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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 16 July 2022

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 16 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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★ According to Reuters, on July 14, the U. S. House of Representatives approved a bill that restricts the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. The bill will create a new hurdle for president Joe Biden's plan to sell the fighters.

  The bill is part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act that entails $800 billion in defense expenditure.

  The only way the sales can proceed is when the administration certifies that doing so is essential to the U. S. national security and include a description of concrete steps taken to ensure Turkey does not use them for repeated unauthorized flights over Greece.

  Senator Bob Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who reviews major international weapons deals, has said he opposed the sale.

  However, the bill is not law yet, and there are several steps before the U. S. could put it into effect. First, the Senate has to approve its version of the National Defense Authorization Act. Then the two legislative bodies have to reconcile the two versions.

  Many U. S. lawmakers turned against Turkey after president Erdoğan acquired a Russian-made missile defense system. The acquisition triggered the U. S. sanctions and removed Turkey from the F-35 Joint Fighter Jet Program.

  F-35 is an advanced jet under development with the participation of most NATO countries.

  According to Reuters, President Erdoğan's authoritarianism and eroding freedoms of journalists, advocates, and rights defenders are other factors in the U. S. legislation to argue against weapons sales to Turkey.

  On the sidelines of the recent NATO meeting, President Biden indicated that he would sell the F-16 jets to Turkey since Turkey lifted its objections to the membership of Finland and Sweden.

★ President Erdoğan's administration officials have been saying since last May that they are preparing to launch renewed military operations in northern Syria to expand a 30 km deep security zone on the Syrian side of the Turkish border, reports the Voice of America.

  Voice of America adds that the U. S. officials had consultation meetings with their Turkish counterparts in recent weeks, but they have failed to stop saber rattling by Turkey. Recently multiple U. S. officials went public to point out that they oppose any Turkish intervention in northern Syria.

  "We strongly oppose any Turkish operation into northern Syria and have made clear our objections to Turkey," Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Dana Stroul told a forum in Washington on Wednesday.

  "ISIS is going to take advantage of that campaign," she added.

  Stroul and other U. S. officials said their concerns are amplified by a growing body of intelligence indicating ISIS was intent on launching operations to free 10,000 fighters held in makeshift prisons across northeastern Syria, guarded by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

  Unlike the U. S., which considers the Syrian Democratic Forces as an effective partner in the fight against ISIS, Turkey views it as a "terror syndicate" - a Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which both Turkey and the U. S. view as a terror organization.

★ The anniversary of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt is now celebrated in Turkey as a holiday called "Democracy and National Unity Day." In a speech this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan argued that the coup attempt from six years ago lies behind the current soaring inflation.

  He also said that inflation is not only a problem in Turkey but throughout the world.

  June inflation came in at 176%. Most economists blame the problems of the Turkish economy on Mr. Erdoğan's incorrect policies. For example, he claims that high-interest rates cause inflation. Economists say it's the other way around. Economists advocate raising interest rates. The policy rate set by Turkey's central bank has been 14% for the last six months.

  In his speech, Mr. Erdoğan also claimed that powers he did not name were trying to make Turkey "surrender through the economy."

★ According to the daily Duvar reporter Müzeyyen Yüce, unemployment, and deepening poverty overshadowed the July 15 commemorations.

  While inflation is soaring, wages do not keep up with it.

  At one of the rallies for the commemoration of July 15, the ruling Justice and Development Party distributed soup to the needy.

★ According to Reuters, on July 13, Turkey announced a deal with Ukraine, Russia, and the United Nations aimed at resuming Ukrainian grain exports blocked by Russia.

  Turkey's defense minister Hulusi Akar said that representatives of Ukraine and Russia would meet next week to review the details.

  Mr. Akar said that Turkey would ensure the safety of shipments in transit, and the parties would jointly check grain cargo imports.

  Turkey will also establish a coordination center with Ukraine, Russia, and the United Nations.

  Reuters writes that a deal is vital for food security, especially among developing nations, to stabilize the markets.

★ Forest fires started again in Turkey. On July 14, Turkey's forestry minister Vahit Kirişci said that the fire burning around the southwestern resort town of Datça was under control.

  The Muğla mayor's office said the fire burned 17 houses and 1800 acres.

