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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 10 July 2021

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 10 July 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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★ According to Associated Press, Turkey formally withdrew Thursday from a landmark international treaty protecting women from violence. However, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan insisted it would not be a step backward for women.

  Mr. Erdoğan ended the country's participation in the Council of Europe's Istanbul Convention through a surprise overnight decree in March, prompting condemnation from women's rights groups and western countries. A court appeal to stop the withdrawal was rejected this week.

  Amnesty International called Turkey's withdrawal shameful.

  Data by the We Will Stop Femicide group shows 189 women were murdered in 2021 in the country, and 409 last year, including dozens found dead under suspicious circumstances.

  Read more >> here <<

★ In related news, the Coalition for Women in Journalism released its June report which said that Turkey was a leading country in the violation of women journalists' rights.

  77 female journalists around the world experienced rights violations in June, with 36 of those cases recorded in Turkey, the report revealed.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Also in the news:

  According to the Turkish daily Duvar, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan drew criticism when he referred to renowned scientist Dr. Özlem Türeci as "Mr. Uğur's spouse."

  Slamming Mr. Erdoğan over his blatant sexism, opposition Democracy and Progress Party leader Ali Babacan addressed Erdoğan as "Ms. Emine's spouse" in a tweet.

  Mr. Babacan was an ally of Mr. Erdoğan at one time. He served in the cabinets led by Mr. Erdoğan as the minister responsible for the economy, chief negotiator for Turkish accession to the European Union, 41st minister of foreign affairs, and deputy prime minister.

  Other opposition parties also criticized Erdoğan's remarks.

  Read more >> here <<


★ A European Parliament resolution on Thursday expressed deep concern over constant attacks and pressure on Turkish opposition parties, reports the European String.

  The members of the European Parliament condemned the repression of opposition political parties, particularly the People's Democratic Party. It urged the Turkish Government to ensure that all parties can freely and fully exercise their legitimate activities following the basic principles of a pluralist and democratic system.

  The pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party is the third-largest party in the parliament.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Turkish mob boss Sedat Peker has revealed that scores of civilians were armed with unregistered guns during a 2016 coup attempt and afterward, under the coordination of then-minister of labor and current interior minister Süleyman Soylu, according to the Turkish media.

  Mr. Soylu and his shadowy relations with the mafia have been a hot topic in the Turkish media since Peker has started making shocking revelations about state-mafia relations, drug trafficking, and murders implicating state officials and their families starting early May.

  Peker is the head of one of Turkey's most powerful mafia groups and once a staunch supporter of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

★ Turkey welcomed a U.N. Security Council decision on Friday to extend an operation providing aid to Syria across the Turkish border, and called on states to maintain such a constructive attitude to seal a lasting political solution to the crisis.

  Continuing the mandate is key "to meet the needs of the Syrian people," the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.

  The Security Council reached the deal after Russia agreed to a compromise in last-minute talks with the United States, ensuring the delivery of humanitarian help to millions of Syrians for the next 12 months.

★ Security forces detained 17 tobacco farmers in morning home raids in Turkey's southeastern province of Adiyaman on July 9, 2021.

  The farmers have been protesting a recently passed law mandating them to receive a "certificate of authorization" for trading tobacco, a historical craft of the region reports the Turkish daily Duvar.

  Main opposition Republican People's Party deputy Abdurrahman Tutdere noted that the forceful detentions of the protesters were a common practice of the ruling Justice and Development Party.

★ According to Bianet, Turkey has ranked 107th out of 128 countries in the World Justice Project's Rule of Law Index 2020.

  The country climbed three places from 2019 although its score remained the same, 0.43 out of 1. Angola, Iran, and Nigeria also had the same score.

  In the Absence of Corruption Index, Turkey was 60th out of 128 countries with a score of 0.47 out of 1.

  In the Open Government index, Turkey scored 0.42 points and ranked 97th out of 128 countries.

  Turkey's ranking was particularly low in the list of fundamental rights, where it was 123rd out of 128 countries with 0.32 points.

