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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 10 April 2021

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 10 April 2021]

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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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen left to sit on a couch

★ Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi on April 8 described Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a "dictator" after being asked about a recent seating scandal dubbed "sofagate."

  European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel met Erdoğan in the Turkish capital Ankara on April 6. The Commission chief was taken aback when the two men sat on the only two chairs prepared, relegating her to an adjacent sofa. The incident later was dubbed "sofagate" by media outlets.

  According to AP, Thursday Turkish officials strongly rejected accusations that it snubbed Ursula von der Leyen because of her gender. The officials insisted that they applied the protocol requests of the European Union.

  Read more >> here <<

European Council President Charles Michel, President Erdoğan, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

★ According to Deutsche Welle, after the meeting, European Commission President von der Leyen said that the European Union is deeply worried about Turkey's decision to pull out of a convention to combat violence against women. She added that human rights issues are non-negotiable and that respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law is crucial for the European Union.

  She also raised the Turkish government's adherence to a 2016 migration deal. The European Union was supposed to help Turkey financially to keep the migrants going on to Europe from Turkey.

  "We expect Turkey to stand by its commitments and deliver on them, this includes preventing irregular departures, and it also included resuming return operations from the Greek islands to Turkey without any delay," von der Leyen said.

  Turkey cares for almost 10 million Syrian refugees both within Turkey and Syria, and Turkish officials have suggested they would need more financing to help.

  Read more >> here <<

★ According to the daily Duvar, Turkey rapporteur of the European Parliament Nacho Sanchez Amor has also commented on a recent seating scandal dubbed "sofagate." However, he said that what really worried him was the "lost seats" of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party as deputies and mayors.

  The Peoples' Democratic Party has been fighting for its political survival after a prosecutor asked last month the top Turkish court to shut it down for alleged links to Kurdistan Workers' Party, the daily Duvar writes. It adds that several party lawmakers are still behind bars, including former core chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ.

  According to the Washington Post, in the 2019 local elections, the Peoples' Democratic Party captured 65 Turkish municipalities. Afterward, Mr. Erdoğan's administration took over almost all the municipalities except 10, claiming that the mayors were fronts for the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Some people in Turkey are encouraging terrorists and separatism in China with their remarks on Twitter, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on April 7.

  The Chinese remarks came after the mayor of the Turkish capital Ankara Mansur Yavaş and opposition Good Party leader Meral Akşener commemorated the killing of Uyghurs in 1990 by the Chinese military in Baren Township.

  Mayor Yavaş had tweeted that the pain of the massacre in East Turkestan is felt today, 31 years later, as it was on the day of the incident, and expressed his condolences for the deceased.

  "I remember our fellow kin who refused to bow down to Chinese captivity in the Baren Massacre," Akşener said in a tweet. "East Turkestan will surely be independent one day!"

  Historically known as East Turkestan, Chinese have been ruling the Uyghur homeland since a brief independence in the 1940s.

★ A court in Ankara sentenced nearly 500 defendants, including former military officials attached to the presidential guard, to life in prison over their links to a failed 2016 coup attempt, the Turkish media reported Wednesday.

  The trial has been underway since 2017.

  The prosecutors accused several of the defendants in Wednesday's hearing of occupying the headquarters of state broadcaster TRT in the Turkish capital Ankara on the night of the coup in July 2016 and forcing the news anchor to read out a statement.

  Most say that the followers of cleric Fethullah Gülen were the orchestrators of the coup attempt. Fethullah Gülen has been living in a self-exile since 1999 in the U.S. Turkey wants the U.S. to extradite him. However, the U.S. authorities are finding Turkish evidence for his involvement in the coup not convincing and are refusing to deport him to Turkey. The extradition of Mr. Gülen has been a source of friction between the U.S. and Turkey.

★ Turkish officials disclosed on Friday that the U.S. would be sending two ships to the Black Sea next week, and they would remain there for approximately two weeks.

  Although the U.S. defense officials declined to confirm the Turkish statement, Turkish pundits claim that the move was against Turkey, ignoring that Russia has built up its military presence along its border with Ukraine significantly in the recent days.

  Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters on Friday that the Russian buildup is the biggest since 2014.

Published in some Turkish media, the caption on this picture says "the potent weapons of the retired admirals."

