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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 04 January 2020

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 04 January 2020]

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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★ Turkey's parliament has passed a bill that will allow the government to deploy troops to Libya to intervene in the civil war.

  Turkish lawmakers approved the bill on Thursday, with 325 in favor to 184 against.

  Turkey is allied with Libya's UN-backed government, which is based in the capital, Tripoli.

  The Libyan government has been fighting an insurgency by forces under Gen. Khalifa Haftar, based in eastern Libya.

  In a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Donald Trump warned against "foreign interference" in Libya, the White House said.

  On Friday, Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades warned the deployment of troops to Libya marked "a dangerous threat to regional stability".

  In a joint statement, the three leaders also said the bill, which allows for the deployment of non-combat troops to act as advisers and trainers for government forces against Gen. Haftar, constituted a gross violation of a UN arms embargo on Libya.

  Egypt, which backs Gen Haftar, has also condemned Turkey's vote and warned it would "negatively affect the stability of the Mediterranean region".

  But experts fear the legislation could deepen Turkey's involvement in the conflict and increase tensions with Gen Haftar's backers, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Russia.

  In related news, Libya's parliament has voted against a deal that would see Turkey deploy troops in the North African country. The UN-recognized assembly accused Libya's official head of government, Fayez Serraj, of "treason."

  Read more >> here <<


  Mr. Ghosn in Japan being escorted out of detention in August 2019

★ Turkey detained seven people Thursday as part of an investigation into how ex-Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn passed through Turkey.

  Turkish DHA news agency reported that those detained were four pilots, a cargo company manager and two airport workers.

  The airline rental company involved declared that its jets were used illegally with forged records.

  Mr. Ghosn escaped from Japan where he was being held in house arrest and awaiting trial on corruption charges. He apparently used the rented Turkish jet out of Japan and flew to Istanbul first, then flew to his native Lebanon on a different jet.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Just before the new year's eve, Turkish police have launched a nationwide sweep against the jihadi group, netting more than 120 suspects.

  Memories are still raw of the 2017 New Year attack at an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people.

★ Turkish stocks fell and state-run banks reportedly intervened to prop up the lira after the United States killed top Iranian commander Major General Qassem Soleimani in an airstrike.

  The main BIST-100 index of shares dropped by 1.9 percent to 113.684,01 points at the close of trading in Istanbul. Banking stocks led the declines.

  The lira lost 0.3 percent to 5.97 per dollar, extending the lowest levels since May. State-run banks sold between $1 billion and $1.5 billion for liras to stem the currency's decline, Bloomberg reported citing three people with knowledge of the matter.

  Turkey is gravely concerned that Soleimani's death will escalate tensions between the United States and Iran, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a written statement. The killing could turn Iraq, another Turkish neighbor, into a battleground threatening regional peace and stability, it said.

  In the Turkish press, writers expressed the following opinions about the killing of Soleimani :

  The Hürriyet newspaper published a story about Soleimani's death with the headline, "The world is waiting for the response with dismay. War bells are ringing."

  Kemal Can, a columnist for the online newspaper Gazete Duvar, connected the Baghdad attack to U.S. domestic politics.

  Can argued, "The intertwining of domestic and international politics, as we have been experiencing in Turkey in recent years, is related to the spirit of our time spreading around the world."

  Kadri Gürsel, a writer for the online newspaper Diken, referred to Soleimani as "the queen in Iranian geopolitical chess." Gürsel added that "Trump took out Iran's queen."

★ According to Laura Pitel and Nimet Kiraç of the Financial Times, Turkish youth are pushing back against conservative mores of their parents.

  The Turkish president has often said that he wants to raise a new "pious generation" of young people — a move that is part of a wider effort to shift the nation away from the legacy of his nation's arch-secularist founding father, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

  The article adds: "At the forefront of his effort to reshape society has an education. Mr. Erdoğan has increased funding for Turkey's religious affairs directorate, which lays on Koran courses for students across the country. Since 2011, he has tripled the number of religious high schools, which place a strong emphasis on religious studies. And in mainstream schools, steps have been taken to curb the teaching of evolution and boost the number of hours devoted to religion.

  'Yet, despite this drive, there is evidence that the project is having limited success so far. A survey of 5,800 people published last year by the polling agency Konda showed that Turkish youth were less likely than the wider population to describe themselves as "religious conservative". They were also less likely to say that they fasted or prayed regularly, or that they covered their hair. "

  Since half of the population of Turkey under 32, small shifts among the countries youth could have worrying political ramifications for Mr. Erdoğan.

  Read more >> here <<

  See an interactive presentation by Konda Research and Consultancy

★ Turkey posted its largest trade deficit of 2019 in December as imports jumped by an annual 20 percent, the highest increase of the year.

  Imports grew to $20.1 billion, growing for a fifth consecutive month and outpacing exports four-fold, according to preliminary figures published by the Trade Ministry on Friday. Exports rose by 4.9 percent to $15.4 billion. The trade deficit widened by 127 percent to $4.72 billion.

