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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 24 July 2021

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 24 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 Hannah Lucinda Smith of the British daily The Times, President Erdoğan of Turkey has ripped up the Cypriot peace process by backing plans for a two-state solution under which the Turkish-speaking north would apply for international recognition, stamping out the last embers of hope for a reunified island.

  Mr. Erdoğan was in the Turkish zone of the island to join the celebrations for the Peace and Freedom Holiday. The holiday celebrates the Turkish intervention of 1974 on the island every July 20. Soup for in this

  Mr. Erdoğan attacked the European Union and the U.S. in speeches. He said that Turkey would not wait another 50 years, referring to the United Nations-backed negotiations that have failed to bear fruit.

  Ms. Smith writes that the Turkish Cypriots cannot share any of the revenues from the underwater gas around the island, and this is the underlying reason for Mr. Erdoğan's belligerence with the European Union and the United States. She says that Mr. Erdoğan is also playing for the domestic audience for the 2023 presidential election by appeasing the Turkish nationalists.

  The article also mentions the history of the island. After its independence in 1960 from British rule, Greek Cypriots started pushing the Turks out of the administration. They went so far as to commit massacres on the Cypriot Turks, which stopped when Turkey intervened in 1974 militarily.

★ In related news, the United Nations Security Council on July 23 condemned an announcement by Turkish and Turkish Cypriot authorities to reopen a part of Varosha for potential resettlement, Reuters reported. It called for an immediate reversal of the decision.

  Turkey rejected the council statement saying it based it on groundless claims. The Turkish foreign affairs ministry said the statement is based on Greek Cypriot black propaganda. The ministry added that Varosha is part of the territory of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Cypriot Turks have not opened it to settlement.

  In 1974, the Greek residents of Varosha vacated the city to get away from Turkish troops. It has remained a ghost town since then.

  Read more >> here <<

★ The Religious Affairs Directorate of Turkey has grown significantly during the rule of the Justice and Development Party over the past 19 years. Its budget now is greater than that of seven ministries.

  The Turkish daily Sözcü reports that the directorate asked for $1.5 billion in local currency of additional funds from the government. It says that the current budget is not adequate for their operations.

  In a report, the religious affairs directorate said that some 96% of the budget goes to staff salaries every year, leaving only 4% to conduct services.

  The directorate says that villages and small towns have to have religious officials as well. It is also calling for starting Koranic courses around apartment complexes, especially in big cities.

  Turkish journalist Şirin Payzın commenting on the request of the directorate said that many settlements across Turkey lack proper educational facilities that should get priority over religious services. She also claimed that the directorate staff spends the money on luxurious holidays.

  "Villages and small towns need schools and teachers," Payzın said. "Kids need an education filled with science, art, and sports."


★ 23 press freedom organizations on July 23 condemned plans by Turkey to introduce new legal steps against foreign funding a local media outlets, reports the daily Duvar.

  They say that the measures are part of a move to demonize the free media and further increase the pressure on the few remaining independent outlets.

  Meanwhile, Turkey's media watchdog RTÜK targeted media outlets receiving foreign funds by saying they might cause potential national security problems.

  During its rule, the ruling Justice and Development Party let pro-government business people take over independent newspapers and TV channels, leaving only a handful of independent media.


★ According to Deutsche Welle, the German city of Weimer awarded imprisoned former pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş Germany's Weimar Human Rights Prize for his work in defending the rights of Turkey's minorities.

  The award committee also dubbed Demirtaş one of the most influential opposition politicians of recent times in Turkey.

  Demirtaş has been in prison since 2016.

★ Voice of America correspondent Dorian Jones writes that Turkey is going ahead with its plans to take over security at the Kabul international airport after the pullout of U.S. troops, despite opposition from the Taliban.

  Turkish officials are negotiating with their American counterparts to secure the airport, which analysts say is key to maintaining stability and an international presence in Afghanistan.

  The Taliban has warned Turkey of severe consequences if its military remains in Afghanistan when other foreign forces pull out. However, in remarks this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to play down those threats and indicated negotiations would continue.