★ The sending of U.S. ships to the Black Sea comes as Turks are hotly debating whether to cancel the Montreux convention. The 1936 convention gave the nascent Republic of Turkey control over the Bosporus and Dardanelles Straits and has established regulations for the passage of naval warships. Read more >> here <<

  Some ruling Justice and Development Party officials are suggesting that they could cancel the convention.

  The opposition parties are against it. Also, 104 retired Turkish Navy admirals wrote in an open letter that Turkey should keep the Montreux convention since it prevents the militarization of the Black Sea and contributes to Turkey's security.

  Although the admirals are retired, the officials in President Erdoğan's administration saw it as a direct challenge from the military to the civilian government and claimed that the retired admirals were suggesting a coup.

  The Erdoğan administration immediately detained 10 of the retired admirals. Some saw black humor in how the government has treated the admirals: Equipped with powerful weapons such as walking sticks, walkers, and oxygen tanks, the admirals have been about to stage a coup, one tweet said.

  Opposition parties have slammed the government's reaction to the admirals' statement, with the Republican People's party congratulating the former soldiers for making "patriotic" criticism. "We're sick of this coup paranoia," Good Party deputy Aytun Çıray said.

  Read more >> here <<



★ Turkey's Central Bank has bumped up its projection for the year-end dollar-lira exchange rate, from 7.95 liras on the unit to 8.57 liras. Meanwhile, the bank lowered the projected growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 4.4 percent to 4.3 percent and placed the projected growth for 2022 at 4.2 percent.

★ The radical drop in tourism revenue struck a heavy blow to the already-struggling Turkish economy. The government is now trying to entice as many tourists as possible by installing COVID-19 test centers at major airports, issuing safe tourism certificates, and letting almost anyone into the country to visit, the daily Duvar reports. The revenue from tourism fell over 65%.

★ The Turkish government is eyeing crypto assets and requested user data from local exchange platforms. The rumors are that the government will enforce tax legislation for digital assets.

★ The Turkish daily Dünya reported that the number of people laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic reached 2 1/2 million. At the start of the pandemic, the Turkish government passed legislation that allowed employers to place workers on unpaid leave, and then the state gave them cash aid. The labor representatives say that the monthly 1177 Turkish liras of government cash payments are woefully inadequate.

★ Turkish farmers have begun hiding their farm machinery and equipment in anticipation of foreclosures. Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, The government has suspended debt enforcement for the farmers until March 31, 2021, and the farmers fear that foreclosures may start. Farmers owe over $16 billion in local currency to the banks.

★ Russia is proposing to raise the quota for Turkish tomato imports by 50,000 tons to 300,000 tons. Russia introduced the quotas after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet in 2015 for violating Turkish airspace near the Syrian border. Turkish tomato exports amounted to over $310 million last year, with about $60 million of it going to Russia.

★ Turkish Airlines announced that it would start nonstop Istanbul-Vancouver flights on May 2, 2021.



★ The 20th Boston Turkish Film Festival, one of the oldest Turkish film events in the United States, will kick off on April 15 and end on April 30. Featuring outstanding Turkish films, the organizers will launch the annual festival online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  Festival website is >> here <<

Nesuhi Ertegün, Adele Girard, Joe Marsala, Zutty Singleton, Max Kaminsky, an unnamed person, Ahmet M. Ertegün, Sadi Coylin, and Benny Morton at a Turkish Embassy dinner
(Library of Congress William P. Gottlieb Collection)

★ Turkey's Washington embassy held the world premiere of the documentary Leave the door open. The documentary tells the story of the sons of Münir Ertegün, the Turkish ambassador to Washington, who fought against racism in the United States in the 1930s and 1940s.

  At the event, Turkey's ambassador to the United States Hasan Murat Mercan also gave a speech. Mercan emphasized the importance of the Ertegün brothers' support for the struggle for rights when society has marginalized African-Americans.

  The brothers opened the doors to the embassy to African-American jazz musicians. A large number of African-American jazz musicians made regular appearances at the embassy.

  Ümran Safter directed the feature documentary. He said, "I want to show this film not only in the U.S. but all over the world. I want to show what two Turkish teenagers have achieved through music, how they have managed to break down the sharp walls of racial discrimination."

  The documentary will be screened both in the U.S. and at International Film Festivals.

  Listen, view or read about the Ertegün brothers >> here <<  and  >> here <<  


★ Treasure seekers are destroying the historic Van Fortress in Eastern Turkey, and the visitors are littering the area. Also, the graffiti on the walls is increasing day by day.

