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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 08 May 2021
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 08 May 2021]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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★ According to the Asia Times, Turkey will maintain its presence in Afghanistan after the U. S. withdrawal.
The Asia Times article says the following:
With the clock ticking down to U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on September 11, the future of the central Asian country hangs in the balance.
One country keenly aware of this – and with long historical and ethnic ties to Afghanistan – is Turkey.
Indeed, recent last-minute maneuvers by President Joe Biden's administration have brought Ankara to the fore in efforts to secure a more stable future for the war-torn country.
A U.S.-backed peace conference in Istanbul – scheduled for last month but postponed – may be relaunched post-Ramadan, with Turkey taking a leading role in this desperate diplomacy.
Indeed, Turkey "will continue to stand by our brotherly Afghan government and people," Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu tweeted on April 23, after the postponement.
★ On Friday, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), co-founder and co-chair of Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, and Congressman Gus M. Bilirakis (R-FL), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues, introduced the bipartisan Turkey and Ecumenical Patriarchate Religious Freedom Act of 2021.
The act claims that Turkey violated the religious freedoms of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Greek Orthodox Christians, and other religious minorities.
Among others, the act recommends putting Turkey on a special watchlist for highlighting the abuses of religious freedom.
Read more >> here <<
★ German prosecutors have launched an investigation into dozens of Turkish citizens suspected of entering Germany on service passports obtained through illegitimate means and used to smuggle people into Germany, Deutsche Welle reports.
There is mounting evidence that dozens of Turkish citizens have entered Germany on service, or "gray," passports. These passports provide visa-free entry into a country and are usually issued to people who are not diplomats but are on official duty abroad, attending events such as trade fairs, conferences, or workshops, for example.
★ Speaking of Germany, Following talks in Berlin, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he sees a promising year ahead for Turkey's relations with the European Union, Deutsche Welle reports.
Maas' remarks came following a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu as signaled a fresh start in contentious ties with Brussels.
During a joint press conference, Maas said: "Turkey can contribute the most" when asked what more Germany could do for
Turkey's bid to join the European Union.
★ According to the VOA, a dramatic drop in water levels on the Euphrates River in recent weeks is adding to tensions between Turkey and Syrian Kurdish forces.
Kurdish officials in northeast Syria accuse Turkey of reducing the levels of water flowing downstream, causing an agricultural crisis and a major power shortage in the region.
VOA adds that Turkey views the Kurdish forces and its main element, the People's Protection Units, as extensions of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, a Turkey-based Kurdish militia that the U.S.,
the European Union and Turkey have designated as a terrorist organization.
★ To the list of bizarre lawsuits against perceived Justice and Development Party opponents, two more have been added last week.
Turkish government prosecutors started a lawsuit against Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu for walking with hands
clasped at his back, as is the tradition in some parts of Turkey, on the mausoleum grounds of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet the Second.
Mr. İmamoğlu wrested the mayoralty from the Justice and Development Party in local elections in 2019.
The prosecutors say that the style of walking displayed by the mayor was disrespectful to Sultan Mehmet. Sultan Mehmet, commonly known as the Conqueror.He
captured Istanbul, known then as Constantinople, from the Byzantines in
1453. Observers say that the Justice and Development Party administration
expresses administration to the Ottoman times and suppresses any criticism
of the rulers and the ways of their empire.
Before the advent of the Justice and Development Party into power, some Turks frequently and openly criticized the Ottomans.
The second investigation is against a former chief of staff, retired general İlker Başbuğ. According to the online news
site T24, Turkish prosecutors are seeking a jail sentence of up to three years for the chief for an interview that appeared in the opposition daily Cumhuriyet in January. The prosecutors claim that during the interview, he suggested a coup.
The indictment against the ex-general includes 166 plaintiffs, including the ruling Justice and Development Party's chairs of the regional and women's branches.
In the interview, Başbuğ referred to May 27, 1960, military coup in Turkey. He said Turkey could have avoided the coup if the then-prime minister Adnan Menderes had announced early elections.
Başbuğ served as chief of the Armed Forces from 2008 to 2010. After his retirement, prosecutors charged him for establishing and leading a terrorist organization, and attempting to destroy the Turkish government or completely prevent its functioning. A court convicted him and sentenced him to life in imprisonment.
However, the Constitutional Court of Turkey determined that the courts violated the legal rights of Başbuğ and overturned his conviction. Authorities released him on March 7, 2014.
Along with him, courts tried hundreds of other journalists, intellectuals, politicians, and military officials with trumped-up charges as part of what is known as the Ergenekon trials.
★ It finally happened. After almost all of the world has discounted the use of the controversial antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 treatment, Turkey's Ministry of Health
finally removed it from its official treatment plan, reports the Turkish daily Duvar.
