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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 18 July 2020

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 18 July 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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★ According to Turkey's justice minister, Turkey has built more than 90 new prisons in the past five years.

The number of prisoners in Turkey increased significantly following the July 2016 coup attempt. Anyone the ruling Justice and Development Party administration thought was associated with cleric Gülen ended up in these prisons. Even having an account in one of Gülen's followers' banks, or sending children to a Gülen sponsored school was sufficient to for imprisonment.

Cleric Gülen and his followers are believed to be behind the coup attempt, which he denies. He has been living in self-exile since 1999 in Pennsylvania.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party had ruled the country for several years in association with cleric Gülen's followers. However, the partnership soured after 2011.

Turkey is the second among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries for the rate of incarceration.

★ Speaking of cleric Gülen, Turkish prosecutors are demanding a 15-year prison sentence for a U.S. consulate employee, reports the Anatolia news agency. The employee is a Turkish citizen and the government is accusing him of membership in the Gülen organization.

As we reported to you in June, a Turkish court sentenced another U.S. consular staff to over eight years in prison on the same charges.

Analysts say that the charges are usually baseless, but the Turkish government is using membership in illegal organizations as a pretext to jail people. In this case, the motivation of the Erdoğan government is claimed to be taking bargaining chips against the U.S. for use in negotiations.

★ Representative Adam Kinzinger, and Michael McCall both Republican, and Abigail Spanberger a Democrat, introduced legislation to impose sanctions on Turkey over the purchase of Russian made S 400 missile defense system, Kinzinger's office said in a press release on Friday.

Turkey has purchased the missiles over the objections of its NATO partners, especially of the U.S. The rest of the NATO member states say that the Russian missile system could pose a danger to NATO planes and be used by Russia to spy on them with this advanced electronics system.

Last year the Congress tried to get sanctions against Turkey also, but President Trump stopped it.

Also, a bill in the U.S. Senate in June proposed to have the U.S. purchase the missiles from Turkey, but Turkey's Justice and Development Party administration rejected it.

★ As you may have heard by this time, Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia has been converted back to a mosque by the orders of the Turkish president. Most analysts say the Turkish president wanted to distract the people from his administration's failures and economy and managing the pandemic.

According to Al Jazeera, this week the governing Justice and Development Party has said that they will cover the Byzantine Christian icons during Islamic prayers. Read more >> here <<

★ President Erdoğan's decision to convert Hagia Sophia back to a mosque has been criticized both abroad and at home.

According to Deutsche Welle, the chairman of one of Germany's foremost Turkish community groups on Sunday slammed the planned conversion of the Hagia Sophia museum as a "wrong decision."

Gökay Sofuoğlu, from the Turkish Community in Germany -- one of the groups representing the Turks in Germany --said the decision to turn the building, which is widely viewed as a symbol of religious tolerance and secularism, into a mosque would reflect poorly on Turkey.

Germany has over four million Turks living on its territory, about 5% of the population.

Read more >> here <<

★ According to statistics from Turkey's Central Bank, overseas investors have withdrawn nearly $8 billion from Turkish stocks since January, reducing foreign investments from $32.3 billion to $24.4 billion. In 2013 foreign investments in Turkish stocks were $82 billion.

According to Win Thin, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, "Foreign investment has left Turkey for several reasons, both internal and external".

"Externally, investors fled riskier assets like emerging markets during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Some of those flows are returning, but investors are being much more discerning and Turkey does not seem so attractive."

In terms of internal factors, Thin said that Turkish policymakers had made it hard for foreign investors to transact in Turkey. "This includes real money clients, not just speculative."

★ According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, over 330,000 people left Turkey in 2019, a 2% increase from the previous year.

40.8% of them were aged 20-34.

85,000 of the people were Turkish citizens while the remaining 245,000 were foreign.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 6.86


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 99/70 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 86/75 Mostly Sunny
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 91/59 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 86/70 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 90/73 Mostly Sunny
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 82/75 Thunderstorms
Seawater temperatures:
Black Sea measured at Trabzon         : 77
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdağ      : 78
Aegean Sea measured at İzmir          : 76
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya : 82


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz


Premier League

* Results for week: 32
Göztepe         -      G. Birliği     1 - 3
Antalya Sp      -      Alanya Sp      1 - 0
Fenerbahçe      -      Sivas Sp       1 - 2
Ankaragücü      -      G. Saray       1 - 0
Denizli Sp      -      Trabzon Sp     2 - 1
Kasımpaşa       -      Rize Sp        2 - 0
Konya Sp        -      Başakşehir     4 - 3
Kayseri Sp      -      G. Antep Sp    1 - 1
Malatya Sp      -      Beşiktaş       0 - 1

* Standing in the league as of week ending 32
 1 - Başakşehir      66
 2 - Trabzon Sp      62
 3 - Sivas Sp        57
 4 - Beşiktaş        56
 5 - G. Saray        52
 6 - Alanya Sp       51
 7 - Fenerbahçe      50
 8 - G. Antep Sp     42
 9 - Antalya Sp      41
10 - Göztepe         39
11 - Kasımpaşa       39
12 - G. Birliği      36
13 - Denizli Sp      35
14 - Konya Sp        33
15 - Malatya Sp      32
16 - Rize Sp         32
17 - Kayseri Sp      32
18 - Ankaragücü      29


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