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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 05 June 2021

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 05 June 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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★ President Erdoğan has said that Turkey could not find peace in a multi-party system and ruled out a return to a parliamentary system. "Parliamentary democracy has become a thing of the past," Erdoğan also said.

  Mr. Erdoğan's remarks came in response to the increased efforts by the opposition on returning to a parliamentary system in Turkey because the current presidential system is a tool for a one-man-regime by the president and that the country has been backsliding in numerous areas since 2018.

  Turkish voters said yes to shifting the governance system to an executive presidency with a controversial referendum on constitutional amendments on April 16, 2017.

★ Interpol has rejected 773 red notice requests by Turkey for suspects linked to the Gülen movement, a religious group Turkey accuse of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt, Birgün newspaper reported on Friday.

  Turkey designates the Gülen movement, led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, a terrorist organization. Thousands of members and sympathizers ran abroad after the coup attempt.

  Gülen was at first an ally of President Erdoğan.

★ A new video released on Saturday by the organized crime boss Sedat Peker links President Erdoğan relative to alleged weapons transfer to Syrian jihadists.

  Peker shared a video of a conversation between himself and the owner of Lazoil Energy company Serdar Ekşi.

  In the almost 13-minute video of the phone call between the two, Peker receives confirmation from Ekşi on both knowledge and participation in providing weapons to aid jihadists in Syria. Serdar Ekşi is married to Mr. Erdoğan's niece.

  According to the VOA, President Erdoğan is under renewed pressure following allegations by the mafia boss.

  In related news, Qatar allegedly used Turkish banks as part of a conspiracy to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to the Nusra Front jihadist group in Syria, British daily The Times reported on Friday.

  The Islamist group is designated a terrorist organization by the United States.

★ Turkey remained on the European Union's list of risky countries to travel to amid the COVID-19 pandemic yet again, BBC reported on July 4.

  The ambassadors of the member states of the European Union met in Brussels. The ambassadors ruled to lift travel restrictions to Japan, Australia, Israel, South Korea, Rwanda, Thailand, Singapore, and New Zealand.

  Britain also remains on the list of the European Union's risky travel destinations, meaning that travelers from both countries to a member state will be under a 10-day quarantine after presenting negative PCR test results.

★ Speaking of COVID 19, President Erdoğan under fire for receiving three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine amid a shortage.

  The Istanbul Medical Chamber said that the president's reception of a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while some citizens had not even received the first dose, was irresponsible.

  President Erdoğan boasted about receiving his third dose on June 1 when the Ministry of Health had said that citizens would receive a third dose in 2022.


★ A municipal council member of the ruling Justice and Development Party has said that she resigned from her post for spotting corruption, the Turkish daily Duvar reports.

  Esra Yılmaz, a Mamak municipal council member in the Ankara province, said on June 3 that she wanted to speak up against corruption but was prevented from doing so.

  "I am leaving you alone with your gang of relatives," Yılmaz said in a public statement addressed to Mamak Mayor Murat Köse.

★ Elections in a total of 57 bar associations have been postponed for the fourth time because of an Interior Ministry decision, with bar association heads slamming the government for creating chaos. The government initially scheduled the elections for October 2020.

  Tensions between bar associations and the ruling Justice and Development Party have been running high since last year when parliament passed a law on changing the structure of the bar associations. Lawyers argued that the move would further undermine judicial independence in a country where the judiciary is already in disarray.


  The Justice and Development Party protesters

★ One of the youth organizations of the ruling Justice and Development Party staged a protest in front of the main opposition-led Istanbul Municipality on June 1 to accuse the administration of corruption over the purchase of baklava for approximately $45 in local currency.

  The protest comes at the height of debates surrounding $128 billion that went missing under the Justice and Development Party administration.

  Ironically, the Justice and Development Party youth members also distributed baklava at the protest. But the youth branch head Osman Tomakin said that the kilo price of the dessert they picked was less than that of the municipality.

  In related news, in his most recent comments, President Erdoğan said that the main opposition did not have the right to ask about the missing $128 billion in state funds. His pronouncement brought around a debate about different explanations he offered on the topic recently: The president offered five differing narratives about the missing funds since February.