"Despite its lack of efficiency against the COVID-19, its known side effects, and all of the warnings of the Association of Turkish physicians, the
Ministry of Health removed the hydroxychloroquine drug from its guideline only today. We will continue to side with the scientific facts and disclose the truth," the Association of Turkish Physicians has said on its Twitter account.
Turkish scientists have been for months urging the Ministry
of Health to ban the use of hydroxychloroquine in its COVID-19 treatment plans, as the drug was dismissed by the World Health Organization in June 2020 and is said to be "doing more harm than good."
★ Ultra-conservative Turkish daily Yeni Akit has launched a campaign calling for the arrest of Professor Mehmet Ceyhan, head of Turkey's Infectious Diseases Association, reports the daily Duvar. The domestic media has often quoted Dr. Ceyhan since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yeni Akit claimed that Ceyhan had presented himself as an official member of the state Science Committee, which they said was misleading.
In fact, in reality, it was a columnist who falsely portrayed Ceyhan as a committee member. The physician then publicly corrected him. "I am not and have never been a member of the Science Committee," Dr. Ceyhan had said in a tweet on November 28, 2020.
Yeni Akit also slammed the physician for changing course on his recommendations about the use of face masks, a recalibrating conducted by all scientists worldwide, as the World Health Organization changed their official take on the matter.
"Citizens no longer have tolerance for Prof. Mehmet Ceyhan, who constantly conflicts himself and confuses the public," Yeni Akit wrote on May 7.
& Ceyhan was also vocal about the Ministry of Health's lack of transparency during the pandemic and urged the government to reveal the actual infection numbers.
★ Gönül Uslu, a woman entrepreneur, piled up her work equipment in the middle of a street in Turkey's western province of Kocaeli's Kandıra district to protest the forced expropriation of her charcoal production and packaging center by the government for a highway construction project.
Uslu started her charcoal production business three years ago with machines that her husband designed and had nearly 50 employees.
Uslu's business was preparing to start exports to several countries, including Russia, but all her work has gone to waste, she said.
Kandıra Mayor Adnan Turan said they were working on a solution, but that it could take up to ten months for the municipal board to make a decision.
★ The Central Bank of Turkey announced that its foreign reserves decreased by $826 million in one week ending on April 30 to $287.9 billion.
& The reserves plunged last year as state banks sold off $128 billion to stabilize the Turkish currency. Despite this, the lira lost 20% of its value in 2020. The lira further dropped by 13% in mid-March when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan removed the central bank governor and replaced him with a new one. Independent observers claim that the move came after the central bank governor started an investigation into the $128 billion that the bank spent during the tenure of the previous governor,
who was the son-in-law of Mr. Erdoğan.
Also, the central bank announced on May 6 that it would keep its key interest rate at 19%
above the official inflation rate. However, nongovernmental analysts calculate the interest rate to be over 30%, much higher than the key interest rate. The official interest rate disclosed for April was 17.14%
In related news, the World Bank announced on April 27 that the poverty level rose in Turkey from 10.2% in 2019 to 12.2% in 2020. Meanwhile, Turkish Industry and Business Association head Simone Kaslowski warned against the high levels of unemployment and cost of living, saying they "are not just threatening our present but also our future."
★ According to Reuters, Turkey has exempted foreign holidaymakers from the 2-1/2-week-long lockdown to revitalize tourism, a critical sector of the Turkish economy.
But Turks on social media have voiced anger at images of foreign tourists partying on the country's Mediterranean coast and wandering around while locals slapped with fines for being outdoors.
Read more >> here <<
★ The Turkish subsidiary of Binance, the popular international cryptocurrency exchange with users from over 180 countries and regions, has announced that users will no longer be able to send/receive Turkish liras through the payment providers Papara and Ininal.
The new regulation took effect at 2 P.M. on April 29.
Binance TR said on its website that the measure is a consequence of a recent Central Bank decree, which barred the use of digital money to pay for goods and services.
★ April foreign trade data for Turkey has been released. The country's exports have increased by 109 percent to $18.8 billion, compared to April 2020. The foreign trade deficit fell by 31.9 percent from $4.6 billion to $3.1 billion, compared to April 2020.
&★ Turks on may six were puzzled about several beams of light visible over Turkish skies.
Turkey's Technology and Infrastructure Minister Mustafa Varank on May 7 clarified that the mysterious beams of light on May 6 were the solar panel glare of Starlink satellites that Elon Musk's SpaceX launched into orbit.
Speaking of Minister Mustafa Varank, he says he might be a descendent of the Vikings. The minister bases his theory on the physical traits of his family and his last name. He thinks he may want to get a DNA test to see if it is true.
