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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 12 March 2022

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 12 March 2022]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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  Spokesman İbrahim Kalın

★ According to the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, spokesman for the Turkish president İbrahim Kalın said on Friday that Turkey has no plans to sanction Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine.

  Mr. Kalın said that Turkey was eager to keep the channels of trust open with both neighbors.


  Secretary-General Stoltenberg with President Erdoğan

★ On March 11, NATO released a statement and said that Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg underlined the importance of Turkey's contributions to the organization.

  The statement came out after Stoltenberg met with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the Antalya diplomacy forum in Turkey on Friday.

  Stoltenberg also said that he welcomed Turkey's efforts to mediate between Russia and Ukraine, and its deliveries of assistance to the latter as it resists the Russian invasion.

  According to Ukrainian officials, there was, however, no progress when the Russian and Ukrainian foreign affairs minister's met on the sidelines of the Antalya diplomacy forum in Turkey. Analysts said that the Russian side was using delaying tactics.

  You can read the NATO statement through the transcript of our news Read more >> here <<

★ Writing in the Foreign Policy magazine, Jeffrey Mankoff said that Turkey's balancing act on Ukraine is becoming more precarious. He added that Turkey faced growing pressure to pick sides between Russia and Ukraine.

  Mankoff writes that like his world war two-Europe predecessor İsmet İnönü, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is seeking to keep Turkey out of today's conflict as much as possible while maximizing his room to maneuver.

  Jeffrey Mankoff is a distinguished research fellow at the U.S. National Defense University's Institute for Nationalist Strategic Studies.

★ According to Turkish online news site Bianet, 15 Russian journalists traveled to Turkey after curbs on media in Russia. The site writes that around 150 Russian journalists left the country after the Putin regime declared false news sharing, devaluating the Army, and calling for sanctions against Russia as crimes punishable by 15 years in prison.

  Most of the journalists are from two independent Russian media outlets, Reporters without Borders Turkish representative Erol Önderoğlu said.

★ On March 11, a New York Times article wrote that "Over Ukraine, lumbering Turkish made drones are an ominous sign for Russia."

  The article wrote: "Ukraine's most sophisticated attack drone is about as stealthy as a crop duster: slow, low-flying and completely defenseless.

  "So when the Russian invasion began, many experts expected the few drones that the Ukrainian forces managed to get off the ground would get shot down in hours."

  "But more than two weeks into the conflict, Ukraine's drones — Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 models that buzz along at about half the speed of a Cessna — are not only still flying, they also shoot guided missiles at Russian missile launchers, tanks, and supply trains, according to Pentagon officials."

  In related news, the publication Middle East Eye reported Thursday that Turkey's exports to Ukraine were $59 million, up from $970,000 in the same period last year. Most of the experts are defense equipment. In addition to drones, these equipment include body armor, radios, and helmets. Turkey's deputy foreign affairs minister said that these are sales from private companies and are not military aid from Turkey.

  You can read the full article through the link in the transcript of our news Read more >> here << at our website: www.turkradio.us

★ Turkish and U.S. presidents talked on the phone on Thursday.

  A press release from President Erdoğan's office said that the Turkish president urged President Biden to lift unjust U. S. sanctions on Turkey's defense industry. He also asked the United States to approve Turkey's purchase of 40 new F-16 fighter jets and modernize its existing fleet.

  After Turkey bought Russian-made S-400 missile systems, the U. S. removed Turkey from the next-generation F-35 fighter program.

  President Biden's office also released a statement. However, the U. S. statement did not mention sanctions or the F-16 issue. It only said that the talk focused on responding to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

  Biden Tweet Read more >> here <<

  Reuters report on the talk Read more >> here <<

  TRT news on the talk Read more >> here <<


  Israeli and Turkish presidents during their meeting
★ Israeli president Isaac Herzog traveled to Turkey and met with the Turkish president. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that the meeting marked an exciting moment and shared a video on Twitter of the meeting.

  Turkey's President Erdoğan is seeking to repair broken ties with Israel after Turkey started supporting the Palestinian Hamas faction and criticized Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

  According to Turkish state-owned TRT, Herzog's visit is the first by an Israeli head of state since 2008.

  After a meeting in the Turkish capital Ankara on Wednesday, the two presidents held a joint press conference. Turkish president Erdoğan said that Turkey is ready to cooperate with Israel in the energy sector. He also proposed to export Israeli gas via Turkey to Europe.

