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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 29 August 2020

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 29 August 2020]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ Turkey and Greece have been in dispute for decades over the sharing of the Aegean and the Mediterranean seas. Recently the Republic of Cyprus that represents only the Greek Cypriots also got involved in a dispute with Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean.

  Turkey argues that the Aegean islands just a few miles off the Turkish coast cannot have their continental shelves and therefore Greece cannot extend its territorial waters. Analysts point out that if Greece extends its territorial waters, it would virtually block Turkey from accessing the Aegean Sea.

  In recent years the dispute escalated when oil and gas reserves were discovered in the eastern Mediterranean.

  On Wednesday Turkish and Greek foreign affairs ministers proposed talks to settle the dispute. However, according to the VOA, the leaders of the two countries dug in their heels. Read more >> here <<

  In related news, Greece extended its territorial waters to 22 miles in the Ionian sea that is between Greece and Italy. The Greek Prime Minister said that it will give up its passive policies in the Aegean Sea as well, implying that he wants to extend the territorial waters in the Aegean as well. Turkey considers this as blatant hostility.

  The White House said President Donald Trump spoke with Mitsotakis by telephone Wednesday and expressed concern over the tensions between Greece and Turkey.

  "President Trump reaffirmed that Greece and Turkey must commit to dialogue, which is the only path to resolving their differences," a White House statement said.

  However, while the U.S. was advising dialogue, the European Union on Friday worn Turkey it could face fresh sanctions unless it takes steps to defuse the escalating dispute.

  Speaking at the end of a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Berlin, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the new sanctions would aim to limit Turkey's energy exploration activities by targeting individuals and ships and blocking the use of European ports. Economic sanctions are also a possibility, he said, adding that any decision on those measures would be left until the bloc's summit on September 24-25.

  Earlier in the week, German foreign affairs minister Heiko Maas urged Greek and Turkish leaders on Tuesday to solve their dispute, citing the risk of a military confrontation.  Read more >> here <<

  In the meantime, the Greek navy had exercises in the Aegean. French naval vessels join the Greeks. Nearby the Turkish Navy also had exercises. An Italian naval vessel joined the Turkish exercise, Turkish journalist Murat Yetkin wrote. Yetkin said that this is an indication of disagreement within the European Union when it comes to its policy in the Eastern Mediterranean.

  In related news, in a Deutsche Welle op-ed penned by Jannis Papadimitriou wrote that "In the current conflict between Greece and Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, the law is on Athens' side. Still, Greek leaders will have to give some ground to get a deal." Read more >> here <<

  Read more >> here <<


  NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg

★ According to the Anatolia news agency, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on August 26 called for dialogue to ease tensions in the eastern Mediterranean. "Turkey and Greece have both been important NATO allies for many years. We need to find a way to resolve the situation in the eastern Mediterranean based on the spirit of allied solidarity," Stoltenberg said.


★ According to the daily Duvar, US special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey arrived in Turkey on August 26 with an accompanying delegation to discuss the latest efforts to resolve the Syrian conflict.

  "We have exciting developments on the Syrian account," Jeffrey told reporters at the airport. "The military phase of this conflict needs to end. There is no more ground to be gained by the regime. The regime needs to return to the negotiating table and deal with the rest of the international community. That's our priority," he said.

  Jeffrey also commented on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's remarks on the U.S. "siding with terrorist organizations instead of its NATO ally Turkey."

  "The U.S. is a close ally of Turkey. We proved our value in many fields outside of Syria," he said.

  Read more >> here <<


  Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Central Committee Chair Prof. Sinan Adıyaman

★ Turkeys ministry of health on Friday confirmed over 1500 new cases of COVID-19 infections highest daily count since mid-May reports Bianet. Total infections reached 266,000 deaths to 6300. Read more >> here <<

  Most experts and statisticians are saying that the numbers may be 10 times higher, and claim that the Turkish government is deliberately undercounting the infections and deaths.

  Meanwhile, the Turkish Medical Association chair told that at least 20,000 health workers are infected. In the past week, five doctors died from the COVID-19 infection. Read more >> here <<

  In related news, the State Department has updated its travel advisory for those traveling to Turkey, saying that level 3 caution ("reconsider travel") is still valid due to the COVID-19.

  Turkey's southeastern provinces of Şırnak and Hakkari well as any area within 10 kilometers of the Syrian border fall under level 4 ("do not travel"), the U.S. State Department said.


★ Turkeys president Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hosted to Hamas leaders in Istanbul on August 22. In a press release, the State Department criticized president Erdoğan. The state department said that the United States strongly objects to the hosting of the Hamas leaders and added:

  "President Erdoğan's continued outreach to this terrorist organization only serves to isolate Turkey from the international community, harms the interests of the Palestinian people, and undercuts global efforts to prevent terrorist attacks launched from Gaza.

