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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 03 March 2021

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 03 March 2021]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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  Pope in Iraqi Kurdistan. Lower right in a picture frame is he proposed stamp.

★ Al-Monitor correspondent Amberin Zaman reported on March 10, 2021, that Turkey lashed out at Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government Wednesday over its plans to print a commemorative stamp to mark Pope Francis' March 7 visit to Erbil, the last leg of his historic tour of Iraq.

  The commemorative stamp featured a map of Iraqi Kurdistan that included chunks of Turkey's mostly-Kurdish populated southeastern provinces.

  Maps have been a sore point in Turkey ever since the 1920 Treaty of Sevres, which saw the World War I allies give large bits of the Ottoman Empire to France, Britain, Greece, and Italy. It also foresaw the establishment of Kurdistan.

  Afterward, Turkish independence war hero and first president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk liberated what is now modern Turkey from occupying French, Britain, Greek, and Italian forces. At the end of the liberation, Turkey and the defeated invaders signed the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, annulling the Treaty of Sevres.

  However, Turkish worries about foreign plots to dismember present-day Turkey have not subsided.

  Ms. Zaman points out that it has not helped that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, which has been fighting Turkey since 1984 initially for Kurdish independence and now some form of autonomy, is based in Iraqi Kurdistan or that its Syrian arm partnered with the United States.

  Read more >> here <<

★ On Tuesday, the acting assistant attorney general Brian Boynton and Counsel of State Department Acting Legal Adviser Richard C. Visek agreed with a U.S. court's ruling that the Turkish government is not immune to lawsuits in the case concerning its Turkish security staff's attack on peaceful protesters.

  In 2017, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was looking from the grounds of the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C., his security staff crossed police lines and attacked protesters, injuring many.

  Last year, lawyers for the Turkish government appealed the initial court ruling, saying that Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act gave Turkey immunity.


★ Karel Valansi wrote on the Atlantic Council webpages that Turkey is seeking a fresh start with Israel.

  Valansi writes that the relationship between Turkey and Israel has gone through several ups and downs since ties between the two nations were formalized in 1949. However, in recent decades, Turkey's president Mr. Erdoğan has been a vocal critic of the Israeli state and sided with the militant Islamist Hamas faction of the Palestinians on many occasions.

  Valansi claims that Turkey's growing isolation and strained ties with the United States are driving Mr. Erdoğan's administration to normalize relations with countries in the region, including Israel.

  She also writes :

  "A combination of economic, energy, intelligence, and political interests may have also persuaded Ankara to rethink its policy on Israel. Specifically, Turkey is feeling the pressure as a result of the normalization of relations between Israel and Arab states, and the reconciliation between its ally, Qatar, and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council as well as Egypt. It is also concerned about the shift in regional alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean--Turkey, for example, was excluded from the East Mediterranean Gas Forum established in 2020."

  Israel has been cautious about normalizing ties with Turkey. It has not yet responded formally to Turkey's overtures. It is reluctant to restart its relationship with Turkey until it is convinced that the Turkish side is sincere in its intentions. Israel also wants Turkey to end its support for Hamas.

  Israel is also worried about the Turkish president's growing interest in Jerusalem. Mr. Erdoğan is said to be interested in claiming the custodianship of Jerusalem's Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount) to boost his quest for leadership of the Muslim world. The Kingdom of Jordan is the current custodian.

  Karel Valansi is a political columnist for the Turkish Internet newspaper T24, and the Turkish Jewish paper Shalom, focused on the Middle East. She is a lecturer at Istanbul Kültür University, a Ph.D. candidate at Kadir Has University, and author of The Crescent Moon and the Magen David, Turkish-Israeli Relations Through the Lens of the Turkish Public.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Writing in the British daily The Times, Hannah Lucinda Smith reports that Turkey's Protestants are under threat as they are deemed a danger to security.

  Turkish authorities have expelled many non-resident Protestants in the past few years from Turkey, some of whom had lived in Turkey for decades.

  The Protestant community in Turkey is around 10,000. It has been the target of nationalist violence for some time.

