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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 14 November 2020

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 14 November 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 November 8, 2020, Turkey's treasury and finance minister Mr. Berat Albayrak, the president's son-in-law, announced his resignation on Instagram. He cited health issues and the need to attend to his family as the reason. For a few days, Turks waited for a confirmation of the resignation from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan or his subordinates.

  In the meantime, speculation on the actual reason was rife both on social media and in the opposition press.

  The 90% of the press that the cronies of president Erdoğan controls were silent on the matter.

  Turkish columnist Murat Yetkin wrote on November 9 that Albayrak was a partner to Erdoğan's all mistakes in economy administration, but he was also a scapegoat who shielded the reactions.

  Mr. Albayrak's resignation came at the heels of a new governor for the central bank.

  Bloomberg noted that the Turkish lira surged the most since March 2019 on speculation higher interest rates could be coming after the resignation of Mr. Albayrak and on hopes for rates orthodoxy after departures.

  In related news, the newly appointed Turkish central bank governor Naci Ağbal said that the bank's main goal was to achieve price stability by controlling inflation. The official inflation rate in Turkey is 12%, well above a target of around 5%. However, experts calculating the inflation rate independently of the government say that it is more like 30%.

  On November 13, President Erdoğan claimed that Turkey was entering a new period in the economy and judiciary and that Parliament will prioritize new judiciary reform bills next year. In the economy, the priority is to "immediately draw the inflation rate to single digits." He was speaking to a provincial convention of his ruling Justice and Development Party.

  Meanwhile, writing in the Financial Times, chief economist at the Institute of International Finance Robin Brooks said on Thursday: "What Turkey needs to do now is get on the right path and send a policy signal that it plans to raise interest rates." Brooks said that this would restore the confidence of international investors.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Turkish analysts say Joe Biden's projected presidential election victory could prove to be a pivotal moment in Turkey's relations with the United States. We could see Turkey pivoting back to its traditional Western allies or further deepening ties with Russia and China, Dorian Jones of the Voice of America reports.

  While many European leaders were quick to offer congratulations to Biden, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan belatedly issued a statement Wednesday acknowledging Biden's victory. In it, Erdoğan stressed the "strategic" nature of bilateral ties and said they should be further strengthened based on common interests.

  The Turkish leader also sent a message to President Donald Trump, thanking him.

  Under Trump, critics say, Erdoğan paid little price for confronting fellow NATO members and cozying up to Russia, with the U.S. president opposing calls in the U.S. Congress for sanctions against Turkey.

  Other highlights from Dorian Jones report:

  Aslı Aydıntaşbaş, a senior fellow of the European Council of Foreign Relations, says that "Erdoğan knows how to play the U.S. against Russia and vice versa."

  International relations teacher Soli Özel of Istanbul's Kadir Has University: "The message from Biden will be to Turkey, do behave like an ally." The U.S. and other NATO allies object to the purchase of Russian missiles and are threatening Turkey with sanctions.

  Retired Admiral Cem Gürdeniz: "Hostile actions against Turkey will eventually align Turkey with the Eurasian and Asia powers like Russia and China."

  Read more >> here <<

★ Turkish scientist Betül Kaçar will be leading a team of scientists at the University of Arizona to contribute to NASA's latest initiative to search for life outside of planet Earth.

  Kaçar said on November 9, 2020, that her research team would be one of the 12 and be active for five years.

  Kaçar became the youngest person ever selected for such a position. The funding for her team is $12 million.

  Hailing from the Black Sea region of Giresun, Kaçar moved to the United States at 20 years old and obtained her Ph.D. from Georgia's Emory University.

  After working on evolutionary biology at Harvard University from 2012 to 2017, Kaçar joined the University of Arizona's Departments of Cell Biology, Astronomy and Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.

★ In a speech at the opening ceremony of the International Exhibition Center in Turkey's northwestern province of Kocaeli on November 8, Turkish President Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: "coronavirus laid bare Western injustice." He added, "Western countries face problems not only with their social fabric but also economically."

  The Anatolia News Agency that carried the piece of news added:

  "Decrying how people in some of the most-developed countries died from COVID-19 due to lack of access to basic healthcare services, he stressed that stoking Islamophobia will not rescue Western countries from this problem."

