Tonka) and her husband Özgür (Birkan Sokullu). In this house full of secrets, April will be confronted with her past. She will be cornered by interrogations by police officer Oktay (Serkan Keskin), who is trying to lift the veil of secrecy about her father.

  April, whose father's masterpiece is the revival of the mystery of the woman in the picture and past nightmares, has to enlighten this mystery as soon as possible to protect herself and her family.

  The movie will be in the theaters through December 31.

★ The Turkish band Jakuzi was on stage at Istanbul's Babylon today.

  The group had released their new album "Error Share" last April. Their music is made up of compositions from synth-pop, new-wave, darkwave and post-punk.

  The band consists of Kutay Soyocak and Taner Yücel, who formed the project to move away from their previous punk-oriented music projects in 2015.

  Listen to their music Read more at >> here <<

★ Bill Viola has been investigating the mysteries of the human condition for more than forty years, employing technology as a medium that during those decades evolved at a rapid pace. Impermanence is Viola's first major survey exhibition in Istanbul.

  The exhibition will be on through September 13, 2020, at Borusan Contemporary.


★ "Andy Warhol", an exhibition that brings together famous pop art works, is on Istanbul's Uniq Expo through December 31.

  In addition to Andy Warhol, you will be seeing other leading names of the pop art works.

★ The Pera Museum of Istanbul is continuing with its screening of award-winning movies.

  December 26: "To be Continued... Now!". Director: Andrew DeYoung Cast: Kate Berlant, John Early, Jane Adams, Marquise C. Brown USA, 2017, 5 episodes, 60', HDD, color.

  From the minds of Kate Berlant, John Early and Andrew DeYoung, 555 is an anthology miniseries of five short films that unfold in a stark, humid, surreality of Hollywood.

 December 28: "The Bisexual". Director: Desiree Akhavan Cast: Desiree Akhavan, Maxine Peake, Brian Gleeson, Saskia Chana, Michelle Guillot, Naomi Ackie UK, 2018, 6 episodes, 180', HDD, color

  Fresh from winning the Grand Jury prize at Sundance Film Festival last year, Desiree Akhavan (The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Appropriate Behavior) directs and stars in The Bisexual, a new comedy-drama which offers a raw, funny and unapologetic take on the "last taboo" bisexuality and the prejudices, shame and comic misconceptions that surround it.

★ The Pera Museum will also have a special concert celebrating the 135th birthday of the renown Turkish poet Yahya Kemal Beyatlı on December 29.

  The concert is organized by Prof. Dr. Alaeddin Yavaşca, a renown musician and singer of traditional classical Turkish music, but also a medical doctor.

  The soloists at this concert will be Burcu Göktürk and Çağlar Fidan.


  "Black Day" by Lifij (1924) A scene from the War of Independence

★ Istanbul's Sakıp Sabancı Museum has an exhibition titled "Avni Lifij. The Modern of His Time".

  Avni Lifij lived between 1886-1927.

  The exhibition focuses on Avni Lifij as a man of culture, providing a detailed view of his life and art with a selection of approximately 1000 pieces including oil paintings, studies, drawings, sketches, pochades, photographs, archival materials, and personal belongings.

  The pieces are from the collections of Sakıp Sabancı Museum, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum, Ankara Painting and Sculpture Museum, National Library and private collections.

  The exhibition will be on through January 12, 2020


  "Sunny", 2019, by Serra Tansel

★ Istanbul's Pilot Gallery will be hosting "HIGHER", Serra Tansel's first solo exhibition in Istanbul between December 27, 2019, and February 1, 2020. HIGHER is pronounced the same as the Turkish word for NO: HAYIR.

  HIGHER is a manifestation of Istanbul's neoliberal poetry. Occupied with the ways we settle into the world and the borders of our homes in her art practice, Tansel focuses on the gated communities of Istanbul with HIGHER. These settlements have been shaping Istanbul's silhouette and gaining ground in the global real estate market since the 1980s.

  The compounds that are guarded by private security guards, CCTV cameras, walls, and fences, bring to mind prisons or military bases and create more segregation in the society.


★ Another prominent gallery in Istanbul is "Mixer". Mixer is hosting the group exhibition ''Blended'', which includes collage artworks of Balkan Karışman, CANAN, Deniz Ezgi Sürek, Eda Emirdağ, Gökçe İrten, Gözde Ulusoy, Haydar Akdağ, Isabelle Heske, özge Enginöz, Sibel Kocakaya, and Tutku Bulutbeyaz at the main exhibition area through January 10, 2020.

  The artists produced their works with plenty of different materials such as paper, ceramic, video and fabric.

★ Also in December, Mixer has hosted the artists of the DECOL community who create works in concurrence of digital art, nature, and science, in the project room.

  With two separate openings, first, Ahmet Said Kaplan's interactive digital experience "Lumin, Living Installment", was followed by Hakan Gündüz's "Artifact" exhibition.

  Both projects were experienced with the participation of the audience question "can artificial intelligence create an aesthetic expression by understanding emotions?"

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 5.94


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 54/32 Mostly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 61/52 Showers
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 39/19 Foggy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 66/57 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 64/55 Showers
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 63/46 Mostly Sunny
Seawater temperatures:
Erciyes in Kayseri, Central Turkey      : 4 inches
Ilgaz in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey: 4 inches
Kartalkaya in Bolu, Western Turkey      : 11 inches
Palandöken in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey   : 19 inches
Saklıkent in Antalya, Southern Turkey   : No snow report
Sarıkamış in Kars, Eastern Turkey       : 12 inches
Uludağ in Bursa, Western Turkey         : 7 inches


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz


Premier League

* Results for week: 15
Alanya Sp       -      Antalya Sp      0 - 0
Rize Sp         -      Kasımpaşa       0 - 3
G. Saray        -      Ankaragücü      2 - 2
G. Birliği      -      Göztepe         3 - 1
Beşiktaş        -      Malatya Sp      0 - 2
G. Antep Sp     -      Kayseri Sp      3 - 0
Sivas Sp        -      Fenerbahçe      3 - 1
Trabzon Sp      -      Denizli Sp      1 - 2
Başakşehir      -      Konya Sp        1 - 1
* In games played so far this weekend:
Antalya Sp      -      Ankaragücü      2 - 2
Malatya Sp      -      Rize Sp         0 - 2
Kasımpaşa       -      G. Antep Sp     3 - 4
Göztepe         -      G. Saray        2 - 1
Kayseri Sp      -      Başakşehir      - - -
Fenerbahçe      -      Beşiktaş        - - -
G. Birliği      -      Sivas Sp        - - -
Denizli Sp      -      Alanya Sp       - - -
Konya Sp        -      Trabzon Sp      - - -
* Standing in the league as of week ending 15
 1 - Sivas Sp        33
 2 - Başakşehir      27
 3 - Beşiktaş        27
 4 - Trabzon Sp      26
 5 - Fenerbahçe      25
 6 - G. Saray        24
 7 - Malatya Sp      23
 8 - Alanya Sp       23
 9 - Denizli Sp      21
10 - Göztepe         20
11 - G. Antep Sp     20
12 - G. Birliği      17
13 - Rize Sp         17
14 - Kasımpaşa       15
15 - Konya Sp        15
16 - Antalya Sp      13
17 - Kayseri Sp      10
18 - Ankaragücü      10


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