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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 25 June 2022

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 25 June 2022]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ According to the VOA correspondent Dorian Jones, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan welcomed Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on Wednesday with a military band and an equestrian escort.

  Turkish officials presented the visit as ushering in a new era in bilateral relations after years of bitter rivalry between Erdoğan with the crown prince. The Turkish president led the international outcry in 2018 over the murder of prominent Saudi journalist and government critic Jamal Khashoggi, which took place in Riyadh's Istanbul consulate.

  Timothy Ash of Bluejay Asset Management says economic necessity drove Erdoğan's diplomatic reversal.

  While a joint statement released by the two countries said the visit was carried out "in an atmosphere of sincerity and brotherhood," there was no announcement of any Saudi financial support.

  With Erdoğan facing reelection by June 2023 and lagging in the polls as the country's economic woes grow, analysts suggest the crown prince may be reluctant to extend a financial lifeline to the Turkish president, who until recently has been a bitter rival.

  But security and defense issues are seen as offering crucial common ground. During the visit, the Saudi crown prince reportedly discussed purchasing Turkish military drones, which the Ukrainian army uses effectively against Russian forces.

  Shared concerns over Iran also offer a basis for cooperation, said Mehmet Öğütçü, chairman of the London-based Energy Club.

★ An article published by Stratfor writes that "by feeding into nativist rhetoric, Turkey's government tempts fate."

  The article adds:

  "Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party is indulging anti-refugee sentiment, strengthening the drivers coercing Syrians back home and pushing Ankara to launch a risky new offensive there that might cause more refugees to flee into Turkey.

  "Starting July 1, Turkish authorities will impose foreign residency quotas on certain neighborhoods around the country, limiting the number of refugees to 20%. According to Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, the decision will effectively bar new foreigners from entering around 1,200 neighborhoods nationwide.

  "This comes amid rising nativist popular backlash against refugees in Turkey that is rapidly becoming a political campaign issue ahead of the elections in 2023."

  The article claims that anti-refugee crime has been rising in tandem with the collapse of Turkey's economy.

  Stratfor is an American geopolitical intelligence platform and publisher founded in 1996 in Austin, Texas, by George Friedman, a Hungarian-born U.S. geopolitical forecaster, and strategist on international affairs.

★ Another article Christina Jovanovski penned in the Daily Beast says that Russia's distraction over the war in Ukraine has forced its military presence to decrease in areas that may soon face a Turkish offensive, Syrian opposition officials say.

  The officials said Russia withdrew from several areas in northwestern Syria near the Turkish border, including Tal Rifaat, where Turkey has said it would carry out a military operation to combat the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units Turkey considers a terrorist group.

  The article adds that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that Turkey will carry out a military operation in the northwestern cities of Tal Rifaat and Manbij near the Turkish border to create a "safe zone" where 1 million Syrian refugees could return.

★ Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday that Turkey was investigating claims that Russia stole Ukrainian grain and shipped it to countries including Turkey, Reuters reported.

  Ukraine's ambassador to Turkey said in early June that Turkish buyers were among those receiving the stolen grain. He sought Turkey's help to identify and capture those responsible.

  Russia has previously denied allegations that it has stolen Ukrainian grain. The Kremlin reiterated on Thursday that it had not stolen any grain.

★ Forest fires started in Turkey again. In the southwestern district of Marmaris, a large fire burned thousands of acres. The authorities are saying that an arsonist started the fire, and they arrested a suspect. The fire continues to burn.

  President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited the area. He said that he supports the introduction of the death penalty for arsonists of forests reports the Turkish daily Duvar. In 2004, Turkey eliminated the death penalty as a condition for its potential membership and the European Union.

  Meanwhile, in the Turkish Parliament, the ruling coalition of Justice and Development and the Nationalist Action parties defeated two separate motions by the opposition to investigate the fires to find long-lasting solutions to the issue.

  In 2021, there were over 2000 forest fires in Turkey. They burned 350,000 acres .

