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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 16 April 2022
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 16 April 2022]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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★ Analysts say human rights, political rights, and freedom of speech have been steadily declining in Turkey during the ruling Justice and Development Party administration.
The U.S. State Department Tuesday released its annual report on human rights practices in Turkey. The Turkish foreign affairs ministry rejected the report and said it had unfounded allegations.
The report said arbitrary deprivation of life and other unlawful or politically motivated killings occurred. It also pointed out that there were disappearances, again politically motivated.
Domestic and international rights groups reported that some police officers, prison authorities, and military and intelligence units employed torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment practices.
Significant problems in prisons with overcrowding resulted in conditions in many prisons that the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture found could be considered inhuman and degrading in its 2017 and 2019 visits.
Authorities at times investigated credible allegations of abuse and inhuman or degrading conditions but generally did not document the results of such investigations in a publicly accessible manner nor disclosed whether authorities took actions to hold perpetrators accountable.
The law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention and provides for the right of any person to challenge the lawfulness of arrest or detention in court. But numerous credible reports indicated the government did not always observe these requirements.
Rule-of-law advocates noted that broad use of pretrial detention had become a form of summary punishment, particularly in cases that involved politically-motivated terrorism charges.
The link to the full report is Read more >> here <<
★ According to the Turkish radio and television, the justice and development party administration is working to make fake news punished with prison sentences.
Freedom of speech advocates says that the government will use the law to silence opposition.
★ A Turkish women's rights group announced that the authorities wanted to shut it down.
The rights group is called "We Will Stop Femicide Platform." The organization has been campaigning against an epidemic of violence against and killings of women.
Prosecutors are accusing the organization of illegal and immoral activities.
★ In the Department of State press briefing on April 13, when asked if it is acceptable for the U.S. countries like Turkey to refuse to sanction Russia, Ned Price, the state department spokesperson, said the following:
" I am not familiar with the fact that there are sanctions violations ongoing in the context of Turkey, but Turkey has made important contributions. Turkey, again, is a NATO ally and in that context has stood up to Russian aggression and has provided important additions to the campaign to support the Ukrainian people."
An analyst commented that Ned Price was defending Turkey.
Israeli journalists and officials from Turkey's Directorate of
Communications visit the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne on April 12, 2022
★ On April 13, the times of Israel reporter Lazar Berman wrote that Turkey is targeting Israel with a charm offensive as it angles to regain regional status.
Turkey's president Erdoğan, facing diplomatic isolation and economic pressure, is eager to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Bennett, Berman added. Until the Prime Minister agrees, Mr. Erdoğan is settling for winning over Israeli journalists.
For over a decade, Turkey was one of Israel's most bitter critics on the international stage, Berman wrote. Anti-Israel rhetoric from top officials, led by President Recep Tayyip
Erdoğan, verged on the apoplectic. Ankara also took actions that angered officials in Jerusalem, most notably providing support and a haven for the Hamas terror group.
However, this week, Turkey pressed ahead in its attempts to woo Israel. Turkey's directorate of communications flew in seven Israeli journalists, including Berman, for a series of meetings with officials and tours of popular sites.
The Turkish directorate paid for lodging at a five-star hotel, meals at expensive restaurants, and a boat tour on the Bosporus. The press tour, which culminates in a meeting Wednesday with Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Berman added.
Read more >> here <<
★ According to the Greek daily Kathimerini, a campaign in the U.S. is asking to petition their senators to ask to oppose Turkey's request to buy new fighter Jets and upgrade kits.
The campaign announcement writes: "Turkey is an unreliable ally and has repeatedly opposed American interests in the region. Now, President
Erdoğan wants F-16s. It's time to say NO to Erdoğan."
Read more >> here <<
★ A recent German Marshall Fund of the United States survey found that Turks favor the European Union as the closest foreign partner. 33% of the Turks said that Turkey should cooperate closely with the European Union countries.
The younger population was more pro-European Union. Some 73% of them said Turkey should become a European Union member.
Turks favoring Russia as the closest international partner was 5.6%, and the U.S. was 4.7%.