  "We aim to lay the foundations for the development of friendly relations between Turkey, Israel, and their peoples," the Israeli president said.

  Read more >> here <<

★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, on March 11, a Turkish court released from jail journalist Sedef Kabaş at the first hearing for a case.

  She was standing trial over charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

  The court sentenced Kabaş to two years and four months in prison over the said charges. The court acquitted her of insulting the interior and the transportation ministers. Initially, the prosecutors sought a jail term of 12 years and 10 months.

  Many around the world criticized the January 22 imprisonment of Ms. Kabaş. Critics of the Turkish government said that this is another example of intimidating journalists critical of the ruling Justice and Development Party government.

★ According to Turkey's Human Rights Association, torture incidents in prisons in Turkey's Marmara region, which includes the province of Istanbul, doubled in 2021.

  The Association said that in 2021 they received 326 appeals for 6222 violations from 39 prisons.

  The webpages of the Human Rights Association is Read more >> here <<

★ According to the Associated Press, the Women's Day March in Istanbul met with violence. The riot police set up barricades and fired pepper gas to block demonstrators from joining a march in central Istanbul.

  Police detained at least 38 women, Turkish media reported.

  The government declared Taksim Square off-limits for the marchers, but the women charged ahead to get there. Police then fired tear gas to push back the demonstrators.

  According to the daily Cumhuriyet, police also detained a group of demonstrators boarding a ferry to go to the March.

  One of the complaints women have in Turkey is the ever-escalating violence against them. Last week, President Erdoğan said there would be judicial reforms to curb it.


  Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu meeting with potential Kurdish voters in Turkey's southeast
★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, on Friday, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey's main opposition Republican Peoples Party, offered five suggestions to solve the decades-old Kurdish issue.

  He said that Kurds suffered a lot and added the country needed tranquility no matter the cost.

  Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu's comments came during a meeting with the Dicle Social Research Center in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.

  Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu previously launched a campaign of "making amends" by acknowledging past failures and injustices made by the state in the country.

  Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu also said that his party does not get much support from voters in the Diyarbakir province. "This is not the fault of the people of Diyarbakır. It lies with us," he said in March.

  Political observers say that some of the Kurds of Turkey have been fighting the government since 1984, first for independence, then for cultural rights only. The Kurdistan Workers Party that leads the fight is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union. Its founder and leader Abdullah Öcalan has been in jail since 1999 after Turkish special agents captured him with assistance from the CIA in Nairobi, Kenya. The conflict cost the lives of over 40,000 people.


★ Turkey's largest telecommunication company Turk Telekom is now owned by the Turkish government. The government-owned Turkey Wealth Fund acquired 55% of the company on March 10.

  In 2013, as part of privatization, the Turkish government sold 55% of Turk Telekom to a Dubai-based company. The Dubai company took a $4.75 billion loan to finance the deal, but it could not make the loan payments.

  In 2018 the creditor banks transferred Turk Telekom back to LYY telecommunication, a company set up by the creditors. The Turkey Wealth Fund will be buying the shares from this company.

  According to Wikipedia, the government of Turkey established the wealth fund in August 2016. It operates the fund with a strategic investment plan approved by the Turkish cabinet. The government transferred companies and assets previously owned by state institutions to the fund.

★ The Turkish Statistical Institute reported that industrial production in Turkey grew at the slowest annual rate since July 2020.

  In January of this year, the output increased by 7.6% compared to January 2021.

  However, it shrank by 2.4% compared to December 2021.

★ Turkey's current account balance registered a $7.1 billion deficit in January, widening by $5.3 billion year-on-year, according to data by the central bank of Turkey, Bianet reported on Friday. The deficit is the highest in four years.

  The bank said that the country's 12-month rolling deficit stood at $20.2 billion in January.

  In economics, a country's current account is the value of exports and imports of both goods and services, and international transfers of capital.

  Read more >> here <<

★ According to Reuters, Turkey's energy minister Alparslan Bayraktar said on Tuesday that Turkey has no plans to suspend purchases of Russian oil and called for an end to sanctions on Iran to create additional global supply.

  The ministers said that Turkey relies on Russia for 45% of its natural gas supply, 17% of oil, and 40% of gasoline.

  Last month, Turkey purchased U.S. natural gas, making it the top destination for American exporters.

  Imports meet 50% of the Turkish energy needs.


Edited by Saadet Ejder



★ According to the Times of Israel, Turkey has agreed to return an ancient Hebrew inscription to Israel. The 2700-year-old Siloam inscription taken by the Ottomans [in 1891] and still held in Istanbul marks direct evidence of the Bible's account of King Hezekiah's tunnel-building in Jerusalem.

