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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 28 August 2021
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 28 August 2021]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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★ The first group of Turkish troops evacuated from Afghanistan landed in the country's capital on Aug. 26.
The group of 345 Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) personnel initially traveled from the Afghan capital Kabul to Islamabad, Pakistan's capital, via a Turkish Air Force transport plane, then proceeded to Ankara on a Turkish Airlines flight.
★ An Afghan man in the Central Anatolian province of Kırşehir was forced to change his shop's name after Turkish far-right politician Ümit Özdağ targeted him on Twitter for being from Afghanistan.
Özdağ, a politician known for his racist remarks against refugees, shared a picture of the shop called "Afghan market" on Aug. 23, prompting concern over the wellbeing of the
★ An Afghan lawmaker of Turkmen origin has been sent back to Istanbul from the Delhi airport despite holding a diplomatic passport that allows visa-travel to India. She and her family had arrived in Istanbul at the end of July.
★ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Aug. 27 that the Taliban has offered Turkey to operate the Kabul airport, but he government has not yet made a decision with regards to the proposal.
Meanwhile, pro-government journalist Hande Fırat wrote that the Turkish Airlines or a private company might take on the operation of the Kabul airport if the security issue is tackled.
★ Turkish Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli was voted the most unsuccessful member of the Cabinet in a recent poll by Optimar Research.
Possibly affecting the result, the country suffered from a series of devastating forest fires in the month of August, the effects of which were severely exacerbated by the fact that the Turkish government lacks firefighting planes.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca was the only minister whose approval rate was above his disapproval rate.
★ Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) said that eating mussels, calamari, crabs, lobsters and shrimp was haram in the Hanafi sect of Islam in a fatwa released on Aug. 26
★ Despite expectations otherwise, the U.K. government has not removed Turkey from its red list for COVID-19 travel at the latest review of the traffic light system.
Turkey has been on the U.K.'s red list since May. British and Irish nationals, as well as those who have residence rights, are able to return but must quarantine in a hotel for 10 days at a cost of over £2,000 (around $2,742).
Meanwhile, the Turkish Health Ministry on Aug. 26 reported 19,616 new coronavirus cases and 257 fatalities from the virus.
★ France also has placed Turkey on its red travel list once again, deeming it a high-risk country for COVID-19, the BBC's Turkish service reported on Aug. 27.
However, travelers who have received their two doses of a European Medicines Agency (EMA)-approved vaccine will be exempt from this measure.
★ Strict restrictions on information freedom are likely to increase in coming years, expert Prof. Yaman Akdeniz said, adding that "winter is coming" for freedom of data in the country.
An upcoming legal regulation by the ruling Justice Development Party against so-called "misinformation spread" is likely to limit freedoms further, Akdeniz added.
★ President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan twisted five different facts about the economy in a single speech he gave to his ruling Justice and Development Party's (Justice Development Party) provincial chairs on Aug. 24., daily Duvar reports.
- the president shared concerned the $128 billion missing from state funds that the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) conducted extensive awareness campaigns about.
- the Justice Development Party increased the government's average financial growth rate from below one percent to 5.1 percent, but the ratio already averaged around five percent across the republic's history.
- the Justice Development Party increased employment by nine million people in 19 years, even though the actual number for this ratio totaled 7.2 million people.
- public servants' wages increased from 4,348 liras to 5,700 liras in 2022, even though the raised wages will in fact not come into effect until 2023.
- the Justice Development Party government "reversed" a financial deficit in the state budget in 2019, even though Turkey has always been a state that grew with deficits.
Ironically, Justice Development Party lawmakers have been working hard on a disinformation bill in recent weeks after the president announced that his government would launch an "operation of truth" against misinformation dispersed by the opposition, Duvar adds.
★ A state tender for the replacement of the cables on Istanbul's Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge for over half a billion liras was assigned to Makyol Construction, a common recipient of state funds as an ally of the ruling Justice and Development Party (Justice Development Party), the daily BirGün reported on Aug. 26.
Makyol Construction was named one of the "mob of five" by main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for being an exceptionally common recipient of state tenders, with the cost of their state projects reaching 3.8 billion Turkish Liras by the end of 2020.
★ The Consumer Confidence Index fell 1.6 percent in August compared to the previous month, to 78.2 points from 79.5 points in July, as experts point out that the government has neither plans nor the ability to restore consumer confidence.
★ U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai told Turkey's trade minister it was critical that countries remove individual digital services taxes in connection with a broader multilateral agreement reached in talks led by the OECD, her office said.
Tai discussed digital services taxes, improving access for U.S. companies in Turkey and other issues with her Turkish counterpart, Mehmet Muş, during a virtual meeting on Aug. 25, her office said in a statement released the next day.