Read more >> here <<
and Read more >> here <<
★ Unidentified gunman shot at the district office of DEVA, an opposition party, in Turkey's Pütürge town in the southeastern province of Malatya.
Ali Babacan, A one-time ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has established a party recently. Ali Babacan served first as the economy and foreign minister in Mr. Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party cabinet before becoming deputy prime minister from 2009 to 2015.
★ According to CNBC, Turkey's central bank left interest rates unchanged again at 14%. The inflation rate calculated by independent economists is over 100%.
Turkey's currency dipped slightly in Thursday afternoon trading.
The announcement was preceded by Turkish President Recep Tayyip
Erdoğan vowing to "break the shackles of interest rates."
Turkey's currency has lost more than 48% of its value in the last year as Erdoğan pushed on with his policy of eschewing rate rises despite sky-high inflation. Turkey's foreign exchange reserves have been steadily dropping, and Turks earning salaries in lira are increasingly unable to afford staples as their prices soar. Recent steep hikes in electricity and natural gas tariffs have compounded the pain for consumers and businesses.
Independent economists say that the Turkish president's unorthodox policies hurt the economy.
★ According to Bloomberg, the justice and development party administration has prepared a draft law that seeks three years of prison for economic researchers who publish unofficial data on indicators without prior approval by the statistical Institute run by the Turkish government.
The Statistical Institute in January filed a complaint against the independent inflation research group ENAG. The group has been publishing its inflation figures since September 2020. Their figures have always been considerably higher than what the government claims. For example, they reported an inflation rate of 143% for March. The Statistical Institute reported only 61%.
★ According to Reuters, President Erdoğan said his administration would give low-interest loans to exporters and the tourism industry for investments. The funds allocated for these loans are said to be $6.8 billion in local currency. The interest rate would be 9%.
★ On Friday, the Turkish Statistical Institute said that the home sales rose to the highest levels since December. The increase was an annual 20.6%.
Purchases of homes by foreigners rose by 3%, which was 4% of the total sales.
★ According to the Russian state news agency, Russia is lifting restrictions on some fruit and vegetable imports from Turkey.
From time to time, Russia has been banning the import of fruits and vegetables from Turkey ostensibly for health reasons, but analysts say most likely to punish Turkey.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Edited by Saadet Ejder
★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, Pink Floyd's Roger Waters plans to visit Turkey to present his guitar to musician Nûdem Durak. Turkish authorities arrested her for singing in Kurdish, and guards destroyed her guitar two years into her sentence
, Duvar adds.
Nûdem Durak's sister Firdevs Durak announced Waters' visit.
33-year-old Nûdem Durak, sentenced to 19 years in prison in two separate cases, has suffered from osteoporosis and Graves' disease during her jail term.
★ According to the Turkish Radio and Television, Some 350 more historical artifacts excavated from the Kültepe archaeological site are set to go on display in museums.
The move comes as part of a conservation and dialogue program between Turkey and the European Union, the head of the excavation team said on Friday.
Most artifacts unearthed from the site are in museums in the Turkish capital Ankara and Kayseri province.
Kültepe, the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Kanesh 4000 years ago, was included in the UNESCO Tentative List of World Heritage in 2014.
★ An impressive set of modern and contemporary artworks from the personal collection of Annette and Peter Nobel now graces three floors of Turkey's Pera Museum, located in Tepebasi, Istanbul, Reports the Turkish Radio and Television.
"30 years," Peter Nobel smiles when asked how long he and his wife Annette have collected art. "One does not expect to have seen such paintings, pictures that one could collect and put together to make a specific show that is actually unique."
Peter and Annette Nobel are from Switzerland. They are in Istanbul for the exhibition featuring their collection.
Artists such as John Baldessari, Bedri Baykam, Joseph Beuys, Georges Braque, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Christo, Elmgreen
& Dragset, Alberto Giacometti, Andreas Gursky, Özlem Genial & Mustafa Kunt, David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Dennis Hopper, Barbara Kruger, Le Corbusier, Fernand Leger, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Kazimir Malevich, Man Ray, Aleksandr Rodchenko, and Andy Warhol are in "And Now the Good News: Works from The Nobel Collection." The exhibition will be on view through August 7, 2022, at Pera Museum.
