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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 27 March 2021
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 27 March 2021]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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Messrs. Biden and Erdoğan in 2016 in Ankara, Turkey
★ According to the Anatolia News Agency, President Biden has invited 40 world leaders to a world climate summit. Among the 40 leaders is Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The summit will be online on April 22-23.
It will underscore the urgency – and economic benefits – of rigorous climate action, the White House said in a statement.
Read more >> here <<
Turkish women protesters
★ As we reported to you last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan withdrew Turkey from the Istanbul convention drawn up to protect women against violence.
According to the daily Duvar, activists are going to court to block the withdrawal. They are saying that Mr. Erdoğan cannot bypass the Turkish parliament since it ratified the decision to join the treaty in 2012.
"No one is above the Constitution, and therefore the treaty is still active," lawyer Selin Nakıpoğlu said. She added that the move would legitimize violence based on social gender.
Turkish Presidential Communications Directorate on March 22 attempted to justify the move by Mr. Erdoğan by saying that a group of people trying to normalize homosexuality, which is incompatible with the Turkish social and family values, hijacked the treaty.
Meanwhile, protest rallies against the withdrawal have continued throughout last week in Turkey. Today, there is also a protest rally at the Embarcadero Ferry Building in San Francisco that started at 2 PM.
Read more >> here <<
and >> here <<
Policemen detaining a Boğaziçi University student
★ Speaking of homosexuality, the daily Duvar reports that police detained more than 40 Boğaziçi University students on March 26 in front of the Istanbul Courthouse for protesting the detention of their friends for carrying pride flags the day before.
The ruling Justice and Development Party administration has recently issued sales restrictions on rainbow apparel, claiming that the symbol "encourages homosexuality."
Boğaziçi University has been at the center of protests since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed party member Melih Bulu as president of the prestigious institution in January.
Ağbal and Erdoğan
★ The Economist had an article titled Turkey's economic woes should be a warning for other countries in its March 27, 2021 edition.
The article calls the firing of the central bank governor Naci Ağbal by Turkish president Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reckless. The Economist qualifies the governor as much-admired.
After the government announced the dismissal, the dollar value of the Turkish stocks declined 16%.
The article adds that the Turkish economy has outpaced the most emerging markets over the past decade and expanded modestly last year. However, as Mr. Erdogan's party has accumulated power and audacity, it has eroded the institutional constraints that once ensured economic stability, including the autonomy of the central bank.
The Economist also writes that Mr. Erdoğan fired Mr. Ağbal's predecessor for failing to steady the lira. Mr. Erdoğan has yet to grasp that a central bank cannot avoid one of these improprieties without committing the other. He has now removed three central-bank governors in two years.
The Economist also writes that part of why the Turkish currency lira is losing value against foreign currencies is that Turkey is borrowing in foreign currencies. The foreign-currency debts of the Turkish government, private banks, and companies are now over 80% of the gross domestic product.
★ Speaking of the Turkish currency, the Deutsche Welle reported on March 22 that the Turkish lira plunged in early trading Monday, following the firing by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of central bank governor Naci Ağbal.
Erdogan's move pushed the lira down as much as 15% against the dollar from Friday's rates. The lira managed to quickly recover some of those losses after Finance Minister Lutfi Elvan assured markets that Turkey was committed to free-market rules and a liberal currency exchange regime.
The Istanbul stock exchange briefly paused trading on Monday morning after its main index fell by more than 6%.
Read more >> here <<
★ Steve Hanke, a professor of applied economics at the Johns Hopkins University, wrote an article titled
Erdoğan's love affair with Islamic finance in the National Review.
In his article, Dr. Hanke qualified Şahap Kavcıoglu, the new governor of the Central Bank of Turkey, as an Islamist.
Dr. Hanke writes that to understand the revolving door that faces Turkey's central bank governors, one must understand what makes president Erdoğan tick. And to do that, we have to understand Islamic finance. Dr. Hanke writes that Islamic finance is replete with theories about why interest rates should be avoided. It claims that Mr. Erdoğan embraces Islamic finance. He shows as evidence that president Erdoğan has said interest rates are the mother of all evil.
He writes that Mr. Erdoğan's economic ideas are fundamentally rooted in charismatic, medieval texts that are far removed from the real world of today or even yesterday.
Dr. Hanke writes: "To save the lira and Turkey's economy, Erdoğan must make a change to Turkey's exchange-rate regime, not its bureaucratic personnel." He further recommends: "To make the Turkish lira as good as gold, Erdoğan should announce that Turkey will install a gold-backed currency board. With a Turkish currency board, the lira would be tied to gold at a fixed exchange rate, and the lira would be fully backed by gold reserves."
★ According to the daily Duvar, the main opposition Republican Peoples Party, has asked the government how much public money is lost and who profited between the time of announcement of the interest rate hike on March 18 and the dismissal of the Turkish Central Bank governor on March 20.