  Read more >> here <<

★ According to the TASS news agency, Russia sent a Be-200 amphibious plane to Turkey to help fight wildfires.

  The Beriev Be-200 multipurpose amphibious aircraft can take 3000 gallons of water on board. The plane can fill its water tanks in 14 seconds while skimming the water surface at a speed of 100 mph.


  A TPAO petroleum exploration vehicle

★ Turkey's state-owned energy company TPAO has applied for a license to explore crude oil in the eastern Mediterranean, the Turkish Ministry of Energy said in a statement Friday.

  According to a Turkish map database, the three areas where TPAO plans to carry out the exploration are in Turkish territorial waters off the coast of Silifke in Mersin province.

  In the past, Turkish explorations took place in disputed waters in the Aegean and the Mediterranean, causing tensions between Turkey and Greece, Cyprus, and the European Union.

  In related news, Greek Foreign affairs Minister Nikos Dendias has accused Turkey of pursuing gunboat diplomacy in the eastern Mediterranean region. He added that pressure from the U.S. is crucial in making Turkey comply with international law, reports the Greek daily Kathimerini.


★ According to the Anatolia News Agency, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Thursday that Turkey would be producing all its military hardware soon and be independent of foreign sources.

  He spoke at an opening ceremony in the Turkish capital Ankara for a maintenance facility for the A400M air lifters.

  In recent years, Turkey has been producing ever-increasing sophisticated armaments such as drones and helicopters. However, experts point out that Turkey is not truly independent since some critical components come from abroad, or the armaments are under license from foreign companies.



★ According to the Turkish daily Dünya, Vagustim, a Turkish startup, has sold its device to Harvard Medical School.

  The device is a wearable one that focuses on non-invasive bilateral auricular vagus nerve stimulation. The stimulation is a clinically approved, safe, and effective neuromodulation method. Since stimulation of the vagus nerve rebalances autonomic nervous system activities, Vagustim device can eliminate and treat autonomic dysfunction triggered conditions, disorders, and diseases by increasing the activity of parasympathetic nervous system activities.

  Read more >> here <<

★ According to Reuters, the Turkish economy will grow 5.5 % this year, closer to government forecasts. However, it has to deal with double-digit inflation.

  The officials claim that the inflation rate is around 16%, but independent researchers say that it is at least double that.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Reuters also reported that economists indicate that Turkey's current account deficit will be over $3 billion in May. The annual deficit will narrow with rising exports and increasing tourism revenue.

  The current account is a country's trade balance plus net income and direct payments.


★ According to Bloomberg, Turkey's central bank governor Şahap Kavcıoğlu is under investigation for plagiarism by his alma mater Marmara University.

  The investigation started after the Turkish daily Birgün published on March 22, 2021, that the Ph.D. thesis of the governor had extensive borrowings from the 2001 annual report of the central bank.

  On May 24, the daily Birgün asked Turkey's Council of Higher Education what they will do about the thesis. It also asked if it is constitutional for somebody to hold a public office if they have committed plagiarism.

★ According to Joanna Bailey of the Simple Flying website, Turkey's flag carrier Turkish Airlines has had over 1000 flights per day.

  According to the airline, the load factor has reached 75%.

  Turkish airline also says that it took many measures to prevent COVID-19 infections throughout its system.


Edited by Büşra Ekmekçi and Selin Taylak


★ According to the Global Times, a well-conducted restoration has brought an ancient palace in Istanbul back to life.

  The 1600-year-old Byzantine palace Boukoleon in Istanbul was once a majestic building. However, over the centuries palace was damaged, and part of it was destroyed.

  Under the supervision of a scientific committee, the Cultural Assets Conservation Department of the Istanbul municipality has launched an archeological restoration project. The restoration will transform this UNESCO World Heritage Site and the nearby sea and land walls of this ancient city into an open-air museum. It will also create an enriched sightseeing route.

  Engin Akyürek, a professor at the Koç University, is leading the scientific committee.

