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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 25 July 2020

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 25 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 Dorian Jones of VOA, Libyan conflict is widening.

  As we have been reporting to you Turkey has been giving military support to officially recognized Libyan government, but Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and some gulf countries along with Russia are supporting the rebel General Khalifa Haftar.

  The Turkish intervention turned the tide in the conflict, with Haftar forces suffering heavy losses. Alarmed by this reversal, Egypt is looking to intervene.

  Dorian Jones reports that the Egyptian parliament authorized on Monday to deploy troops the Libya.

  Meanwhile, international pressure is growing on Turkey over its involvement as Turkey doubled down on its support of Libya's Government of National Accord, fueling fears of a wider a regional war.

  After a phone conversation Monday, President Donald Trump and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al Sissi added their voices to growing international calls for a Libyan ceasefire.

www.TurkRadio.us www.TurkRadio.us

  Left: Turkish seismic survey vessel Oruç Reis (right), named after a renowned Ottoman admiral of the 16th century. (Click on photos to see larger views)

★ According to Reuters, French President Emmanuel Macron on July 23 demanded European Union sanctions against Turkey for "violations" of Greek and Cypriot waters amid increasing Eastern Mediterranean tensions. Separately, German media reports have said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was instrumental in preventing a military confrontation between Greece and Turkey late on July 21.

  Macron's comments came after Turkey's navy on July 21 issued an advisory for seismic surveys in an area of sea between Cyprus and Crete, a move Greece said was an attempt by Turkey to encroach on its continental shelf. Turkey rejects the Greek claims. saying that the area is actually Turkish continental shelf.

  It also comes as relations between France and Turkey, two NATO allies, fray, with France repeatedly pointing the finger at Turkey over its role in Libya.

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

★ A Deutsche Welle article writes that the recent murder of Turkish student Pınar Gültekin by her ex-boyfriend has sparked outrage in Turkey. Women's rights activists are calling for the government to tackle the widespread problem of femicide in the country.

  Women in Turkey's cities, particularly in the country's west, have taken to the streets to express their anger at the state of affairs. At a recent protest march in the coastal metropolis of Izmir, however, Turkish police intervened, arresting several activists. Scuffles ensued.

  One day after Pınar Gültekin's murder, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took to Twitter to express his condolences. He wrote: "Yesterday, we were overwhelmed with pain when we had to learn that Pınar Gültekin was murdered by a villain. I despise all crimes committed against women."

  Many women's' right activists, however, say the president's words ring hollow. After all, the government has done little to implement the so-called Istanbul Convention, which aims to tackle violence again women and domestic abuse, as well as promoting gender equality. The initiative was launched by the Council of Europe in 2011, and Turkey was the first country the ratify the treaty a year later. It has since adopted legislation reflecting the treaty.

  In related news, Turkish news site Evrensel reported that Turkey's Family, Labor and Social Services ministry has applied to courts to ban the news stories detailing the murder of Fatma Altınmakas, a Kurdish woman, by her husband last week.

  The headline for Evrensel said "an institution that could not protect Fatma Altınmakas, has brought a ban to the news."

  Read more >> here <<


★ The U.S. Air Force is officially purchasing eight F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighter jets that were initially intended for Turkey prior to its removal from the joint strike fighter program, reports the Turkish online new site Duvar.

  The U.S. removed Turkey from the F-35 joint strike fighter program in July 2019 over Turkey's decision to buy Russian-made S-400 air defense systems.

  The U.S. and partner nations maintain the S-400 system poses security risks to the advanced jet, maintaining Russia could covertly use it to obtain classified details on the jet, and warning it is incompatible with NATO systems.

  Despite Turkey's formal expulsion, the U.S. and partner nations will continue to depend on Turkish manufacturing for key parts of F-35 fighter jets through 2022, Bloomberg reported in late June.

  Read more >> here <<


★ According to Duvar, newspaper circulation in Turkey declined by 48 percent between 2013 and 2019, according to a report prepared by the main opposition Republican People's Party.

  Another Turkish online publication Bianet writes that according to the report, 137 newspapers closed in the past three years.

  Also, number of people working for newspapers dropped from 52,000 by 30% over the past seven years to 36,000.

  The report writes that the government's policies of pressure, censorship and bans were the main cause of decrease in circulation.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Baki Tezcan, a professor of history at University of California Davis, wrote an op-ed on the recent conversion of Hagia Sophia to a mosque.

  "President Erdoğan's decision to convert the Hagia Sophia Museum to a mosque offers an opportunity for criticism at many levels. First, it lays bare the double standards of some contemporary Muslim thinkers in addressing (or failing to) this move. Second, the conversion runs the risk of setting a terrible international precedent, an irresponsible action with broader ramifications that have hardly been addressed" he said.

  "Simultaneously, the move has also highlighted the absence of any meaningful political opposition -- with the notable and significant exception of the Peoples' Democratic Party -- to Erdoğan's cultural agenda around freighted symbols of an Islamic national legacy" he also wrote.

  A different op-ed penned by Mucahit Bilici, Associate Professor of Sociology at John Jay College and CUNY Graduate Center, said the following:

  "Erdoğan's triumphalist action was welcomed by traditional nationalist and religious segments of Turkish society. His base rejoiced. Opponents of the Erdoğan regime, however -- which includes a significant chunk of the religious segment -- saw it as sheer political manipulation and a response to declining support for the regime.