More than 130 OECD members agreed this summer to work out new rules on where companies are taxed, to adopt a tax rate of at least 15%, and to drop national digital services taxes in favor of the new taxing rights.
★ The former chairman of Bera Holding, formerly known as Kombassan Holding, has said that Finance Minister Lütfi Elvan's brother Osman Elvan became the vice-chairman of the company through the pressure of the Capital Markets Board (SPK) on domestic investors.
Minister Elvan's lawyer released a statement with regards to Ali Rıza Alaboyun's statements, deeming them "completely unfounded and imaginary."
ARTS AND CULTURE
Edited by Büşra Ekmekçi, Deniz Çakmakçı, and Selin Aydinli
★ Turkish daily Dunya interviewed Zuhal Üreten, the general director of İş Sanat, cultural and arts arm of Turkey's İşbank. In the interview, she told how the difficult pandemic period affected them.
"Early March of season 20 was when we began to understand the gravity of the situation with the pandemic. We closed the hall after the Richard Bona - Alfredo Rodriguez concert on Wednesday, March 11.
"We also suspended all our international and domestic connections. We took our computers and went home, not knowing when we would be back.
"On the morning of that day, 'we need to do something before we go home, the mood of the souls of the people needs goodness and beauty to feed them. What can we do with the resources we have?' we said.
"We had archival recordings we made in concerts. They usually allowed us to shoot the first few tracks as part of our contracts. We started by releasing those recordings.
"With a quick initiative, we moved our events to our social media accounts starting March 19, 2021. Collaborating with artists from Turkey and around the world, we switched to a publishing model that continued until the end of May with the title 'Time for Art at Home.'"
"With "Time for Art at Home," we won the European Excellence Awards 2020.
"Our concerts reached 35 million viewers," Ms.Üreten added.
Later in the interview, Ms .Üreten also touched on how the two Issanat museums fared during the pandemic. They also carried their activities to the Internet.
★ Organized for 24 years under the sponsorship of Garanti BBVA and with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Istanbul Jazz Festival is getting ready to surround the city with jazz enthusiasm with various events between September 1-24.
The Jazz Festival will provide a September full of music. The events will include:
- Jazz in the Parks, where you can connect with nature while listening to music,
- #IstanbulBirSahne at the Festival concerts, which will make you feel that it is more meaningful to be together again at events,
- Young Jazz concerts for supporting the career development of young musicians,
- SALT contemporary institution will celebrate art its 10th year with an electronic music concert,
- Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts Alt Kat will offer educational and entertaining workshops prepared for different age groups and families at Jazz in the Parks and #IstanbulBirSahne at the Festival.
★ Zorlu Performing Arts Center in Istanbul is starting its 9th season on September 17 this year with the motto #dunyanchanges, the world changes.
Among the events of the season will be:
September 17: Buika, with her style combining jazz and flamenco, her steamy voice, and impressive interpretation. Buika is a Spanish-born Equatoguinean singer. She won the admiration of music lovers in Carlos Santana's latest album "Africa Speaks."
September 24 and 25: Compañía Nacional de Danza de España: Carmen dance show to the accompaniment of Bizet's music with the choreography of Sweden's Johan Inger.
September 30: The Gedik Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Cemi'i Can Deliorman, will accompany tenor Rolando and young soprano Said.
★ Güven Kıraç's third solo painting exhibition "Dystopia" opened at the Alternative Art Space of meRQez Art within Bodrum Marina Yacht Club. The exhibition includes more than 20 acrylic works of the artist in the Outsider Art style.
Güven Kıraç paints the word "dystopia," meaning "evil place" in ancient Greek in his works. In his paintings he aims to express all of the things, situations, and feelings one is exposed to that compresses and makes the person feel helpless, narrows life, and suppresses it.
The exhibition in its manifesto says in verse:
In a world where the building swallows people
In a climate where there is no winter or summer
If your hope and happiness turned into a childhood memory
What would you do if you were staring at the remedies you saw but couldn't reach?
Or are we just staring now?
Kıraç's exhibition will be open to visitors until September 7, 2021.
★ Zeytintaşı Cave, located in the Serik district of Turkey's Mediterranean province of Antalya, is a natural wonder formed over 1 million years. The stalactites and stalagmites in the cave still keep growing at a rate of 1 millimeter each year.
Authorities declared the natural structure a "definitive sensitive area to be protected" by the Presidential Decree in 2019.
Zeytintaş Cave is 46 feet wide and 446 feet long. There are two galleries in it. One level of the cave is open to visitors. Turkish Highway administration cruise discovered it in 1997 while doing preliminary works for road construction.
