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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 04 April 2021

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 04 April 2021]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ Turks celebrated the April 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day around the world. The day commemorates the establishment of the first Turkish parliament in 1920, while British, French, Italian troops and their proxies occupied most of the remaining parts of the Ottoman Empire.

  The establishment of the parliament eventually led to abolishing the Ottoman sultanate and the proclamation of a republic in 1923.

★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Joe Biden held a phone call on April 23. The two leaders agreed to meet during the NATO summit in June, the White House said.

  This first call between the two presidents came 93 days after President Biden took office.

  Biden conveyed his interest in a constructive bilateral relationship with expanded cooperation and effective management of disagreements, the White House said in a brief statement.

  The statement also said the two leaders agreed to meet on the margins of the NATO summit in June to have a more comprehensive conversation about their two countries' relations.

  During the phone call, President Erdoğan pointed to FETÖ presence in the United States, the Communications Directorate of the president said. FETÖ is the name given to the followers of cleric Fethullah Gülen. Gülen lives in a self-exile in U.S. Most believe his followers were behind the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.

★ Turkish police on April 23 detained 62 people for an investigation into cryptocurrency trading platform Thodex. Interpol issued a red notice for the company CEO with Turkey calling for his extradition from Albania. Meanwhile, opposition parties have criticized the government for not establishing appropriate safeguards for investment in crypto-assets before, emphasizing the necessity of an immediate financial regulation.

  The Thodex platform has been handling cryptocurrency trade worth hundreds of millions of dollars a day. On April 22, It said it would be closed for four to five days due to a sale process.

  But users who have not been able to withdraw money or access their accounts voiced concern on Twitter that Thodex may have defrauded them, comments widely picked up by Turkish media.

  Istanbul police said the Thodex founder and CEO Faruk Fatih Özer had flown to the Albanian capital Tirana on April 20.

★ The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on April 22 reiterated its call on the Turkish authorities "to put an end to laws and practices that contravene democratic standards," the assembly's resolution said.

  The assembly released the resolution following an urgent debate on the functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey.

  The European parliamentarians called on Turkey "to revise its legislation and constitutional framework to ensure the separation of powers, to restore freedom of speech and media freedom, to restrict the interpretation of its anti-terror legislation, and to implement the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.""

  The parliamentarians also brought up:  In related news: According to Euronews, recent data from the European Statistical Office show that the number of Turkish citizens seeking asylum increased by 506% between 2015 and 2021. Analysts believe that Turkey's crackdown on dissent is causing the spike in Turkish asylum-seekers.

★ A group of workers on April 21 wanted to hold a press statement at Istanbul's Bakırköy Özgürlük (Freedom) Square for the May 1 Labor Day. However, they faced harsh police intervention, with images showing them getting battered and repeatedly kicked on the ground.

  The workers wanted to protest their dismissal from jobs due to membership in the All Automotive and Metal Workers Union of Turkey.

  The Istanbul Governor's Office on April 19 banned all demonstrations and activities in the city until May 17, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

  Turkey's labor unions came together on April 7 to urge the government to allow a May 1 demonstration despite the pandemic, noting that the ruling Justice and Development Party recently held mass rallies and conventions, and the president boasted about filling up halls to the brim.

★ The trial of the government-owned Halkbank of Turkey is about to start in New York.

  The U.S. authorities claim that Halkbank laundered Iranian oil money and violated sanctions. Former deputy general manager of the bank Hakan Atilla already served time in a U.S. jail. Iranian Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab is still in a U.S. jail for, among others, using the bank for money laundering.

  After serving his time and returning to Turkey, the Justice and Development Party administration welcomed Mr. Atilla as a hero. The administration rewarded him by appointing him as the Istanbul stock market chief. However, he resigned on March 8, 2021, from that position due to government pressure.

  Editor-in-Chief of the daily Duvar Cansu Çamlıbel claimed in an article that the Justice and Development Party Administration is now trying to frame Mr. Atilla as the chief culprit.

★ According to Deutsche Welle, the highest administrative court in Turkey, the Council of State, ruled that the Directorate of Communications can no longer refuse to issue press accreditation to journalists citing vague or arbitrary reasons for the decision. The directorate is under the control of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

  The case was brought to the court by the country's second-largest journalists' association, the CGD. Judges found that the CGD's suit had legal merit and ruled that the government could no longer use vague or arbitrary grounds, such as "violations of national security and public order," to justify refusing press accreditation.

★ Andrew Wilks of Al Jazeera writes that the Istanbul Canal would be the jewel in the crown of 'megaprojects' launched under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. But the project is deeply controversial, with many questioning the benefits the government says it would bring.

  The plan to construct a 25-mile waterway skirting the north of Istanbul to connect the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea has been given the go-ahead, with work scheduled to begin this summer.

