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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 13 February 2021

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 13 February 2021]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ David Lepeska wrote in the National News of UAE that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a big fan of the protests that have been shaking Istanbul for the past five weeks.

  As we reported to you in the past weeks, the protesters want the government-appointed president of the Boğaziçi University removed. The protesters have been saying that the Boğaziçi professors should elect the president from among themselves.

  The protests started on the Boğaziçi campus and spilled over to all districts of the Istanbul Metropolitan area and beyond. The police arrested hundreds, and the prosecutors are pressing terrorism charges to usually peaceful protesters.

  David Lepeska writes that protests are pulling eyeballs away from the most urgent issues in the country today. It is how its deeply troubled economy is driving more people into poverty.

  He further wrote:

  "The government has subtly acknowledged the depth of this problem with a new campaign to help Turkish citizens survive on next to nothing. On Sunday, a program on state-run television network TRT advised people not to waste food and explained that eggs could be eaten after their expiration date.

  "The day before, the front page of Takvim, a newspaper closely linked to Justice and Development Party, presented a grim walk-through on wielding one's will power to save money while grocery shopping. 'Shop on a full stomach.' ' Avoid nice smells.' ' Don't touch the products – the feeling of ownership will force you to buy it.'"

  David Lepeska also wrote:

  "These numbers point to another reason Mr. Erdoğan appreciates the protests. They present the perfect opportunity to do what he does best: divide and conquer. And indeed he and his allies have begun to polarize the country further and rally his main vote banks, nationalists and religious conservatives." Read more >> here <<

  Speaking of Boğaziçi protests, the Turkish daily Duvar reported on Friday that on the 40th day of protests Turkish police battered and detained more supporters of for the students in bursa city in southern Marmara region.

  The daily Duvar also reports that parents of detained students have even received threatening phone calls from people who identified themselves as the police.

  Meanwhile, Boğaziçi University academics have been continuing their peaceful protests against Bulu in front of the president's office on campus by standing with their backs turned against the building.

  They have urged Bulu to resign and democratic elections for the president.

★ According to the Turkish daily Sözcü, the number of people incarcerated in Turkish jails has increased 3.8-fold in the last decade, citing data from the Turkish Statistical Institute.

  The number of incarcerated has reached almost 282,000 in 2019, whereas this figure was only about 75,000 in 2009.

★ The European Court of Human Rights ruled on February 9, 2021, that Turkey had violated the rights of human rights lawyer Ramazan Demir by refusing to grant him access to Internet sites of the European Court of Human Rights, the Turkish Constitutional Court and the Turkish Official Gazette in the course of his pre-trial detention in Silivri Prison in 2016.

  The court ordered Turkey to pay Demir 1,500 euros in respect of non-pecuniary damage and 2,000 euros in respect of costs and expenses.

  Demir represents former Peoples' Democratic Party co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş before the European Court of human rights. The ruling Justice and Development Party administration jailed Demir pending trial on charges of terrorism on April 6, 2016, and released him five months later.

★ Some 140 prominent Turkish economists have released a message of support for Prof. Ayşe Buğra, after the academic was targeted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week.

  Buğra is a professor of political economy at Istanbul's Boğaziçi University.

  Erdoğan last week insulted both Buğra and her husband renowned activist Osman Kavala when he was commenting on the ongoing Boğaziçi University protests.

  As we have been reporting to you, Osman Kavala has been in jail for over three years pending trial on trumped-up charges of espionage.

★ According to Rina Bassist of Al-Monitor, Israel is still cool to gestures from Turkey. In a positive, yet cautious signal, Israel has nominated senior diplomat ambassador Irit Lillian as charge d'affaires to its embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

  Here is a summary of Rina Bassist's article:

  At the beginning of December, Ankara appointed a new ambassador to Israel after two years of absence. Turkey's new ambassador, Ufuk Ulutaş, has studied Hebrew in Jerusalem. He is not a career diplomat but an expert on the region and appreciated by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. But even after this decision by Erdoğan, Israel did not appoint a new ambassador to Ankara. Rather, the embassy is to operate as it did for the past two years without a permanent head of mission.

  Interestingly, already before the appointment of Ulutaş Ankara made several moves carrying a message of rapprochement. On Dec. 7, the Moshe Dayan Institute in Tel Aviv published an exceptional article, titled "Israel is Turkey's neighbor across the sea: delimitation of the maritime jurisdiction areas between Turkey and Israel." Co-written by retired Adm. professor Cihat Yayci, a close associate of Erdoğan, the article suggested that the two countries discuss delimiting marine frontiers anew.