  Turkey is looking to its close allies Pakistan and Qatar, which some observers say have close relations with the Taliban, to overcome opposition from the group. But Hüseyin Bağcı, head of the Ankara-based Foreign Affairs Institute, warns that with the Taliban believing it is on the verge of assuming power, the importance of those countries is diminishing.

  Ilhan Uzgel, a columnist for the Duvar news portal, said Ankara sees the Kabul airport mission as key to repairing relations with Washington.


★ The publication Atlas Obscura published an article about a housing development in a rural part of the Black Sea Region of Turkey that so far did not live up to the expectations of the developers.

  Made up of hundreds of Disneyland-like homes with turrets, the development was meant for the wealthy Gulf Arabs. To attract them, the developer even named it in Arabic: Burj Al Babas.

  Now the development stays unfinished. The construction started in the early 2000s. A company that developed a hot spring spot in the area went big with the next idea of Burj Al Babas.

  Some of the residents of the nearby historic town of Mudurnu, featuring beautiful traditional homes and mansions dating back centuries ago, put up fierce opposition. Many resent its near-total disregard for the existing cultural heritage of the region and the impact it could have on local infrastructure.

  The original developer went bankrupt. Now a U.S. company took over the project and is planning to finish what some call a disgrace.

  Read more >> here <<

★ According to the daily Duvar, two lifeguards have been stabbed after asking a group of people not to swim in the Black Sea coastal town of Şile.

  Authorities extended a swimming ban for the Şile beaches on July 23 as the body of a third vacationer was found in the water after five people went missing while swimming the day before.

  The Black Sea coast at Şile is notorious for high waves and dangerous undercurrents.

★ The daily cases of the COVID-19 in Turkey have doubled in just over two weeks to 9,586 on July 22, prompting caution from Minister of Health Fahretin Koca.

  "We have seen the highest number of cases recently. Without protecting ourselves with vaccination, the pandemic will not be off the agenda," Dr. Koca said.

  Independent experts say that the numbers are much higher and that the Justice and Development Party administration hides the actual figures.


★ Turkish farmers have seen a 72-fold increase in their debts from 2.5 billion to 180 billion Turkish liras in the last 18 years during the reign of the ruling Justice and Development Party, the Turkish daily Sözcü reported.

  As a result, many farmers have stopped farming and started selling their land to construction companies.

  The daily Sözcü report writes that just in the past 12 months, more than 46,000 farmers have stopped farming amid a rise in increasing costs, especially in fuel and fertilizer.

  The cultivated land coverage decreased by 12.3 percent in the last 18 years, while the lands used for small vegetable patches decreased by 15 percent.

  Turkey used to be the breadbasket of its region. Now it is importing many farming products, experts say.


★ According to the recent data from the European Statistics Office, Turkey has experienced the most increase in housing prices in Europe. The Turkish increase was 32 percent over the past year.

  In comparison, in the first quarter of 2021, the European Union experienced a 6.1 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

  Turkey was also on top in terms of rent increases over the previous year.

  Following Turkey, the countries with the highest increase in housing prices were Luxembourg with 17 percent, Denmark with 15.3 percent, and Lithuania with 12 percent.


Edited by Büşra Ekmekçi and Selin Taylak


★ Turkish actor Turgay Yıldız passed away July 22 after having a heart spasm on the previous day.

  Yıldız had thousands of followers of his 2 to 3-minute sketches on YouTube. They would usually mock politicians and officials of the ruling coalition parties.

  In the past, Yıldız worked in various theaters. He also did copywriting and presenting programs at the Turkish Radio and Television Ankara studio.

  Read more >> here <<


★ NPR, the National Public Radio, had a five-minute broadcast on ancient basements in Istanbul. NPR correspondent Durrie Bouscaren writes that the winding streets of old Istanbul are an overlapping cacophony of seagulls, ship horns, and vendors of colorful fresh fruit.

  However, underneath it, all is an ancient world that's almost invisible.

  For more than 20 years, Ferudun Özgümüş has knocked on the doors of Istanbul's oldest neighborhoods and asked to see the basement. At 64, the Istanbul University professor is one of the first archaeologists in Turkey devoted to studying the city's underground spaces.

  He has identified more than 300 sites, and he knows there are hundreds more.