  With an estimated build time of seven years and a price tag ranging from $9.3 billion to $14.6 billion, its supporters frame the Istanbul Canal as a smart investment. They claim that it will pay returns as shipping revenues and reduced traffic in the Bosphorus Strait.

  But skeptics abound. Geopolitically, the project has cast doubt over Turkey's commitment to the international treaty that governs shipping in the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits.

  Critics say that it is yet another mega project of Erdoğan that could endanger the environment, leave the state out of pocket, and leave the Turkish economy, heavily dependent on external financing, even more vulnerable to shifts in global investor sentiment.

  The canal has also raised concerns over the commitment of Turkey to the Montreux Convention, which gives Turkey control over the Bosphorus and Dardanelles and guarantees access for civilian vessels during peacetime while limiting the passage of warships.

  A group of retired Turkish admirals who warned against backing away from the 1936 Montreux Convention were arrested earlier in the month.

★ The daily Duvar reports that dozens of people have rushed to receive free potatoes in Turkey's southeast. Yhe daily wrote that the crowds once again showed the economic hardships that people face. Footage showed people reaching out to a truck distributing the free vegetables.

  The Agriculture and Forestry Ministry, upon the orders of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has recently purchased potatoes and onions from farmers who could not sell their produce and started to distribute them to those in need.

  Social media users slammed the ruling Justice and Development Party for causing poverty in the country, the daily added.

  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had revealed the project to distribute the produce during Ramadan on April 11, presenting the minor aid as a significant contribution to households.


Edited by Büşra Ekmekçi and Selin Taylak


★ The six-century-old Cevher Pasha Mosque, located in the ancient city of Tabae in Denizli's Kale district, was opened for worship after restoration work. The mosque is the only surviving monument in the ruins of the ancient city.

  Pamukkale University Art History Department faculty member Dr. Beyazıt said that the mosque had been closed since 2013 due to ongoing excavations and security.

  Tabae was one of the most important cities in the Caria region. Stating that Tabae was the episcopal center during the Byzantine period, Dr. Beyazıt said the area has been under Turkish rule since the beginning of the 12th century.


★ Ittir Kaktır, the newest object in the Rahmi M. Koç Museum, returned with an award from a competition organized by a UK-based magazine.

  Ittir Kaktır, built by Rahmi M. Koç Marine Shipyard in 2020, joined the Rahmi M. Koç Museum's ship fleet in October 2020. Sam Devlin company in Olympia, Washington designed the original plans of the boat, called "Tugzilla," as both a recreational boat and a tugboat. The vessel features a powerful 150hp inboard engine.

  Rahmi M. Koç Marine Shipyard revised the Sam Devlin plan, and it extended the 25-foot length of the boat and turned it into a 33-foot vessel.

  The Classic Boat Awards, organized by the UK-based Classic Boat magazine since 2007, brings together marine vessels from century-old traditional ships to restored sailboats to motor cruising boats.

  A public vote determines the winners of the competition in eight different categories.

  The voters chose Ittir Kaktır the best in its category in the competition.


★ Turkey Photo Journalists Association announced the Press Photo of the Year photography contest awards winners. Among the 5188 photographs submitted, a wide range of 28 photos and seven photo series from Karabakh to the coronavirus epidemic received awards in seven categories.

  A photograph taken in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan received the Press Photo of the Year award. In it, the Turkish Sabah daily Photojournalist Uğur Yıldırım depicts the pain of a woman who received the news of the death of a relative in a missile attack to the city of Ganja.

  Healthcare workers fighting on the front line in the fight against coronavirus also took to the forefront in unforgettable pictures.

  Reuters Reporter Ümit Bektaş's photo, describing the demanding conditions of healthcare professionals, won the first prize in the epidemic category. In his photo, the effort of an intensive care nurse while caring for coronavirus patients shows in the sweat and steam accumulated in his protective glasses.

  Serhat Ozan Yıldırım from Demirören News Agency received the Special Award for Respect for Healthcare Professionals. In his photo, Yıldırım revealed the hard work of the filming teams.

  The Press Photographs of the Year 2021 awards also had a category named The Zero Waste Special Award. Hürriyet daily photojournalist Selahattin Sönmez was the winner of the award. The award is for bringing awareness to a project lead by Turkey's first lady Emine Erdoğan.

  Ms. Erdoğan's project The Zero Waste launched in 2017. In March, the United Nations development program awarded Ms. Erdoğan the Global Goals Action Award for her project.


★ The people of Malatya are waiting for UNESCO to include the Arslantepe Mound in the World Cultural Heritage Permanent list. The mound is currently on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Tentative List.

  Located in the Battalgazi district of Malatya, Arslantepe Mound sheds light on history. Archaeologists think that humans established the first organized state at the settlement there.

  Battalgazi Mayor Osman Güder said that the UNESCO World Heritage Committee would meet online between July 16-31, 2021. The decision to put the mound on the permanent list will take place at this meeting.