  "We continue to raise our concerns about the Turkish government's relationship with Hamas at the highest levels. This is the second time President Erdoğan has welcomed Hamas leadership to Turkey this year with the first meeting occurring February 1."


★ Turkish boxer Ünsal Arık received a death threat on the phone, he said on August 25, just a week after he found a single bullet in an envelope on his windshield in Germany, where he lives.

  "Please read, friends, for I'm anxious," Arık said. "You found my phone number too, we just spoke [on the phone] and I got your threat."

  The former European champion has been known for his staunch opposition to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

  "If I'm killed one day, know that it was Tayyip supporters because the caller was clear, it's God's orders to kill the faithless," the boxer added.

  President Erdoğan once filed a lawsuit against the boxer for insulting him.


  A man and a boy gesture in front of a placard depicting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II outside Istanbul's famous Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, on July 10, 2020.

★ Young Turkish conservatives and some less ideological right-wing nationalists are unhappy with the state of Turkey and are increasingly considering potential conservative alternatives to Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party, according to a report from the Center for American Progress authored by Max Hoffman.

  "In every survey Center for American Progress has conducted, younger Turks are less supportive of Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party than their older counterparts," Hoffman wrote.

  "Young voters may desert him in sufficient numbers to allow the opposition to defeat him in the next election, now scheduled for 2023, but genuine conservative alternatives are unlikely to materialize unless and until he loses an election or otherwise withdraws from the scene," Hoffman added.

  The Center for American Progress is a public policy research and advocacy organization that presents a liberal viewpoint on economic and social issues. It has its headquarters in Washington, D.C.

  Read more >> here <<


★ The Turkish government reclaimed 65 thousand historical artifacts in a raid in the Aegean provinces of Izmir and Manisa, halting the largest heist in the history of the republic. Seven suspects were detained for the attempted heist.

  Some of the artifacts date back to 3000 BC.


  Ancient outdoor toilets built about 2000 years ago.

★ According to the daily Duvar, ancient Roman toilets and baths will be displayed in Turkey's southwestern province of  Denizli's Tripolis settlement by summer of 2021.

  The excavation head noted that the toilets and baths were connected through waterways and sewage, adding the importance of toilets for Roman urban architecture. Read more >> here <<




★ International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said that Turkish economist Ceyla Pazarbaşıoğlu would be serving as the head of the International Monetary Fund's Strategy, Policy and Review Department.

  Georgieva said that Pazarbaşıoğlu had "profound knowledge and significant experience on how to design policies to help people especially in emerging markets and low-income countries."



★ According to the daily Duvar, Turkish dairies are struggling as fixed prices per liter set by the National Milk Council have made it difficult to turn a profit amid rising production costs due to the depreciation of the Turkish lira, according to a statement from the Turkish Union of Chambers of Agriculture President Şemsi Bayraktar.

  The price of the milk was set in November 2019 to 2.30 Turkish liras per liter, Bayraktar says that it should be at least 2.80 Turkish liras.


★ The World Bank has released a report on Turkey saying that the country's economy is projected to face a difficult 2020.

  "Important sectors in the Turkish economy are highly vulnerable to COVID-linked economic strains, which could further lower employment, reduce labor force participation, and increase the poor population by 1.2 million in 2020," the report said. Read more >> here <<

★ Some short news about the economy and business:

  - The Turkish Grain Board (TMO) will import about 600,000 tons of grains on August 25 to prevent price hikes and hoarding amid a small harvest in 2020.

  - Turkey on August 21 issued a presidential decree allowing the import of several food products, including cheese, from Venezuela at zero tariff.

  - Turkish Airlines said on August 26 that they would no longer offer pre-packaged food on flights that are shorter than two hours. The flagship carrier has observed unprecedented losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  - Turkey is poised to produce a record amount of gold this year and the Central Bank will probably buy all of it at prices near record highs, Bloomberg reported on August 24.

  - Under the ruling Justice and Development Party, Turkey's donkey population observed a decrease of two-thirds in 18 years from 414,000 in 2002 to 120,000. The shrink represents the overall decline of the agricultural industry, a main opposition deputy said.


EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 7.33


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 95/66 Mostly Sunny
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 97/79 Mostly Sunny
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 86/52 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 88/73 Mostly Sunny
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 95/72 Mostly Sunny
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 81/72 Partly Cloudy


★ According to Reuters, a major flood in Turkey's northern Black Sea region killed four people, including a soldier, while 11 others have gone missing, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said, Sunday, August 23, as authorities carried out cleaning and rescue operations.

  According to recent reports, the number of death in the floods rose to 10 people.

  Read more >> here <<
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


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