  The article was followed by positive statements of senior Turkish officials on Israel, culminating with a Dec. 25 statement by Erdoğan himself. The Turkish president told reporters that Turkey would like to have better ties with Israel. He also said that bilateral intelligence contacts are likely to continue.

  Prominent Turkey researcher Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security attributes the Turkish efforts for rapprochement to Israel's normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan. Turkey used to be the only ally of Israel in the neighborhood, now its shoes are filled by Israel's new friends in the Middle East.

  Cohen Yanarocak also notes that Turkey fears for its future relations with the Biden administration. Already during his election campaign, Joe Biden called to support Erdoğan's opponents.

★ Germany's large immigrant community has swung to the center-right and far-right, according to a Konrad Adenauer Foundation study that suggests Angela Merkel's conservatives will receive a boost from an unexpected pool of voters in the September general election, the British daily The Times reports. The foundation has links to Chancellor's Christian Democratic Union party.

  The Times adds that the Research has shown that a majority of Germans with foreign roots favor conservative, free-market, and far-right parties.

  The shift has been particularly striking in Germany's three-million-strong Turkish community, which has its roots in the guest workers invited half a century ago to fill a postwar shortage of industrial manpower. They traditionally voted for the center-left Social Democrats, and their longstanding aversion to the Christian Democratic Union was not surprising given the mantra voiced by conservative politicians until relatively recently that Germany was not a country of immigration.

  The survey showed that Turkish immigrants' support for the social Democrats slumped from 50 per cent in 2015 to 13 per cent in 2019. In the same period the conservative Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, have seen Turkish support jump from 17 per cent to 53 per cent.

  The research suggests that immigrants have become more flexible in their voting patterns and are prepared to switch to the center right as they become economically and culturally more integrated. "We are seeing a process of normalization," Viola Neu, the author of the study, said.

  Read more >> here <<

★ According to the Turkish Physicians Association, it could take up to two years for Turkey to vaccinate 60 million people at the current rate. The Association noted that southeastern provinces of Turkey are suffering from vaccination rates as low as 1.6%, the daily Duvar wrote on Friday.

  The authorities have vaccinated around 70 to 90 percent of citizens over 75 years in big cities. However, this rate is below a mere 30 percent in eastern provinces, the Association reported.


★ The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey appears committed to a tighter monetary policy for the coming years to battle inflation, a Stratfor analysis wrote on February 8, 2021.

  But the risk of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reverting to pressuring the bank back into an easing [the interest rate] remains high. This would undermine confidence in the central bank while increasing the Turkish economy's exposure to external global economic shocks.

  Through statements issued January 21, 2021, Turkey's central bank says it wants to hold a tight monetary policy until 2023 if necessary, as Turkey struggles to reach its 5% inflation target.

  The central bank also said that 10% consumer price inflation was possible in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic eased and higher interest rates helped control inflation by depressing credit demand, signaling that the bank no longer sees its 5% inflation goal as achievable this year.

  If Turkey's economic recovery slows, Erdoğan will likely seek to help offset public anger by blaming the central bank's policies and undermining its independence once more by demanding it lower interest rates, Stratfor adds.

  Read more >> here <<

★ The Turkish Statistical Institute claimed that the number of unemployed workers in Turkey shrunk by 303,000 people in the year preceding November, in yet another set of suspicious data that experts said was not reflective of the reality, the daily Duvar reported.

  Turkish economist Mustafa Sönmez says that the real unemployment rate is around 36% in Turkey as opposed to the official 12.9%.

  The daily wrote that the Turkish government's credibility dwindled drastically during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ministry of Health reported inaccurate numbers of patients for months, and the Statistical Institute has manipulated numbers to downplay the economic crisis Turkish people face.



★ According to the daily Duvar, ancient churches that have been left in ruins in western Bursa are on the brink of collapse, Art Historians Association author Burak Can has said.

  The district of Trilye, known for its large volume of olive production, used to be a Christian settlement in the 14th century, but only four of the seven churches that locals built remain standing today.

  In the past, three monasteries collapsed, and the local municipality is planning to renovate one of the six remaining cultural heritage sites in the area.

