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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 28 December 2019
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 28 December 2019]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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Sözcü's censorship protest edition in May 2019
★ A Turkish criminal court Friday convicted and handed prison sentences to six journalists and another staffer from opposition newspaper Sözcü following charges they supported a Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gülen's followers whom President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accuses of masterminding a failed 2016 coup against him, reports the VOA.
The journalist, including 77-year-old veteran columnist Emin Çölaşan, to prison terms ranging from two to 3½ years for backing Gülen's secretive religious brotherhood.
Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, Sözcü attorney Celal Ülgen said all the defendants had rejected the charges, which he described as politically motivated.
"The judges are afraid of their future and their children's future," he said. "They want to throw the ball to the next court by condemning them for fear. … The judiciary is not independent in Turkey."
The Committee to Protect Journalists said Turkey was ranked the highest jailer of journalists in the world after China.
The Turkish Journalists Syndicate said at least 108 journalists or other employees in the media sector were currently imprisoned in the country.
★ A Turkish prosecutor requested three years and 10 months in prison for a man accused of punching opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu during the funeral of a soldier killed by Kurdish militants, Cumhuriyet newspaper said.
Prosecutors filed a lawsuit against the man, Osman Sarıgün, and 35 others for the attack, which was characterized in their indictment as a protest, Cumhuriyet said. No jail sentences were requested for the remaining suspects, it said.
Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party, was punched and had rocks thrown at his car in an apparent protest of his attendance at the funeral in the Çubuk district of the capital Ankara in April. Kılıçdaroğlu faced possible lynching when a group of people set upon him, according to video footage and photographs at the time.
Before the attack, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and nationalist politicians had publicly criticized Kılıçdaroğlu for his alleged connections to the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP), which the government has linked to Kurdish militants.
★ Turkey's Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled in favor of Wikipedia, saying the Turkish government's two-year ban on the online encyclopedia constitutes a violation of freedom of expression, the state-run news agency reported.
Turkey blocked Wikipedia in April 2017, accusing it of being part of a "smear campaign" against the country, after the website refused to remove content that allegedly portrayed Turkey as supporting the Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations.
★ Turkish president Erdoğan visited Tunisia on December 25 where he discussed a possible military intervention by Turkey in Libya on the side of the internationally recognized Libyan government, reports the Associated Press.
Mr. Erdoğan met the Tunisian president, afterward, the Tunisian president said that Turkey's sending of troops is a matter that concerns only the Libyan and the Turkish governments.
Earlier, the Libyan government was opposed to Turkey's military assistance, however, after the rebels advanced closer to the Libyan capital, they change their minds.
Mr. Erdoğan says that Turkey will send troops only when the Libyan government invites them to do so.
In related news, Bloomberg wrote on Friday that Turkey will be sending its Navy and also some of the Syrian rebels to Libya. The Syrian rebel militia fought alongside the Turkish military in northern Syria. Bloomberg said that they learn this from an unidentified official in Libya.
★ Turkish journalist Can Dündar, who is in self-exile in Germany, wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post on December 23.
He says that Turkey's new Islamist delete has acquired a taste for conspicuous consumption.
And they like to show off their wealth, which in Islamic tradition is not right.
Dündar also adds the following:
"In President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Turkey, it turns out, there is nothing unusual in the combination of ostentatious piety and extravagant consumption.
When he first came to power, Erdoğan had refused to move from his modest pad in the outskirts of Ankara to the prime minister's residence. Now he is marking his 18th year in power by boasting about life in one of the biggest single-family homes in the world. When critics noted scornfully that he'd built himself a thousand-room palace, he responded by saying, 'Wrong -- it has 1,150.'
"His wife, Emine Erdoğan, who was once reluctant to shake hands with men, is now rich enough to wear a
Hermes bag priced at $50,000.
"The majority of the Islamist nouveau riche got where they are today through state-financed foundations and government contracts awarded to cronies of the Erdoğan family. Şafak Çak, the go-to interior architect of Muslim high society, says that Istanbul's new Islamist elite love gilt thrones, Swarovski-encrusted parquet flooring, gigantic screens tuned to the Kaaba, Louis Vuitton toilet paper and air conditioners that diffuse rose water."
Read more >> here <<
★ Another article on the new Islamist middle-class came in an article in the Wall Street Journal on Friday.
Turkey's new middle class, which mainly enriched under the rule of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, now has come to undermine his Islamist vision demanding reforms that will align them to the global middle class, said analyst Medeni Sungur.
According to a study conducted with 515 people in 12 Turkish provinces, Turks now largely demand greener cities, scientific education, good governance, rule of law, and most importantly, a country where everybody can speak without fear.
As a result, Erdoğan now faces a dilemma, said Sungur. "The process his early economic policies set in motion has created a society that is no longer compatible with his authoritarian style of rule."
Read more >> here <<
★ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan unveiled the prototypes of a series of locally made cars to be assembled with an investment of $3.7 billion.
The motor vehicles, all of them electric, will include two SUVs, two sedan models, and a minivan. The Automobile Joint Venture Group will start production in 2022 at facilities in western Turkey designed to build 175,000 units a year.
