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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 10 October 2020

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 10 October 2020]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ According to Reuters, Republican James Lankford and Democrat Chris Van Hollen called on October 7 for President Donald Trump's administration to impose sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of Russia's S-400 anti-aircraft system and reports that it will carry out tests.

  This week the Justice and Development Party administration announced it would send the system to Turkey's Black Sea province of Sinop for testing.

  Despite its NATO allies' objections, Turkey purchased the Russian system. The U. S.and other NATO countries say that Russians can use the system to spy on NATO armaments, especially on the newly developed F-35 fighters.

  The U.S. removed Turkey from the F-35 program and decided not to sell any to Turkey for this reason.


★ In the publication The American Conservative, Doug Bandow wrote that the U.S. should stop pretending to be Turkey's ally.

  He claimed that Turks have become the fifth columnist of NATO.

  He further wrote "President Donald Trump's willingness to criticize America's traditional allies has generated a fierce backlash. Members of the infamous Blob, the foreign policy establishment, have united to defend virtually every member of every alliance.

  "No doubt, cooperation to advance shared interests is advantageous. However, that does not require one-sided peace guarantees to nations capable of defending themselves. And it makes no sense to ally with a country that does not advance U.S. security. Like Turkey."

  Read more >> here <<


  President Erdoğan in Ali İhsan Arslan's wedding in 2018

★ According to the Foreign Lobby website, Barry Bennett, a 2016 campaign adviser to President Trump, has signed on as a lobbyist for a Turkish lawmaker who has long served as one of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's back channels to Washington.

  Barry Bennett registered his firm Avenue Strategies Global this week on behalf of Member of Parliament Ali İhsan Arslan.

  Read more >> here <<


★ On October 7, an Istanbul court declared exiled journalist Can Dündar a fugitive and ruled for the seizure of his assets.

  Can Dündar was the former editor in chief of the daily Cumhuriyet.

  He was on trial for covering alleged shipments of arms shipments to Syria. The Justice and Development Party administration accused Dündar of espionage.

  Dündar has been living in exile in Germany since 2016 after his initial conviction. A higher court overturned his conviction and, a new trial started in April 2019.

  On Wednesday, the International Press Institute condemned the decision, having earlier called on Germany, the current holder of the rotating European Union presidency, to help defend fundamental rights in Turkey. German Greens politician Cem Özdemir, who has roots in Turkey, told an International Press Institute online conference that the European Union remained divided on its obligations where human rights in Turkey are concerned.

  Christophe Deloire, Secretary-General of Reporters Without Borders, also condemned the decision saying, "Obviously, for Erdoğan and his regime, having launched an arbitrary procedure against a renowned journalist who honors his profession was not enough! They wanted to go as far as depriving him of his assets and memories.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Turkish prosecutors will again be trying Osman Kavala, a philanthropist, businessman, and human rights defender, the daily Duvar reports.

  Incarcerated since Nov. 1, 2017, initially on charges of organizing the 2013 Gezi Park protests, Kavala is this time facing aggravated life imprisonment. The second indictment presents Kavala's "relationship" with the former U.S. State Department employee and academic Henri Barkey as "new evidence" with regards to the Gezi case.

  Kavala said that the latest charges against him are "illegal" as they are charges courts had already dropped. 

  Meanwhile, Nacho Sanchez Amor, the European Parliament's rapporteur on Turkey, said the indictment "without any real evidence is outrageous." He said it "disdains" a European Court of Human Rights ruling that called for Kavala's immediate release.

  Amnesty International called the indictment "absurd."

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


★ Turkey's minister of interior Mr. Süleyman Soylu is bragging about the mistreatment of drug dealers under arrest, the daily Duvar reports.

  "The Committee for the Prevention of Torture report said that mistreatment exists towards drug dealers, and this stems from me. Don't be tolerant toward drug dealers and the mafia. If there is a price to pay, I'm ready to do so. These two groups feed each other. Do what's necessary and put the blame on me," Soylu said. 

  It is not the first time Soylu admitted mistreatment towards drug dealers. In 2018, he called on the police to break the legs of drug dealers if they see them around schools.