They have called for a parliamentary investigation into the foreign currency transactions that occurred within that 48 hours.
There are claims that some staff leaked Mr. Ağbal's removal from office as the governor of the central bank to several individuals. Then these individuals purchased $450 million with Turkish currency, and after the Turkish lira sank against the dollar, have sold the dollars at a hefty profit.
Also, the newly-established Democracy and Progress Party leader Ali Babacan talked to the press about another rumor. He said that there are rumors that the Turkish president sacked the central bank governor for investigating how the bank burned through $130 billion in foreign exchange reserves during finance Minister Berat Albayrak's tenure.
Mr. Babacan is a former member of President Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party and had been his long-time economy minister. He resigned last year from the Justice and Development Party.
★ Credit rating agency Moody's stated March 25 removal of the Turkish Central Bank governor is credit-negative for the Turkish banks' funding, Reuters reported. The move hurt investor confidence, constraining access to market funding, the rating agency claimed.
Moody's said that it will now be more costly for Turkish banks to borrow money.
★ Hyundai workers in the northwestern Turkish city of İzmit are enraged by the management's decision to give them a 14 percent pay rise for 2021, reports the daily Duvar.
Workers did not board their service shuttles on March 26.
The new workers have been given a 10 percent pay rise for the new year.
The official inflation rate for 2020 was around 12%. However, independent experts say that it was around 30%.
★ According to Deutsche Welle, the European Union leaders on Thursday offered the possibility of deepening trade ties with Turkey. However, they told Turkey to stick to democratic norms and avoid worsening a row over oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean Sea.
"We call on Turkey to abstain from renewed provocations or unilateral actions in breach of international law," the European Union leaders said.
The bloc would see the 1990s-era trade agreement expand to services, farm goods, and public procurement.
The customs union expansion would bring Turkey, a European Union membership candidate, fully into the internal market of the world's largest trading bloc.
It would allow for almost all goods and services to flow unhindered and swelling its size by 80 million Turkish consumers.
Read more >> here <<
ARTS AND CULTURE
Edited by Selin Taylak
★ Turkish artist Ahmet Yiğider turns dead tree masses into works of art. He has exhibited his works in many places around the world, and on April 8, he will start a new exhibition titled
He has worked with many different types of dead trees, such as Juniper, pear, beech, and acacia. He also teaches at the Department of Architecture at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul and works as a brand manager.
exhibition will cover 14 sculptures produced between 2017-2021. The sculptures aim to look at the development of humanity from different angles, including the factors of history and time.
"On the other hand, in my reduced 'Anatomy experiments' that I describe as 'detractive anatomies,' I worked most of the time with obvious plastic interventions on prismatic wood forms. In the vast majority of my sculptures, negative areas stand out, and we can notice these areas as the most prominent balance element of the entire work."
See more works from the artist >> here <<
★ People commemorated Turkish Folk bard Aşık Veysel Şatıroğlu on the 48th anniversary of his death at his gravesite in Şarkışla District in the village of Sivrialan in the Sivas Province.
After the memorial service, attendees visited Aşık Veysel's house, which is now a museum. The museum has the renowned bard's bed, lute, photos, and personal belongings.
The most striking thing in the museum is the wax statue of Aşık Veysel. In the museum hall, Mustafa Ozarslan also sang the folk songs of Aşık Veysel. Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory Head of Performing Arts Department Prof. Dr. Selçuk Göldere presented a show about the folk songs of Aşık Veysel.
See more about the Aşık Veysel Şatıroğlu museum >> here <<
★ Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Theaters has celebrated World Theaters Day on March 27 with two plays, My Beautiful Shoes, and Angel. The City Theaters streamed the productions via YouTube due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
My beautiful shoes, written and directed by Dersu Yavuz Altun streamed from the City Theaters YouTube account, at 3 PM local time. The play focuses on the story of a robot clown, and stars Ayşe Günyüz, Çağrı Büyüksayar, Oguzhan Oguz, Gülsüm Alkan, Samet Silme and Sefa Turan.
The play Angel, written by Rustem Ertug Altınay and directed by Jale Karabekir, was presented to the audience at 8:30 PM local time. The play is based on the diaries of actress Melek Kobra. Yeşim Koçak portrayed Kobra on stage.
Cengiz Önay was the new guest at Hidden Heroes of the stage at 19:00 on the same day.
★ The British auction house Sotheby's has announced that it will put up some works of art related to the Islamic world and India, including the portrait of the 16th century Ottoman sultan Süleyman the Magnificent.
In contrast to similar paintings, the portrait is on a copper plate. The experts think the painting depicts a 43-year-old Sultan Süleyman, which corresponds to the period Süleyman conquered Iraq and parts of Iran and defeated the Pope and his allies in the Naval Battle of Preveza.
Experts think that the portrait will also shed light on the exchange of art between the Ottomans and Venetians. The painting has been in the private collection of a French family since the 19th century, and the auction house will put it up for sale at a value between £60k and £80k.