  The local Panagia Pantobasilissa Church dates back to between the years 1300 to 1500 and could collapse in the weakest earthquake if it is not rehabilitated soon.

  The experts urged local authorities to perform safe excavations on the region's ancient ruins and unearth the remains that will "help bridge the past and the future."


★ İş Sanat's concert titled "Timeless Love Songs" will take the audience on a romantic journey with its repertoire consisting of songs that have been loved from past to present, reports the daily Cumhuriyet.

  The organizers recorded without an audience the soloist Efruze accompanied by the Cinema Symphony Orchestra at İş Kuleleri Hall.

  Composer and arranger Özgür Sevinç made arrangements of the songs performed at the concert. The songs express the deep feelings of love, from coming together to longing.

  The event, specially prepared for Valentine's Day, will be on Internet on Valentine's day, February 14, 2021, at 8:30 PM local time without charge. It will then be available during the concert season, and people will be able to view it without charge as other events in the İş Sanat program.


★ According to the daily Cumhuriyet, archaeologists discovered a structure similar to Rome's Colosseum in Mastaura ancient city in Aydın's Nazilli district in Turkey.

  Preserved under the ground between olive and fig groves, The discovery of the structure created excitement in the world of archeology.

  Archaeologists are preparing to begin further excavations in the ancient city.

  The structure is about 300 m in diameter with seats all around the perimeter as Colosseum does. The 45-foot walls are still in a good state.

 The treasure hunters caused significant damage to the approximately 2,700-year-old remains in the region from the Roman period, but archeologists still found notable artifacts in the preliminary excavations.

  Mastaura was a small town in northern Caria. The Roman Empire incorporated it into the province of Asia. It had the privilege of having a mint, and some of its coins are extant.


★ Turkish singer Teoman issued a statement on the demonstrations that started after Melih Bulu was appointed president to the Boğaziçi University, and the government's efforts to suppress these demonstrations.

  Stating that he was worried about what is happening at the university, he said: "I share the feelings of students and my professors ."

  Teoman's statement published on his Instagram account is as follows:

  "I am a graduate of the Boğaziçi University. I grew up peacefully with democratic values. I am the son of farmers, workers, civil servants, shopkeepers, teachers, and doctors.

  "I have spent my youth by working. I met with people from all over Turkey. I was active in the student clubs, I took responsibilities, and we all worked together.

  "I had friends from every viewpoint; I graduated from my university by learning about respect for differences and the culture of living together. Now I am doing my best to be a beneficial individual to my country and the world."



★ The Çördük Fort from the Hellenistic period is defying years of destruction, reports the daily Cumhuriyet. Treasure hunters have been digging all over the fort for many years, but it is still surviving. The fort is in Turkey's Tokat province in a tiny village by the same name.

  According to the local university's history professor Dr. Hatice Uyanık, many archaeologists have investigated the fort since the beginning of the 20th century.

  She says that there are two graves carved into the rock on the east side of the fort. There are two tunnels with steps inside the fort and two water cisterns. The tunnels and the rock graves indicate that the ancients built the fort during the Hellenistic period some 2000 years ago.

  Since the Fort is overlooking a narrow valley that a southerly route passes through, it has had strategic importance throughout the ages.


★ The "Mask / Reminiscences" exhibition at the Baksı Museum on a remote hilltop in Turkey's Eastern province of Bayburt is now in Istanbul in collaboration with the Contemporary Istanbul Foundation.

  The exhibition is in the Cocoon, the first production and exhibition space for the Foundation in Istanbul. There are interpretations of masks by 20 artists and designers.

  An art committee consisting of professors Hüsamettin Koçan, Feride Çelik, Banu Çarmıklı and Özlem Yalım put together the exhibition.

  The exhibition aims to shed light and energy to our lives put into a pandemic-induced drought with the works of artists and designers who interpret, analyze, and offer alternatives to the chaotic environment.

  While humanity falls into panic and despair due to this heinous but daring attack at an unexpected moment, artists try to make peace with masks that people see as elementary elements of protection all over the world.

  While seeking answers to the current situation in this context, they form a diversity that questions the ancient relationship of man with the mask.


★ Turks commemorated Cem Karaca on the 17th anniversary of his death. Cem Karaca was a Turkish rock musician, composer, and actor. He was one of the founders of the Anatolian rock genre.

  Working with groups such as Apaşlar, Kardaşlar, Moğollar, and Dervişan and being both the founder and manager of the groups, Cem Karaca was one of the pioneers of the creation of strong rock culture. Known as the "Anatolian Rock Poet," Karaca left many immortal works.