★ Archaeologists unearthed a brick tomb dating back to the Hellenistic era during excavation at the iconic Haydarpasa Train Station in Istanbul's Kadiköy district.
What makes the find particularly interesting, according to Rahmi Asal, director of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum, is that the ancients used the tomb for cremation.
According to the preliminary analysis, ancients cremated the body inside the tomb, but the skeleton and other remains survived the blaze, Asal explained.
The team found a terracotta goblet and a perfume bottle, both of them with visible marks of fire damage, with the skeletal remains, he added.
"I have never seen this type of a cremation tomb from the Hellenistic period … Perhaps this will give us many more valuable insights," Asal said.
Ara Güler in Aphrodisias in Turkey, ca. 1964
★ Turkish photographer Ara Güler passed away in 2018, but his photographs are still in high demand in exhibitions.
In the southeastern Gaziantep province of Turkey, a new exhibition titled "History Is Looking at You: Photographs of Ara Güler" is on.
As the name implies, it features photographs that Ara Güler took over several decades in archaeological digs throughout Turkey.
The Turkish Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Institute has organized the exhibition. It will run through September 1.
Council house in Alabanda
★ Excavations in the ruins of the ancient city of Alabanda continue in Turkey's Western Aegean province of Aydin.
Historians say that this city was the favorite of Roman Emperor Hadrian.
Among the prominent features of the city was the temple of Apollo.
Archaeologists are currently looking for the stadium where horse races took place. These races were renowned throughout the Roman Empire. Historians say that Alabanda meant "horse race" in ancient Greek.
There were many other entertainment events in Alabanda. In 350 BCE, many visitors came to the city just for entertainment. For this reason, archaeologists call the city the ancient Las Vegas.
Prof. Umut Tuncer, the head of the excavations, said they performed 17 digs so far at the site. Among the finds was a statue of Emperor Hadrian, who visited the city in 120 BCE.
Busts from Aigai
★ In another dig in the ruins of the ancient city of Aigai in Turkey's Aegean province of Manisa, archaeologists are finding thousands of artifacts and roads from antiquity.
The city dates back to the eighth century BCE.
Prof. Yusuf Sezgin, the head of the excavations, says that the digs started in 2004. In the beginning, there were only 1000 people a year visiting the site. After significant finds, the number of visitors increased to 15,000. "When the visitors come to the excavation site, they walk on 2000-year-old roads," he said.
Prof. Sezgin said that the finds will be in the Manisa Archaeology Museum. There are so many artifacts that authorities started building a new museum to accommodate them.
★ The third Theater Festival will be between June 2 and June 5 this year in Bergama district in Turkey's Aegean Izmir province.
The district municipality is organizing the event. The Izmir Metropolitan municipality and Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry will support it also.
The theater Festival has been on since 2018. It features theater troops from around the world.
The city also hosts ancient ruins dating back to 2500 years ago. It is on the UNESCO world heritage list. The ruins feature one of the largest libraries from the Hellenistic era.
★ A construction team in Istanbul's Beyoğlu district ran across the ruins of an Ottoman-era bath.
The team was removing the debris of a 200-year-old building demolished for a project to build a new road.
Archaeologists think that the bath is 200 to 300 years old.
The site is next to a synagogue built in the 1900s. To prevent it from collapsing, engineers are working on solutions.
Forty buildings so far have been demolished for the project. Most of the buildings served as brothels for many decades.
★ The month of Ramadan brought with it many exhibitions and events.
The first exhibition that meets its visitors during Ramadan is the exhibition of Şehzade Abdullah Efendi and Calligraphy. The exhibition, which started with the support of Sabancı Holding, meets art lovers in the exhibition halls of Sakıp Sabancı Museum Book arts and Calligraphy Collection.
The exhibition includes the works of Abdulmecid Efendi, who is known for his paintings but was also interested in music and calligraphy.
He learned to write beautifully by making copies from the plates of famous calligraphers in the Ottoman collections during the period when he had to live indoors in the palace, closed to the outside world.
