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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 09 October 2021
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 09 October 2021]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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★ Maximilian Hess wrote in the Foreign Policy magazine that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has a monumental vision for his country's largest city: building a new mega canal through Istanbul that will connect the
Black Sea to the Marmara Sea and beyond.
He points out that Istanbul already has the Bosporus Strait that connects the two seas.
Erdoğan has floated the construction of "Canal Istanbul" for many years, dubbing it his "crazy project." In late June 2021, he held a groundbreaking ceremony for the project, estimated to cost at least $15 billion.
The project is ostensibly for alleviating delays in shipping through the Bosporus and providing a much-needed boost to the Turkish economy in the process.
However, critics say that this is one of the projects that will enrich his cronies and supporters. But like a few recent megaprojects, it could be a burden
on the economy with much fewer revenues received than forecast.
Maximilian Hess says that the canal should not be seen primarily as a domestic project but rather one of utmost geopolitical significance. It marks the apex of Erdoğan's attempts to redraw the balance of power in the Black Sea through his ongoing efforts to establish Ankara as an activist power.
In recent years, Hess writes, Erdoğan's foreign policy has reshaped the region with interventions in Syria, Libya, Azerbaijan, sending drones to Ukraine, and claiming oil rights in the Eastern Mediterranean, getting into conflict with Greek Cypriots and Greece and beyond.
"Turkey is a rising Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, European, and Eurasian power. Control of access to their intersection at the Black Sea is particularly important if Turkey is to graduate from being a multi-regional power to a truly great power," Hess adds.
The extent to which Erdoğan is willing to risk this stability is underpinned by his warning that the canal will not be governed by the Montreux Convention. The 1936 treaty limits access to the Bosporus, Sea of Marmara, and Dardanelles (though the new waterway will only replace the former.)
Maximilian Hess is a Central Asia Fellow in the Eurasia Program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Max is also the Head of Political Risk at Hawthorn Advisors, a London-based strategic communications and consultancy firm.
★ According to the VOA,
Greece has agreed to buy three state-of-the-art warships from France, boosting its military capabilities after a decade-long economic recession that cut its defense spending alone by nearly one-half. The deal boosts Greece's military capabilities, but critics fear it may stoke further tensions between Greece and age-old foe Turkey, both of them NATO members.
★ According to the New York Times, Turkish businessman and civil rights activist Osman Kavala was in court on Friday. He has been kept in jail in pretrial detention with various trumped-up charges for the past four years.
The latest charge is that he orchestrated the 2013 nationwide demonstrations that started as a resistance to the conversion of a small park in the heart of Istanbul to a shopping center.
The government is also charging him with espionage and attempting to overthrow the government in a failed coup in 2016.
The European Court of Human Rights asked the Justice and Development Party administration to release Kavala in December 2019. However, the administration led by President Recep type Erdoğan ignored the ruling.
As we reported to you last month, the Council of Europe said it would start infringement proceedings against Turkey unless Kavala is released. The infringement proceedings may result in possible suspension from the organization. Turkey is also a member of the Council.
On Friday, the court ruled to keep Kavala in prison.
★ According to Reuters, a Turkish court on Friday acquitted all 19 defendants charged over their participation in a 2019 LGBT March on a university campus. The court said that their action was not a crime.
The March took place in the Turkish capital Ankara on the campus of the Middle East Technical University.
Reuters adds that homosexuality is legal in Turkey, but the authorities repeatedly banned the Pride marches in recent years. Being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is often equated with a lack of morality.
★ According to the latest news, Turkish opposition parties are coming together in their bid to unseat Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party in the 2023 elections.
At the same time, the Justice and Development Party and President Erdoğan's ratings are coming down in the opinion polls. In 2018 the Justice and Development Party had a 43% approval rating. The latest polls suggest a rating of just over 30%. The junior partner in the coalition, the Nationalist Movement Party, is down to 8% from 11%.
In the 2019 local elections, a coalition enabled the opposition to win the mayoralties in the large metropolitan areas, delivering a blow to President Erdoğan and his followers.
★ According to the online site The Defense Post, Ukraine will produce Turkish armed drones, Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said at a press conference with Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in the western Ukrainian city Lviv.
Ukraine has previously purchased Turkish drones from Baykar company of Turkey, possibly for use against the insurgents in the East.
The Defense Post writes that the deal risks irritating Russia, backing up the insurgency in Ukraine.
In related news, the Defense Post also reported that Turkish defense contractors Havelsan and Transvaro had developed a new kamikaze UAV capable of neutralizing enemy drones.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Edited by Büşra Ekmekçi, Deniz Çakmakçı, and Selin Aydınlı
★ The Seattle area Turks are having their 2021 festival this Saturday. The 21st TurkFest and has started at noon.
One can join the Festival while YouTube and Facebook. Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URXBnXroSCY
★ According to the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, HBO Max will be coming to Turkey in 2022.