He was born on April 5, 1945 in Istanbul. His father was Mehmet Karaca of Azerbaijani origin, and his mother was Toto Karaca, of Armenian origin.

Karaca grew up with art. He started his music education when he was only six years old thanks to her mother who noticed his talent. Cem Karaca, who completed his secondary education at Robert High School, first met music when his mother's aunt, Rosa Felekyan. She taught him piano melodies.

  Toto Karaca was the first to discover Karaca's vocal talent. He sang in the Beyoğlu Sports Club at the request of his friends in 1962. He later decided to form a group.

  Cem Karaca established his first band Dinamikler in 1963. İlham Gencer, one of the renowned artists of that period, supported the group. On February 8, 2004, he suffered a severe heart attack. He died subsequently at the age of 58.

  Some of over 100 plaques and awards;


★ Pi Artworks Istanbul is presenting İz Öztat's second solo exhibition, Watercolor on Paper. Öztat's previous solo exhibition at the gallery titled Suspended, which received critical acclaim internationally, took place in 2019, during the 16th Istanbul Biennial.

  The exhibition brings together a selection from the watercolor series In the Rivers North of the Future (2014-2017, Pleasure/Sizzle (2018-2019), and April Diary (2020), along with the video titled Recounting Nightmares to Running Water (2015), based on a series of watercolors. Since 2014, Öztat's watercolor works accompany the artist's research processes like a diary: bearing abstract traces of their transient making, as well as the contexts with which they are associated.

  Although her work is dependent on the context within which it is produced, Öztat regularly revisits certain subjects: the convergence of water and freedom, the return of the suppressed past in the present, and potentials of fiction in constructing historical narratives and ideological implications of the display.

  İz Öztat started working with watercolors during her research on the struggles against the construction of run-of-the-river hydroelectric power plants to let the rivers flow free. During her articulation of the desire for rivers and expression to flow freely, she made the watercolor series In the Rivers North of the Future.

  İz Öztat, (b. 1981, Istanbul), lives and works in Istanbul. Her exhibition will be through March 23, 2021.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 7.04

 ★ A tornado and hailstorm devastated parts of Turkey's Aegean province of Izmir on February 11. Hails as big as golf balls rain down on the province. The storm toppled Many trees, overturned cars, and toppled boats in the marinas.

High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 50/30 Showers
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 63/52 Showers
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 39/27 Sleet
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 36/32 Snow
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 54/45 Showers
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 46/39 Showers
Snow depths at skiing locations:
Erciyes in Kayseri, Central Turkey      : 12 inches
Ilgaz in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey: 6 inches
Kartalkaya in Bolu, Western Turkey      : 31 inches
Palandöken in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey   : 38 inches
Uludağ in Bursa, Western Turkey         : 23 inches
Sarıkamış in Kars, Eastern Turkey       : 21 inches


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz


Premier League

* Results for week: 24
Kasımpaşa       -      Hatay          1 - 4
Fenerbahçe      -      G. Saray       0 - 1
Alanya          -      Rize           2 - 1
Başakşehir      -      Karagümrük     0 - 1
Beşiktaş        -      Konya          1 - 0
Ankaragücü      -      Sivas          1 - 4
Denizli         -      Antalya        1 - 1
Erzurum         -      Kayseri        1 - 1
Malatya         -      Trabzon        0 - 2
G. Antep        -      Göztepe        2 - 0
* In games played so far this weekend:
Rize            -      Erzurum        0 - 2
Trabzon         -      G. Antep       1 - 0
Kayseri         -      Ankaragücü     0 - 0
Karagümrük      -      Fenerbahçe     1 - 2
* Standing in the league as of week ending 23
 1 - G. Saray        48
 2 - Beşiktaş        48
 3 - Fenerbahçe      48
 4 - Trabzon         42
 5 - Alanya          41
 6 - Hatay           38
 7 - G. Antep        38
 8 - Karagümrük      37
 9 - Antalya         31
10 - Malatya         29
11 - Sivas           28
12 - Göztepe         26
13 - Rize            26
14 - Kasımpaşa       26
15 - Konya           24
16 - Kayseri         24
17 - Başakşehir      24
18 - Erzurum         22
19 - G. Birliği      20
20 - Ankaragücü      18
21 - Denizli         18


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