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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 09 July 2022

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 09 July 2022]

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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★ Germany appointed Ferda Ataman as the country's antidiscrimination Commissioner, Deutsche Welle reported.

  Born in the southwestern German city of Stuttgart to parents with Turkish roots, Ataman, 42, studied political science and began her career as a political speech writer before turning to journalism.

  Lisa Paus, Germany's Green Party's Family Minister, nominated Ataman. German Parliament approved her appointment. The approval got slightly more than the required 50%.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Some Turks tried to have Pride marches this week again. However, police intervened as usual and broke up the crowds. On Tuesday in the Turkish capital Ankara one such crowd gathered, but police prevented it from reaching a park and detained dozens of people, VOA reported.

  A small group of Islamists held a counter-demonstration near the park. Islamists see the LGBT community as a threat.

  VOA writes that Turkey previously was one of the few Muslim-majority countries to allow Pride marches. The first was in 2003, one year after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's party came to power.

  In recent years, the government has adopted a harsh approach to public events by groups that do not represent its religiously conservative views, VOA added. Arrests of many and the use of tear gas and plastic pellets by police have accompanied Pride events.

★ On July 7, Turkish doctors also protested with strikes and rallies.

  Their protests were for the murder of cardiologist Ekrem Karakaya by a patient. They called on the government to tackle the growing violence against healthcare workers.

  Turkey's media watchdog RTUK issued a ban on the broadcast of the protests on the airways, preventing media from covering it.

  On July 7, a group of doctors gathered in front of Istanbul University Faculty of Medicine in Çapa. They attempted to reach the provincial health directorate, but police intervened and stopped them with shields and pepper gas, Turkish daily Evrensel reported. One of the police officers fainted during the brawl, and the protesting healthcare workers helped him.

  The protesting healthcare workers broke through the blockade and gathered in front of the provincial health directorate. They called on Dr. Fahrettin Koca, minister of health, to resign.

  In related news, President Erdoğan's ally and coalition partner Devlet Bahçeli said that the protests by healthcare workers were unlawful. Mr. Bahçeli is the leader of the far-right Nationalist Action Party.

★ Turkish daily Duvar reported that Israel and Turkey would expand bilateral airline traffic under a new aviation deal signed on July 7, Israel's Transportation Ministry said.

  The first since 1951, the agreement comes as the two countries have been working to restore diplomatic ties strained for more than a decade.

  "The agreement is expected to result in the resumption of flights by Israeli companies to a variety of destinations in Turkey, alongside flights by Turkish companies to Israel," Israel's Transportation Ministry said in a statement.

  Israeli carriers have not flown commercially to Turkey since 2007, while Turkish ones flew as many as 16 flights a day to Israel pre-COVID.

  At its peak, half a million a year Israelis visited Turkey.

★ According to the cyber security firm Recorded Future, Russian influence peddlers are continuing attempts to sow disunity and undermine Western efforts to support Ukraine, reports the Voice of America.

  Recorded Future says that Russia is targeting France, Germany, Poland, and Turkey.

  In Turkey, Russian operatives found a host of so-called wege issues. Recorded Future found multiple examples of pro-Russian media and pro-Russian influence networks talking about Turkey's concerns about Finland and Sweden joining NATO. Several articles focused on the Finnish and Swedish arms embargoes against Turkey and on Turkish demands that both countries extradite individuals linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party.

  A Russian troll farm also disseminated Telegram messages to amplify Turkey's concerns and describe Turkish president Erdoğan as being against NATO expansion.

  Meanwhile, Sputnik and the Red Spring Information Agency, two Russian-backed outlets, covered Turkish tensions with Greece stemming from Greek activity in contested sections of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.

★ According to VOA, Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas is to present a combat drone to Ukraine donated by a Turkish manufacturer after a private crowdfunding campaign among ordinary Lithuanians raised $6.1 million to buy it.

  The campaign's success inspired Turkey's Baykar defense company, which makes the Bayraktar TB2 drone, to provide it free of cost. Some of the money raised in Lithuania went into arming the drone, and the rest will be funneled to Ukraine to address "critical needs," the Lithuanian government said.

★ On July 4, Turkish authorities first detained a Russian ship that Ukrainians said was carrying stolen grain, then let it go on Thursday.

  Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko tweeted that they would invite the Turkish ambassador in Kyiv to Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to clarify this unacceptable situation.

★ According to Turkish news site T24, 35 congressmen from both parties wrote a letter to President Biden and urged him not to allow sales of F-16 fighter jets and upgrades to existing ones in the Turkish air force.

  The letter said that Turkey's president Mr. Erdoğan has been destabilizing the Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East, South Caucasus, and North Africa for years and violating international law.