★ Turkey's decision to reopen parts of Varosha, a seaside resort in the breakaway Turkish Cypriots in the north of Cyprus, has raised concerns both locally and internationally, days before an election in Northern Cyprus, Deutsche Welle reports.

  Varosha was abandoned in 1974 when Turkey intervened in Cyprus following a coup by Athens-backed Greek Cypriots. The intervention divided the island along ethnic lines. For years before that, Varosha had been Cyprus' premier resort with a mile-long stretch of beach. Now, it looks like a ghost town with trees growing out of abandoned buildings facing the sea.

  Turkish Cypriots kept the town unoccupied for years as a bargaining chip in negotiations to reunite the island.

  Cyprus is mainly made up of two communities, Turks and Greeks. The Republic of Cyprus is an internationally recognized entity which is made up of Greeks in the south of the island. The north is Turkish, and the Turks there declared an independent Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriot entity is recognized only by Turkey.

  The United Nations Security Council on Friday voiced concerns about the opening the coastline in Varosha. The Council called for a transfer of the area to the administration of the United Nations.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Upon the opening of Varosha, Deutsche Welle wrote that Turkey stoked tensions further with the European Union by declaring the reopening of a beach in Varosha.

  The European Union has said Turkey's hopes of joining the bloc are receding due to its eroding democracy.

  The European Commission on Tuesday suggested the Turkish government was wrecking its own economy, eroding democracy, and undermining its independent judicial system, leaving Turkey's hopes of joining the European Union hanging by a thread.

  The bloc's executive branch said there was a lack of freedom of speech in Turkey, as well as deteriorating prisons and unnecessary conditions imposed on the Turkish central bank. The European Union blamed an "excessively" centralized presidential system for the issues.

  "The European Union's serious concerns on continued negative developments in the rule of law, fundamental rights, and the judiciary have not been credibly addressed by Turkey," the Commission said in its annual report on the country.

  Read more >> here <<

★ The Ukrainian Defense Ministry is planning to purchase Unmanned Aerial Vehicles from the Turkish company Baykar Makina, the pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah reported on Tuesday. The purchase of 48 drones is a large order, considering that the Turkish Armed Forces has 107 drones in its inventory. This could mean that Ukraine will do some of the production of the drones.

  The purchase will include 12 Bayraktar TB2 complexes (control stations) and 3-4 UAVs for each complex.

  Vadym Nozdri, the CEO of Ukrspetsexport, the Ukrainian military's import/export body, told Ukrainian defense news site Defense Express that "Baykar Makina is ready to invest in Ukraine and develop joint projects."

  Nozdri went on to say that if Ukraine does some of the production, "the cost will decrease by 35%. Including taking into account imported components, which Turkey itself buys."

  Read more >> here <<

★ Turkish business groups on Saturday urged Saudi Arabia to improve trade relations with Turkey.

  This week Saudi Arabia's Chamber of Commerce chairman urged the Saudi citizens to "boycott everything Turkish."

  Saudi Arabia has been informally boycotting Turkish goods due to conflicts with Turkey's Justice and Development Party administration.

  Turkey supports Qatar, but three years ago, a Saudi led bloc cut ties with Qatar due to its support of the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt. Turkeys president Erdoğan also supports the Brotherhood.

  The killing of dissidents Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul by a team sent by the Saudi government further soured the relationship between the two countries.

★ Last week Turkey's Ministry of trade published data on Turkey's trade deficit. The deficit increased to $4.87 billion, almost the triple of last September's figure.

  However, the September deficit was smaller than the $6.28 billion in August.

  Economists say the reason for the increased deficit is the cheap loans that the government extended to consumers and businesses to stimulate economic growth. However, instead of economic growth, the loans spurred the demand for imports.

★ According to Bloomberg reporter Firat Kozak, the Turkish authorities are saying that Facebook is risking fines if it ignores the new social media law in Turkey.

  As we have been reporting to you in the past few weeks, Turkey enacted a new law that requires social media companies to open offices in Turkey.

