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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 06 June 2020

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 06 June 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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★ A Wall Street Journal op-ed claimed this week that Turkey, Iran and China are wanting to exploit U.S. unrest.

  "The world's strongmen are seizing gleefully on the death of George Floyd and the riots that followed," it said.

  The article said that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was "last seen stamping out his political opposition and forcibly displacing Kurds and Syria".

★ The ruling Justice and Development Party administration removed three parliamenterians from their seats in the Turkish Parliament. Two of the parliamentarians are from the pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party and one from the main opposition Republican Peoples Party.

  The deputies from the People's Democratic Party are being accused of supporting Kurdish rebels' underground organization Kurdistan Workers Party.

  New York-based The Human Rights Watch Turkey director Emma Sinclair-Webb said the arrests were "the result of politically motivated trials in which legal activities were criminalized."

★ Coronavirus pandemic news from Turkey:

★ According to the Associated Press, Turkey and Russia have agreed to cooperate in the development of a coronavirus vaccine and plan to carry out joint clinical trials, the Turkish minister of health said Wednesday.

  Turkey's Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca said that the scientific advisers from the two countries would hold the second round of talks later this week.

  A total of 22 Turkish universities and research centers have been working to develop a vaccine, and four of them have advanced to the animal-testing stage, Dr. Koca said.

★ The Turkish government removed the lockdown around the country against the pandemic this weekend. Thousands of people flocked to outdoors Saturday for the first time since March 24, the Turkish press reported.

  Authorities opened even the historical Grand Bazaar dating back to the 1400s to the public.

  In the shopping malls, some in the crowds ignored social distancing and wearing of masks.

  Health experts and even trade unions warned against a resurgence of infections.

  Turkey's minister of health Dr. Fahrettin Koca ruled out a second wave of the pandemic. He said, however, that Turkey's close ties to Europe are worrying, and erasing the effects of the disease in Turkey will not be easy until the global outbreak ends.

★ Turkey's Medical Association joined in expressing worries about the pandemic coming back, reports the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet.

  The chairman of the association Sinan Adıyaman pointed out that opening travel from Istanbul to other provinces may cause a spike since Istanbul had 60% of Turkey's coronavirus infection cases. The chairman said 80% of the infected are asymptomatic carriers. These people would carry the virus to other provinces.

★ According to the Anatolia News Agency, Turkey opened a second pandemic hospital in Istanbul last Sunday.

  The construction of the hospital took just two months.

★ As we have reported to you in the past weeks, Turkey has been supporting the government of Libya against rebels from the eastern part of the country. However, the Eastern Libyan rebels have been getting support from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates.

  Turkey has recently sent advisers, arms and militants to help the Libyan Army take back territory from the rebels.

  On Thursday the Egyptian foreign affairs minister condemned what he termed Turkish violations of international law, Security Council resolutions, and its threatening role in Libya.

  Turkey's foreign affairs ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy dismissed the Egyptian minister's accusations and told that they are unfounded.

★ According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Education, Turkey will integrate remote education permanently into the educational system.

  Educators are conducting remote education in Turkey through the Internet and TV broadcasts. Authorities closed the schools on March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

★ According to the Turkish news site T2, the Turkish Atheists Association filed a criminal complaint against pro-government Islamist daily Yeni Akit for insulting atheists in February.

  The lawyers for the Association say that an article published in the daily violates article 216 of the Turkish criminal code.

  The code imposes penalties for inciting a segment of the population against another.

★ Turkish police detained Turkish rapper Bulut Akman for a song that mocked President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son Bilal.

  In a video clip, the rapper has depicted Bilal Erdoğan posing in front of the Istanbul Tax Administration Office, naked from waist up.

  The lyrics also mocked the intellect of Bilal Erdoğan, who some claim cannot understand complex speech. The rapper said, "I will explain it to you as I would explain to Bilal ."

★ According to Dan Arbell of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, with the prospect of a deep recession looming, Turkey's President Erdoğan is under significant pressure to resuscitate his country's economy.

  To shore up Turkey's ailing economy Mr. Erdoğan is looking to U.S. and Europe and conducting a charm offensive with countries that he was not in good terms up to now.

  However, "swap lines" that Mr. Erdoğan asked from the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank have been rejected.

  Mr. Erdoğan is also rejecting any loans from the International Monetary Fund.

  Dan Arbell concludes his article with the following:

  "Erdoğan is not willing to make concrete changes in his economic policy nor take the necessary steps required to meet these criteria. He was handed a temporary financial lifeline by the Qataris but will need to secure additional funding soon. The slight increase in the lira's value will be put to the test in the very near future."

★ In related news, Aykan Erdemir, a former deputy in the Turkish parliament and senior director of the Turkey program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said that the reason why Mr. Erdoğan is not getting an International Monetary Fund loan is because of patronage and his centralization of power, not because of his idealism.

  Aykan Erdemir co-wrote an article in the Foreign Policy with John Lechner of George town University

  "The real reason Erdoğan cannot go to the International Monetary Fund is that any Stand-By Arrangement or Extended Fund Facility requires structural reform and, therefore, power-sharing and good governance measures," the analysts said.

★ The European Union included Turkey among the candidate countries set to receive funding from the European Union's long-term budget between 2021 and 2027, the European Union Commissioner for neighborhood and enlargement.

★ According to Bloomberg, San Francisco based game developer Zynga is purchasing Turkish game company Peak for $1.8 billion.

  The acquisition arrives during a time of pandemic-driven surge in business for video-game companies.

  In 2018 Zynga acquired one more Turkish mobile gaming company, Gram Games for $250 million.

  Peak was established in Istanbul in 2010 and has been developing games for telephones.

★ Moody's disclosed this week in a report that it sees more problems for Turkish banks due to problem loans. Moody's said, "Turkey banking system outlook remains negative as coronavirus weighs on credit profiles."

  It added:

  "Deep economic disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak will reduce borrowers' capacity to repay and so increase problem loans Lenders with high exposure to SMEs and the tourism, transportation, and related sectors will likely be particularly affected."

  Read more >> here <<


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