  The piers and richly ornamented columns unearthed during the ongoing archaeological works have shown that the mansion was important, as its unique location enabled the Byzantine emperors to access the sea conveniently.

  Read more >> here <<


★ Istanbul Modern Cinema finished the 2021 season and brought together 60 films in six film programs online and free of charge. The 22,000 moviegoers met with content developed under the titles of online film and documentary screenings, live broadcasts, and interviews with 20 directors.

  The screenings started with a program entitled The Future is Short, consisting of brand new short films.

  Istanbul Modern Cinema has prepared a selection of 10 films from productions in the Best International Film category from the Academy Awards. Körkütük, which first screened online and free of charge in Turkey at Istanbul Modern Cinema, also won the Best International Film Award.

  The March program of Istanbul Modern Cinema included a selection from German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who has produced 45 films in 16 years.

  It also brought together a selection of films by Middle Eastern and North African women directors in April, inspired by Selma Gürbüz's women in the exhibition A Place Called the World.

  In 2020, the cinema presented a selection of films named after festivals and received awards.

  The audience watched the film Gagarine for the first time in Turkey.

  The last program of the cinema, Muses, met with the audience in June.


★ Fenerbahce Steamship is one of the significant vessels in Turkish maritime history and one of the iconic objects of Istanbul. The steamship entered into a maintenance program at the Haliç Shipyard of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality after a 10-year hiatus. The steamship is in the collection of the Rahmi M. Koç Museum. It will be available there for visits after its renovation.

  The William Denny & Brothers Dumbarton shipyard in Glasgow, Scotland, built the steamship in 1952. A member of the garden-type steamships, the steamship entered service on May 14, 1953, in Istanbul, Turkey. The steamship served the public for exactly 55 years.


★ Happy birthday Pera Museum!

  The Pera Museum of Istanbul is celebrating its 16th anniversary. It hosted more than 2 million visitors on its premises with its collections of 12 thousand works of art, more than 100 international exhibitions, and more than 500 events.

  Among others, Pera Museum exhibited the Orientalist Painting," Anatolian Weights and Measures," and Kütahya Tiles and Ceramics" collections of the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation. It has also established collaborations with the leading art institutions of the world. Thus, It brought together the prominent artists and collections of Turkey and world art for 16 years without interruption.

  The museum operates under a foundation established by the late Suna Kıraç and his wife İnan Kıraç, who were closely interested in art, together with their daughter İpek Kıraç. The building, renovated for the Pera Museum in Istanbul Beyoğlu, where the historical Bristol Hotel is, continues to carry the 19th century Art Deco façade of the hotel and today serves art lovers as a contemporary and well-equipped museum.

  Pera Museum sheds light on Turkey's cultural values ​​with its exhibitions and events, displaying collections owned by the foundation. It also has temporary exhibitions for artists. Among these artists have been Jean Dubuffet, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Rembrandt, Niko Pirosmani, Josef Koudelka, Joan Miró, Akira Kurosawa, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Fernando Botero, Ikuo Hirayama, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Goya, Alberto Giacometti, and Grayson. It has also brought works by master artists such as Perry, Cecil Beaton, and Sergey Parajanov together with our Turkey's art lovers.

  Museum Director Özalp Birol said:

  "From the first day we opened the doors of Pera Museum, our priority has been to share our values ​​with the public and transfer cultural awareness to future generations. For this reason, we prefer to be permanent rather than popular. We take care to integrate tradition with the future, not just as a museum but as a platform that embraces different fields of culture and art and brings them together with the audience. We care about our programs for children, youth, adults, nursing homes, special education students, teachers, and our comprehensive culture and arts programs as much as our exhibitions and collections."