&★ Turkey's Radio and Television Supreme Council has said that Spotify has to regulate its content according to the relevant
law. The Council confirmed that it granted a license to the online music stream giant.
Among others, regulations require the companies to remove the content found inappropriate by the Council.
★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, Turkish broadcaster Habertürk TV's Chief Editor Hakan Kürşad Oğuz and Ankara representative Bülent Aydemir resigned on May 5, 2021. The resignations came after government ally Nationalist Action Party harassed one of the channel's anchors for her coverage of the party's draft constitution.
Nationalist Action Party deputy leader İzzet Ulvi Yönter had tweeted on May 4 that Habertürk TV anchor Ebru Baki had "lost it" and that her attempts to "defame" the draft proposal was "vulgar and crude."
& The daily Duvar adds that it is common for the Gray Wolves, paramilitaries of the Nationalist Action Party, to attack critics of their party since they enjoy impunity. Bahçeli is a close friend of mafia leader Alaattin Çakıcı, who threatened main opposition Republican People's Party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu more than once. And the Gray Wolves are banned in several European countries due to their constant attacks.
Most recently, a 25-person mob assaulted journalist Levent Gültekin following a verbal attack on him by Nationalist Action Party deputy leader Semih Yalçın.
In related news, Duvar reported that Turkey's opposition parties criticized the draft constitution prepared by the far-right Nationalist Action Party, saying that they won't cooperate.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Edited by Büşra Ekmekçi and Selin Taylak
★ The 400-year-old Sarıçay Bridge in the Milas district of Turkey's Aegean province of Muğla is in danger of collapse due to deterioration on the bearing columns and surface areas. With the support of the General Directorate of Highways, the Milas Museum Directorate started work to restore the bridge true to its original design.
Restorers are reconstructing the three destroyed arches in the middle section of the bridge with original material. The other seven arches of the bridge in danger of collapse are undergoing strengthening work.
& According to historical records, the bridge has undergone repairs two times so far.
★ The anonymous buyer of the portrait of renowned Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent donated it to Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. As we reported to you previously, the British auction house Sotheby's sold the portrait for 350 thousand pounds in March 2021.
The portrait probably will arrive in Istanbul within 15 days.
& Experts think that Italian painter Cristofano Dell Altissimo painted the portrait of Süleyman in the 16th century. A French family has owned it since the 19th century.
At the same auction, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality bought manuscripts including the 1200-year-old Koranic Surah Zuhruf and the 1,100-year-old Koranic Surah Maide, as well as 700-year-old pages of the Koran, 13th-century theologian and Sufi mystic Rumi's work Masnawi, and his son Baha al-Din Walad's work Ibtida-name.
★ Ahmet Yiğider, an industrial engineer who is also a sculptor, brought art and engineering together in his works. he turns natural materials into art, preserving their organic state.
& Many different kinds of trees, including juniper, pear, beech, and acacia, become part of art in Ahmet Yiğider's workshop. Yiğider processes the tree masses, giving them a new form and turning them into sculptures.
Yiğider has collected his works since 2017 in the exhibition
Head in Moscow. It opened on April 8 at the Fine Art Gallery, one of Russia's most prestigious. Yiğider notes that he is trying to preserve the pure state of trees.
The works stand out with their character synthesizing different disciplines such as art, design, and engineering. All 15 works represent the tradition of nonfigurative sculpture. he questions the rule of humans over matter with its fictional forms and compositions.
The exhibition will be on display in Moscow until May 9.
★ UNESCO has added two more cultural assets of Turkey to the World Heritage Tentative List. Turkey's number of cultural assets on the list has risen to 85.
According to Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Erzincan province's historical Kemaliye district in eastern Turkey and the late ancient and medieval churches and monasteries of Midyat district's Tur Abdin in southeastern Turkey are also now on to the World Heritage Tentative List.
Kemaliye district stands out with its unique urban texture, architecture, and original houses. It is on the historical Silk Road. The settlement sits on topography with an understanding that sees nature as the main element in construction and consists of three main sections rising from the Euphrates River. The Euphrates River has influenced the urban space and architecture here.
The Tur Abdin region bears witness to the emergence of a new and distinctive architectural language associated with the Syriac Orthodox community throughout history.
These structures have some shared features and belong to the 6th and 8th centuries. They provide an understanding of the character of the region as a whole. The surrounding terraced vineyards form an impressive landscape with olive and almond trees. It is also a prominent example of the rich cultural heritage of different faiths in Turkey.
&★ Yeşilova Mound is known as the oldest settlement area of the Aegean region in Turkey. A diligent art teacher found
the site that proved the 8,500-year-old history of Izmir. The stone Alibeke Özkan found in a park changed the known history.