  Analysts point out that Mr. Erdoğan did not mention the dire situation with the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey and the unemployment rate approaching 50%.

  A member of the Turkish Medical Association reported that their calculations point to a six-fold increase in the country's number of COVID-19 patients and deaths in the past three months. Turkey's minister of health Dr. Fahrettin Koca claimed that there was only a 10% increase in September.

  The Association called for a five-day protest starting on November 11, 2020 as a reaction to the dire strain placed on health workers during the pandemic, urging everyone to turn their lights on and off at 9 P. M. each night, the Turkish daily Duvar reported.

  The Association says that 65 physicians and 145 health workers have died from COVID-19 in Turkey so far.

★ Turkey's justice minister Abdulhamit Gül has urged judges to comply with top court's rulings, saying that "legal predictability" is a necessity for investment, the Turkish daily Duvar reported.

  Under government pressure, most judges were not heeding the rulings of Turkey's Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

  Last month, an Istanbul court's rejection of a ruling by the Constitutional Court and quashing the conviction of former deputy Enis Berberoğlu reignited the debate over judicial independence.

  Gül also criticized the use of lengthy pretrial detention in Turkey, urging judges not to rule for arrest unless it is an "exceptional" situation. Some pretrial detentions in Turkey run into years.

  Main opposition Republican People's Party deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu criticized Gül for his remarks saying that he has been speaking as if he is not the minister in charge of the Justice Ministry.

★ Istanbul and Ankara governors on November 10, 2020, restricted the provinces' senior citizens over 65 years of age from going outside except for hours between 10 A. M. and 4 P. M.

  Authorities made and an exception for public servants and people of certain professions, such as medical doctors, healthcare workers, pharmacists, elected public officials, and social workers. Authorities also exempted business owners, traders, industrialists, farmers, self-employed people, and heads of professional associations.

  In related news, authorities imposed partial quarantines in the provinces of Kars, Kastamonu, Bilecik, and Balıkesir.

  Also, after a producer who attended a tender bid for an estate in the Municipality of İpsala in Turkey's northwestern province of Edirne on November 9 tested positive, 23 people, including Mayor Abdullah Naci Ünsal and four municipal council members, have been quarantined as a precaution.

★ The European Union published a draft report on Turkey on November 11, 2020. The draft report said that Turkey had moved away from the European values and standards and, in turn, put its relations with the European Union to a historical low point.

  The draft report also said that the goal was to strengthen relations between Turkey and European societies and combat prejudice. It added that it was aiming to support civil society in Turkey.

  The report said that it is worried about the disregard by the Turkish judiciary or of the European Court of human rights rulings and the constitutional court of Turkey.

  The report claimed that the state of emergency policies adopted after the 2016 attempted coup became a deliberate, relentless, systematic state policy of repression. It also criticized the violations of freedom of expression. It said that the 2020 World Press Freedom Index ranked Turkey 154th out of 180 countries.

  Read the full report  >> here <<

★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, Turkey's Competition Board has fined Google $25.6 million in local currency following an investigation against the company.

  The board found Google to be violating the terms of fair competition due to unfair access to advertisement space.

  Earlier this year, Turkish authorities imposed another fine on Google for aggressive competition tactics.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 7.66


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 57/37 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 77/63 Showers
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 46/27 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 59/50 Showers
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 66/50 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 59/52 Showers


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz


★ Turkish and Croatian teams had a draw 3-3 in Istanbul. Due to the national team's matches, there are no soccer games in the premiere league this week.

★ The Formula 1 drivers arrived in Turkey ready to take on an Istanbul Park circuit not used in Formula 1 since the 2011 season, with much excitement among them about the prospect of competing at the legendary Turkish Grand Prix venue.

★ In the Grecoroman wrestling competitions in Zagreb, Croatia Turkish wrestlers got four gold, four silver and one bronze medals .

★ In freestyle wrestling competitions in Moscow, Russia Turkish wrestlers received one silver and two bronze medals.

★ 22-year-old 6 ft 8 in Turkish swimmer Emre Sakçı broke another European record with 55.74 seconds in the swimming competitions held in Budapest, Hungary in 100 breaststroke, just 0.13 second short of the world record of 55.61 seconds.

  Read more >> here <<


[Saat 14:30 and 15:30 'da iki kez okuyun]

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