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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 03 October 2020

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 03 October 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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★ On Monday the British daily The Times reported that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be using his visit to Greece to explore proposals to relocate key American assets from the Incirlik airbase in Turkey to the Greek island of Crete.

  The visit by the secretary of state is seen as a sign of Washington's waning patience with President Erdoğan of Turkey over his anti-western rhetoric and his decision last year to buy a sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft system despite fierce objections from the US and other NATO allies.

  There are currently tensions between NATO allies Turkey and Greece. Tensions began when Turkey sent a gas exploration vessel in the disputed waters. There are no agreed maritime borders between Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus in the East Mediterranean, but Turkey has said it has a legitimate claim in the area.

  Military vessels were deployed by both Turkey and Greece, and a war of words erupted between the two sides.

  Last month, the Turkish seismic research vessel left the contested waters in the first sign of easing tensions. But Erdoğan's Defense Minister said that it did not mean that Turkey was "giving up" on jockeying for position in the East Mediterranean.

  In related news, Greece and Turkey agreed to set up a mechanism to avoid accidental military conflicts in the Mediterranean, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

  The agreement includes establishing a hotline for use between senior officials should a confrontation arise.

★ The European Union on Friday threatened to impose sanctions on Turkey amid increasingly tense ties with Turkey over its continued drilling for gas in the East Mediterranean, and its roles in regional conflicts, Deutsche Welle reports.

  "We want a positive and constructive relationship with Turkey, and this would also be very much in Ankara's interest," European Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen said after a meeting of the European Union leaders.

  "But it will only work if the provocations and pressures stop. We, therefore, expect that Turkey from now on abstains from unilateral actions," von der Leyen said.

★ According to Reuters, Britain removed Turkey from its quarantine-free list following Turkish Minister of Health Dr. Fahrettin Koca's acknowledgment that Turkey did not publish the full number of daily positive COVID-19 cases but only those who are symptomatic.

  Travelers arriving from Turkey to Britain will now have to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

  British visitors to Turkey number around 2.5 million a year, making the fourth largest group after Russian, German, and Bulgarian citizens.

  Turkish physicians and other experts have been claiming for many months that the Justice and Development Party administration has been deliberately underreporting the cases and deaths. Some claim as much as 20 times underreporting.

  In related news, according to the data transmitted to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 death stood at 8,325 on Friday, October 2. Again, according to experts and physicians, actual figures may be as much as 10 times higher.

  In another news, Minister of Health Dr. Koca announced that COVID-19) positive individuals will wear electronic bracelets while under quarantine as a measure against violating quarantine rules.

  Read more >> here <<

★ A Turkish court early on October 2 arrested 17 members of the Peoples' Democratic Party, including Kars Co-Mayor Ayhan Bilgen, over 2014 violent protests against the siege by ISIS of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane, the daily Duvar reports. The protesters were saying that Turkey should have intervened and pushed ISIS out.

  Shortly after the court's ruling, the Interior Ministry replaced Bilgen with a trustee.

  The Peoples' Democratic Party is currently left with running only six municipalities as the result of series of crackdowns on the party since March 2019 local elections

  The ruling Justice and Development Party administration replaced mayors by trustees in 48 of the 65 localities the party won.

★ According to daily Duvar, the head of the state-run Turkey Human Rights and Equality Institution defended underage marriages, and said that they should be differentiated from sexual assault. "People shouldn't be tried over shameful crimes just because they got married young," Süleyman Arslan said.

  Prof. Neşe Özgen, an academic, slammed the institution's use of the expression "early marriage." "Did you create a norm for 'underage kids consenting to rape'? Rape was the only thing you hadn't defended!" the professor said.


★ 14 Turkish workers have been protesting the US-based Cargill corporation for getting laid off after joining a union.

  The workers have reached day 894 of their protest outside the Cargill plant in the northwestern Bursa province.

★ A jaw-dropping 95 percent of a fund established to develop Turkey's internet infrastructure has disappeared, a main opposition deputy said.

  Some 1.5 billion liras were collected for the fund in 2019, but 1.4 billion of that has vanished, the main opposition Republican People's Party deputy Murat Emir said.


★ After the new social media law entered into force in Turkey on October 1, 2020, the Reporters Without Borders has released a written statement and expressed concerns about the new legislation, the Turkish news site Bianet reports.

  The new law is requiring social media companies to open an office in Turkey.

  With its statement entitled "Tighter control over social media, massive use of cyber-censorship," the Reporters Without Borders has expressed its concerns that the Internet "will be used to censor outspoken journalists" as the "new legislation gives the government much more control over social media platforms."

  According to the Reporters Without Borders, since July 31, the organization "has registered no fewer than 347 cases of online articles being censored for constituting an insult, threat to national security, or violation of the 'right to be forgotten'."