  However, Özgümüş says that many Byzantine-era buildings mentioned in archival documents have been lost to history, such as Constantine's famous palace reception hall.

  Throughout Istanbul, there are clues to how residents of the Byzantine capital lived, worked in, and built their city. These blend in with the current surroundings: The ruins of an ancient Roman bathhouse frame the boiler room of a modern office building. A 6th-century cistern with blinding-white columns serves as a jeweler's workshop, with machinery to etch out silver necklaces and rings. ("The ventilation isn't great," says the owner, "but it stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer.") And the shell of a small church — reachable by ladder — sits beneath the basement of a hookah bar.

  A change in the cultural heritage code in 1980 allowed people to keep the ancient finds on that property. Before that, the government would seize any articles found. So the locals started protecting the historical objects.

  Some became attractions for tourists. The owner of one carpet shop, finding a cistern underneath it, converted the site into a small museum devoted to Constantinople's ancient Hippodrome. Another built his shop's foundation around a fallen column simply because it was too heavy to move.

  The full transcript of the NPR show is available on their site.

  Read more >> here <<



★ In the World Wine Awards, Turkish wine producers received one gold and 36 silver medals. The wine magazine Decanter held the awards activities in Britain, Turkish food site Degustasyon Net reported.

  Turkey's Urla Winery received the gold medal with its 2019 Nero d'Avola-Urla Karası wine.

  Turkey's renowned wine brand Kavaklidere received nine silver medals, followed by Suvla with six.


★ Turkish archaeologists completed the rescue work of beautiful Roman mosaics found at the basement of a private Gaziantep home three years ago.

  Archaeologists divided the mosaics into 98 pieces and moved them to the Zeugma Mosaic Museum.

  An official said that the mosaics were for a mansion from the Roman period.

  Owner of the home Erhan Yıldırım said they could not have guests at their home during the three-year rescue period. He added that the family members sometimes had difficulty accessing the home due to 24-hour security guards.

  Yıldırım family purchased the home in the 1980s and found the mosaics by chance.

★ Atatürk Secondary School in Turkey's Çarşamba district of the Samsun province on the Black Sea coast has historical artifacts in its yard.

  The school administration and locals indicate that the historical artifacts should be in a museum, but they cannot get the province museum officials to move them.

  One of the artifacts is a Roman sarcophagus. Unfortunately, vandals have spray-painted it, upsetting the locals and the school administration.

  Although a local wrote a letter to the Samsun Provincial Culture and Tourism Directorate a year earlier, there has been no action so far from the directorate. The directorate in a report said that they are going to move them when the necessary conditions are met, without indicating what they are.


★ With the start of the normalization process related to the Covid 19 virus, Ankara Metropolitan Municipality started to bring people in different districts together with the "Open Air Movie Theater" screenings.

  Aiming for residents of the capital to have a pleasant and colorful summer with the social and cultural events and concerts held all over the city, the Metropolitan Municipality will offer popcorn and water to movie lovers.

  The attendees will enjoy watching movies on giant screens on hot summer evenings. Many outstanding Turkish films will be on the screen in 14 districts on Fridays and Saturdays.

  The open-air movie event calendar is as follows:

  20.07.2021 Tuesday-Polatlı-Cumhuriyet Square

  21.07.2021 Wednesday-Beypazari-Ankara Park

  22.07.2021 Thursday-Elmadağ- Cumhuriyet Square

  23.07.2021 Friday-Next to Gölbaşı-Atatürk Beach Park

  24.07.2021 Saturday-Çubuk-Atatürk Park inside

  30.07.2021 Friday-Next to Çamlıdere-Gol Park Facility

  31.07.2021 Saturday-Kahramankazan-Tuesday Market

  6.08.2021 Friday-Akyurt-Serin Street Festival Area

  7.08.2021 Saturday-Kızılcahamam-Tusaş Martyr Hakan Gülşen Vocational and Technical Anatolian High School

  13.08.2021 Friday-Haymana-Cimcime Sultan Spa Hotel in front

  14.08.2021 Saturday-Bala-Bus Terminal

  20.08.2021 Friday-In front of Kalecik-Meşran Social Facilities

  21.08.2021 Saturday-Nallıhan-Kent Square Orhan Eren Street

  27.08.2021 Friday-Şereflikochisar-Abdulbaki Ünlü İmam Hatip Secondary School


★ Excavations have been ongoing since 2005 in the ancient city of Zeugma, located on the Euphrates River in southeastern Turkey.