Speaking at a ceremony to reveal the models on Friday, Erdoğan said Turkey aimed to become a global leader in car production and a major exporter. The vehicles will be locally made and production will not depend on licenses from abroad, he said in a speech.
Others pointed out that the prototypes were designed in Italy's Pininfarina this year now owned by India's Mahindra Group.
Pininfarina is employed by a wide variety of automobile manufacturers to design vehicles. These firms have included long-established customers such as Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Peugeot, Fiat, GM, Lancia, and Maserati, to emerging companies in the Asian market with Chinese manufactures like AviChina, Chery, Changfeng, Brilliance, and JAC and VinFast in Vietnam and Korean manufacturers Daewoo and Hyundai.
Some others claimed that the prototypes were copies of Chinese-made cars that were seen a few years back in an international auto show.
★ Turkeys Erdoğan administration started major discussions on a proposed $30 -billion canal project to connect the Black Sea to the Marmara Sea. Mr. Erdoğan says that it will greatly reduce dependence on the overcrowded Bosporus Straits and generate additional income.
Opponents say that it will be a major ecological disaster and will be a money-losing venture. Passing through the Bosporus Straits is free and also shipping traffic is getting less because of oil pipelines eliminating the need to take the Russian oil to the world markets with tankers, thus there would be reduced demand for the new canal.
One of the opponents of the canal is the new mayor of the Istanbul Metropolitan area Ekrem İmamoğlu. Mr. İmamoğlu canceled the protocol between the government and the municipality for the building of the canal after the government approved an environmental assessment report on the impact of the canal.
The owner of the Turkish company that completed an Environmental Impact Assessment Report for the canal was convicted of bid-rigging and bribery in 2013, only to be acquitted three years later, Turkish news website Bianet said.
Also in the news, a Liberia- flagged vessel hit the shore in the Bosporus straight on Friday, fueling the debate on the canal. Pro-government press and the government itself said that accidents like this can be eliminated from the heavily populated Istanbul area by divers in the traffic to the canal.
★ According to the Greek Daily Ekathemerini, Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias was in Istanbul, where he met with Patriarch Bartholomew, the head of the Greek Church.
Earlier, Dendias attended Mass at the Patriarchate.
Dendias and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, had a phone conversation Tuesday.
★ Jakov Fabinger wrote on the simple flying website that Turkish Airlines has now been operating out of Istanbul New Airport for over six months.
During this time, its operating costs increased significantly. Meanwhile, its competitor Pegasus, which uses the other Istanbul airport, Sabiha Gökçen, is seeing rapid share price growth and improved finances.
In the first nine months of this year, Turkish Airlines' net income fell 37% despite a 15% increase in tourists arriving in Turkey this year.
Costs of ground services rose 12%, attributable to the new airport being far larger in surface area. The surface area is also proving to be problematic for some passengers, especially those with decreased mobility. It is also bloating the minimum connecting time to a whole hour, in comparison to 25 minutes at Vienna International Airport. This limits the number of quick connections that Turkish Airlines can offer.
The significantly higher taxiing times at Istanbul New Airport, also as a result of its large surface area, have contributed to this 20% increase in fuel consumption.
Read more >> here <<
★ A federal judge in New York refused on Thursday an appeal by Turkey's state-run Halkbank to stay all proceedings against the bank in a money laundering and Iranian sanctions evasion case until a higher court decides its petition for a special appearance, Courthouse News reported.
The U.S. federal judge called Halkbank a fugitive after it failed to send representatives to a hearing on Oct. 22.
Hakan Atilla, a Halkbank VP, was sentenced in May 2018 and served 32 months in jail in New York for helping evade U.S. sanctions against Iran. Hakan Atilla was released in July 2019 and returned to Turkey. In October he was made the new CEO and new board member of the Istanbul Stock Exchange.
U.S. bases in Turkey
★ According to the online publication "The Drive", U.S. Air Force will be spending $95 million to upgrade bases in Turkey amid Turkish threats to kick them out.
Turkey says it could shut down American military facilities if the United States sanctions it over buying Russian arms and its intervention Syria.
One of the bases is at İncirlik in southern Turkey and it stores 50 nuclear bombs. There are six more facilities throughout Turkey that the U.S. operates.
Read more >> here <<
★ According to the publication "The Hill", the U.S. lawmakers are investing in new efforts to bolster ties with Israel, Greece, and Cyprus to counter Russia and Turkey's aggressive moves in the East Mediterranean.
Read more >> here <<
★ One of the leading jazz pianists in Turkey Kerem Görsev, with Kaan Yildiz on bass, Ferit Odman on drums and Grammy-winning legendary musician Ernie Watts on tenor saxophone, released his album "Perfect Balance". The album is Kerem Gorsev's 19th studio album and the 5th album in collaboration with Ernie Watts.
The album, in which all the compositions were written by Kerem Gorsev, was released last November in record and CD format. The album was recorded in Istanbul Babajim Studios in just 4 hours.