  The Reporters Without Borders has also reminded that Turkey is ranked 154th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders' 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

  Read more >> here <<


★ Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has said that he doesn't care about exchange rates and that he doesn't follow them, as the Turkish Lira plumbed to new lows on Sept. 29, the daily Duvar reports.

  "For me, the exchange rates are not important at all. I don't look at that," Albayrak, who is also President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's son-in-law, told reporters when asked to comment on the plunging lira.

  Albayrak's comments came after he unveiled the country's new economic program for 2021-2023 based on themes of "new stabilization, new normal, and the new economy."

  Albayrak said the Turkish economy is projected to grow 0.3 percent this year.

  The economic growth is expected to hover around 5 percent in 2022 and 2023, and to reach 5.8 percent in 2021 after deferred consumption and investments put into use and tourism revenues normalize.

★ U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan rejected Halkbank's claim that its status as a Turkish "instrumentality" shielded it from prosecution because of sovereign immunity.

  US authorities are accusing Turkey's state-owned Halkbank of helping Iran evade American sanctions.

★ According to Bianet, out of nearly 52 thousand people who applied to the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality's Regional Employment Offices, 48 percent had an undergraduate degree and 55 percent were women, according to a report released by the municipality.

  13 percent of the applicants found a job and 69 percent of them were under 35 years of age, the report says.

  Read more >> here <<



★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, Istanbulites will select the new face of Taksim Square from among three projects as part of the Istanbul Municipality's plans to renovate the area. Şerif Süveydan, Bünyamin Derman, and Kutlu İnanç Bal were the winners in the contest that Istanbul Planning Agency and Istanbul Municipality's Department of Cultural Assets held. There were 146 proposals.

★ Despite the coronavirus pandemic that has taken a turn for the worse in Turkey in recent weeks, the southeastern city of Gaziantep held the 3rd annual GastroAntep festival early in September, .

  A prestigious roster of Turkish and foreign chefs conducted panels and workshops that were broadcast live on YouTube and attended by members of the press, Paul Benjamin Osterlund reports on the daily Duvar.

  The fanfare was limited compared to last year's festival, a bombastic event reportedly attended by one million people, which included live performances from some of the country's biggest pop stars.

  This time around, Gaziantep was coming off a 15-day ban imposed in mid-August on all events in the city to combat the spread of the virus, leaving some residents surprised that GastroAntep was going ahead as planned.

  Just 64 kilometers from the Syrian border, Gaziantep (known more commonly as Antep) is a vast city of 2 million, Turkey's sixth-largest. Though it boasts a bustling industrial sector and an expansive, impressive historic center that includes a beautiful collection of sandy-hued, centuries-old mosques that have been finely preserved, Gaziantep is most famous for its cuisine, carrying the prestigious title of Turkey's culinary capital.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 7.77


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 79/50 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 93/73 Mostly Sunny
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 70/41 Thunderstorms
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 81/61 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 88/66 Mostly Sunny
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 75/64 Thunderstorms
Seawater temperatures:
Black Sea measured at Trabzon         : 75
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdağ      : 75
Aegean Sea measured at İzmir          : 75
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya : 81


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz


Premier League

* Results for week: 3
Karagümrük        -      Başakşehir       2 - 0
Göztepe           -      G. Antep         2 - 2
Kayseri           -      Erzurum          1 - 3
Trabzon           -      Malatya          3 - 1
Hatay             -      Kasımpaşa        1 - 0
Rize              -      Alanya           1 - 1
Konya             -      Beşiktaş         4 - 1
G. Saray          -      Fenerbahçe       0 - 0
Sivas             -      Ankaragücü       0 - 0
Antalya           -      Denizli          1 - 0
* In games played so far this weekend:
Ankaragücü        -      Kayseri          0 - 1
G. Antep          -      Trabzon          1 - 1
Malatya           -      Antalya          1 - 0
Erzurum           -      Rize             0 - 0
Fenerbahçe        -      Karagümrük       2 - 1
Başakşehir        -      Göztepe          0 - 0
* Standing in the league as of week ending 3
 1 - Karagümrük    7
 2 - Hatay        7
 3 - G. Saray     6
 4 - Alanya       6
 5 - Erzurum      6
 6 - Göztepe      5
 7 - Beşiktaş     4
 8 - Antalya      4
 9 - Fenerbahçe   4
10 - Trabzon      4
11 - Kasımpaşa    3
12 - Sivas        3
13 - Kayseri      3
14 - G. Antep     2
15 - Konya        1
16 - G. Birliği   1
17 - Denizli      1
18 - Malatya      1
19 - Ankaragücü   0
20 - Rize         0
21 - Başakşehir   0


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