★ Drought will increase losses in wheat, barley, and corn production this year in Turkey. According to experts, this will force increases in food prices when food inflation is already high.

  Drought has ravaged Turkey and resulted in significant losses in yields of agricultural products.

★ An expert report presented in the lawsuit accusing two Turkish Bloomberg reporters and renowned Turkish journalists of an "attempted financial coup" cleared the defendants of the charges because their allegedly criminal activity had not led to any personal gain on their part.

  The prosecutors based the charges on reporting by journalists Yalınkılıç and Karakaya in August 2018. Their article said that the government had called the bank administrators in Turkey for an emergency meeting, following a currency crisis that saw a massive devaluation of the lira against the dollar.

  The two journalists became the subject of a criminal complaint by the Turkish Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency four days after their reporting on August 14, 2018.

★ According to Bloomberg reporter Tuğçe Özsoy, the Turkish government had made discoveries of further natural gas reserves in the Black Sea. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a public statement on the discovery.

  Turkey has rejected any independent oil audits of the Sakarya region in the southwestern Black Sea, Özsoy notes. Turkey has said that Turkish Petroleum will manage any discoveries without foreign financing.

  If Turkey can extract the gas commercially, the discovery could transform the dependence of Turkey on Russia, Iran, and Azerbaijan for energy imports.

  However, many people look at the discovery announcements with skepticism. They say that these are part of President Erdoğan's strategy to look favorable in the eyes of the Turkish electorate.

  Read more >> here <<

★ According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, inflation in May was 0.89 percent, with a 16.59 percent annual price increase. The Institute then claimed that the annualized inflation fell by 0.55 percentage points.

  Meanwhile, the independent Inflation Research Group reported a 3.94 percent increase in their monthly index, which is significantly higher than the official figure announced by the Institute, which translates to almost a 60% annual rate.


Edited by Büşra Ekmekçi and Selin Taylak


★ Emrah Kolukısa wrote in the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet about the situation of the artists and art world. Here is a summary of his article:

  "The pandemic in Turkey is not over yet, but the lifting of most pandemic-related bans has brought some sectors a little bit of vitality.

  "The art world, stagnant for a while, is one of them. The summer months are more active than ever this season, with fairs and exhibitions opening one after another.

  "Musicians and theater workers, who could not receive any state aid during the pandemic, shout that the authorities have forgotten them even when they ease the bans. While some argue that this situation is clearly ideological, others say that the reason is the economic crisis.

  "The state of theaters is no different. Private theaters are neither exempt from tax liability nor rent and bills. In the process, some businesses closed, even went bankrupt. Musicians who committed suicide, workers who went hungry, and theaters that closed were on the Turkish agenda. Announced to open on June 1, we have heard that the movie theaters would be closed again until July 1 due to the demands of the major chains.

  "Ideological or not, artists are in a difficult situation and are grossly alone. For this, it seems necessary for the sector to implement an organized action plan urgently.

  "On the other hand, the art market, which had been dormant for some time, began to revive. The fact that Contemporary Istanbul, which went online at the last moment due to the pandemic, also opened its doors is the most obvious indicator of this mobility. ArtContact Istanbul Contemporary Art Fair has been the center of attention in a similar way.

  "Not only fairs, of course, but also museums and exhibitions are also beginning to open. Already, organizers set the dates for many events. The exhibitions such as Moving Memories, The Theory of Almost Everything, Art Market III will meet art lovers this summer."

★ Istanbul has hosted another international cultural event.

  ArtContact featured more than a thousand local and foreign artists, over a hundred galleries, local governments, civic initiatives, associations, museums, and universities, started in Istanbul.

  Different techniques, materials, and art disciplines came together at the fair. The essence of the project was to create a platform where works of art, art projects were exhibited, discussed, and relationships grew in public spaces.

  ArtContact had also welcomed artists from other countries, including Brazil, Korea, Russia, and Switzerland. Surprises such as interviews, panels, and concerts were also waiting for visitors.