  "Yet Erdoğan, a master of politics who frequently resorts to polarization as an electoral strategy, in this case may very well have been moved more by international concerns than domestic ones.

  "Although Greece and the Orthodox Christian world are most immediately affected by the act, its intended audience might very well be Egypt and the Arab-Muslim world.

  "The reconversion of Hagia Sophia back to a mosque is ultimately an assertion of Turkey's sovereignty as a country; it has very little to do with the tolerance or intolerance of Islam as a faith.

  "It should be seen as an extension of the demonstratively independent foreign policy that has been pursued for some time now by the Erdoğan regime.

  "For the average Muslim, who might be imagined to harbor a grudge against Western dominance and exploitation in the Muslim world, the re-conversion of Hagia Sophia is a reversal of a conquest undone," he added.

  Read more >> here <<

★ In related news, the official ceremony for the conversion of the Hagia Sophia Museum took place on Friday with a noon prayer attended by President Erdoğan.

  Mr. Erdoğan claimed that 350,000 people attended the prayers. Some analysts said that the prayer throngs before and after the prayer in Istanbul streets turned into a show of force by the fundamentalists and supporters of  President Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party.

★ Lawyers for the Peoples' Democratic Party former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş have taken the politician's case to Turkey's top court after the country's refusal to implement a European Court of Human Rights ruling.

  The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the detention of Selahattin Demirtaş since November 2016 is illegal and has no foundation in law and that Demirtaş must be released immediately.

  Mesut Beştaş, one of Demirtaş's lawyers, also filed an application to the Council of Europe Ministers Committee.

  The People's Democratic Party is a pro-Kurdish party. The Justice and Development Party administration accuse most of its members of being supporters of rebel Kurdistan workers party, which is considered a terrorist organization by the European Union and the U.S.

  Read more >> here <<



★ A stevia farm in Turkey's Back Sea province of Rize remains non-operational even though $2.5 million in local currency were spent for it.

  Processing the sugar-yielding plant stevia has been delayed because "producers can't find enough flat fields to grow," Turkey's Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli said.

  Rize and vicinity on the Black Sea coast is extremely hilly without much flat lands.

★ Turkey's government owned power plants were privatized in 2009. The investors that bought the power plants have not paid their debts to the government since then, Turkey's Minister of Energy Fatih Dönmez has said on July 14.

  The minister said that the three companies that purchased the power plants owe the government more than $3.5 million in interest and principal payments.

★ Özgür Karabat, a main opposition deputy, slammed Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak for his remarks that Turkey was well off fiscally, noting that public debt nearly tripled during the president's son-in-law's term, daily Sözcü reported on July 14.

  "This means that the ruling Justice and Development Party is stealing from our future to get through the day," Karabat added.

  Karabat also noted that a July 11 notice in Turkey's Official Gazette removed a ten-year experience requirement for anyone to be appointed the deputy chair of Turkey's Central Bank.

  The ruling Justice and Development Party is notorious for appointing to key positions individuals if they are religious and ardent party supporters regardless of any qualifications.

★ Turkey is the sixth largest taxer of alcohol in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a 2018 research revealed, having taxed rakı by 443 percent in the past decade, and beer by 365 percent.

  Dr. Ozan Bingöl, A taxes expert from Başkent University, said that the government collected over $17 billion in local currency from alcohol between the years 2010 and 2019, noting that special consumption taxes like the one on alcohol are easy to manage and fruitful for the government.

  "Special consumption taxes also have a direct impact on consumer behavior. It's used as a political tool to decrease demand in these products," Bingöl said.

The religious base of president Erdoğan disapproves drinking of alcoholic beverages.

★ In an article on July 24, Caitlin Ostroff wrote in the Wall Street Journal that foreign investors are fleeing Turkey's bond market.

   So far they have withdrawn $7 billion from Turkey's local-currency bond market.

  This is adding pressure on the Turkish economy long seen as dependent on foreign funding, the article adds.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 6.85


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 95/66 Mostly Sunny
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 88/81 Mostly Sunny
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 88/57 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 88/73 Mostly Sunny
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 91/73 Mostly Sunny
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 81/73 Thunderstorms
Seawater temperatures:
Black Sea measured at Trabzon         : 76
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: 33
G. Saray        -      Göztepe        3 - 1
G. Antep Sp     -      Kasımpaşa      2 - 2
Başakşehir      -      Kayseri Sp     1 - 0
Alanya Sp       -      Denizli Sp     1 - 0
Ankaragücü      -      Antalya Sp     0 - 1
Sivas Sp        -      G. Birliği     2 - 0
Beşiktaş        -      Fenerbahçe     2 - 0
Rize Sp         -      Malatya Sp     3 - 0
Trabzon Sp      -      Konya Sp       3 - 4
* Standing in the league as of week ending 33
 1 - Başakşehir      69
 2 - Trabzon Sp      62
 3 - Sivas Sp        60
 4 - Beşiktaş        59
 5 - G. Saray        55
 6 - Alanya Sp       54
 7 - Fenerbahçe      50
 8 - Antalya Sp      44
 9 - G. Antep Sp     43
10 - Kasımpaşa       40
11 - Göztepe         39
12 - G. Birliği      36
13 - Konya Sp        36
14 - Denizli Sp      35
15 - Rize Sp         35
16 - Malatya Sp      32
17 - Kayseri Sp      32
18 - Ankaragücü      29


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