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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 25 September 2021

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 25 September 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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Erbaş and President Erdoğan

★ Ali Erbaş heads Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs. He is known for his deeply conservative interpretation of Islam, which many Turks see as anachronistic, Deutsche Welle reports.

  Erbaş blames homosexuality and adulterers for the coronavirus pandemic, Deutsche Welle adds. And he is known for many more highly controversial statements. Erbaş has run the directorate since 2017, and his influence on Turkish society is growing.

  It has not been the custom in Turkey to have religious leaders attend opening ceremonies, but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's conservative government has started including Ali Erbaş.

  Erbaş led the ceremony to reopen the Hagia Sophia mosque in July 2020. He was present at a swearing-in ceremony for new judges at Ankara's Court of Cassation. This week, he was also present at the opening of the Turkish House building in New York City.

  Deutsche Welle writes that Erbaş has become a prominent mouthpiece for Turkey's conservatives forces. His directorate has suggested four to six-year-olds should take compulsory Quran lessons before starting school.

  Turkish opposition figures and liberals are troubled by these developments. They are worried that secularism is under threat.

  The Directorate of Religious Affairs is expanding its influence into the digital world, too. It has published a document on "ethics in social media," urging using Islamic law in cases of online abuse that the secular law may not sufficiently address.

  The directorate has seen its budget balloon in recent years. Back in 2011, the budget was $339 million. Ten years later, it has increased significantly, and now has more financial clout than most Turkish ministries.

  Read more >> here <<


★ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that his country would ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change.

  After scientists attributed intense wildfires and floods across Turkey to climate change, he said he would soon put the vote to the Turkish parliament.

  One other factor is that the World Bank, France, and Germany promised to give $3 billion to Turkey if it were to ratify the agreement, daily Duvar reported.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Relations with Turkey have proven one of the toughest foreign policy challenges Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced during her 16 years in power, Deutsche Welle reports.

  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's controversial foreign policy moves, along with his verbal attacks on European states and leaders, and the severe deterioration of human rights in his country, have forced Merkel to take difficult decisions.

  Her government backed the soft sanctions of the European Union on Turkey, restricted arms sales to its NATO partner, and even banned the campaign appearances of Turkish politicians in Germany.

  But despite criticism from German opposition parties, Merkel refrained from taking a harsher stance that could risk further alienating the difficult president of a strategically important country -- a situation made all the more thorny due to the three-million-strong Turkish community of Germany.

  After the German elections this Sunday, this may completely change. The incoming chancellor may not be that friendly to Mr. Erdoğan's regime.

★ Speaking of elections in Germany, pro-Erdoğan regime supporters are getting guidance to vote for pro-Turkish Jürgen Todenhöfer. Jürgen Todenhöfer is a controversial former Christian Democratic Union party politician.

  Analysts do not expect Todenhöfer to get any significant amount of votes.

  The other German parties' candidates are considered to be anti-Turkey and/or anti-Erdoğan.

  Also in the news: More German Turks will run for election this year than at any time in the past two decades. However, candidates from Germany's largest ethnic minority say they often face racism, underlining the difficulties the country faces in integrating its diverse migrant communities.

  "I had 400 campaign posters, and I think 250 of them are already destroyed with racist slurs," said Orkan Özdemir, a center-left candidate for the Berlin House of Representatives, which elects its members Sunday, the same day as the country's general election.

★ The current course of the U.S.-Turkey relations does not bode well, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said before departing the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday.

  In a wide-ranging briefing to Turkish journalists, Mr. Erdoğan highlighted divisions between the NATO allies over Turkey's purchase of a Russian missile defense system and its consequent removal from the U.S.-led F-35 stealth fighter aircraft program. Mr. Erdoğan said he had worked well with all the U.S. presidents during his 19-year rule but "I can't say that we started well with Mr. Biden."

  Looking ahead to his scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on September 29, Mr. Erdoğan said they would discuss bilateral relations and Syria, particularly the situation in Idlib, the final rebel stronghold in the country.

★ Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced it would adopt 100% renewable energy at plants across Europe and Turkey in the first of a multiple-phase plan covering all facilities across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa by the end of 2022, reports the website just-auto.com.

★ According to Reuters, Turkey's central bank unexpectedly cut its policy rate by 100 basis points to 18% on Thursday, delivering stimulus long sought by President Tayyip Erdoğan despite high inflation and sending the Turkish currency lira to near a record low.

  The inflation rate is 19.25%.

  Economists say inflation will definitely increase, and the cost of living will be going up. Turks have been complaining about how hard it is to make ends meet, and now it will be even more difficult for them.

★ Fitch Ratings' analysis shows that Turkey's seven largest banks, accounting for about 70% of banking sector assets and the majority of sector foreign-currency debt, have sufficient short-term foreign currency liquidity to service debt in the event of brief market closure.

  However, foreign currency deposit outflows combined with a prolonged market closure could severely test the foreign currency liquidity positions of the banks, exacerbated by high levels of deposit dollarization.