Zeytintaş Cave welcomes an average of 25 thousand visitors every year.
★ Authorities will determine the mausoleum and entrance gate in Karakuş tumulus by ground-penetrating radar. Archaeologists think that it was one of the important settlements of the Commagene kingdom that ruled the area starting around 163 BC to 72 A.D.
The tumulus is in Turkey's southwestern province of Adiyaman.
A commercial company will determine the structures in the mound where the graves of Isias, the wife of King Antiochos of Commagene, his daughter Antiochis and his grandson Aka are with electromagnetic waves.
After detection of the structures, excavations will begin.
Archaeologists started to use this method in Turkey in recent years. Thanks to electromagnetic waves, experts can determine underground structures.
★ The large-scale excavations carried out by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the German Archaeological Institute in the ancient city of Pergamon each year provide new finds and new information about the Ancient World.
The ancient city is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
This year the finds in the ancient city are shedding light on the belief system of its era. Among the artifacts found in the excavations in and around the Pergamon are eight religious sites and numerous figurines made for the Anatolian goddess Cybele.
Cybele is known as the "Goddess of Fertility" or "Mother Goddess."
★ Produced by Halil Kardaş, written and directed by Ahmet Toklu, the TRT co-produced film "Crucible" received three awards in Spain. It is the first feature film of the director.
"Crucible" had previously won the" Social View " award at the Cerdanya International Film Festival in Spain. The film received the "Best Director," "Best Film Audience," and "Best Supporting Actress" awards at the Eighth Calzada de Calatrava International Film Festival this year.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism supported the production of the film.
"Crucible" had its world premiere at the 51st Giffoni Film Festival. The film describes the struggle of poor children that set up a basketball hoop in the neighborhood where they live.
Crucible also had won the "Sumer Tilmaç Antalya Film Support Fund Award" at the Antalya Film Festival.
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 8.35
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey : 97/70 Mostly Sunny
Antalya, on the Mediterranean : 88/77 Mostly Sunny
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey : 93/57 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 86/75 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean : 90/73 Mostly Sunny
Trabzon, on the Black Sea : 84/72 Partly Cloudy
Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz
* Results for week: 2
Kayseri - Adana 1 - 1
G. Antep - Beşiktaş 0 - 0
Kasımpaşa - Giresun 2 - 0
Rize - Karagümrük 0 - 0
Alanya - Altay 1 - 4
Konya - Başakşehir 2 - 1
Fenerbahçe - Antalya 2 - 0
Göztepe - Malatya 0 - 1
G. Saray - Hatay 2 - 1
Trabzon - Sivas 2 - 1
* In games played so far this weekend:
Antalya - Rize 3 - 2
Adana - Konya 1 - 1
Başakşehir - Kayseri 0 - 1
Beşiktaş - Karagümrük 1 - 0
Malatya - G. Antep 2 - 0
Hatay - Alanya 5 - 0
Giresun - Trabzon -
Kasımpaşa - G. Saray -
Altay - Fenerbahçe -
Sivas - Göztepe -
★ OTHER SPORTS
★ Turkish women's national volleyball team is doing well in the Women's European Volleyball Championship. They are in the quarterfinals.
Here are the games they have played so far:
Wednesday, August 18: Romania 1 -Turkey, 3
Friday, August 20: Turkey 3-Ukraine 0
Sun, Aug 22: Turkey 3-Sweden 0
Sun, Aug 22: Turkey 3-Finland 0
Tue, Aug 24: Netherlands 0-Turkey 3
The Turkish ladies will play against the Czech Republic next. The game will take place in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
★ In motorbike racing, Turkey's Bahattin Sofuoğlu came in first in the Italian Track Championships.
There were 38 writers taking part in the competition.
★ In the world athletics you 20 championships in Nairobi, Kenya, Turkey's Berke AKÇAM won first place in the 400 m hurdles event on August 22.
★ In the 48th Karate Under 21 European championships in Tampere, Finland, the Turkish team came in first.
★ In the 16th Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Turkish athletes are winning medals:
Bronze Recep Çiftçi Judo Men's 60 kg August 27
Bronze Besra Duman Powerlifting Women's 55 kg August 27
Bronze Nesim Turan Table tennis Men's individual class 4 August 28
Bronze Ali Öztürk Table tennis Men's individual class 5 August 28
Bronze Kübra Korkut Table tennis Women's individual class 7 August 28
Bronze Zeynep Çelik Judo Women's 57 kg August 28
87 athletes represented Turkey in the games.
★ Turkish tennis player Cem İlkel qualified for the U.S. opens. The competition will take place August 30 - September 12. He beat his opponent Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic in his last game.
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