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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 11 July 2020
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 11 July 2020]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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★ Istanbul's Hagia Sophia is once again a mosque. Turkey's president Mr. Erdoğan ordered it to be converted back to a mosque after he got the go-ahead from a higher court.
Hagia Sophia was built as a cathedral by the Byzantines in sixth century A.D.
When the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the second captured Constantinople, modern-day in Istanbul, in 1453 he ordered it converted to a mosque. In 1934 the first president of
the Republic of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Atatürk ordered it to be converted to a museum.
As predicted the event stole the headlines and the discussions in Turkey, which some analysts say, was what President Erdoğan has precisely intended to do, and detract people's focus on his mismanagement of the economy and the
fight agaisnt coronavirus pandemic. President Erdoğan also wanted to increase his voter base.
However, Bilkent University's international relations professor Dr. Berk Esen thinks that Mr. Erdoğan's voter base will not expand. He points to the losses in local elections in Turkey's major metropolitan areas of Mr. Erdoğan's party last year. Istanbul's Metropolitan area Mayor is now from the opposition Republican Peoples Party.
In fact, Dr. Esen predicts that Mr. Erdoğan's government will get a backlash from other nations such as Greece, Russia and the United States.
In related news, the Greek City Times reported Saturday that Greece is intending to put sanctions against Turkey for the conversion of Hagia Sophia to a mosque.
According to Agence France-Presse, the World Council of Churches, which represents 350 Christian churches, said Saturday it wrote to Turkey's president expressing "grief and dismay" over his decision to turn the Hagia Sophia museum back into a mosque.
According to Bianet, UNESCO officials have noted that "UNESCO must be notified of any change in the status of Hagia Sophia and the changes may have to be reviewed by its World Heritage committee."
Officials have also said that Hagia Sophia is on the UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites as a museum and has certain commitments and legal obligations, adding that "a state must make sure that no modification undermines the outstanding universal value of a site listed on its territory."
★ According to Dorian Jones of the VOA, analysts say Turkey's deepening involvement in the Libyan conflict could be the catalyst for a reset in relations with the United States. In recent
years regional policy differences and mutual distrust strained the relationship.
In January, Turkey started sending military personnel to Libya in support of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord. The Libyan government has been under sustained attack from forces led by Libyan rebel General Khalifa Haftar, whose power base is in eastern Libya. Haftar's Libyan National Army has the backing of the Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.
Turkey's military intervention tipped the balance of forces in favor of the Libyan government, driving Haftar from the suburbs of Tripoli.
Professor Ilhan Uzgel of Ankara University thinks the reason why Turkey is courting the U.S. is because Turkish military is overstretched.
Turkish military is currently involved in operations in northern Iraq,
three to four military operation in Syria, and the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya. "Turkey needs not Russia but the United States to sustain its so overstretched military engagements.," Prof. Uzgel adds.
In related news, last Sunday a squadron of planes bombed Watiya, a recently captured airbase by Turkish-backed Libyan government forces. There are reports there were also Turkish troops on the base and some were killed. The fighter jets nationality is not known. Some say it may have been France, and others claim that it was Egypt.
A Turkish source said last month that Turkey was in talks with the Libya's officially recognized government to establish two bases in Libya, one of them at Watiya, the most important airbase in western Libya.
Read more >> here <<
★ Sepaking of Libya, Reuters reported that Turkey and Italy's defense ministers agreed at talks on Tuesday on the need for a political solution to Libya's conflict, according to a readout by the Turkey's defense ministry.
Relations between some NATO members have soured over Libya as Turkey has accused France of backing Haftar's forces.
France denies this and accused Turkish warships of aggressive behavior in a June 10 incident when a French frigate under NATO command tried to inspect a cargo ship suspected of smuggling arms to Libya in violation of a U.N. embargo.
The European Union recognizes the Government of National Accord as the legitimate government in Libya but there are differences between member states. Italy, whose state-controlled oil and gas major Eni is the biggest foreign oil producer in Libya, has sent troops to train Libyan government security forces.