  Recently, archeologists found two rock rooms in a structure discovered in 2007, and the excavations are continuing.

  Dr. Kutalmış Görkay, the director of the excavations, stated that they reached the rock rooms after excavating the 50-ft earth fill in the structure dubbed the House of the Muses, named after the mosaics on the floor. Dr. Görkay said the ancients used the rock rooms as dining areas and pointed out that the mosaics extracted carry traces of intellectual life.

  "In these houses, there are depictions of goddesses and personifications believed to have contributed to Greek literature, history, poetry, music, and dinner gatherings. We named them 'House of the Muses' because of the mosaics," he explained.

  Dr. Görkay said that the ancient city of Zeugma was one of the most important cities in Anatolia, especially on the Eastern Roman border. He added that the House of the Muses excavation, continuing since 2007, has been providing a wealth of information about the private lives, personal preferences, and identities of Zeugma residents.

  He said: "when we look at the place and the general features of the building, we think that it belonged to an affluent family.


★ Mehmet Karatosun, 82, returned to Muğla 25 years ago after working in restaurant management and jazz music in Germany for many years.

  Karatosun, who performed jazz in bars and music halls and also worked with the İlhan Gencer Orchestra, one of Turkey's leading orchestras for many years, passed away today due to kidney failure in Köln, Germany, where he went for treatment.

  According to Haber Global's report, artist Feraye Işıl, one of Karatosun's close friends, said in a statement,

  "He was known as Turkey's Nat King Cole.

  "Our friend Mehmet, whom we know as 'Mr. Cole', made a very important and valuable contribution to Bodrum town night-life."

  Bodrum is a district and a port city in the Muğla Province, in the southwestern Aegean Region of Turkey.

  Işıl added that "When one mentions jazz, 'Mr. Cole' would come to mind. World-famous names would go to listen to him. He could sing world-famous jazz music very well."

  She said Mr. Cole's funeral would be taken to his hometown of Karşıyaka, İzmir for burial.


★ Hamit Hayran, who in the past drilled 8 thousand 708 holes on a chicken eggshell and made a work of art, created a new composition with 11 thousand holes and broke his own record.

  He is preparing to enter the Guinness Book of records with this record. Hayran is one of the first artisans of Egg Art in Turkey.

  "After an accident that changed my life, I have been in my workshop earning my living since 1990. I started the art of egg carving without support from anyone," he said.

  Hamit Hayran participated in the You are the Talent Program in 2013, which let people know about him.

  Hamit Hayran is also a member of the World Egg Art Association. Among the artists of 30 countries, he is the first Turkish artist registered in the World Encyclopedia of Egg Art.

  In 2018, he took first place representing Turkey by drilling 8,708 holes on a chicken egg.


★ Onur is a British singer of Turkish origin. He has made his name with his work in various countries of the world with his songs in English. He is preparing to add to his success with a new song in Turkish titled "Give Me My Money" this time.

  Blending the diversity born from the blending of Eastern and Western cultures in his new single, he combines traditional nine-eight beats and exotic notes in Turkish music.

  The singer tries to draw attention to the harmony in contrasts arising from the interaction of East and West with the single Give Me My Money. The singer is embarking on a project that pays homage to this tradition. ONUR is preparing to breathe new life into the music world with his first Turkish song.

  Ilan Lampl, known for his work with world-famous names, directed the music video for the song, whose composition and arrangement belonged to Onur. The artist, who draws attention to a universal subject with prank language, prepares to greet his listeners with a fun clip.

  Onur was born in Britain and received his education in classical and pop music. EDM musician Martin Garrix noticed Onur's first song "Beamin" in 2018, which paved his way to fame.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 8.55


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 86/63 Mostly Sunny
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 93/79 Partly Cloudy
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 90/57 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 84/72 Thunderstorms
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 93/77 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 82/73 Thunderstorms


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

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