  Moreover, some sections restored with concrete have collapsed. Other historical structures around the fortress, such as houses and public buildings in the Van old town, are also in danger of destruction.

  The stones in many buildings in the old town, especially in the Ulu Mosque, are getting dislodged one by one. The authorities do not take any measures against this. They only gather the dislodged stones in one place.

  Ancients built the Van Fortress during the Urartian period some 3000 years ago. It has been home to many civilizations to this day.

  The Fortress and historical buildings entered the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Temporary World Heritage List in 2016.

  In 2010 the Ministry of Culture of Turkey spent $1.3 million in local currency to restore the fortress and historical structures visited by thousands of people every year. However, due to the inappropriate restoration using modern concrete, the fortification has lost its historical texture.

★ UNESCO has added Akçaabat Horon dance, one of the folk dances of the Black Sea region of Turkey, to the Lists of Representative Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. "Our Horon dance will be protected and passed on to future generations in the right way," Akçaabat Mayor Osman Nuri Ekim said. Akçaabat Municipality had applied to UNESCO back in 2016.

  Akçaabat Mayor Ekim also says that the designation will help promote both the Akçaabat district and the city.

  Akçaabat Folk Dance Association President Ahmet Yalçın Çilingiroğlu said that the most lively dance of the region is the Akçaabat horon dance. It also has the most varied movements and steps. He added that the folk dance received many awards in events abroad. The dance is an indispensable occurrence in public events such as highland festivals, weddings, and celebrations.

  Watch the dance >> here <<


★ When internet users entered the Google home page on April 5, they encounter the special "doodle" prepared by Google for the 96th birthday of Turkish actor Sadri Alışık.

  Doodle applications aim to attract attention by giving place to important days and holidays, cultural events, and significant people in history for the world countries.

  The famous actor was born in Istanbul on April 5, 1925. He graduated from Beykoz Middle School and Istanbul Boys High School and studied theater at Cağaloğlu Folk House while in high school.

  Sadri Alışık made his professional debut as an actor in 1943 in the Raşit Rıza theater. He continued his work in Karaca, Site, Oraloğlu, Çevre, Oda and City Theaters. In 1946, he stepped into Yeşilçam--the Turkish version of Holywood-- with the film The Innocent Ones.

  The artist became known for such characters as Ömer the Tourist, Offside Osman, and Ali Baba. In 1959, he attracted the attention of producers for his role as Captain Rıdvan in the film The Lonely Ones' Quay. He married Çolpan İlhan on 20 August 1959. During his career, he appeared in more than 200 productions and won many awards. He died in Istanbul on March 18, 1995.

  Read more >> here <<

Click on photo to see a larger view

★ German Photographer Hans Peter Grumpe published the photographs he took during his visits to Diyarbakır in 1988 and 1990 on his website in 2020.

  Grumpe traveled to Kayseri, Elazığ, Diyarbakır, Ağrı, Van, Mardin, and Urfa in April 1988. After visiting Diyarbakır again in 1990, Grumpe took most of the photos in the historical Sur district, which was the city center of Diyarbakır at that time.

  The photographs take us on a journey to Diyarbakır in the 90s: Ulu Mosque, churches, peddlers in front of Ulu Mosque, Xançepek streets, Diyarbakır Walls, Hevsel Gardens, water channel used for irrigation and mills, citizens sitting in front of the coffeehouse, women carrying firewood, everyday clothes of the 90s, vegetable stalls, signs, posters.

Boomoon, Fish Dance in the Bosporus, No. 8 (detail), 2018.

★ Borusan Contemporary is bringing together international representatives of the contemporary art scene in its new collection exhibition titled Water Reverie. The event transcends borders with the power of New Media.

  The exhibition offers art lovers the chance to watch the works of contemporary art with a unique experience. Its fiction incorporates Alternative Reality and Virtual Reality technologies into the audience experience, and its selections spread to the public space.

  Curated by Necmi Sönmez, the Water Reverie exhibition offers an interdisciplinary reading to the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection, which focuses on New Media Art. It correlates the works of international names such as:
to the ten-part 1970 poem of the same name by Edip Cansever, the well-known Turkish poet.

  The exhibition will be on through March 6, 2021.