★ On June 23, Israeli foreign affairs minister Yair Lapid warned Israeli citizens to return from Turkey immediately. Israeli authorities claimed they received a warning from Turkish authorities about Iranian teams sent to hurt Israelis in Turkey.

  Iran has rejected Israeli authorities' allegations. Iranian foreign affairs ministry spokesperson said Israel is trying to hurt relations between Turkey and Iran.

  In a news conference in the Turkish capital Ankara, Lapid thanked Turkey for helping with a suspected Iranian plot against Israel in Istanbul and said the effort was still underway.

  In 2021, around 200,000 Israelis traveled to Turkey.


★ On June 24, Turkey's banking watchdog BDDK restricted lending to firms that have more than $900,000 in cash in foreign currency, reports the daily Duvar.

  The Turkish currency gained 5% against the dollar upon the news.

  The daily Duvar writes that well over half of deposits in Turkey are in hard currency as a hedge against depreciation of the local currency and inflation.

★ According to daily Duvar, on June 23, Turkey's central bank kept its policy rate at 14% for the sixth straight month, despite a jump in inflation to over 70% and a steep depreciation in the Turkish currency. Independent economists calculate the inflation rate to be 160%.

★ Meral Akşener, the leader of the opposition Good Party, criticized the 40% pay hike that the Turkish president Erdoğan requested.

  She said sarcastically that Mr. Erdoğan is unable to make ends meet. With the increase, Mr. Erdoğan will be making $8100 a month. The minimum wage in Turkey is approximately $260 a month.


Edited by Saadet Ejder


★ It is the 17th anniversary of the death of musician, songwriter, actor, and activist Kazım Koyuncu, known as the "Child in the Poet Garb."

  Koyuncu grew up listening to tales from his grandmother and folk songs from Yaşar Turna, nicknamed "Yaşar the kemenche player."

  In 1989, he enrolled in the Department of Public Administration at Istanbul University. However, he later decided to drop out of school and concentrate on music.

  He created his unique style by combining Black Sea music with rock. The successful artist became even more famous after he started composing the music for the TV series Gülbeyaz, which aired in 2002.

  In his interviews, he emphasized that willingness and courage to work are more important than money.

  Paluri Arzu Kal Demirci wrote the book "The Child in the Poet's Garb: Kazım" after his death, in which she tells about her friendship with the artist.

  Koyuncu died from cancer at the age of 33.

★ Anatolia News Agency reports that the remains of a historical bath in a schoolyard in Tokat emerged recently. Tokat is a city in north-central Turkey.

  Authorities ordered the Atatürk High School demolished due to not being earthquake worthy. The crew demolishing the school building discovered the remains of the bath.

  After that, the Tokat Museum Directorate ordered excavations in the schoolyard.

  After investigating the ruins for a month, experts determined that the bath was from the Ottoman era. They further postulate that it is the remains of the Tahtakale bath commissioned by Firuz Aga, the treasurer to Sultan Beyazit II, who reigned from 1481 to 1512.

  The teams of the Provincial Culture and Tourism Directorate will present the report they will prepare after the excavations to the Cultural Heritage Preservation Regional Board Directorate in the adjacent Sivas province.
Istanbul Jazz Festival director M. Harun İzer in front of the festival poster

★ Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, the 29th Istanbul Jazz Festival starts this weekend.

  The festival will host the leading names of contemporary music and jazz in different venues in Istanbul. It will spread to the parks in six province districts with free concerts.

  After Young Jazz+ finalists Elif Çohaz Quintet, Chai Beans and Jelly Beans, Botticelli Baby took the stage at the Beşiktaş Artists Park on June 25. Botticelli Baby, Baturay Yarkın Trio and Nağme Yarkın, as well as Young Jazz+ finalists Chai Moto and Always Knows will take the stage at a concert on June 26 in Beylikdüzü Yaşam Vadisi.