Edited by Büşra Ekmekçi, Deniz Çakmakçı, and Selin Aydinli


★ The fifth International Adana Flavor Festival will start on October 8 this year. The theme of the event will be "Geography is Flavor."

  To promote the Festival, Adana Governor Süleyman Elban hosted a press conference in Istanbul. Governor Elban stated that all district municipalities, especially Adana Metropolitan Municipality, chambers, non-governmental organizations, and all citizens of Adana supported the festival.

  Süleyman Elban stated that Adana has a high potential in agriculture, tourism, gastronomy, and trade.

  Dozens of names who came together under the theme of Geography is Flavor will discuss the past, present, and issues that will build the future for the sustainability of Adana cuisine with a unique approach.

  At the Gastro Show, 18 chefs will be on stage with 12 different sessions. Fine dining, signature dishes, and Anatolian cuisines will meet with the visitors with inspiring presentations.

  One of the topics at the festival this year will be social gastronomy projects that reveal the healing power of food for societies.

  Also, this year young chefs will receive mastery training in Adana kebab at the festival.

★ Istanbul Airport has a new project dubbed IGART. The project will be gathering all works that come to the fore with the value it places on culture and art under its roof. IGART will offer artists the opportunity to showcase their talents in exhibitions, workshops, and live music performances.

  Painter and academician Prof. Dr. Hüsamettin Koçan is the head of the executive committee for the project. His goal is to have projects in all fields of art, from painting to sculpture, from architecture to criticism, from curatorship to academics.

  The nine-member executive committee consists of academics and artists. They proclaim that they have joined forces to produce and carry out projects with an approach that considers social benefits.

  The committee also allocated a spacious area to the IGART Art Projects Competition. There are 17 project areas in the competition, and the jury will select three projects from each for the finals.

  Each finalist will receive an award of 10,000 Turkish liras. The winning project will receive the grand prize of 1 million Turkish liras.


★ The 28th International Adana Golden Boll Film Festival ended on September 19 in Turkey's Mediterranean province of Adana.

  The festival included a non-competitive international selection, a comprehensive program composed of classics and recent Turkish productions alongside the National Competition of Feature Films.

  The competition hosted 600 guests.

  Adana Metropolitan Mayor Zeydan Karalar chaired the Festival.

  Some of the National Feature Film Competition awards are as follows:

★ The Istanbul International Chamber Music Festival started on September 21. The goal of the festival is to bring together master musicians and young talents of Turkey.

  The festival started with slogans "music will heal nature" and "youth will heal Istanbul." The theme is "nature and Istanbul."

  The festival venue is the Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall. The festival includes concerts, documentary screenings, "Young people will improve Istanbul" concerts, where young people will meet with masters and talk.

  The festival opened with the piano recital of the Lucas and Arthur Jussen brothers on September 21. On September 23, Gary Hoffman and David Selig performed with piano and violin.

  There will be a piano trio concert by Hellen Weiss, Gabriel Schwabe, and Caspar Frantz on Sunday, September 26, a violin and piano recital by Svetlin Roussev and Elena Rozanova on September 28, and a singing and piano recital by Burak Bilgili, Gökhan Aybulus on September 29. The closing concert will take place on Saturday, October 2, with Borusan Quartet and Nil Koramangala.

  "Youth Will Heal Istanbul" concerts will take place every day until September 28, at Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall Habitat Park.

  The festival will end on October 2.

★ According to the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, Turkey's drama industry is seeing unprecedented popularity in the international market, and its exports are multiplying.

  From modest drama exports totaling $100,000 in 2008, the industry crossed the $500-million mark in 2020, making Turkey the second-largest exporter of TV content in the world. Only the U. S. has more TV drama exports than Turkey.

  With a 25 percent share of all the imported shows around the globe, the Turkish production companies are expecting to top $1 billion in global sales by 2023.

★ The museum in Turkey's Southeastern city of Şanlıurfa started a new exhibition titled "Karahantepe and Neolithic Man."

  The mound Karahantepe is a Neolithic site that dates back to 12,000 years ago. The site is close to Göbekli Tepe, and archaeologists have also uncovered T-shaped steles there. For this reason, Archaeologists call the Karahantepe the sister site of Göbeklitepe.

  Surface surveys revealed the site in 1997.

  Archaeologists believe that Karahantepe is one of the places where temporary shelters turned into permanent housings, and people established villages. At the site, there is evidence of the first use of pottery.

★ In the 1800-year-old amphitheater in the ancient city of Pergamum, archaeologists found private lodges for the elite to watch radiator or wild animal fights.

  The lodges have stone seats with names of the elites engraved, indicating purchase or rental of them.

  The theater resembles the renowned Coliseum in Rome. Excavations there have been continuing since 2018.

  Professor Felix Pirson, the director of the German Archaeological Institute, said that the amphitheater, built during the Roman period, had a very large arena. Dr. Pirson and Turkish archaeologist Dr. Güler Ates are the lead archaeologists for the excavations.