★ In Anatolia, dazzling with its deep-rooted history, history emerges from every inch of soil. With 502 archaeological activities carried out in 2020, archaeologists unearthed 6,437 artifacts. The vast majority of these artifacts came to light during salvage excavations in the Kütahya Seyitömer mound.

  In 2020, 118 local and 21 foreign teams and museum directorates conducted surveys, geophysics-ground penetrating radar scans, and cleaning tasks.

  Some of the artifacts unearthed in the excavations in 2020 are as follows: 


★ A exhibition is taking place at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations to commemorate the 100th anniversary of its establishment. The painting, ceramics, and sculpture exhibition named Traces of Anatolian Civilizations consists of the works of 54 artists.

  Speaking at the opening of the exhibition held at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Özgül Özkan Yavuz said that the protection of cultural values ​​is a requirement of the shared responsibility for history and the future.

  Stating that each work bearing the traces of history strengthens its identity by completing the existence of societies and cities, Yavuz said that the ancient Anatolian lands, hosting many civilizations, have witnessed the construction of numerous cultural assets in every period of history.

  The exhibition is on until April 20.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 8.16


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 41/32 Sleet
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 64/46 Partly Cloudy
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 55/39 Thunderstorms
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 55/36 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 63/43 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 54/45 Showers
Snow depths at skiing locations:
Erciyes in Kayseri, Central Turkey      : 39 inches
Ilgaz in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey: 33 inches
Kartalkaya in Bolu, Western Turkey      : 54 inches
Palandöken in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey   : 43 inches
Saklıkent in Antalya, Southern Turkey   : No snow report
Uludağ in Bursa, Western Turkey         : 53 inches
Sarıkamış in Kars, Eastern Turkey       : 27 inches


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz

* Standing in the premiere soccer league as of week ending 32
 1 - Beşiktaş        70
 2 - Fenerbahçe      66
 3 - G. Saray        62
 4 - Trabzon         58
 5 - Alanya          52
 6 - G. Antep        50
 7 - Hatay           49
 8 - Karagümrük      49
 9 - Sivas           47
10 - Göztepe         46
11 - Antalya         42
12 - Konya           40
13 - Ankaragücü      36
14 - Rize            36
15 - Kasımpaşa       36
16 - Malatya         34
17 - Başakşehir      33
18 - Kayseri         33
19 - G. Birliği      31
20 - Erzurum         28
21 - Denizli         26
★ Euroleague Baseball

Fenerbahçe   - Real Madrid 67-93
Anadolu Efes - Milan           75-98


* European Taekwondo in Sofia Bulgaria.

63 kg	Gold: Hakan Reçber


53 kg	Silver:	Zeliha Ağrıs
57 kg	Silver:	Hatice Kübra İlgün
62 kg	Bronze	İrem Yaman
67 kg	Bronze	Nur Tatar
* In the European Weightlifting championships in Moscow:

55 kg 	Snatch:	 Silver: Muammer Şahin
61 kg	Snatch:	 Silver: Ferdi Hardal 
67 kg	Snatch:	 Bronze: Muhammed Furkan Özbek
	Clean and Jerk: Gold:  Muhammed Furkan Özbek	
	Total:	Gold:  	Muhammed Furkan Özbek	
73 kg	Snatch: Gold:	Daniyar Ismayilov	
	Total:	Gold:  	Daniyar İsmayilov


45 kg	Snatch: 	Silver: Melisa Güneş 
45 kg	Clean & Jerk: 	Bronze: Melisa Güneş 
45 kg	Total: 		Bronze: Melisa Güneş 
49 kg	Clean & Jerk: 	Bronze: Şaziye Erdoğan 
55 kg	Clean & Jerk:	Bronze:	Sümeyye Kentli 
81 kg	Snatch:		Bronze:	Rabia Kaya 


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

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if you have any questions about Turks and Turkey,
e-mail them at taac@taaca.org


*** Azerbaijan Cultural Society of Northern California

Organizes many events throughout the year. Follow their activities through their web pages, or subscribe to their e-mail list by sending an email to:



Azerbaijan Cultural Society of Northern California
16400 Lark Ave., Suite 260
Los Gatos, CA 95032

*** Turkish schools in the Bay Area are starting:

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Los Altos, San Ramon and Berkeley
For more information on these schools, drop an email to trh@turkradio.us.

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*** Heart to Heart Anatolia
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