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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 16 January 2021

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 16 January 2021]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, assailants battered an opposition politician from former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's Future Party in Ankara on January 15, 2021, hours before assailants attacked a journalist from nationalist Yeniçağ daily as he got into his car.

  Future Party deputy chair Selçuk Özdağ survived the battery, while journalist Orhan Uğuroğlu inflicted small injuries.

  The assailants drove away in a vehicle without a license plate, a Future Party official said.

  "We're waiting for a statement from the president about this attack on a politician with whom he's personally worked," Davutoğlu said in a statement.

  Politicians who left the governing Justice and Development Party Recently Established the Future Party, challenging president Erdoğan.

  "We are from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Stop criticizing the Nationalist Movement Party. The nationalists will find you," the perpetrators reportedly told journalists Uğuroğlu.

  The Nationalist Movement Party is the junior coalition partner of President Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Last week, we reported to you that the police detained many students at the Boğaziçi University.

  The students have been protesting the government's appointment of a director to their University. The students are saying that the director should ascend to his position with a vote at the University.

  Turkey's public review agency Ombudsman Institution defended The Right to peaceful assembly in a recent ruling, the daily Cumhuriyet reported on January 12, 2021.

  In addition to detaining the protesters, the security forces beat some of them, raided their homes, sexually assaulted some in police custody, and tear-gassed them during demonstrations, the Turkish media claimed.

  The Ombudsman's Office also said that law enforcement had violated the constitutional right to peaceful assembly of bar association heads by blocking them entering the capital Ankara during their protest march in June 2020.

  The bar association heads marched to Ankara from across the country to protest a bill that has since passed, allowing the foundation of more than one bar association per province, discrediting the organizations that are often slammed by the government for their critical positions.

  The office also urged the Interior Ministry to adhere to rulings by the European Court of Human Rights. However, President Erdoğan recently said Turkey is not bound to adhere to them.

★ Writing in the Al-Monitor, Amberin Zaman reports that Turkey is awash with schadenfreude over the Capitol takeover.

  A large number of Turks feel deep animosity toward the United States, and a sense of just desserts prevails as the world reels from January 6, 2021, rioting in the Capitol, she adds.

  In the inverted world of Turkish conspiracy theories, some detected parallels between Trump and Erdoğan, in which both were portrayed as victims. Sympathy for Trump stems from the latter's overt admiration for a fellow populist. The outgoing U.S. president has shielded the Turkish leader from a slew of draft sanctions for much of his term.

  Might Twitter suspend Erdoğan's account as it had Trump's, mused Sabah columnist and ardent Erdoğan supporter Hilal Kaplan. Were there certain forces, read Turkey's toothless opposition parties, who might reject the results of any election they lost? And the subtext: Would social media giants like Twitter ride to their rescue?

  Read more >> here <<


★ Turkey's Ministry of Health gave a tender for the preservation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to the same company that made the current faulty system that led to millions of measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines to be ruined in 2018.

  The Court of Accounts urged an audit in 2018 so the company would be investigated for costing the public over $1.7 million in local currency.

★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, Turkey's largest city, Istanbul has been crushed by the COVID-19 pandemic as the number of cases remains at alarming levels.

  In recent Reuters' photographs of funerals of COVID-19 patients in Istanbul's Kilyos Cemetery shine a haunting light on the tragedy.

★ According to daily Duvar reporter Sinem Sönmez, despite not using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine like many of its neighbors, Turkey is still lagging behind in its vaccination efforts. It ranks ninth among the neighborhood in its efforts for the percent of the population which got the vaccine.

  Turkish authorities opted away from the Pfizer vaccine for its requirement to be kept at very low temperatures, instead chose a Chinese vaccine, which seems to afford much lower protection.

  It needs to ramp up its vaccination efforts quickly so that the economy can re-open and Turkey can return to normalcy as soon as possible, Sinem Sönmez adds.

  Dr. Sinem Sönmez is a lecturer of Economics, at Baruch College, City University of New York.


  Turkish President Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan getting vaccinated against COVID-19

★ Turkey is publicizing the vaccination of political leaders, including the president, against COVID 19 on TV and digital platforms such as Twitter to promote vaccination among the people.

  On January 14, 2021, Turkey's Minister of Health, Dr. Fahrettin Koca, urged party chairs to endorse the inoculation process and get vaccinated as soon as possible in an attempt to alleviate any public doubts over the effectiveness of the vaccine.

  Dr. Koca also called some leaders personally and invited them to get vaccinated.

  Main opposition party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also got a call from the minister. However, Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu said that he would wait for his turn and let the health workers get vaccinated first.

★ On January 13, 2021, the Turkish daily Duvar reported that Turkish prosecutors dropped negligence charges against a judge and the police officers concerning the murder of a woman by her former husband.

  Following Ayşe Tuba Arslan's murder, activists had said the murder could have been prevented if courts had previously taken dissuasive measures against the perpetrator and the police had enforced the restraining orders.

  Ms. Arslan pressed charges against his former husband 23 times after receiving death threats from him, but he succeeded in killing her in 2019.