  In addition to escalating fines, Facebook will see speeds to reach its site reduced to a trickle, making it unusable.

  Facebook has 37 million users in Turkey.

  According to Freedom House, a US-based nongovernmental organization focusing on democracy and human rights, Turkey ranks behind Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and Azerbaijan in Internet freedom.

  The Justice and Development Party administration detained and arrested many social media users with charges such as insulting president Erdoğan and harming the country by criticizing Erdoğan's government's handling of the economy.

  According to Yaman Akdeniz, a professor at Istanbul-based Bilgi University, the government's tactics to scare the companies into submission will backfire as most of them generate tax income.

  Read more >> here <<


www.TurkRadio.us www.TurkRadio.us

★ Authorities halted works to excavate a 2,000-year-old Roman bath in Turkey's Central Anatolian province of Yozgat as funding from the Culture and Tourism Ministry stopped.

  A tentative UNESCO World Heritage site, the remains drew attention from archaeology enthusiasts around the world for the length of the excavation.

  Holding water around 104 to 120 degrees, the Basilica Therma is a type of bath that only has one other example in the world.


★ Known worldwide as "Turkish carpets" and depicted in Renaissance art, handmade rugs from the western province of Uşak are facing extinction as an art, but the women in Dokur Evi ("weave house" in Turkish) work to protect the art they inherited.

  Studied by art specialists for its different patterns and motifs, and the meanings behind them, the Uşak rug is no longer mass-produced, but the women in Dokur Evi think that their work has increased the art's visibility.

  "Women here learned this art from their mothers and their grandmothers at a young age, and we get to benefit from their knowledge," said Ayşe Ceren Uçar, a textile engineer for Dokur Evi for the past nine years.

  More than 90 percent of Dokur Evi employees used to be unemployed, Uçar added, while employee Şükran Göktuna said that the unique weaving technique used to make Uşak rugs is "labor-intensive and requires patience, but is just as rewarding."

  Employee Hacer Budak learned to weave rugs as an apprentice to her mother up until she was 15, and said that Dokur Evi's technique is identical to the original methods with except for the use of a spinner.

  "Everything else is the same. The natural dye, the shop set up, the weave..."

  Read more about these carpets >> here <<


  A model of Çatalhöyük

★ Stanford professor Ian Hodder has been leading an excavation on a site dating back to 9000 years ago in central Turkey for the past 25 years, and his project just ended.

  Prof. Hodder also announced his retirement.

  Archeologists consider the site named Çatalhöyük ("Forked Mound") to be one of the oldest cities in the world.

  In July 2012, UNESCO included it in world heritage sites.

  This year Turkish authorities announced that Turkey's Anadolu University archaeology professor Dr. Ali Umut Türkcan would head further excavations. He has been working at the excavation site for the past 14 years.

Click photo for a lager view in a new page

★ Archaeologists found a ceramic mask of the god Dionysus at an excavation site in Northwestern Turkey by the Manyas Lake.

  Dionysus is the god of grape harvest, winemaking and wine, fertility, orchards and fruit, vegetation, insanity, ritual madness, and religious ecstasy.

  The excavation site contains the ancient city of Daskyleion. The earliest settlements at the site goes back to 2700 years ago from our time.


★ Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of a gymnasium and an adjoining bathhouse at the ancient Greek city of Smyrna, in the western Turkish province of Izmir.

  The structure is believed to date from the second century, probably from the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

  Meanwhile, excavations at the ancient theater's stage building, located on the slope between Kadifekale and the Agora, have also unearthed the statue of a young Satyros holding a hunting stick (Lagobolon).

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 7.86


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 75/54 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 82/68 Mostly Sunny
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 70/41 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 75/61 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 81/59 Mostly Sunny
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 73/70 Mostly Cloudy
Seawater temperatures:
Black Sea measured at Trabzon         : 72
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdağ      : 73
Aegean Sea measured at İzmir          : 74
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya : 81


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz


* Turkish national soccer team is playing against Russia this weekend, preempting the Premiere League games.

Premier League

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


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