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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 05 May 2020

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 05 May 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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★ Writing on the PA Turkey website, economist Dr. Atilla Yeşilada said that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is playing politics with Corvid outbreak.

  He wrote:

  "Turkey's health system achieved considerable success in battling the corona epidemic, but the war is far from over. Only on Friday, new cases approached 2K once again, as two members of the National Science Commission advising the government on combat efforts asserted that opening shopping malls and other ill-thought normalization measures could trigger a second wave. However, President Erdoğan is stuck between preserving public health and the economy."

  "Erdoğan is forced to begin normalization earlier than prudence dictates and staged a vicious crack-down on dissidents and the opposition to distract national attention from the spreading economic stress," Dr. Yeşilada adds.

  Dr. Yeşilada quotes a renowned Turkish expert Mr. Kemal Kirişci in his article. Mr. Kirişci in his later assessment says that the coronavirus has led to more authoritarianism for Turkey.

  Mr. Kirişci writes that Turkey's response has been marked by a tension between an approach based on science, represented by the minister of health, Fahrettin Koca, and a piecemeal counterpart shaped by Erdoğan's political priorities: perpetuating his one-man rule by saving the economy and keeping his conservative religious base happy.

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

★ In related news, one time Erdoğan ally Ali Babacan, and now the chairman of the recently established opposition party Democracy and Progress criticized the Erdoğan administration's economic policies.

  Mr. Babacan says that the government's failure to manage the economy precedes the pandemic.

  He also says that the government should not have intervened in Turkey's central bank's monetary policies. Economists credited Mr. Babacan with the Justice and Development Party's economic success in its earlier rule of the country. He says now Turkey's central bank had lost its reserves and its credibility.

  Mr. Babacan says that the ruling Justice and Development Party and Mr. Erdoğan always create an enemy and tries to rule by manufactured fear.

★ According to various news articles in the Turkish press, Turkey will start easing measures against the pandemic starting on May 11.

  Open-air markets and shopping centers will reopen, but the shoppers will have to wear masks and have their temperatures taken while entering these places.

  On May 28, Turkish Airlines will start domestic and overseas flights.

  In related news, Dr. Hasan Tezer, a member of the Turkish Ministry of Health's pandemic advisory science committee, has warned that a third wave of high Corvid 19 infections is possible in Turkey, especially if people begin to disregard social distancing measures.

  Dr. Tezer says that the figures may look good, but the pandemic is not over yet.

★ Writing for Stratfor, Middle East and North Africa Analyst Ryan Bohl states that the Justice and Development Party's pandemic strategy could be its downfall.

  "Because of the pandemic, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling party will no longer be able to rely on its narrative of economic growth to stay in power. To shore up support, Erdoğan administration will instead pursue policies designed to draw out or limit the economic pain for its supporters, while also pushing a nationalist agenda wherever possible, even if such efforts potentially create greater problems down the road," Ryan Bohl adds.

  "However, the Justice and Development Party faces a future of deepening uncertainty. The challenges from opposition parties will likely grow as the Justice and Development Party's economic legitimacy fractures and its nationalist pivot is limited. The potential for an early election remains," he concludes.


★ According to the Associated Press, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday backed Turkey's top cleric for his remarks on homosexuality.

  According to Al-Monitor, Cleric Ali Erbaş said on a Friday sermon that Islam condemns adultery and homosexuality because they "bring disease and corrupt generations." Hundreds of thousands of people every year are exposed to HIV due to homosexuality and adultery, he stated.

  "Come and let's fight together to protect people from such evil," he said.

  Read more >> here <<

  Turkey's Human Rights Association has filed a criminal complaint against the cleric. The bar associations also protested.

  The LGBTI rights group ILGA Europe ranked Turkey second from last -- just ahead of Azerbaijan -- in its review of 49 European and Central Asian countries in its 2020 report.

★ According to Bloomberg, Turkey's intervention on the side of the internationally recognized Libyan government against its opponents headed by General Khalifa Haftar has turned the tide against the general.

  Bloomberg says that Turkish president Mr. Erdoğan has scored a rare foreign-policy victory. The internationally recognized Libyan government forces won a string of recent military successes against general Haftar's forces, Bloomberg adds.

  Read more >> here <<


★ Turkish currency lira kept losing value throughout the week and the U.S. dollar traded Thursday at 7.27 Turkish liras, an all-time low.

  Meanwhile, the ruling Justice and Development Party vice president Numan Kurtulmuş said on TV that the Turkish economy is under global attack despite criticism from experts that the Justice and Development Party administration mismanaged the economy.

  Also on Thursday the ruling Justice and Development Party administration banned Citigroup, Swiss Bank UBS, and BNP Paribas of France from trading in Turkish currency.

  Several economists criticized the move.

★ According to Reuters, Turkey will inject $2.8 billion into struggling state banks.

  Turkish banks are pressured by the government to lend as a measure to alleviate the emerging second recession in less than two years.

  Read more >> here <<

★ We have reported to you over the past few months the aftermath of Turkey's purchase of Russian made S-400 missile systems. The U.S. had banned Turkey from buying the F-35 stealth fighter jets that are being built to replace aging fleets of NATO countries and its allies.

  In addition to the Turkish government being a buyer, Turkish firms have been supplying parts for the state of the art jets. Analysts were expecting that the U.S. would stop purchasing from the Turkish firms, but it is still continuing to do so.

★ Writing in a pro-government newspaper, columnist Mehmet Barlas claimed that any loans from the International Monetary Fund would surrender the Turkish economy.

  He said that the Justice and Development Party administration should not take any money from the International Monetary Fund despite advice from economists.

  The Dutch lender Rabobank is among the latest to recommend that Turkish authorities should stop defending the Turkish currency and seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund.

★ According to the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, Turkey is intensifying its oil exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean. Major explorers have stopped their operations until next year due to the pandemic.

  Turkey is in conflict with the Cypriot government and its main ally Greece due to these explorations.


Edited by Yağız Süllü

★ The number of Coronavirus cases are falling over the last couple of weeks in Turkey , however, most Turks are still under mandatory quarantine at their homes.

  Most Turks are complaining about the extended periods of quarantine and looking for alternative ways to spend their time at home.

  Virtual arts and cultural opportunities provided through the local museums, such as the Is Bankasi Museum, Istanbul Toy Museum, Panorama 1453 History Museum, Topkapi Palace, and Dolmabahçe Palace are high in demand.

  Turks have free online access to museums, which they could tour around, look at the artifacts, and learn about their backgrounds.

  In addition, people are also encouraged to take online classes on drawing, animation, and poetry to improve their personal skills to spend some quality time with their friends, families, and colleagues.

  Istanbul Museum of Modern Art is providing paid online courses on Modern Art, Archeology, Arts and Political Science.

  These courses are taught by professors from leading art schools in Turkey to offer quality education services to the public.


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