  ArtContact was on until June 4. Health workers and their spouses attended the event free of charge.

  Read more >> here <<


★ New artifacts have appeared in the ancient city of Aizanoi, located in Kütahya, one of the western provinces of Turkey. Archaeologists have reached the entrance gate and floor of the Agora, a name for the center of ancient cities.

  Excavations have been underway for half a century. Each time archaeologists find new artifacts, they lead to additional information. The latest find Agora Gate indicates that the historical city is a metropolis.

  Archaeologists are gradually finding the missing fragments in the ancient city of Aizanoi, described as the second Ephesus.

  The ancient city is on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List. It is also known as the host of the best-preserved temple of Zeus in Anatolia, the Asiatic part of Turkey. The first stock exchange of the world and other recent finds suggest that Aizanoi may have been the capital of its region.

  Excavations conducted by the Department of Archaeology of Dumlupinar University will continue until the archaeologists find all the missing sections. Afterward, experts will begin the restoration process.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Ahmet Faruk Yılmaz is a graduate student in history. He makes works of art in a unique style by blending the techniques of miniature and engraving. Some of his works are in black and white, but he sometimes colors them with watercolor. It sometimes takes days to complete a picture.

  The artist states that his interest in art started in his childhood. Every drawing of Ahmet Faruk Yılmaz bears traces from Istanbul.

  He reflects his love for Istanbul to his works with his unique style. The products of the young art lover are appreciated. Yılmaz earns income by putting his art on notebook covers and cloth bags.


★ Turkey's southern province of Hatay's Çevlik coast, located in the Mediterranean region, attracts attention with its beauty and contains a treasure nearby. The Titus Tunnel, carved from steep rocks, fascinates the beholders with its splendor.

  The Titus Tunnel was one of the mega projects of antiquity. Roman Emperor Vespasian commissioned it to protect against the flood that threatened the city and the port of Antioch. Construction started in 69 AD and was completed two years later in the reign of Vespasian's son Titus.

  The length of the tunnel is 1250 feet. It is 22 feet high and 18 feet wide.

  UNESCO added the tunnel to the World Heritage Tentative List in 2014.

  Three hundred feet away from the tunnel is the Cradle Cave. There are 12 sarcophaguses at the site, making it one of the largest and most famous sites of rock tombs.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Turkish authorities turned Madrasa with a Clock into a museum. The structure is in Edirne, a Turkish city bordering Bulgaria and Greece, and Ottoman Sultan Murat I commissioned it some 600 years ago. Authorities named the museum after Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. It opened to visitors on the 568th anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul by Sultan Mehmet.

  Madrasa is the Arabic word for any type of educational institution, secular or religious (of any religion), whether for elementary instruction or higher learning.

  Edirne is where Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror was born, raised, and ascended to the throne twice.

  The sultan, who closed the Middle Ages and opened the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery, with his unique foresight and wise personality, received education in Madrasa with a Clock while he was a prince.

  A committee of 40 experts undertook the preparatory work of the museum.

  The committee carried out a detailed preparation process for the Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror Museum.

  There was also a research conference. The conference brought together scientists, literati, historians, architects, and engineers. After academic studies, it took one year to complete the exhibition areas.

  In the museum, there are also sections on the life of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror. Exhibitions explain his poetic personality, leadership, his interest in history, and different languages. The exhibits use wax sculptures, as well as paintings describing the period.


Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut

  See photographs of  Göbeklitepe >> here <<

★ Head of the European Union Delegation to Turkey, Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, visited Göbeklitepe, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is considered the zero point of history, with its 12,000-year age.

  Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut visited Şanlıurfa Metropolitan Municipality, Şanlıurfa Museum, and the Organized Industrial Zone as part of his contacts in the city.

  Meyer-Landrut, who later went to Göbeklitepe, expressed his excitement about being in Göbeklitepe, the cradle of humanity.

  "There are projects and programs in Şanlıurfa apart from visiting historical sites. I am here for them as well. Şanlıurfa is home to a large Syrian [refugee] population. It is a burden for the city. I am pleased to state that the European Union lending support [to ease] the burden created by this Syrian population with its programs.