  During the initial years of Mr. Erdoğan's reign that started in 2003, the Protestant community began to gain some legal rights. However, the tide eventually turned back. Turkish authorities jailed Andrew Brunson, an American evangelical pastor, in 2016 on trumped-up charges that he was collaborating with the followers of Fethullah Gülen. The followers of US-based cleric Gülen staged a coup that year.

  The pressure and sanctions that President Donald Trump imposed enabled the release of the pastor in 2018. Although none of the Protestants expelled are associated with Andrew Brunson, ever since the Turkish authorities are looking at all of them with suspicion.

  Now mostly back in their home countries, the expelled Protestants say they often feel like foreigners there and yearn for Turkey, despite their ordeals.

  "One person said to me, 'I'm sure you're glad to be home,'" said Ken Wiest, a US citizen who had lived in Turkey for 35 years. "I started crying. Turkey is my home. I'm 63, I don't expect to live there again. But it would be nice to be able to go to say goodbye."

  Read more >> here <<


★ According to the Anatolia News Agency, Turkey's first lady said Wednesday that people think it is a joke that one day we may run out of water and that they do not really understand why nature should not be destroyed.

  Ms. Emine Erdoğan emphasized that to spread the environment-friendly life culture, people should create a sense of responsibility and that this was especially important to cover during children's education.

  Read more >> here <<

★ According to the Associated Press, the presidents of Turkey and Russia remotely inaugurated the construction of a third nuclear reactor at the Akkuyu power plant in southern Turkey Wednesday, vowing to continue their close cooperation.

  Russia is building Turkey's first nuclear power plant on the Mediterranean coast in Mersin province. The two countries signed a cooperation agreement in 2010 and began construction in 2018.

  Read more >> here <<

★ According to the Euro News, a Turkish-German lawyer representing the Turkish victims killed by the German neo-Nazis is now under threat.

  Lawyer Seda Başay Yıldız is also saying that the German state of Hessen is not willing to protect her, and she is suing the state.

  For the past 2 1/2 years, Ms. Yıldız has been receiving threatening fax and emails. Her threateners sometimes send her her address and family details. After she moved her home, the neo-Nazi threateners found out about her address again. The neo-Nazi sympathizers within the police have passed on the new address to the extremists, but Ms. Yıldız said that the state did not conduct a proper investigation.

  Despite local police recommendations for additional protection, the state authorities declined to pay the costs.

★ Here is a summary of civil liberties related events in Turkey last week:

  - Reuters reports that Turkish police have detained 13 people for chanting a slogan at a Women's Day protest. The authorities claim that they were insulting president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The detainments came about despite President Erdoğan said his government would promote freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial under an action plan.

  - The Committee to Protect Journalists has called on the Turkish government to investigate a mob assault on Turkish journalist Levent Gültekin for criticizing late Alparslan Türkeş. Mr. Türkeş was the founder of the extreme-right Nationalist Action Party. Mr. Gültekin is a columnist for the Diken news website and an outspoken critic of the ruling Justice and Development Party.


Edited by Selin Taylak


★ According to Reuters, a Turkish lake may hold clues to ancient life on Mars.

  As NASA's rover Perseverance explores the surface of Mars, scientists hunting for signs of ancient life on the distant planet are using data gathered on a mission much closer to home at the lake in southwest Turkey.

  NASA says the minerals and rock deposits at Salda are the nearest match on earth to those around the Jezero Crater where the spacecraft landed. The crater is believed to have once been flooded with water.

  The sediments around Lake Salda eroded from large mounds that are formed with the help of microbes, scientists believe.

  See a slideshow on the lake  >> here <<

Dr. Çağan Şekercioğlu

★ Dr. Çağan Şekercioğlu, a Turkish professor at Stanford, Utah and Koç universities, became the person who saw the most bird species in the world in 2020.

  Dr. Şekercioğlu is an ecologist, ornithologist, and conservation scientist.

  Last year he recorded his observations on 1849 bird species on the world birdwatching site eBird. For this, he traveled within Turkey, U.S., India, Columbia, Tanzania, and Britain. His observations make up about 1/5 of the total birds seen around the world in 2020.

  Dr. Şekercioğlu has been a prolific observer of birds over the years. With over 8000 bird species over the years, he comes in as the fifth person in the number of observations recorded in the eBird.