Alibeke Özkan is an art teacher who lives in the Buca district of Izmir. He became interested in minerals and precious stones during his retirement years. In 2003, he took a walk in a park near his home. He thought stones, mussel shells,
flints, teeth, and bones he found, belonged to ancient ages. Experts determined the location of the remains he found and applied carbon testing to the findings.
"This place is very significant not only for the Aegean coast but also for Izmir and Western Anatolia because it takes the history of Izmir back to 8,500 years ago. And thanks to this place, we found the Yassitepe Mound dating back to the Bronze Age," archaeologist Şükrü Koçak notes the importance of the region in his words.
Because of health problems, Özkan is no longer interested in stones but flowers. However, thanks to his attention, as a person who changed the age of Izmir, he will always be remembered.
&★ Utility poles are attractive for birds to build nests. But this also leads to the risk
of storks falling into high-voltage transmission lines and die.
The utility company TREDAŞ teams are installing platforms on poles to keep storks away from electrical wires in Turkey's Thrace region, one of the intensive migration
routs of birds, located in the west of Turkey.
The team installed 500 safe platforms on masts in Tekirdağ province in four years. First, they survey the electricity pylons using thermal drones, then install the platform. As part of the project, TREDAŞ teams will install another 50 this year, and storks will not be in danger.
The Turkish Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks is also supporting the project.
★ Actor Jason Statham has visited Turkish restaurateur Nusret Gökçe's Beverly Hills steakhouse and imitated the cook's signature salt-sprinkling move, reports the Turkish daily Duvar.
Gökçe, also known as "Salt Bae," later shared the video on his Instagram and YouTube accounts.
As of 2020, Gökçe's restaurant Nusr-Et has branches in
- Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Doha in Qatar;
- Ankara, Bodrum, Istanbul and Marmaris in Turkey, J
- eddah in Saudi Arabia,
- Mykonos in Greece;
- Miami, New York,
Beverly Hills, and Dallas in the United States
★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, leader of the
opposition Future Party and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has
slammed the Turkish Ministry of Education for organizing a painting
competition themed "China in My Dreams."
Davutoğlu suggested that students should instead dream about "their brothers in their motherland being freed from oppression." He was referring to the Uighur minority in northwest China's Xinjiang region.
Uighurs share ethnic roots with the Turks, and their region, Xinjiang, is referred to as Eastern Turkestan.
China has come under scrutiny over its treatment of its Uighurs minority. The country has denied mistreating Uighurs.
U.N. experts estimate China holds at least a million Uighurs and other Muslims in detention centers in Xinjiang. The United States said in January China had committed genocide and crimes against humanity by repressing Uighurs.
Many of the 40,000 Uighurs in Turkey have criticized the government's approach to China after it approved an extradition treaty in December, which they fear may lead to them being sent back to China to face vague charges which they deny.
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 8.24
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey : 66/54 Thunderstorms
Antalya, on the Mediterranean : 84/66 Partly Cloudy
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey : 66/46 Thunderstorms
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 70/55 Showers
Izmir, on the Aegean : 81/66 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea : 63/59 Thunderstorms
Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz
* In games played so far this weekend:
Ankaragücü - Kayseri 1 - 2
Sivas - Rize 0 - 0
Kayseri - Kasımpaşa 0 - 0
Rize - Sivas 0 - 4
G. Saray - Ankaragücü 3 - 1
Karagümrük - G. Antep 5 - 1
Göztepe - Erzurum 0 - 1
Erzurum - Başakşehir 0 - 1
Trabzon - Fenerbahçe 2 - 1
Hatay - Alanya 1 - 0
* Standing in the league as of week ending 38
1 - Beşiktaş 81
2 - Fenerbahçe 79
3 - G. Saray 78
4 - Trabzon 67
5 - Hatay 60
6 - Sivas 59
7 - Alanya 57
8 - G. Antep 55
9 - Karagümrük 54
10 - Göztepe 51
11 - Konya 48
12 - Rize 45
13 - Malatya 44
14 - Başakşehir 44
15 - Kasımpaşa 43
16 - Antalya 43
17 - Kayseri 40
18 - Ankaragücü 38
19 - Erzurum 37
20 - G. Birliği 35
21 - Denizli 28
Competition Euroleague Basketball
Participants Team Name Last Name Women / Men Category Rank / Medal
Anadolu Efes - Real Madrid 88-83
In the finals, Efes will play agaist Russian CSK Moscow starting May 28.
Competition European Throwing Cup
Venue Split, Croatia
Start Date May 8
End Date May 9
Participants Team Name Last Name Women / Men Category Rank / Medal
Eşref Apak Men's Hammer Throw Gold
Özlem Becerek Women's Discus Throw Gold
Emel Dereli Women's Shot Put Bronz
So far,Turkey ranked the first in the competion
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