  "We are trying to support both Syrian and Şanlıurfa citizens to have jobs and make a living. During our visit to the Organized Industrial Zone, we saw that many Syrians were employed in a textile company besides Turkish citizens. A great effort is being made to host Syrian guests in Şanlıurfa. We are proud to contribute to these efforts. But of course, it is the Turkish government, municipalities and the Turkish people that make the real effort", Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut added.

  Read more >> here <<

★ The 24th Flying Broom International Women's Film Festival has started. This year the festival is meeting with moviegoers both online and physically.

  The festival started its online screenings on Festivalscope on May 27 and continued until June 3. The festival, held online last year, is also held physically this year. Following the online screenings, the festival has started meeting with the audience at the Doğan Taşdelen Contemporary Arts Center in the Turkish capital Ankara and the open-air movie theater in CerModern between June 4-11.

  The Flying Broom International Women's Film Festival has been on for 24 years to make works of women visible in film and increase the number of women in the sector.

  The festival is also the only one dedicated to films of women in the world. FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics, both gives awards and sends awards at this festival.

  In the speech given by Halime Güner, President of the Flying Broom Foundation, she said:

  "Women bore the burden of the pandemic twice. Reports have documented this. The poverty of the women increased. For many women, the home has been to her twice the workplace. In this environment, we live in a period that we struggle both to protect our gains and gender equality. Every woman has a rebellion…"

  The festival program is at Read more >> here <<


★ Turkish artist Naz Özturna is combining clothing with ceramics. She brands her works collectively "NØ SEASONS." She says the brand name reflects art criticism of the throwaway culture. Her collection does not have any seasons or follow temporary trends.

  Some of her works are inspired by Middle Ages and the Ottoman period.

  Both domestic and foreign art galleries and design fares are exhibiting her ceramic works.

  As ceramic installation made up of a conical torsolette, underwear, leather harness skirt, and shoes with heels made from wine glasses were exhibited at the Milan Design Fair.

  Özturna is a graduate of the Marmara University Ceramics and Glass Design section.

★ The Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reports that online theater is continuing during the summer. The online events are getting together the theater actors with art lovers during the time of the pandemic.

  DasDas online will start the first play of the month on June 12. The audience will be able to watch the play Rumor Radio. Mert Firat will be reading stories from master writer Sabahattin Ali. Korhan Futacı and his orchestra will accompany the reading.

  June 18 DasDas will stage the play Crocodile. British actor and playwright Tom Basden has written the play.

  June 19 Goodbye Diva by Firuze Engin will be on the online stage. The play tells the story of a diva who goes into seclusion and then makes a comeback.

  June 25 A Very Special Service for the Lonely will meet the theater enthusiasts.

  And last but not least, on June 26, DasDas will put on stage the play Westend.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 8.68


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz


★ In the Euroleague Basketball Championships Turkey's Anadolu Efes became the champion. Leading up the championship, Anadolu Efes had the following matches:

  Friday, May 28: CSKA of Russia - Anadolu Efes : 86-89

  Sunday, May 30: Barcelona - Anadolu Efes : 81-86


Zübeyde Süpürgeci

★ In the Para Athletics European Championships held in Poland, Turkey's Zübeyde Süpürgeci won gold medal in the 100-meter T 54 event. She broke the tournament record with 16.83 seconds.

  Also two other athletes from Turkey won medals in the competitions: Hamide Kurt Doğangün took the silver medal and Zeynep Acet the bronze medal in 100 m T 53 event. Zeynep Acet

  Around 700 athletes from 43 countries have attend the championships.


Yakup Yıldız

★ World Archery reports that Yakup Yıldız of Turkey delivered to gold medals in the Antalya 2021 European championships.

  The 18-year-old won the individual title in the compound men's event over Denmark's Mathias Fullerton and guided his teammates in the compound men's team final over France, continuing a tremendous tournament for the host country that claimed two Olympic quota places on June 4.

  In the compound women category, Turkey's Yeşim Bostan received a bronze medal.

  Read more >> here <<


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