  In 1891, modern-day Israel, Palestine, and the rest of the Middle East were Ottoman territory.

  In return, Israel has offered to send Turkey a valuable historical and religiously significant item currently housed in an Israeli museum, most likely an ancient candelabra from the days of Ottoman rule.

  The Times of Israel article is Read more >> here <<

  The Wikipedia article about the inscription Read more >> here <<


★ Istanbul's Tekfen Philharmonic will have concerts on March 23, 24, and 26 in Izmir, Ankara, and Istanbul. It will send the concert proceeds through Unicef ​​to help children in Ukraine.

  Aziz Shokhakimor will conduct the concerts. The program will include selections from Sergey Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet Suites.

  Tekfen Foundation Board Member Dori Kiss Kalafat said that the Tekfen Philharmonic was established 30 years ago for peace.

  She added that the works at the concert belonged to two great Russian composers, Rahmaninov and Prokofiev. She said, "Don't fight, make music because the only common language of humanity is music."

  The orchestra is one of the cultural institutions of Turkey's largest construction company Tekfen Holding.


★ Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela will be at İş Sanat with two concerts.

  The first concert will take place on April 6. Cellist Poyraz Baltacıgil will take part in the program as a soloist. Antonín Dvořák's Cello Concerto in B Minor and Sergey Prokofyev's 5th Symphony will be in the repertoire of the concerts.

  The second concert will take place on April 7 and feature American and Latin American music. Andrés David Ascanio will conduct the orchestra in the first part, Christian Vasquez will lead in the second half.

  The orchestra consists of young musicians trained in "El Sistema." El Sistema (which translates to The System) is a publicly financed, voluntary music-education program founded in Venezuela in 1975 by Venezuelan educator, musician, and activist José Antonio Abreu.

  By 2015, according to official figures, El Sistema included more than 400 music centers and 700,000 young musicians in Venezuela and abroad, including 80 in the U. S. The original program in Venezuela involves four after-school hours of musical training and rehearsal each week, plus additional work on the weekends.


★ Faruk Süyün of the daily Dünya reports on exemplary cooperation between two private institutions in Turkey. Arkas Art Center in Izmir and Elgiz Museum in Istanbul have exchanged collections for exhibitions.

  As part of the exchange, Elgiz has the "Nature, Gardens, Dreams" exhibition from Arkas. The works in it are about the relationship between nature and humans.

  In turn, a selection with the theme of "Myths and Dreams" from the Elgiz collection will be at Arkas Art Center on March 26.

  In a joint meeting between the two institutions, Can Elgiz talked about the history of the Elgiz Museum. He said it makes more sense to exchange because the exhibits are collection-oriented. He made a collection swap with Lucien Arkas, the businessman that established the art center with his name.

  In the same meeting, Lucien Arkas said: "In the exhibition 'Nature, Gardens, Dreams,' we aimed to draw attention to the changes in artistic production from the Renaissance to the 20th century, with works produced by Turkish and foreign artists."

  He added that he attaches importance to cooperation between museums.

  Read more >> here <<


★ Museum Gazhane is having an event titled WOW-International Women's Festival.

  WOW Istanbul aims to be different from traditional art venues. The festival shares the stories of women through music, performances, talks, and workshops. The program will take place on March 19-20 at the Gazhane Museum.

  The platform also offers the art audience the opportunity to participate in the festival. It enables creative expressions presented in a safe environment. WOW Istanbul is about the stories of women from Istanbul. The topics also include civil society and arts professionals, and the program highlights the diversity of the city's residents.

  The opening panel will be with the title #We are together. WOW Foundation Founding Director Jude Kelly and journalist and writer Zeynep Taner will discuss Women's solidarity and similar social issues. In addition, the role of art in women's resistance is also among the topics.


★ Arter gallery of Istanbul is hosting the San Francisco artist Bill Fontana's giant audio and video works titled "I/O" Resounding, reports the daily Cumhuriyet.

  It is the first exhibition of Fontana in Turkey.

  On the lower floor, Arter placed eight wall-size screens for the exhibition. The screens will be broadcasting sounds recorded at the depths of Istanbul Straits, in the Basilica cistern in old Istanbul, and the sounds of water from the Theodosius aqueduct that brought water to historic Istanbul.

  The gallery has placed mattresses throughout the floor for people to sit and view the exhibition.