★ The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Rapporteurs have released a joint statement following the conviction of Amnesty International Turkey's Honorary Chair Taner Kılıç, İdil Eser, Günal Kuşun and Özlem Dalkıran.
The Istanbul 35th High Criminal Court handed down its ruling in the case of eleven human rights defenders who had been on trial since 25 October 2017.
The court sentenced Taner Kılıç to 6 years 3 months imprisonment for "membership
in an armed terrorist organization" while Günal Kurşun, İdil Eser and Özlem Dalkıran were sentenced to 1 year 13 months imprisonment for "aiding an armed terrorist organization knowingly and willingly".
The organization in question was named by the Turkish government
as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure. which
is acused of orchstraiting the 2016 coup attempt.
The PACE statement urged Turkey to revise the anti-terror law that was the base of the convictions.
"While I welcome the acquittal of seven other activists at the same time, I am shocked by the heavy prison sentences handed down against Taner Kılıç, İdil Eser, Günal Kuşun and Özlem Dalkıran - on charges related to terrorism offenses, which according to several sources are unfounded" Alexandra Louis, the PACE General Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders in Council of Europe member states, said.
Read more >> here <<
★ Turkey's Parliament passed a series of bills that will allow multiple bar associations at provinces. Critics say that the bills are aimed to dilute the influence of the existing bar associations, which are fiercely critical of the rule of Turkish President Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party.
★ According to Bianet, Turkish government's Central Hunting Committee on Wednesday permitted the hunting of pochards and turtle doves, two endangered bird species..
Organizations established to protect nature and wildlife are prepared to file a lawsuit for the cancellation of the decision. Also a campaign, launched by 28 organizations on change.org against the permit, received 100,000 signatures.
The population of turtle doves in Turkey has decreased by 78 percent over the past 40 years while the pochard population decreased by 50% in 20 years.
★ According to a publication named "Labor Force Statistics" that the Turkish Statistical Institute released on July 10, the number of unemployed persons aged 15 years old and over dropped by 427 thousand to 3 million 775 thousand in the period of April 2020 compared with the same period of the previous year.
In April 2020, the unemployment rate was measured as 12.8 percent with 0.2 percentage point decrease.
Youth unemployment rate for those aged 15-24, was 24.4%, a 1.2 percentage point increase.
Non-agricultural unemployment rate was 14.9 percent with 0.1 percentage point decrease.
The employment rate was 41.1 percent with 4.9 percentage point decrease.
★ The president of the Turkish Medical Technology Manufacturers Association Ayhan Öztürk said in a press conference that the recent requirements imposed on international technology companies has made it expensive for them to operate in Turkey.
He added that Turkey's business climate is broken, and foreign investment wouldn't come to Turkey.
★ Turkey's largest employer Koç Holding's human resources director Özgür Burak Akkol reported that around 30,000 of their employees have been working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms. Akkol says that surveys indicate that 74% of the employees were very satisfied with remote work, and indicates that after the pandemic is over they are planning to encourage remote work.
Koç Holding employs around 120,000 people throughout Turkey and has around $150 billion in annual revenue. It is involved in energy, automotive, appliances, finance, retail, construction, tourism, shipping, defense, information technology, investment, and food sectors.
It is the only Turkish company to enter the Fortune Global 500 list as of 2016.
★ Turkey's foreign affairs minister Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in an interview with the Financial Times during his visit to London that Turkey and the United Kingdom is very close to signing a free trade agreement.
The Financial Times noted that 2500 British companies such as British Petroleum, Shell, Vodafone, HSBC, Aviva and Diageo have operations in Turkey.
Automotive, appliances and textile products make up the bulk of Turkish exports to the UK, the Financial Times wrote.
★ In an opinion piece on the Turkish economy on July 9, Dr. Hakan Kara said that Turkey needs a serious fight against inflation. He added that micromanagement tools and restrictions on capital mobility are not the answer.
"Turkey has banned temporarily six international banks from betting against the Turkish stock market, including JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse.
"This is the latest in a series of moves that represent a step back from a longstanding regime of free capital markets towards a more protectionist, inward-looking approach that uses micromanagement tools to run the economy" Dr. Kara said.