Görsev and his band will be at the Zorlu PSM's "touché stage" on January 2, 3 and 4.
★ Dilek Sert Erdoğan, one of the most powerful jazz vocalists of recent years, will be on the Zorlu PSM "touché stage" on January 8th.
She will have a high energy performance from jazz to funk. Publishing her first original English "soul" album in Turkey, the artist is a first in the field of jazz because she performs jazz concerts for female prisoners in closed women's prisons.
★ The online publication Time Out is inviting Istanbulites to a celebration of Bariş
Manço on January 3.
The celebration will be at Babylon Barış Manço's birthday. Baris Manço who passed away in 1999 was a modern poet of Turkey's history. In addition to the public, his wife will be attending. This Is the first time that Barash Manço's birthday was celebrated.
Murat Meriç and the Lalalar band will also be guests.
★ Ludovico Einaudi, who brings classical music together with the instruments of contemporary genres such as rock and electronic music, is coming to Istanbul as part of his new tour. Einaudi 's performances have already been sold out all over the world.
The classical music phenomenon with two billion streams worldwide will meet with the Turkish audience on Jan. 31 in his widely talked project "Seven Days Walking," which is composed of seven different episodes inspired by his walks under the snow that falls every day on the Alps.
Einaudi, who walked the same route every day under the snow and reflected the new details he discovers every time, will take his listeners to a tour of a seven-part music maze.
The composer, one of the greatest living representatives of classical and experimental music, became the best-selling pianist in Europe after releasing his first collection of solo performances in 1996.
Einaudi also composed soundtracks of several popular films such as "This is England," "The Intouchables" and "Mommy," and collaborated with the Liverpool Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for his seventh studio album "Divenire."
The musician, who gave a concert in Antarctica in 2016 to raise awareness for Greenpeace, will meet his Turkish fans at Zorlu PSM on Jan. 31.
★ Istanbul is preparing to bid farewell to 2019 with a thrilling night of metal music.
In the "Rock the New Year" event, which will be held as part of the "Rock Off Event Series," the names that metal fans look forward to seeing will be on stage on Dec. 27 at IF Performance Hall in Beşiktaş district.
The most expected name of the night, Greek guitar virtuoso Gus G., well-known in rock and metal circles for his work as Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist and as leader of his band Firewind will be on the stage.
Gus G. will be accompanied by key figures such as Dennis Ward from Pink Cream 69, Unisonic and Felix Bohnke, known for Avantasia and Edguy. He and his band gave the audience a night to be remembered for a long time at a concert in the Norwegian capital Oslo on Nov. 27.
The biggest surprise of the night seems to be Saints 'N' Sinners, a Turkish power metal band which has become famous throughout the Balkans, particularly in Greece, Bulgaria and also Russia.
The band is expected to reunite with fans in Istanbul with hits like "Renegade Lawmakers" and "Seven Years in Hell" and provide an unforgettable experience with its enthusiastic stage performance.
Also, Razor Inc., which recently released its first album "The Road," and Killing, consisting of members of Hayko Cepkin and Murder King, will be other stars of the night.
The songs that will be played at the beginning and end of the night will reflect the refined taste of Headbang magazine writer DJ Bahar Heper.
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 5.95
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey : 41/30 Light Snow
Antalya, on the Mediterranean : 57/48 Showers
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey : 34/25 Snow
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 46/37 Sleet
Izmir, on the Aegean : 52/41 Light Showers
Trabzon, on the Black Sea : 55/48 Light Rain
Erciyes in Kayseri, Central Turkey : 35 inches
Ilgaz in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey: 26 inches
Kartalkaya in Bolu, Western Turkey : 20 inches
Palandöken in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey : 12 inches
Saklıkent in Antalya, Southern Turkey : 4 inches
Sarıkamış in Kars, Eastern Turkey : 10 inches
Uludağ in Bursa, Western Turkey : 17 inches
Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz
* Results for week: 17
Beşiktaş - G. Birliği 4 - 1
Başakşehir - Kasımpaşa 5 - 1
Trabzon Sp - Kayseri Sp 6 - 2
G. Saray - Antalya Sp 5 - 0
Ankaragücü - Denizli Sp 2 - 2
Rize Sp - Fenerbahçe 1 - 2
Sivas Sp - Göztepe 1 - 0
Alanya Sp - Konya Sp 2 - 1
G. Antep Sp - Malatya Sp 1 - 1
* Standing in the league as of week ending 17
1 - Sivas Sp 37
2 - Başakşehir 33
3 - Trabzon Sp 32
4 - Fenerbahçe 31
5 - Beşiktaş 30
6 - Alanya Sp 29
7 - G. Saray 27
8 - Malatya Sp 24
9 - G. Antep Sp 24
10 - Göztepe 23
11 - Denizli Sp 22
12 - Rize Sp 20
13 - G. Birliği 18
14 - Kasımpaşa 15
15 - Konya Sp 15
16 - Antalya Sp 14
17 - Ankaragücü 12
18 - Kayseri Sp 10
[Saat 14:30 and 15:30 'da iki kez okuyun]
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