The film streaming platform will be competing against Netflix, Amazon, and local streaming services in Turkey
like Blu TV, Puhu TV, Gain, and Exxen.
★ The Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reports that Turks commemorated renowned Turkish author Yaşar Kemal on his 98th birthday. He passed away at the age of 91 in 2015.
A Turkish story writer Necati Güngör described Kemal's writing as follows: "he would blow words onto a paper and create a wind."
Kemal's debut 1955 novel "Slim Memed" has been translated into English as "Memed My Hawk." The novel at the time won the Varlik prize, Turkey's highest literary prize.
Renowned British actor Peter Ustinov adapted the novel to screen in 1984. Turkish-born British Opera and film director and producer Fuad Kavur produce the movie.
In addition to Mehmet my Hawk, Yaşar Kemal wrote 25 other novels, 11 essays, nine interviews, two stories, and many poetry.
He influenced many other writers, both his contemporaries and the ones that came many years after him.
★ Organized under the sponsorship of Akbank, the 16th Contemporary Istanbul started on October 7.
The fair is bringing together local and foreign contemporary art galleries.
The Shipyard, known as the regional renovation and restoration project covering Camialtı and Taşkızak Shipyards, has opened its doors to visitors for Contemporary İstanbul. For the first time this year, the fair is hosting contemporary art galleries, artists, and collectors from Moscow and St. Petersburg with the Focus Russia project.
New York's MoMa and Moscow's Garage Museum of Contemporary Art also have exhibitions in the museums' section of the fair.
Contemporary Istanbul will end this Sunday.
★ Burhan Doğançay and Ekrem Yalçındağ exhibition from Yıldız Holding's collection will also meet with visitors at the Contemporary Istanbul.
Ekrem Yalçındağ is organizing this exhibition. It will feature a selection of works from two previous exhibitions in recent years at Yıldız Holding.
Burhan C. Doğançay, who lived from 1929 to 2013, was a Turkish-American artist. Doğançay is best known for tracking walls in various cities in the world for half a century, integrating them into his artistic work. He said that "walls are the
mirrors of a society."
Doğançay's works are in the collections of many museums around the world, including New York's MoMA, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as well as National Gallery of Art in Washington, MUMOK in Vienna, Musée National d'Art Moderne in Paris, Istanbul Modern in Istanbul, The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and The State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.
Ekrem Yalçındağ is a Turkish Postwar and Contemporary painter who was born in 1964.
Numerous exhibitions at key galleries and museums have featured his works.
See more works from the artists here: Read more >> here <<
and Read more >> here <<
★ The film festival Filmekimi will meet with moviegoers between October 8-17 in Istanbul, October 15-19 in the Turkish capital Ankara, and October 22-26 in the Aegean city Izmir. Its program includes award-winning and highly anticipated new productions screened at international festivals.
Audiences will be able to watch Filmekimi films at Atlas 1948 movie theater in Beyoğlu, Beyoğlu Movie Theater and Kadıköy Movie Theater in Kadıköy, Cinemaximum Armada in Ankara and Cinemaximum Mavi Bahçe in İzmir.
Among the films announced so far in the Filmekimi program are the ones that won the best film awards by making their world premieres in prestigious festivals, especially in Cannes.
Among these films are:
- Madalena (Madiano Marcheti). Winner of the Golden Tulip in the International Competition at the 40th Istanbul Film Festival,
- Titane (Julia Ducournau). The Palme d'Or in the main competition in Cannes,
L'evenement (Audrey Diwan). The Golden Lion in Venice,
- Murina (Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović). The Golden Camera for the best first film at Cannes.
Many directors whose films we watched with admiration at previous Istanbul Film and Filmekimi festivals are returning to the screens with their new films through the event.
★ The third international Maltepe Theater Festival has started on October 7. As part of the event, 14 Turkish and foreign productions will be on the stage. There will also be concerts, panel discussions, and workshops.
Theater troops from Uzbekistan, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Spain, Georgia, the northern Cyprus Turkish Republic, the Greek Cypriot Republic, and Russian Federation are participating in the theater festival.
St. Petersburg Mimigranti State Theater from Russia will be performing a play on the life of renowned Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet.
The northern Cyprus Turkish Republic and Greek Cypriot Republic actors will stage Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot"
The festival ends October 10.
★ The 31st Akbank Jazz Festival is ending on October 10.
Akbank Sanat, the cultural or of the Turkish bank Akbank, organized the festival in collaboration with Pozitif, a Turkish integrated entertainment marketing company.
During the festival, concerts took place at Museum Gazhane, Swissotel Sultan Park with Babylon, Zorlu PSM, The Badau, Nardis Jazz Club, Bova, Galataport Istanbul Package Post Office, and the newly added open-air stages to the festival.