  Turkish forestry authorities said another fire near the Aegean resort town of Çeşme was under control as of July 14.

★ The Turkish Ministry of energy and natural resources announced that Turkey found large reserves of rare earth elements that could satisfy the world demand for 1000 years, reports Bloomberg.

  President Erdoğan said they could process 570,000 tons of ore annually at a planned new facility.

  However, skeptics doubt it is enough to challenge China's dominance in the field.

  Also, Turkish officials boasted in the past of various finds of oil and gas reserves that never materialized.


Edited by Saadet Ejder


  A conservator working at the Istanbul Archaeology Museum to reattach the Head of Eros to the Sidamara Sarcophagus

★ According to the Anatolia News Agency, a historical artifact from C.E. 250 that a British diplomatic corps official in the Ottoman Empire took to London, is back in Turkey after 140 years, the Culture and Tourism Ministry said last Friday.

  London's Victoria and Albert Museum has been displaying the artifact.

  The artifact depicts the head of Eros, god of passion and fertility. It was part of the Sidamara sarcophagus from the Roman era.

  Archaeologists discovered the marble sarcophagus in Turkey's central province of Karaman 140 years ago in the ancient city of Sidamara, now the village of Ambar. It weighs more than 30 tons and is one the largest to survive from the ancient world.

  Head became separated from the rest of the funerary monument at that time.

  Experts from Istanbul Archaeological Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London reattached the head to the giant sarcophagus.

  The Roman sarcophagus is open to visitors at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Rock band Le Bang Bang, made up of Stefanie Boltz and Sven Faller, will have a free concert on June 20 in Istanbul, compliments of the Borusan Music House and the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, reports the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet.

  Le Bang Bang covers popular songs. However, their interpretation is different from the original.

  In their interview with the daily Cumhuriyet reporter Orhun Atmış, the group said they like Turkish music, especially the arabesque style. From this genre they like singers Müslüm Gürses and Orhan Gencebay. However, since they do not speak Turkish, they have shied away from covering Turkish songs.

  Saying that they have been to Turkey many times, they indicated that Istanbul is a universe on its own from the perspective of cultural influences.

★ On June 13, a Canadian band called "Godspeed You! Black Emperor," whose name was inspired by a 1976 Japanese documentary on a motorcycle gang, had a captivating and successful concert in Istanbul.

  The daily Cumhuriyet reporter Cenk Erdem likened the group to a rock gang enacting a musical uprising on the stage. Cenk Erdem says that the music was great.

  Erdem points out that the images cast to the back of the stage were also interesting. The changes in the music and instrumentation were in harmony with the captivating reflections, increasing the enjoyment of the music.

★ On July 9, Swedish pop music singer Tove Lo had a concert in Istanbul. Tove Lo appeared on the world stages in 2014 with her new wave style "Habits" song.

  It was the first concert she had in Turkey. The daily Cumhuriyet reporter covering the event said she turned the event into a disco party.

★ According to the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, Turkey's culture and tourism ministry removed copies of Alice Walker's book "The Color Purple." The book tells the story of a black woman who lives in a male-dominated society.

  Alice Walker won a Plutzer prize for the book.

  Main opposition Republican Peoples Party started a debate in the Turkish Parliament about the book's removal.

★ In Turkey's Aegean province of İzmir, there is a new exhibition for the visually impaired.

  The exhibition features art that one can feel by touching.

  The venue is the Touchable Unblocked Arts Museum. The museum is a first in Turkey, established by the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality.

  The museum exhibits replicas of renowned artists' works from Turkey and abroad. The original paintings are printed with a 3-D printer and turned into 3-D images on ceramic. There are also two architectural models at the exhibition.

  See photos of the exhibited art >> here <<


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz

★ In the world volleyball competitions, Italy beat the Turkish team 3-0 in the Turkish capital Ankara.

★ In the fifth stage of the World Superbike Championship in Britain, Toprak Razgatlıoğlu came in first. The competition is continuing.

  Toprak Razgatlıoğlu, born in 1996, is a motorcycle racer from Turkey competing in the Superbike World Championship aboard a Yamaha.

★ In the Netherlands, world youth sailing competitions are taking place. Turkey's Merve Vatan came in second in one of the events.


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

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