  In addition to being a scientist, Dr. Şekercioğlu also takes photographs for the National Geographic and Getty Images. He is also the founding president of the Northern Nature Association in Turkey. The Association is in the first place from Turkey in entering the most birds to the eBird database.

  See Dr. Şekercioğlu's webpage  >> here <<

★ Netflix, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, and the Film and Television Union have created a COVID-19 fund for financial aid for the employees behind the cameras, the daily Cumhuriyet reports.

  The industry employees who met the application criteria shared earlier $530,000 in local currency from the fund.

  Behind-the-stage employees who could not get support the first phase will benefit from the newly-created $265 million additional pot.

  After the second phase of aid distribution, the total support for behind-the-stage employees will approach $800 million, with each employee receiving $330.

  The shooting, lighting, sound management, art management, make-up, costume design, and transportation staff are benefiting from the fund.


★ According to the daily Cumhuriyet, when the waters withdrew about 1000 feet from Kadı Fort by the Aegean Sea, the remains of historical buildings appeared on the beach.

  The fort, also known as Anaia, is one of the most important historical monuments of the southwestern Aegean Turkish city of Kuşadası.

  The Kuşadası Environment and Nature Lovers President Bahattin Sürücü said: "A scientific excavation should occur to date the structures that are assumed to be churches and to reveal what they are. The exposed stationery stone structures are getting destroyed every year, and some nonstationary artifacts that emerged with the withdrawal of the water are also getting lost."

  Kuşadası, one of the most important tourist destinations of Turkey, welcomes thousands of guests every year. If the structures on both beaches are excavated and unearthed, Kuşadası will add significant value to tourism.

  "Salvage excavations should definitely take place for these structures, which will make a significant contribution to the cultural wealth and tourism of Kuşadası," Sürücü added.


★ Artist Refik Anadol's new solo exhibition "Machine Memories: Space", which includes his recent works that have not been exhibited before, will open to visitors on March 19, 2021 at Gallery Pilevneli Dolapdere.

  With support from the İstanbul Metropolitan and Beyoglu municipalities, "Machine Memories: Space" will be the most comprehensive solo exhibition of Los Angeles-based Refik Anadol Studio to date.

  As the symbiotic relationship between human life, science and technology continually transforms, the role of machines in pushing the boundaries of imagination generates intriguing discussions about successful human-machine teams. Refik Anadol, who sees artificial intelligence as collaborator rather than a mere tool, has been exploring interrelated key concepts for challenging our conventional understanding of the cosmos, human senses, machines, and the mind. Machine Memoirs: Space, the most comprehensive solo exhibition by Refik Anadol Studio in Istanbul to date, speculates a new conceptual framework to turn the spotlight on the vast photographic archives that document the history of space exploration.

  In Machine Memoirs: Space, machine-based visual speculations about space, and humanity's historical attempts to explore its depths unveil intricate connections between obscurity and openness, creating an alternate data universe of abstract forms where reams of information produce open-ended aesthetic possibilities. In 1980, in an episode of his TV show Cosmos, astrophysicist Carl Sagan said, "Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere." 41 years after Sagan's statement, Refik Anadol Studio presents yet another speculation of imagining a (data) universe as a first step to reach its unseen dimensions with a poetic flow of metaphors that connect photographic astronomic data with observable human emotions formed around public art.

  Read more >> here <<


★ Turkish archaeologists found 103 stone tools made from flint and obsidian in a cave in the district of Düzköy in Turkey's Black Sea province of Trabzon.

  The tools are thought to date back to 11,000 BC. An analysis revealed that that the first humans living in the region used the tools for cutting.

  Turkish archaeologists sent seven of the tools to Prof. Dr. Tristan Carter at McMaster University in Canada. Dr. Carter determined that the stones used in making the tools were from hundreds of miles away, five from Cappadocia, further south in central Turkey, and two were from the southern Caucasus.

  The finds in the cave are contemporary to the objects ones on Göbeklitepe mound, another ancient site in Southeastern Turkey. Archaeologists are now planning to conduct excavations in the cave.

  Authorities are not disclosing the exact location of the cave.