  Read more >> here <<

★ The South Korean embassy in Ankara held an exhibition on Wednesday in which photos taken from the Anadolu Agency archive depicted years of interaction between countries. Ambassador Won Ik Lee said the history of the Koreans and Turks dated back to centuries in the region of Asia where they were neighbors, and their paths crossed once again following the eruption of the Korean war in 1950 – which led to the creation of a special bond between two nations.

  "A picture is worth a thousand words", the ambassador said while addressing the participants, adding the Anadolu Agency photos depicted various events connecting both nations since the establishment of relations; thus, he decided to hold the exhibit to mark the 65th anniversary of diplomatic ties established in 1957.

  The South Korean envoy said the countries were more like a family than mere friends as they rushed to one another's help at times of need. For example, Turkey sent troops to Korea during the war, and South Korea sent rescue personnel and material aid during the deadly earthquake that shook Turkey in 1999 and when the country suffered from severe wildfires in 2021


★ Art Ankara has started. It features 4500 works by over 1000 artists. It is the eighth episode of the giant exhibition. In addition to artists from Turkey, many foreign artists are also participating.

  The event brings together galleries, museums, and art organizations from various provinces of Turkey and different countries around the globe.

  The exhibition will be on through Sunday.


★ Increased utility rates are affecting art and culture institutions in Turkey. Moda Sahnesi theater had to close its doors due to increased electricity bills. However, due to protests, it opened its doors again.

  The theater art director said they paid 3000 Turkish liras for electricity in 2020. However, now their bill is 20,000 Turkish liras, an increase of seven times. He said that their revenue did not even triple during this period.


★ Turkish singer Selda had a concert for the March 8 World Women's Day in Küçükçekmece district in the Istanbul province.

  People heading to the concert from all around the Istanbul Metropolitan area packed The Küçükçekmece metro line.

  She sang political songs throughout her concert.

  Selda is celebrating her 50th year in music.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 14.77

The dollar rose to 14.99 TLs during the week, but came down afterwards.

High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 34/25 Mostly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 52/36 Mostly Cloudy
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 27/14 Snow
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 37/28 Snow
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 48/32 Mostly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 39/32 Snow
A March storm affected major cities including Istanbul adversely this week. Schools and government offices closed. Traffic came to a halt on some routes.

Snow depths at skiing locations:
Erciyes in Kayseri, Central Turkey      : 81 inches
Ilgaz in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey: 52 inches
Kartalkaya in Bolu, Western Turkey      : 102 inches
Palandöken in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey   : 67 inches
Saklıkent in Antalya, Southern Turkey   : 16 inches
Uludağ in Bursa, Western Turkey         : 75 inches
Sarıkamış in Kars, Eastern Turkey       : 54 inches


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz


Premier League

* Results for week: 28
Malatya         -      Adana          1 - 0
Rize            -      Giresun        1 - 2
Konya           -      G. Saray       2 - 0
Göztepe         -      Kasımpaşa      2 - 3
K.gümrük        -      Altay          0 - 0
Antalya         -      Sivas          1 - 0
Fenerbahçe      -      Trabzon        1 - 1
G. Antep        -      Hatay          2 - 2
Kayseri         -      Alanya         1 - 2
Beşiktaş        -      Başakşehir     2 - 2

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

* Standing in the league as of week ending 28
 1 - Trabzon         67
 2 - Konya           52
 3 - Başakşehir      47
 4 - Fenerbahçe      47
 5 - Alanya          46
 6 - Adana           45
 7 - Beşiktaş        45
 8 - Hatay           43
 9 - K.gümrük        40
10 - Kayseri         38
11 - G. Antep        37
12 - G. Saray        35
13 - Antalya         35
14 - Sivas           34
15 - Kasımpaşa       32
16 - Giresun         32
17 - Göztepe         27
18 - Altay           26
19 - Rize            23
20 - Malatya         20

★ ISSF World Cup Shotgun Competitions are taking place in Nicosia, Cyprus. Oguzhan Tuzun of Turkey received a gold medal.

★ In the U23 European Wrestling Championships, Turkish women wrestlers received one gold, one silver, and four bronze medals, becoming the European champion. The championships took place in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. 

★ In the Euroleague basketball competitions, Monaco beat Turkey's Anadolu Efes 102- 80.

★ In the Europa League soccer competitions, Turkey's Galatasaray had a draw with Spain's Barcelona in a game played in Spain. -


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