Among other pieces in the auction are:
- Suyolcuzade Mustafa Ayyubi's Koran page, copied in 1675.
10th-century Kufic-style written Koran.
A page of Koran from the Mamluk state in the period of Abu al-Fadl Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Al-Shafi al-Sunbati al-Araj.
Several Ottoman era rugs and carpets.
The Sotheby's auction will take place on March 31.
★ In Turkey's Dinar district in the Aegean province of Afyonkarahisar, an ancient theater dating back to 8th BC emerged during the excavations to unearth the ancient Roman city of Apameia. Apameia was the most important city after Ephesus.
The ancient theater is estimated to be able to hold seven thousand people.
See ancient coins from the city >> here <<
Click on right photo for a larger view
★ In Turkey's Northwestern province of Bolu, experts revealed that a statue, which has been displayed in the museum for 50 years as a bust of a woman belonging to the Roman period, belonged to Artemis, one of the goddesses of Greek mythology.
Bolu Chamber of Commerce and Industry has commissioned a team of archaeologists to ensure that historical tourism in the city is brought to the forefront.
The team examined the sculptures in Bolu City Museum. The team also examined the statue. As a result of the study, experts concluded that it belonged to the Greek mythological goddess Artemis.
The hair on the statue, which is thought to date back about 2000 years ago, was painted and remarkably not destroyed. It has been on display in a public building of the period, and there is no similar one in the world.
Düzce Konuralp Ancient Theater Excavation team member archaeologist Dr. Güzin Bilir said the following:
"The painted head of a woman in front of you is Artemis, the symbolized state of wild nature, fertility, hunting, and archery.
"The head of Artemis, a kind of personified version of the natural riches of Bolu, is probably a high-end work of art made of island marble or Athenian marble.
"The work noted for its quality and craftsmanship probably came as an import, while its workshop may have originated in the southern Italian region.
"As for its stylistic characteristics, the remarkable point of the work is that there are dense traces of paint, especially dark red paint, on its hair. Since red hair was a symbol of beauty, sculptors preferred to use red dye for the hair of women."
★ The 7th International Contemporary Art Fair ARTANKARA will be held at the Ankara Chamber of Commerce
This year, there will be workshops and conferences in which more than 100 national and international galleries, museums, universities, projects, and collectors will take part in the fair.
The events web page is www.artfairankara.com, and it will also be on social media.
Surprise projects will take place in ARTANKARA. The sculptures of Mehmet Aksoy and Cem Sağbil will attract the attention of art lovers. Also, the Gallery Selvin booth will display an original Picasso painting.
The fair will open on March 29, and there will be the "Artist Honor Award," "Institution Honor Award' and "Contribution to Art Honor award" after the opening speeches.
On the second day of the fair, it will be open to all art lovers from 10 A.M. to 8 P.M. until April 3.
See the fair's website >> here <<
★ According to the daily Duvar, Turkish capital Ankara's Jewish Quarter and the historical neighborhood in Ulus, symbols of diversity in the Turkish capital, are under threat of destruction, Ankara Architects Chamber Chair Tezcan Karakuş Candan said.
A four-stage urban transformation project is underway for the Jewish Quarter, Hacı Bayram Neighborhood, and Kale Neighborhood by the Environment and Urbanization Ministry and the Altındağ District Municipality, Candan noted.
Ms. Candan criticized the Ankara Metropolitan municipality for not getting involved in these projects.
The daily Duvar writes that the ruling Justice and Development Party government has been notorious about construction projects. The president has been boasting about turning the country into a construction site, and ministries often overlooking environmental precautions for profit.
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 8.1
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey : 52/28 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean : 64/48 Partly Cloudy
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey : 39/16 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 55/41 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean : 64/43 Mostly Sunny
Trabzon, on the Black Sea : 50/39 Cloudy
Snow depths at skiing locations:
Erciyes in Kayseri, Central Turkey : 47 inches
Ilgaz in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey: 33 inches
Kartalkaya in Bolu, Western Turkey : 78 inches
Palandöken in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey : 55 inches
Uludağ in Bursa, Western Turkey : 77 inches
Sarıkamış in Kars, Eastern Turkey : 45 inches
Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz
★ Beating Romania's C.S.M. Volei Alba Blaj twice in straight sets of the finals, Turkey's Sistem9 Yeşilyurt İstanbul became the champions of the 2021 Women's Challenge Cup, winning the competition for the first time in their history. Partially, it was 25-17, 25-17, 25-12 in the 2nd leg.
★ In the Euroleagues basketball championships sponsored by Turkish airlines taking place in Istanbul:
Anadolu Efes beat Greece's Panaitokos 85-65, Fenerbahce beat
Greece's Olympiacos 76-71
★ Turkish national soccer team beat In Istanbul the Dutch counterpart 4-2
Then on Saturday it beat the Norwegian team 3-0 in Spain.
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