  In 2019, due to the Turkish purchase of Russian S-400 air defense missiles, the U. S. blocked Turkey from buying the F-35 jets NATO countries are jointly developing.

  However. after Mr. Erdoğan lifted his objections to Finland and Sweden's membership in NATO, the US officials said they would consider selling F-16s and upgrades.

  See Mr. Pallones's tweet >> here <<


★ On July 8, rating agency Fitch downgraded Turkey's sovereign debt rating from B+ to B, saying the government's increasingly interventionist policies are leading to spiraling inflation and discouraging capital inflows, Reuters reported.

  Independent experts calculate the June inflation rate as 176%, a 24-year high. Read more >> here <<

  Fitch added that it expected Turkey's consumption to slow, given rising inflation, a weaker exchange rate, and diminishing domestic confidence.

  On July 1, President Erdoğan announced that the government raised the minimum wage by 30% to 5500 Turkish liras a month, approximately $328, the daily Duvar reported. It is the second raise this year.

  According to the Turkish daily Birgün, in a message to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, Mr. Erdoğan said his government was aware of the problems caused by the high cost of living and fluctuations in the value of the Turkish lira against foreign currencies.

  "I ask of my nation stronger support for the (economic) programs we have launched and a little bit more patience,'' BirGün cited the Turkish president as saying.

  However, economists say Mr. Erdoğan has the wrong policies to tackle Turkey's problems, especially the high inflation rate.

★ Turkey's banking watchdog BDDK has eased some of the regulations that had limited Turkish lira loans for firms holding high levels of foreign exchange assets, reports the Turkish daily Duvar.

  Two weeks ago, the BDDK restricted access to new lira loans for companies subject to independent audit if they had more than 15 million liras ($908,000) of foreign exchange cash assets and exceeded 10% of total assets or annual revenue.

  The move was part of efforts to stabilize the Turkish lira after it shed 24% this year on top of 44% in 2021 and have the central bank build up its depleted foreign-exchange reserves.

  The Istanbul Chamber of Industry voiced concern about the latest regulations on July 5, saying exporters faced major problems accessing financing and describing the situation as a "financial bottleneck."


Edited by Saadet Ejder

A depiction of Nareddin Hodja riding his donkey backwards
★ As part of the 63rd International Akşehir Nasreddin Hodja Festival held in Konya, Nasreddin Hodja enacted by Behzat Uygur put yogurt-starter to the pond next to Akşehir Lake.

  The action was a replication of a story of Hodja. Here is how the story goes: One day, several people run into Hodja while pouring yogurt into Akşehir Lake. When asked what he was doing, Hodja said he was trying to make yogurt out of the lake. People told him that wouldn't work. Hodja responded by saying: "what if it works?"

  Uygur acting as Hodja saluted the citizens around him and wished the holiday would be auspicious. Then, as Nasreddin Hodja, rode the donkey brought to the field and walked in the procession with the Mehter Team, an Ottoman-style military band.

  Uygur said, "I believe that the most beautiful thing to wish for in the world is peace. This year I am putting the yogurt starter for peace at home and in the world."

  Nadir Alpaslan, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, also attended the ceremony. At the ceremony, the Akşehir Municipality Folk Dance team performed. Mr. Alpaslan then presented awards to the winners of the cartoon and photography competitions.

★ Hüsamettin Koçan is a Turkish painter and educator. He has a new exhibition that started on June 2.

  The autobiographical exhibition "The Thorn in My Foot" at the Atatürk Cultural Center Gallery includes three special events.

  "Our Instrumental Anatolian Melodies" concert was on simultaneously with the exhibition. It took place on July 6.

  There will be tours at the event, and art lovers will have a different experience in visiting exhibitions.

  Koçan focuses on themes such as the phenomenon of migration, the world of fairy tales, and change. He presents his multi-faceted life and unique experiences in the exhibition.

  Held on the occasion of Hüsamettin Koçan's 70th birthday, "The Thorn in My Foot" will be on through July 28.

★ Devrim Erbil's works never exhibited before will be on exhibition at TAV Bodrum Airport Primeclass Lounge.

  Renk Erbil showcases the project curated by Renko London. Erbil's work will later be at Primeclass Lounges in New York and Paris.

  TAV Operation Services CEO Güçlü Batkın said: "We are now providing our guests with a unique experience by transforming our lounges, which are our pre-flight stopovers, into art galleries at certain times."

  He added that they realized these projects first at Georgia Tbilisi Airport and for the second time at Oman Muscat International Airport.

  TAV, part of Groupe ADP, is a Turkish airport operations and services firm, one of the world's largest. It served 1 million flights and 152 million passengers in 2018.

★ ENKA Sanat brought the audience together with Turkish actor Metin Akpınar on June 27. The moderator was Zeynep Miraç.