"Today, interest rates, prices, exchange rates and private bank balance sheets are partly controlled with unconventional tools and moral suasion. Authorities have also made it harder for foreign financial institutions to trade the lira, imposed costs on foreign currency transactions and eroded the central bank's already low foreign exchange reserves" he added.
Dr. Kara is a former chief economist of the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey and a professor of monetary policy and financial markets practice at Bilkent University in the Turkish capital Ankara.
Read more >> here <<
★ Archaeological excavation works has started in Turkey at the beginning of June this year. There are currently 400 digs and 149 archaeological surface surveys are taking place.
Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry's General Directorate of Cultural Possessions and Museums announced a set of precautions against the coronavirus infections during archaeological works. Among the precautions is periodic disinfecting of archaeological facilities such as depots, laboratories, work and living spaces. The directorate is also recommending the use of masks and gloves during the excavations, and measuring the temperatures of the staff in the morning and evening.
Scientific councils from Turkey are performing 120, scientific councils from abroad 25, and Turkey's Directorate of Museum Administrations 40 of the excavations.
In addition, the Directorate of Museum Administrations is performing 180 emergency operations to save
some archaeological artifacts and 30 emergency operations on public investment sites, and five underwater excavations.
★ The German Archaeological Institute's Istanbul Department and Turkey's Koç University's Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations are inviting applications for a newly established Fellowships in Environmental Archaeology .
The fellowships will support research on the environmental archaeology of Anatolia using approaches such as archaeobotany, anthracology, environmental modelling, and related specializations.
The primary responsibility of fellowship holders will be to conduct work relating to a longitudinal research project titled "Humidity & Society: 8.500 Years of Climate History in Western Anatolia."
The successful applicant will be ready to start the one-year fellowship on 21 September 2020. Application review will start on July 15, 2020.
For more information and application requirements Read more >> here <<
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 6.86
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey : 91/64 Mostly Sunny
Antalya, on the Mediterranean : 95/79 Mostly Sunny
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey : 75/54 Thunderstorms
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 86/72 Mostly Sunny
Izmir, on the Aegean : 91/73 Mostly Sunny
Trabzon, on the Black Sea : 82/73 Thunderstorms
Black Sea measured at Trabzon : 73
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdağ : 73
Aegean Sea measured at İzmir : 75
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya : 79
Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz
* Results for week: 31
Başakşehir - Denizli Sp 2 - 0
G. Birliği - Fenerbahçe 1 - 1
Trabzon Sp - Antalya Sp 2 - 2
Göztepe - Ankaragücü 2 - 2
Alanya Sp - G. Saray 4 - 1
Sivas Sp - Malatya Sp 0 - 1
G. Antep Sp - Konya Sp 3 - 1
Rize Sp - Kayseri Sp 3 - 2
Beşiktaş - Kasımpaşa 3 - 2
* In games played so far this weekend:
Denizli Sp - G. Antep Sp 0 - 1
Malatya Sp - G. Birliği 0 - 0
Antalya Sp - Başakşehir 0 - 2
Ankaragücü - Alanya Sp 1 - 4
Fenerbahçe - Göztepe 2 - 1
Kasımpaşa - Sivas Sp -
Konya Sp - Rize Sp -
G. Saray - Trabzon Sp -
Kayseri Sp - Beşiktaş -
* Standing in the league as of week ending 31
1 - Başakşehir 66
2 - Trabzon Sp 62
3 - Sivas Sp 54
4 - Beşiktaş 53
5 - G. Saray 52
6 - Alanya Sp 51
7 - Fenerbahçe 50
8 - G. Antep Sp 41
9 - Göztepe 39
10 - Antalya Sp 38
11 - Kasımpaşa 36
12 - G. Birliği 33
13 - Malatya Sp 32
14 - Denizli Sp 32
15 - Rize Sp 32
16 - Kayseri Sp 31
17 - Konya Sp 30
18 - Ankaragücü 26
[Saat 14:30 and 15:30 'da iki kez okuyun]
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