  Women's rights activists say that Turkey is rife with violence against women.

★ Russian chatting app Telegram's founder gave Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's use of the network as proof that they were observing the largest digital migration in history.

  Millions of WhatsApp users have recently switched to Telegram after an upgrade to WhatsApp's privacy terms and conditions.

  The new WhatsApp terms and conditions say that it will be sharing personal data with its parent company Facebook.

  In addition to Telegram, President Erdoğan also joined a Turkish app called BIP. Turkey's largest carrier Turkcell operates BIP.


★ According to the Anatolia Agency, a Turkish court sentenced Islamic televangelist cult leader 64-year-old Adnan Oktar to almost 1100 years in prison on charges of sexually abusing minors, espionage, and leading a criminal organization.

  The cult leader used to host a TV show where he often hung out with scantily dressed young women he called his "kittens."

★ According to Reuters, Greece is pushing to return 1,450 people currently in migrant reception centers on Lesbos and other Aegean islands to Turkey, Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said on Jan. 14, calling on Ankara to respect asylum agreements with the European Union.

  The move comes ahead of a planned resumption of talks to resolve longstanding territorial disputes between Greece and Turkey following months of tensions between the two NATO allies in the Aegean.

  Migrant returns to Turkey under a 2016 European Union-Turkey agreement, mostly dried up last year due to the coronavirus crisis. But Mitarachi said conditions were now in place for them to resume thanks to new technology and COVID-19 testing procedures.


★ The Turkish daily Birgün headline says: The Turkish Statistical Institute's labor data once again concealed the struggle of thousands of unemployed workers in its October numbers.

  The daily wrote that an average of 8600 workers lost their livelihood each day in October.

  The daily claimed that that statistical Institute manipulated the numbers and claimed that the number of unemployed decreased by 260,000 by excluding the long-term unemployed.


★ About 30 of the 440 shopping malls in Turkey are at risk of bankruptcy due to the dramatic loss of rent revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, the daily Dünya reported.

  Meanwhile, malls' foreign-currency based loans have increased in Turkish currency due to the lira's record devaluation in 2020.

★ Turkey is in a severe drought, the British daily the Guardian reported on January 13, 2021.

  Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey with 17 million people, has only 45 days of water left in its reservoirs. Capital Ankara has 110 days of water.

  The critically low level of rainfall in the second half of 2020 --approaching 50% year on year for November -- led the religious affairs directorate to instruct imams and their congregations to pray for rain last month.

  Experts say that, in addition to climate change, prioritizing economic growth on environmental concerns contributed to the current problem.


Edited by Fuad Tokad


★ It emerged that in an August 2020 video, Istanbul's Üsküdar mayor Hilmi Türkmen defended the relaunch of the pedestrian walkway project that had previously damaged the 16th-century Şemsi Paşa Mosque located by the coastline.

  The original project plan had cracked the mosque's walls during the placement of pile foundations in the sea. However, Türkmen says in the video that there is nothing to worry about.


★ A four-month restoration process recovered the original stones of the 13th-century Hıdırlık Bridge in Turkey's Central Anatolian province of Tokat. A previous renovation work covered the Seljuk-era bridge with concrete and then asphalt. Authorities put the bridge has been put under protection and are planning to open it in April-May.

  Tokat Mayor Eyüp Eroğlu said that asphalt had been poured on the bridge about 20 years ago, and the structure was closed to traffic seven years ago. This work damaged the original stones in various places, he added.

  The mayor said that the Board on Conservation of Cultural Assets has been monitoring the municipality's restoration works. "It is absolutely forbidden to use materials such as concrete or cement [during works]," the mayor said.

  Tokat was once one of the great trading centers of Anatolia. The Seljuks endowed the town with an architecture of great and enduring quality. The 13th-century Hıdırlık Bridge and the several dervish lodges are good examples.

  The bridge straddles the Yeşilırmak River at the western entrance of the town.


★ A kebab chef in southeast Turkey enraged eyewitnesses after he hosted a barbecue inside of an abandoned church in southeast Turkey's Şanlıurfa district on Jan. 14.

  Dating back to the 19th century and located about 10 kilometers from the nearest settlement, the Germuş Armenian Church has become a spot for squatters since its abandonment, one local noted.

  "Treasure hunters destroyed this place. Now, people come here to drink, or grill kebabs," Dağyanı Neighborhood resident Übeyit İnci said, urging the state to restore the ancient structure.

  Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party deputy Garo Paylan also slammed the chef's abuse of the ruins in a tweet.

  "I don't know what to say, shame!" Paylan said.


★ Istanbul's Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall performances are continuing on YouTube.

  The schedule is as follows:

  Monday, January 18, 2021, at 20: 00

  Islam Manafov

  Azerbaijani State Artist, pianist Islam Manafov will bring the 4th and 5th symphonies of the genius composer Beethoven with the piano preparation of F. Liszt.

  In Turkey, Manafov works as a lecturer at Yeditepe University in Istanbul. He has undertaken many projects in culture and education services with the idea of ​​the Baku Music Academy. He also continues as a pianist, composer, and conductor.

  Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall Artistic Director Cem Mansur's interview with Manafov will also be on YouTube.

  Friday, January 22, 2021, at 20: 00

  Town Square Fasıl

  Fasıl, one of the most important forms of Turkish traditional music, has been forgotten in recent years. However, it is meeting with music lovers again at the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall.

  The special concert will feature magnificent singers and ensembles who have devoted themselves to Fasıl Music.

  Sunday, January 24, 2021, at 20: 00

  Kandemir Basmacıoğlu, Miniatures

  Kandemir Basmacıoğlu has a rare combination of passionate musicality and intellectual concern. He will meet with music lovers at the Miniatures concert at the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall on YouTube.

  Kandemir Basmacıoğlu describes the Miniatures concert as follows;

  "In addition to major musical forms such as symphony and sonata, throughout history, composers have also created works that can be called miniatures. Some of these consist of a few pages or even a few lines. I aim to describe the journey of this genre in the history of music by giving examples from the works of composers from different eras and geographies such as Beethoven, Debussy, and Alnar. " Wolfgang at Fun/a day to honor Wolfgang's birthday

  Wednesday, January 27, 2021, at 20:00

  January 27 is a special day for musicians. The birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, albeit he lived only for 35 years, is celebrated this year by the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall, with a program that emphasizes the composer's sense of humor. His joker and prankish identity, which constantly shows up in his music, will be on the air with two of his early and late works.

  Cemal Reşit Rey Youth Orchestra will perform "Galimathias Musicum" that Mozart composed when he was nine years old

  One can translate "Galimathias Musicum" only as "Musical Nonsense."

  In "Musical Joke," there is Mozart who mocks all the lack of thought, clumsiness, and incompetence a composer can show. Narration by Cem Mansur narration accompanies this broadcast.


★ The first trailer of the documentary Stray that focuses on Istanbul street dogs is out.

  The documentary Kedi by Ceyda Torun, which focuses on stray cats in Istanbul, was released in 2016 and was the guest of many festivals.

  After the festival ride in many countries outside Turkey, the global audiences showed great interest in Kedi.

  Five years after Kedi, a documentary focusing on stray dogs in Istanbul streets is getting ready to meet with the audience.

  According to the news reported by FilmLoverss, Stray is the first feature-length documentary of Elizabeth Lo, an award-winning documentary filmmaker. The film focuses on three stray dogs that inhabit the streets of Istanbul.

  Wandering in the crowded streets among the people, the dogs Kartal, Nazar, and Zeytin sometimes find themselves in a dramatic situation while embarking on an adventure.

  The journey of these three stray dogs, who have no security or location, also tells a story about the people they walk around.

  Elizabeth Lo says that she first met Zeytin during a trip to Istanbul, and when she followed her, she encountered this unexpected dog community in the city. While Lo was following Zeytin and her friends with her camera every day for six from 2018 to 2019, Ceylan Çarhoğlu, Zeynep Köprülü, and Zeynep Aslanoba, the co-producers of the film, recorded the surrounding sounds with a microphone in her hand.

  Stray made its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2020. It later visited festivals in many cities, including London and Stockholm. Stray was also among the nominees for the Critics Choice Documentary Awards in the Best First Documentary category.


★ Nazım Hikmet was remembered with various online events on his 119th birthday on January 15.

  At the events organized by Istanbul's Ataşehir Municipality dubbed "Welcoming the World Poet," people listened to poems from Nazım Hikmet's voice.

  People also heard His poems translated into different languages, ​​and singers sang songs in his memory.

  The Ataşehir Kültür Youtube channel broadcast the event.

  Turkish capital Ankara's Çankaya Municipality also commemorated Nazım Hikmet with online events.

  Within the scope of the activities under the title of "Happy Birthday Nazım Hikmet," the first poem music concert "Rüştü Asya and Nazım Hikmet at the 119th anniversary" was staged by Rüştü Asya on the municipality YouTube channel.

  The second Çankaya Municipality online event as part of the grandmaster's memorial days was the theater play "Piraye." The letters Nazım Hikmet wrote to his great love Piraye are the basis for the work.

  Also, you can watch the Nazım Hikmet's concert by İş Sanat in December free of charge on İş Sanat's social media accounts and website until the end of the season.

  Mehmet Birkiye adapted the concert titled "A Train Departs From Haydarpaşa Train Station" prepared by Atilla Birkiye.

  Serdar Yalçın was the music director. Tilbe Saran, Hümay Güldağ, Metin Belgin, Bülent Emin Yarar, and Hakan Gerçek performed the poems at the concert presented with a selection from Nazim's work "Human Landscapes from My Homeland" written in the 1940s.

  Due to the pandemic, Sarıyer Municipality carried the commemoration program also to the digital platforms. The municipality collaborates every year with the Nazım Hikmet Culture and Art Foundation on January 15.

  Nebil Özgentürk and Team a Sip of Humans delete prepared this year's program.


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