  Pirson said: "They wanted to build a replica of the Colosseum here, and the people of classes came here. There were also differences within the society. Very rich, very important could have families had special sections. They constructed these sections, the seats, by their names engraved on them. Another issue that caught our attention was the writing of Latin names with Greek letters. We think that some people from Italy had a special place in the Pergamum Amphitheater."

  İhsan Yeneroğlu, an archaeologist and historical building researcher from the Technical University of Berlin, stated that they found five lodges so far in the seating areas, called "cavea."

  He says that they estimate that 25,000 to 50,000 people could have used these areas.

★ Excavations around a Christian cave church in southern Turkey are underway in a bid to demystify a long period going back to 300 BCE when the ancients established the city of Antioch.

  In 2012, local authorities decided to build a reception center for the St. Pierre Church near Necmi Asfuroğlu Archeology Museum in the southern province of Hatay, which hosted many civilizations in the past and is known as the "city of coexistence."

  When crews discovered architectural remains during the drilling work in the area, teams decided to turn the ongoing work into a salvage excavation.

  This year a team of 16 archaeologists is continuing to excavate. They found an olive crushing stone, believed to belong to the 5th or 6th centuries CE, a warehouse, a workshop, sales areas, and a water system. They also found 37 single-handled pitchers and other ceramic objects.

  The director of the Hatay Archaeology Museum says that the site was also home to state buildings, a marketplace, a parliament building, and a bathhouse.


★ The 5000-year-old ceramic pieces that archaeologists found during excavations in the ancient city of Myra in Turkey's southern province of Antalya's Demre district suggests that site dates back to 5000 years ago, 2000 years older than earlier thought.

  Nevzat Çevik, a lecturer at Akdeniz University's Department of Archaeology, is leading the excavations. He said that they also found ceramics with fingerprints and writings of the workers.

  Myra was one of the six important cities of the Lycian League.

★ This year's excavations in the ancient site of Kültepe, located in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri, have unearthed jawbones of lions dating back 4,000 years.

  The head of the excavations, Ankara University archeology department lecturer Professor Fikri Kulakoğlu stated that they found many animal bones and big logs in the basement of a large structure in the area this year.

  Prof. Kulakoğlu said that Claudia Minniti, a member of the Kültepe Excavation Committee, identified the jawbone. Minniti is a zooarchaeologist from the University of Salento, Italy.

  Prof. Kulakoğlu thinks that the ancient people must have hunted these lions locally. He also points to an inscription found on a clay tablet. On the tablet, allegedly written by a king, it says:

  "I hunted and brought more than 100 animals, including two lions, leopards, panthers, bears, deer, and wild animals."

  Kulakoğlu says they are not sure if the story on the tablet is related to these particular bones, but indicates that people living in the area were hunting these animals locally.

  There are no longer lions in Turkey.


EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 8.89


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 75/48 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 86/70 Mostly Sunny
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 64/34 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 79/59 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 86/68 Mostly Sunny
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 70/61 Showers


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz


★ In an artery competition that took place, Yankton, South Dakota, Turkish archers Mete Gazoz and Yasemin Ecem beat their Japanese opponents 6-2 and placed third in the Mixed Team category.

  They received a bronze medal. The first place went to the Korean team and the second to the Russian team.


Premier League

* Results for week: 6
Beşiktaş        -      Adana          3 - 3
Karagümrük      -      Antalya        0 - 0
Rize            -      Altay          1 - 2
Malatya         -      Sivas          0 - 1
Göztepe         -      Hatay          0 - 2
Kayseri         -      G. Saray       3 - 0
G. Antep        -      Başakşehir     1 - 0
Fenerbahçe      -      Giresun        2 - 1
Konya           -      Trabzon        2 - 2
Alanya          -      Kasımpaşa      2 - 0
* In games played so far this weekend:
Altay           -      Beşiktaş       2 - 1
Sivas           -      Karagümrük     4 - 0
Adana           -      G. Antep       4 - 0
Antalya         -      Malatya        1 - 0
G. Saray        -      Göztepe        -
Başakşehir      -      Rize           -
Hatay           -      Fenerbahçe     -
Giresun         -      Kayseri        -
Trabzon         -      Alanya         -
Kasımpaşa       -      Konya          -

* Standing in the league as of week ending 6
 1 - Beşiktaş        14
 2 - Trabzon         14
 3 - Hatay           13
 4 - Fenerbahçe      13
 5 - Altay           12
 6 - Konya           12
 7 - Alanya          12
 8 - Karagümrük      11
 9 - Kayseri         10
10 - G. Antep         8
11 - G. Saray         8
12 - Sivas            6
13 - Adana            6
14 - Malatya          6
15 - Göztepe          5
16 - Kasımpaşa        5
17 - Antalya          5
18 - Başakşehir       3
19 - Giresun          1
20 - Rize             1


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