  Birol emphasizes that Pera Museum continues its uninterrupted communication with art lovers by adding new and creative activities to this existing infrastructure during the pandemic process:

  "We have seen in the pandemic process that art can go beyond the walls to some extent and embrace wider audiences with digital technologies. For example, in the last period, we reached our 10-year total number of views on YouTube in just one year. Our exhibitions and events have been viewed 1 million times a year, and our total YouTube views have exceeded 2 million. Pera Museum Learning Programs brought more than 15,000 children and adults together with art through virtual tours and workshops during this homeschooling period. We also contribute to a project developed by the Ministry of Education and organizes many online exhibition trips and events for children, teachers, and volunteer trainers. For each exhibition, we prepare teacher guidebooks following the curriculum. I can proudly say that we are the only museum that does."


★ Turkey produces 80 percent of the thyme of the world. The Aegean region of Turkey has the highest share, with 95 percent. The farmers produce approximately 20 thousand tons of thyme in the region and export all of them. With the effect of the epidemic, exports increased by 13 percent in 2020. Turkey obtained revenue of $60 million from exports.

  Cahit Doğan Yağcı, the President of Aegean Furniture Paper and Forest Products Exporters Association, said that the demand for natural products for a healthy life has increased. He added that the future of thyme is bright. "We aim to produce natural thyme with projects that comply with international standards," he said.


★ GastroRize Days Turkey's Black Sea Province of Rize brought the world of gastronomy together. In GastroRize Days, people tasted local delicacies. Bio-diversity, tea and agriculture, local markets, historical Rize architecture, traditional restaurants, farmers, fishermen, historical features, and harvest activities of Rize were on the agenda for three days.

  Rize Mayor Rahmi Metin made the opening speech of the GastroRize Days, held for the first time between July 1-3. Mayor Metin said that the event would expand into an international festival in the coming years.


★ The Istanbul Opera Festival opened with the gala concert on July 1 evening.

  General Manager of the State Opera and Ballet Murat Karahan delivered the opening speech to the art lovers in the fascinating atmosphere of the garden of the Istanbul Archeology Museum this year.

  In the concert, soloists from the Istanbul State Opera and Ballet Orchestra and State Opera and Ballet troupes from 14 provinces of Turkey took the stage. The orchestra performed the works by composers such as Wagner, Mozart, Rossini, Gounod, C. Saint-Saëns, Massenet, Bizet, Verdi, and Puccini.

  The concert ended with intense applause, satisfying the longing of the audience for live performances. Due to the pandemic, there were no live concerts for many months. The organizers made the gala concert available online after July 3 as part of the festival program.

  The 12th International Istanbul Opera Festival continued on Tuesday, July 4, 2021, with the Baroque Concert featuring outstanding ancient arias and duets from the Baroque period.

  On the evenings of July 8-11, 2021, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera Abduction from the Seraglio, a festival tradition, was staged for the first time with its new director last year.



★ Turkish developers have transferred thousands of years ancient cities of the Aegean to the world of digital games. These are helping to familiarize the world with the rich historical heritage of Turkey's Anatolia. Pedasa is one of these ancient cities.

  Pedasa is on one of the high points of Bodrum Peninsula of the Muğla province. It means wetland. Leleges established Pedasa 3000 years ago, and it was their administrative center. Leleges were the indigenous people of the Aegean region before the Greeks came.

  Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University Archeology Department and Archeology and Digital Game Design Department are leading the digitization project.


★ Cannes Film Festival is starting in France. A Turkish stand will also be present at the European Film Market during the 74th year of the festival.

  The stand will introduce the newest and in-development Turkish feature and short films and documentaries.

  During the festival, Turkish officials and film industry representatives will discuss coproduction and project opportunities, access to local funding sources, creating potential markets, and developing promotional activities.

  The festival, which started on July 6, will end on July 17.


★ There is a new exhibition on Turkish-Korean friendship with old photographs and period newspapers in the Turkish capital Ankara.

  In 1950, the Turkish soldiers set out to defend lands they never knew. Some became martyrs and some veterans.

  Turkey had sent more than 20,000 soldiers to Korea.

  The exhibition is open until July 14, 2021.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 8.65


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 88/61 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 102/84 Partly Cloudy
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 82/54 Thunderstorms
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 88/72 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 99/79 Mostly Sunny
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 82/73 Thunderstorms


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