★ The online site Broadway.com writes that the acting company Hamlet Isn't Dead, in association with the U.S. Karagöz Theater, will present a modern shadow puppetry play in a classical style.

  Dream of Hamlet is a modern interpretation of Shakespeare's Hamlet told through the classical stylings of Turkish shadow puppetry. In this show, the Anatolian puppet theater, a living tradition with 700 years of history, brings a modernist approach to the British playwright Shakespeare's signature play by reconstructing its characters and theme in an entirely different context.

  As in the traditional shadow theater, the figures representing characters are made from leather of camel and water buffalo. They are adapted into the play after being painted with special tools. While presenting a modern story, Dream of Hamlet uses all the subtleties of traditional art.

  Read more about the Karagöz Theater >> here <<

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 7.56


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 61/37 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 63/54 Showers
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 37/18 Mostly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 59/41 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 64/46 Showers
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 54/43 Mostly Cloudy
Snow depths at skiing locations:
Erciyes in Kayseri, Central Turkey      : 23 inches
Ilgaz in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey: 22 inches
Kartalkaya in Bolu, Western Turkey      : 62 inches
Palandöken in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey   : 56 inches
Saklıkent in Antalya, Southern Turkey   : No snow report
Uludağ in Bursa, Western Turkey         : 36 inches
Sarıkamış in Kars, Eastern Turkey       : 40 inches


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz


* Standing in the league as of week ending 28
 1 - Beşiktaş        63
 2 - G. Saray        61
 3 - Fenerbahçe      58
 4 - Trabzon         51
 5 - Alanya          49
 6 - Hatay           46
 7 - G. Antep        43
 8 - Karagümrük      41
 9 - Göztepe         39
10 - Sivas           37
11 - Antalya         36
12 - Konya           32
13 - Malatya         31
14 - Rize            31
15 - Kayseri         31
16 - Kasımpaşa       30
17 - Başakşehir      29
18 - Ankaragücü      26
19 - Erzurum         26
20 - Denizli         24
21 - G. Birliği      21
★ According to a statement from the Turkey Special Athletes Sports Federation, in games held in France's Nantes, in the last day of the championships Muhsine Gezer won a gold medal in the women's 200 meters, and Fatma Damla  won a silver medal in the high jump. In the men's 3000 m race, Oğuz Türker won a bronze medal.

★ In the Matteo Pellicone championships that took place in Italy that ended on March 7, Turkish wrestlers received the following medals:

  In the freestyle wrestling one gold, two silver, and two bronze.

  In the Greco-Roman championships one gold, four silver, and one bronze.

  The Turkish team came in third overall.

★ In the 2021 European Athletics Indoors Championships held in Poland ending on March 7, a Turkish athlete made it to the fifth place in long jump.


★ In the ATP Challenger Tennis Tournament held in St. Petersburg Russia between March 1- March 10, 2021, Turkey's Altuğ Çelikbilek came in second.

★ In the para weightlifting championships held in Bogota, Colombia Turkish weightlifters received three gold medals.

  In the 49 kg category Abdullah Kayapınar

  In the women's 61 kg category Yasemin Ceylan Baydar

  In the women's 55 kg category Besra Duman

★ According to a statement from Turkey Ice Skating Federation, the national athletes in different categories received a total of 16 medals, six gold including 6 silver and 4 bronze.

  Turkey took first place in the team championship determined by the total medals obtained.

  The athletes who received medals in the organization and their categories are:

  Cubs Men: Ateş Ahıskal (bronze)

  Cubs I Girls: Fairy Tale Oran (gold)

  Basic Novice III: Derya Taygan (gold), Tuvana Çağla Iğdi (silver), Darya Dalgıç (bronze)

  Basic Novice II: River Field (bronze)

  Basic Novice I: Ada Özçırpıcı (silver)

  Basic Novice Men: Furkan Emre İnce (gold), Batu Tassız (silver), Ege Alacan (bronze)

  Intermediate Novice Women: Defne Ulutaş (silver)

  Intermediate Novice Men: Ege İlter (gold)

  Advanced Novice Men: Efe Ergin Dinçer (gold), Mehmet Cenkay Karlıklı (silver)

  Junior Men: Alperen Özkan (gold), Ali Efe Güneş (silver)


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