  Master actor Metin Akpınar shared many topics from humor to politics, music to food, and hope to love.

  ENKA Sanat also hosted a concert. The rock band Bulutsızluk Özlemi, which Nejat Yavaşoğulları established, took the stage on July 1. The program took place at ENKA Open Air Theatre.

  In their own words, Bulutsızluk Özlemi has created a unique audience by addressing sociological, psychological, economic, and political issues.

  ENKA Sanat is the cultural arm of the Turkish construction company ENKA.

★ Turkeys Art for Goodness Association has left 358 weeks behind in its weekly art meetings .

  A group of women, who care about art and do not express any financial return for themselves, established the association.

  Their goal is to contribute to the development of the arts in Turkey and support the education of young artists.

  The story and works of painter and sculptor Jackie Arditty were the subjects of the art meeting this week, held with the participation of Selin Bozkurt, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association, and the members of the association.

  Arditty has received awards in many national and international competitions, including by institutions such as UNICEF. He opened his first exhibition at the age of 11 at Beyoğlu Art Gallery.

★ Archaeologists, who took a break from work in Perre Ancient City in Turkey's eastern province of Adıyaman, resumed their archaeological excavations with Governor Mahmut Çuhadar.

  Adıyaman is one of the five provinces where traces of the Commagene Kingdom exist.

  Governor Mahmut Çuhadar told reporters at the excavation site that the ancient city of Perre hosted a well-developed settlement. In addition, he said, "Perre Ancient City is a city with religious and important motifs of Commagene and Roman Civilization. We are determined to reveal this."

  He stated that excavations continued in the necropolis area, and the archeologists have been excavating the infinity stairs for three years. "There is a mystery about where the stairs go. We will continue to reveal the beginning point of the stair," he added.

★ A team of Turkish archeologists found the remains of a previously unknown Urartian fortress.

  The ruins are on a mountain ten thousand feet high in the Gürpınar district of Van province in Eastern Turkey.

  Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums supports the project.

  The fortress is 210 feet long and 90 feet wide. The team also found a large cistern with a diameter of 21 feet, walls, and many ceramic remains in its ruins.

  Prof. Dr. Rafet Çavuşoğlu, head of the Archeology Department at the Van Yüzüncü Yıl University, said that the remains bear the classical features of the Urartians. He added: "The fortress is on a peak full of cliffs. Here is the administrative center of the Urartians. It is the first time we come across a fortress at this height."

  The Urartians lived in what is now Eastern Turkey. They had a kingdom that rose to power in the mid-ninth century BCE but went into a gradual decline, and eventually, the Iranian Medes conquered them in the early sixth century BCE.

★ Archaeological studies of the ancient city of Metropolis continue in western Turkey. Turkey's Sabancı Foundation supports the project.

  The archeological team announced that the 2022 season excavations would focus on the Acropolis, City Square, Araplıtepe Church, and the Roman Period Water Well. The goal is to make the Acropolis area a center of attraction. Archaeologists say that the excavation work will finish within five years.

  Studies forecast that the area could be a travel destination for Christians.

  While excavating an ancient well in the praefurnium (fireplace) section of the Balneum (bath), archaeologists found hundreds of pottery and jugs. The items found indicate that the people of the settlement used the well some 1800 years ago.

★ During excavations for the foundation of a new building in Hatay in southern Turkey, construction crews found the remains of a wall for a Roman villa and a floor mosaic with geometric patterns.

  Rescue excavations started about a month ago, and authorities put the site under protection. Ayşe Ersoy, Director of Hatay Archeology Museum, said they understood from the ruins and small finds that people inhabited the place during the 2nd and 5th centuries.

  She said the name of the city was Antiochia during the Roman Empire. The excavations will continue in the coming days.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 17.2

High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 81/63 Thunderstorms
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 86/75 Thunderstorms
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 90/55 Thunderstorms
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 84/68 Thunderstorms
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 86/72 Thunderstorms
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 79/72 Thunderstorms


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz

★ The Mediterranean Games in Algeria's Oran city concluded this week. Turkish team received 45 gold, 26 silver, and 37 bronze medals, coming in second after Italy. The third place went to France.

★ In Romania, European youth swimming championships are taking place.

  In 1500 m freestyle swimming Turkey's Merve Tuncel received a gold medal.

  She also received a bronze medal in 200 m freestyle swimming.

  Belis Şakar received a silver medal in 400 m swimming.

★ In the Optimist Sailing competitions in Bodrum, Turkey, Medi̇ne Havva Tatlıcan, a 15-year-old Turkish girl, received a gold medal.

  Other medal winners are Read more >> here <<


[Saat 14:30 and 15:30 'da iki kez okuyun]

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