Another exhibition that meets art lovers during Ramadan is "Konuşan Yazılar." The name of the exhibition means "Speaking Writings." Yıldız Holding has brought together 145 works found in the collection of Islamic Works in the exhibition. Visitors will be able to visit the exhibition at the Yıldız Holding Exhibition Hall throughout the year.
Activities organized during Ramadan are not limited to these. Atatürk Cultural Center brings more than 70 copies of the holy Koran together with art lovers for the first time at "The Holy Message" exhibition of Koranic manuscripts. The exhibition presents the historical and artistic features of the Korans, information such as pigments used in its decorations, and skin techniques to its visitors. Visitors will be able to witness the development of calligraphy and illumination art in the Atatürk Cultural Center, which began with the efforts to write the Holy Koran beautifully during Ramadan.
★ Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Cemil Reşit Ret Concert Hall is to host the International Baroque Music Festival, which starts on April 13.
Many artists will take part in the festival. Prominent musicians such as Byzantine Academy, Dua Lamante, and Les Essences will take the stage.
Plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare will also be on the stage in the coming days.
The program will include a talk about the Renaissance, a violin exhibition, and an Italian dance troupe.
The program will also have free lessons for young musicians. In addition to Baroque culture, classical music under the influence of Turkish culture is also among the activities. The festival will continue until April 18.
★ A Place for Art platform organized an exhibition to support young artists. The name of the exhibition is "Where is Nature?"
The exhibition aims to explain the human role in the destruction of nature. Seventeen student artists reflect on the human-nature relationship. Their works seek an answer to "Where is nature" with art lovers.
55 works can be seen at Han Levent and Han Ataşehir offices until May 31.
Doğuş Group supports this exhibition. Doğuş Holding A.Ş. (Doğuş Group) is one of the largest private-sector conglomerates in Turkey, with a portfolio of 250 companies in 7 industries, including high-end car dealerships, retail stores, restaurants, cafes, construction companies, radio stations, TV channels, and tourism businesses.
★ İş Sanat's first NFT exhibition in Metaverse continues.
A metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection.
The exhibition is titled "Walking on the Bosporus with Paintings." The works depict the shores of Istanbul. Selected paintings from master Turkish painters meet with the visitors. These works have been in the İşbank collection since 1940.
The works are showcased digitally on the Decentraland platform and with augmented reality apps.
Those who want to visit the exhibition in Metaverse can access the paintings free of charge at metaverse.issanat.com.tr through April 20.
★ The 23rd State Theaters-Sabancı International Adana Theater Festival continues. The festival venues are the Hacı Ömer Sabancı Cultural Center and the Sabancı Chamber Theater.
Highlights of some of the plays that are in the festival:
In the play "Good Bad Ugly", the tragic plot explains the concept of good, and bad humorously.
The subject of the play "V. Frank" is capitalism. It emphasizes that the only thing that matters in this world is money. It talks about the fact that there is no place for love and goodness.
The play "Our Painful Loss" tells a similar story of two women with different lives.
Directed by Mustafa Kurt, the General Manager of State Theaters, "Guest" tells the story of Musa, who returned from Germany years later. His old friends do not accept him anymore. His close and far acquaintances do not want him and ostracize him.
★ The 20th Mersin International Music Festival will begin on May 21. The program will include free open-air concerts. There will be events to promote Mersin culture and presented with the theme of the unifying power of music.
Mersin International Music Festival Executive Board Chairperson Selma Yağcı said, "All humanity is experiencing difficulties brought on by war and epidemics. I believe that we will overcome them with art," she said.
The organizers will disclose the program schedule in the coming weeks.
The festival will end on June 11.
★ Anatolian Life Pension organized the "Frames from Life through Eyes of the Women" photography contest, held for the 16th time this year. Over 8000 photographs of 2500 participants competed this year. The winner was Esengül Receiver with her "Fisherman" photo.
Under the tutelage of the Turkish Photographic Art Federation, the competition has been taking place for the past 16 years. It aims to enable women to express themselves freely and get support to be more competent in society.
Arel University and Mimar Sinan University schools of Fine Arts faculty members, photographers Saygun Dura and İzzet Keribar are on the jury.
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