  "Jazz in the Parks" concerts will continue at Karaköy Beach Park, Şişli Habitat Park, Göztepe Liberty Park, and Küçükçekmece Lakeside Amphitheater Artists Park.

  In addition to free concerts, there will be the following artist on stage throughout the Istanbul Metropolitan area:

  Enrico Pieranunzi Trio, The Marmara Esma Sultan Yalısı Jun 27, 2022

  Nardis Jazz Club 20th Anniversary Celebration Nardis Stars and Roberta Gambarini, Sultan Park-Swissotel The Bosphorus Jun 28, 2022

  JOHN McLAUGHLIN & The 4th DIMENSION, Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Açıkhava Tiyatrosu Jun 29, 2022

  Kalben "Eski Dünyanın Yangını" // Boom Pam & Kutiman, Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Açıkhava Tiyatrosu Jun 30, 2022

  Deniz Tekin // Mehmet Ali Şimayli | Portrait and a Dream, Kadıköy Süreyya Operası Jul 02, 2022

  Night Out with +1 Kadıköy various venues Jul 02, 2022

  Dianne Reeves // Ercüment Orkut Trio, Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Açıkhava Tiyatrosu Jul 05, 2022

  Teoman's Deep Anthology, Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Açıkhava Tiyatrosu Jul 06, 2022

  Yom "Celebration," Cemal Reşit Rey Konser Salonu Jul 07 2022

  Melody Gardot Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Açıkhava Tiyatrosu Jul 07, 2022

  The festival will continue until July 7.

★ Amsterdam Sinfonietta, an ensemble with 22 musicians, took the stage with Russian Cellist Anastasia Kobekina at the 50th Istanbul Music Festival in Turkey.

  Turkey premiere of one of Thomas Ades's most recent works, Shanty – Over the Sea, was given at Istanbul's Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall.

  Also, the assembly and Kobekina interpreted Joseph Haydn's Cello Concerto in C Major no.1, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Nocturnes and Pezzo Capriccioso op. 62 for cello and strings, and William Walton's Sonata for strings. Kobekina said among her role models is Turkish pianist and composer Fazil Say.

  Touching upon Turkish classical music, she said: "I followed up with a few friends from Turkey, for example, Cemal Aliyev. I also play the music of Turkish composer Kaan Bulak. And I just played a few days ago with an orchestra based in Germany."


★ Italian stage director Renato Bonajuto praised the Atatürk Cultural Center in Istanbul, saying the scene has a "tastefully crafted design."

  Bonajuto directed, and Roberto Gianola conducted the Italian-language opera Falstaff at the Istanbul music Festival. Paolo Villa was the choirmaster.

  Adapted by Arrigo Boito, Giuseppe Verdi's final masterpiece Falstaff, based on William Shakespeare's "the Merry Wives of Windsor" and "Henry IV" amazed the opera lovers at the Atatürk Cultural Center in Istanbul. The Turkish State Opera and Ballet staged it.

  Set in England in the 14th century, Arrigo Boito penned the libretto of the play.

★ 50th Istanbul Music Festival ended with the chirping of birds.

  In the last concert, the world-famous Chinese-born American composer and conductor Tan Dun received a lifetime achievement award. The audience accompanied the orchestra with the chirping of birds from their cell phones.

  Tan Dun led the orchestra in performing his work "Passacaglia: The Secret of the Wind and the Birds."

  The last piece of the concert, Igor Stravinsky's Firebird Suite, impressed everyone.

★ The exhibition "Artopol X 39 Gallery" met the art lovers at the gala held at the 39 Kalamış Marina Hotel & Restaurant in Istanbul.

  The exhibition, where artists from different generations came together and created works of various forms and techniques, became the heart of art on Istanbul's Anatolian side.

  Two female entrepreneurs, Munteha Adalı and Pınar Türker Uygun came together to create a project dubbed "Art Unites!" The project goal is to become a communication network between the viewer and the work of art.