  Turkey relies on imports for many consumer goods and raw materials. The economy is recovering from a deep downturn sparked by a currency crisis in August 2018 that slashed demand for imported goods like cars and televisions.

  Import growth in December compared with an increase of 9.7 percent in November when the trade deficit more than tripled to $2.23 billion. After December, the second-largest trade deficit in 2019 was in July, when it stood at $3.2 billion.

  In the whole of last year, imports dropped by 9 percent to $210.4 billion, while exports increased by 2 percent to $180.5 billion, the ministry said. That helped narrow the trade deficit by 45 percent to $29.9 billion, a trend that now appears to be reversing.

★ In July 2019 Turkey was suspended from the F-35 stealth fighter program after purchasing Russian missile systems.

  The United States principally funds F-35 development, with additional funding from other NATO members and close U.S. allies.

  Along with not being able to purchase the 100 F-35's that Turkey wanted, Turkish suppliers are worried that they may be removed from the program.

  Now the Turkish defense companies are considering moving productions to Bulgaria to sidestep U.S. sanctions, the Turkish daily Dünya.


  Yeniköy powerplant in the Muğla province, a source of major sulfur dioxide pollution
★ In an article that appeared in the online publication Al-Monitor, Turkish economist Mustafa Sönmez wrote that more than a third of Turkey's installed power capacity remains idle after an ill-calculated rush for energy. This as a hefty financial and environmental cost, he says.

  One of the reasons why there is excess capacity is the falling energy demand due to the ailing economy.

  The rush to get more power plants and hydropower projects wreaked havoc on river basins, and coal plants operating without filters have come to threaten human health.

  Turkey meets a quarter of its energy needs with imported fuel. To reduce its reliance on imports, Turkey aims at energy conservation in all realms, especially in the industry, the transport sector, and households. Therefore, it wants to boost its power production while gradually reducing the use of imported resources and increasing that of domestic ones, including water, coal and renewable sources such as wind and sunlight, which currently account for about 15% of power production.

  Read more >> here <<


★ Emir Ersoy's project, which combines the energy of piano and percussion, meets the audience on the Zorlu PSM's Touche Stage on January 15th.

  Combining Cuba's spirit with hot percussion rhythms, Cuba's renowned drummers William Cardoso, Gustavo Adrian Gustavo, and Aleixi Contreras will be accompanied by the bass guru of Turkey, Caner Üstündağ.

  In addition to Emir Ersoy's compositions, the group will adapt the classics of pianists such as Chick Corea, Michel Camilo, Cucho Valdez and bring modernized classical jazz melodies to the audience.

  Cuban percussionists William Cardoso, Aleixi Contreras, and Adrian Gustavo combine their culture with this project to add excitement to the night.


★ Also in the same venue on January 10, Aşkın Arsunan & Blue Print will be on January 10-11th with their mesmerizing jazz standards and Latin jazz arrangements.

  Pianist Aşkın Arsunan, who worked with well-known artists and orchestras in Europe and the U.S. for 23 years, grew up in a family of musicians. The artist, who formed the group Blue Print with Turkish musicians who are appreciated throughout the world, performed in concert halls all over Turkey with his solo jazz album "One a Day".


★ Always on the search for different sounds with her unique style nourished by rock, jazz and punk, musician and songwriter Yasemin Mori will be at Istanbul's Babylon on January 18th within the "Women of the Sun" series!


★ Istanbul's Rahmi M Koç Museum has a new exhibition that sheds light on the history of maritime trade.

  Titled "Travelers of Time: steamboats, 1838-1922", the exhibition is prepared by Erdem Cever and which will be changed every two months, includes the paintings of the steam sea conquerors carrying cargo and passengers both during the Ottoman and Republican years.


★ Gallery Selvin and Harmonyhip will exhibit in collaboration paintings by Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu and Eren Eyüboğlu. 40 of the 100 paintings will be displayed for the first time, many different works of Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu and Eren Eyüboğlu will be exhibited starting from the first years of their work.

  Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu and Eren Eyüboğlu worked for the rise of Turkish painting as two idealist painters.

  The exhibition can be visited until February 15.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 5.97


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 41/30 Mostly Sunny
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 63/46 Showers
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 30/18 Snow
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 48/39 Showers
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 55/41 Showers
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 52/45 Rainy
Snow depths at skiing locations::
Erciyes in Kayseri, Central Turkey      : 37 inches
Ilgaz in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey: 21 inches
Kartalkaya in Bolu, Western Turkey      : 42 inches
Palandöken in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey   : 13 inches
Saklıkent in Antalya, Southern Turkey   : 21 inches
Sarıkamış in Kars, Eastern Turkey       : 19 inches
Uludağ in Bursa, Western Turkey         : 31 inches


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