  Arslantepe Mound has artifacts from the late Chalcolithic period to the Iron Age. It has also hosted many civilizations from the Hittites to Rome and Byzantium.

  "There was a settlement in Arslantepe Mound from 5000 BCE until the 11th century CE. We are talking about a seven thousand-year history and settlement. We have been carrying out significant work for two years to include Arslantepe Mound in the World Heritage List. Our greatest expectation is that the Arslantepe Mound where the first city-state established. Good days are waiting for Arslantepe Mound in the international arena,'' Güder said.

  He added that he had a meeting at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on including the mound in the permanent list two weeks ago.


★ UNESCO dedicated the year 2021 to Yunus Emre and Dante Alighieri and organized a memorial event titled Yunus Emre and Dante, Two Universal Poets on their 700th Anniversary at Rome Yunus Emre Institute.

  Italian ambassador to Turkey Massimo Gaiani talked about the common characteristics of these two poets in the event.

  Emphasizing that acceptance of this year as Yunus Emre and Dante year by UNESCO is significant, Yunus Emre Institute President Dr. Şeref Ateş said the following:

  "There were no cultural institutes years ago, unfortunately. But how similar the two great thinkers who lived centuries ago are. It is very valuable not only for the period in which they lived or because of their troubles and difficulties, but more importantly, in terms of their goals.


  "It is very worthy for cultural centers to work together, to reveal common concerns, common aesthetics, with joint management. I believe our activities will contribute to the transformation of relations between Turkey and Italy into a better one."

  Meanwhile, Dr. Öcal Oğuz, the president of the UNESCO Commission for Turkey, said that the techniques and styles of the two poets are very close to each other.


★ The world premiere of the film Necroman, shot in Istanbul, took place as part of the Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival in Los Angeles.

  Ercan Er, a producer and a director known for his horror and thriller short films, shot this film inspired by a true story. Necroman won 20 awards, including Best Horror Film at Southeast Regional Fest, Spooky Set Design at Creepy Tree Fest, Best Director and Best Actor at Monsterflix Awards, and Official Selection Film at Santiago Horror Film Fest.


★ Turkish biologist Hande Karagedik has been winning awards for her research on the medical benefits of pinecones.

  Currently working on molecular medicine at the Istanbul University, Dr. Karagedik has also developed a nutritional supplement from pinecones that strengthens the immune system and stops coughs.

  She says her inspiration came from a mix her aunt would give to her to stop coughs.

  During her research, she found out that people in different countries from China to Canada had similar remedies. However, She thinks that her aunt could not have known about this.

  She also found out that substances from the pinecones are good for gastritis and ulcer pains, insomnia. One can also use them in treating tuberculosis, asthma, bronchitis, and infections of the tooth gum.

  Among the awards and recognition that Dr. Karagedik received so far are:


★ The municipality of Batman in southeastern Turkey had a surprise for the town kids on the occasion of April 23 Sovereignty and Children's Day.

  The municipality put dozens of colorful teddy bears throughout the balconies and windows of the building of the Province Emergency Services Directorate.

  The municipality is thinking of giving away the teddy bears to children living in rural areas of the province once the celebrations are over.


★ Renowned Turkish scholar Dr. İlhan Başgöz passed away at age 99 on April 13. Dr. Başgöz was getting treatment in the U.S. for cancer.

  To honor his last wish to die in Turkey, the Turkish Ministry of Health sent an ambulance plane to bring him back to his homeland on January 5, 2021.

  Dr. Başgöz is known as one of the most prominent scholars of Turkish folklore. He was a professor emeritus in folklore and Central Eurasian studies at Indiana University in Bloomington.

  He won many awards during his academic career, one of them being Guggenheim Fellowship for Humanities.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 8.39


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 66/52 Thunderstorms
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 75/63 Partly Cloudy
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 68/45 Thunderstorms
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 55/48 Thunderstorms
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 70/55 Thunderstorms
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 61/52 Mostly Cloudy


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz


Premier League

* Standing in the league as of week ending 35
 1 - Beşiktaş        75
 2 - Fenerbahçe      72
 3 - G. Saray        69
 4 - Trabzon         63
 5 - Alanya          56
 6 - Hatay           54
 7 - Sivas           52
 8 - G. Antep        51
 9 - Karagümrük      50
10 - Göztepe         47
11 - Konya           42
12 - Rize            42
13 - Antalya         42
14 - Malatya         40
15 - Ankaragücü      38
16 - Kasımpaşa       37
17 - Başakşehir      37
18 - Erzurum         37
19 - Kayseri         35
20 - G. Birliği      35
21 - Denizli         28

In other sports:

★ World Youth Boxing Championships held in Poland,

  82 kg women's category Busra Isildar became the world champion

★ In European wrestling championship held in Warsaw, Poland:

★ In the European Judo Championships in Lisbon, Portugal:


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