The media company Calling House is hosting the dynamic stage of the festival. Jazz Brunch will take place at Bizim Tepe with the performance of the Flapper Swing Band.
Contemporary dance and jazz come together with the motto "There's Always Dance in the City's Jazz Hall" at the festival, with some venues offering dancing to live music.
Among the musicians featured at the dancing events is Chiara Giorda, Can Gökdoğan, Bengi Yörük, and Gizem Bilgen. Performances are broadcast online on the Akbank Sanat
★ According to the Anatolia news agency, Archaeologists in Turkey have found for the first time a tile workshop dating back to the Early Ottoman period during excavations at a 2,000-year-old ancient Roman theater in Iznik in northwestern Turkey.
Excavation head Dr. Aygün Ekin Meriç, a professor at the Dokuz Eylül University of Izmir, said they identified ten tile kilns dating back to 14th to 15th centuries.
As for the Roman theater, it dates back to the second century to the reign of Roman Emperor Trajan. It could accommodate 10,000 people. The theater featured gladiator games.
After the advent of Christianity, Christians used the theater for religious purposes mostly. Christians added frescoes of the Virgin Mary and Christ on the walls. They closed the entrance and exits to the orchestra area and turned it into a religious venue.
After a strong earthquake in the fifth century, the locals abandoned the theater, and Iznik city residents used it as a garbage dump. During the eighth century, when Arab
raids started, the material from the theater went into building the city walls.
Following the Arab raids in the 12th and 13th centuries, a church emerged on the second seating section of the theater. Then a Byzantine Greek noble family built another church.
Mastercraftsman produced Iznik tiles and pottery from the 15th century until the end of the 17th century. These days the Iznik pottery and tiles fetch millions of dollars.
See more about Iznik works Read more >> here <<
★ Excavations in the Zerzevan Fortress, a Roman military settlement in Diyarbakir, Turkey, revealed an unusual object recently.
According to Dr. Aytaç Coşkun, the head of the excavations, archaeologists found a badge with the great seal of the United States bearing the inscription "E Pluribus Unum" at a depth of 4 feet.
Dr. Coşkun thinks that the badge remained under the ground for about 250 to 300 years.
As for the Zerzevan fortress, it dates back to 3000 years ago. When the Romans conquered the area in the second century, they used it as a military outpost.
Turkey has taken steps to include the fortress as a UNESCO
World Heritage site. It is currently on the tentative list.
★ Turkish authorities opened an underwater park featuring submerged World War One ships, reports the Anatolia news agency.
Çanakkale, the Northwestern province of Turkey, was the battleground of the Gallipoli campaign in World War I. During the campaign, the allied powers of Britain, France, and Italy fought and lost against the Ottoman Empire. Several of their ships sank into the Dardanelles Strait, also known as the Strait of Gallipoli.
Until recently, the Turkish military guarded the area as a no-go zone, as it had explosives left behind during the Gallipoli Campaign.
In 2017, the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism got a mandate for managing the place. Since 2018, the ministry's Directorate of Gallipoli Historic Site has been working to detect, document, and remove the explosives to turn the area into a safe underwater park.
Now the area is available to dive for civilian visitors.
There are currently 16 large ships and submarines in the park. Among them are:
- UK's HMS Majestic (1895), the largest of the nine pre-dreadnought battleships of the Royal Navy, which a U-boat sank.
- HMS Louis (1913), an L class destroyer of the Royal Navy that the Ottoman artillery sank.
★ The ancient city of Uzuncaburç in the southern province of Mersin, home to Hellenistic-era structures, offers finds that will shed light on history, the Anatolia News Agency reports.
Mersin University Archaeology Department lecturer Professor Ümit Aydınoğlu is leading the excavations there. There are 50 people on his team.
Aydınoğlu said that Uzuncaburç was the capital and religious center of the region during the Hellenistic era.
He said this year they are continuing with the excavation and restoration in the theater, sanctuary, temple, and tower section of the ancient city. Most of the structures are under mounds of earth but in good shape, Dr. Aydınoğlu says.
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 8.97
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey : 84/50 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean : 84/70 Mostly Sunny
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey : 66/39 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 68/59 Showers
Izmir, on the Aegean : 79/66 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea : 68/61 Partly Cloudy
Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz
★ In the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, Turkish national
soccer team had a draw with the Norwegian team 1 to 1 in a game played in
★ Turkish swimmer Victoria Zeynep Güneş
received a gold medal in Budapest in the World Swimming Competitions 200m
★ Turkish wrestler Burhan Akbudak lost in the finals
to Azerbaijan's Rafig Huseynov and received a silver medal in 82 kg category in
the World Wrestling Championships in Norway.
★ Turkish sailor Miray Ulaş received a bronze
medal in the Paralympics Sailing championships in Italy.
[Saat 14:30 and 15:30 'da iki kez okuyun]
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