  Dilara Orhan curated the exhibition with the motto "Wealth from Diversity!"

  The following artists are exhibiting:

  Anate Vicente, Aslışah Erdem, Ayşe Ataman, Ceylan Dökmen, Çağla Saydağ Karter, Ece Gauer, Edi Yakar, Esra Yıldırım, Ferruh Karakaşlı, Güzel Bakır, Hülya Sözer, Maryam Salahi, Murat Cimi, Quasimotho, Salim Başyiğit, Sayat Uşaklıgil, Serap Gümüşoğlu, Umur Çamaş, Ümit Çamaş, Veysel Daşçı, Yücel Dönmez, and Zeynep Akgün

  The exhibition is open to visitors in the Marina Hotel and Restaurant until August 5.

★ Turkish resort town of Bodrum is working to become a hotspot for world-famous brands, the town's mayor said on Friday.

  "Bodrum is taking confident steps towards becoming a destination where world-renowned brands are. World-famous hotel and restaurant chains are in fierce competition to get into the city," Ahmet Aras said at the Mediterranean Tourism Forum in Malta.

  Organized by the Mediterranean Tourism Foundation with the support of Bodrum Municipality and Bodrum Promotion Foundation, the forum aims to increase tourism cooperation among regional countries, with discussion on the future of tourism and new trends in the sector.

  Addressing high-level participants from nations around the globe, especially those on the Mediterranean coast, Aras said the meeting would benefit all those attending and world tourism as a whole.

  In 2019, the city hosted 1.3 million foreign tourists, while only 530,000 came in 2020 amid the global coronavirus outbreak.

  Aras expects that Bodrum will attract around 1.5 million foreign tourists this year.

  Dr. Necmi Karul at Karahantepe

★ Here is some news on archaeology that we will cover in-depth in future programs:

  - Karahantepe Neolithic archaeological site in southeastern Turkey that features remains from 11,000 years ago is leaving the world amazed, according to Dr. Necmi Karul, the head of the excavations there.

  Dr. Necmi Karul says that the excavations started three years ago and will continue this year. Read more >> here <<

  - Turkish archaeologists are trying to determine the exact site of the Malazgit battle of 1071. Seljuk general Alpaslan defeated the Byzantines, and within 50 years, Turkmen tribes from Central Asia conquered most of the Asiatic provinces of the Byzantine Empire.

  - Edirne is the second capital of the Ottomans. It served the Ottoman sultans until the conquest of Istanbul in 1453. Turkish archaeologists are looking for the remains of the Ottoman sultans' palace there.

  - Excavations at the ancient city of Ani in Eastern Turkey restarted. The city served as the capital of the medieval Armenian kingdoms. The people abandoned the site in the 17th century after suffering through Mongolian invasion in the 13th century and a devastating earthquake in the 14th century

  - Turkish capital Ankara has a 2000-year-old Roman bath. Experts just recently finished restoring the structure.

  - After being closed for 1500 years, the Hells Gate reopened in Turkey's Western Pamukkale region. The gate is an entrance to a cave on a hill that the ancients thought led to the underworld.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 16.89

High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 73/57 Thunderstorms
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 91/75 Mostly Sunny
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 61/50 Thunderstorms
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 82/66 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 90/73 Thunderstorms
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 72/64 Thunderstorms

Seawater temperatures
Black Sea measured at Trabzon         : 66
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdağ      : 73
Aegean Sea measured at İzmir          : 79
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya : 78


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz

★ In the Greco-Roman wrestling championships held in Rome, Italy, Turkey's Riza Kayaalp received a gold medal in 130 kg.

  In the same competitions Furkan Yildiz received a silver medal in 67 kg category.

★ In the volleyball Nations Cup in Brazil, Turkish women's team beat its German rival 3-0 and Koreans 3-1.

★ In the CEV European Men's Golden League Volleyball competitions, Turkish team lost to Czechia 3-1 in the finals and came in second.


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