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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 13 August 2022

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 13 August 2022]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan inaugurated the country's newest drilling ship that he said would be sent to an area northwest of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean, Deutsche Welle reports.

  The vessel, known as the Abdülhamid Han, is Turkey's largest undersea hydrocarbon drill ship.

  Mr. Erdoğan said the ship would begin drilling at the Yörükler-1 well, about 34 miles off the coast of Gazipaşa, in Turkey's southwestern Antalya province.

  The country's other drillships -- Fatih, Kanuni, and Yavuz -- operate in the Black Sea, where Turkey has discovered natural gas reserves. The Erdoğan administration named all four ships after Ottoman sultans.

  While the area initially designated for the ship is not in disputed waters, Mr. Erdoğan said the Abdülhamid Han would continue to search for gas until it finds it, potentially leading it to areas claimed by Cyprus.

  "We don't need to seek permission or ratification from anyone," Mr. Erdoğan said. "We will take what is ours."

Read more >> here <<

★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, protests erupted on August 11 in Turkish-controlled northwestern Syria after Turkish foreign affairs minister Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu's call for the reconciliation of the Syrian regime and the opposition.

  Several images and videos on social media showed protesters burning Turkish flags, shouting slogans against Turkey in front of Şahinbey Nation's Garden, and throwing rocks at the Turkish military vehicles. The protests mostly took place in the cities of Azaz and Jarablus.

  Meanwhile, on August 12, the Turkish Foreign Ministry released a written statement, blaming the Syrian regime for the lack of progress in the peace talks and saying that Çavuşoğlu's comments from a day before were reconfirmation of that view.

★ According to the Anatolia news agency, Turkey's Ministry of Defense said that two more ships left from Ukraine's Black Sea ports on August 12, transporting grain, one to Turkey, the other to Iran.

  On July 22, Turkey, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine signed a deal in Istanbul to reopen three Ukrainian Black Sea ports for exporting Ukrainian grain stuck due to the Russia-Ukraine war, which is now in its sixth month.

  On July 27, the Joint Coordination Center, made up of representatives from the three countries and the UN, in Istanbul started officially to oversee the process and enable safe transportation of commercial foodstuffs and fertilizers by merchant ships.

★ Turkey's Constitutional Court said in a landmark ruling that the fines issued by the Press Advertising Agency to dailies Cumhuriyet, Evrensel, Sözcü, and Birgün violated freedom of press and expression.

  The agency is the state body responsible for regulating publicly funded advertisements in the media.

  On August 10, the Official Gazette published the ruling, and the top court sent a copy to the parliament to make a regulation concerning this issue.

  The top court said that the authority given to the Press Advertising Agency has gone beyond regulating the media's ethical values and turned into a punishment tool, and has created a deterrent effect for some press members and caused a systematic problem.

  In another ruling, the top court rejected an appeal for the release of Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk, who suffers from dementia and early-stage Alzheimer's. It said that the government should take measures to protect Ms. Tuğluk's well-being and periodically evaluate whether her release is necessary or not.

  One of the rulings by the court ordered compensation of 67,500 Turkish liras paid to a young man's family killed by the police during the Gezi Park protests of 2013. A group of police officers and civilians beat Ali İsmail Korkmaz to death in northwestern Eskişehir province. The court ruled that police violated the prohibition of torture. It also ordered the retrial of police officer Hüseyin Engin, previously acquitted in the case.

  The Constitutional Court is an irritant for Turkey's president Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who managed to control all supposedly independent courts and judges in Turkey except the constitutional court.

★ Turkish Armed Forces got its first female general this week. The Turkish government promoted Özlem Yılmaz from colonel to general. Then the government appointed her as the vice chair of the Academy of Gendarme and Coast Guard, which trains personnel for the two forces.

★ The 91st İzmir International Fair – Turkey's longest-running trade show – will be held on September 2 - 11 in the Aegean Turkish metropolis.

  The fair will feature engaging activities in technology, trade, culture, and arts.

  In the same city, İzmir Business Days under the auspices of the Turkish Trade Ministry will take place September 1 - 2.

  Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, opened the 1st Economy Congress in 1923, laying the foundation for generations of successful fairs in İzmir, the country's third-largest city.

★ In an interview with the Turkish daily Sözcü, Turkish Industry and Business Association chair Orhan Turan has said the insistence by the government on not changing its economic policy is costing the country, the daily Duvar reports.

  "In an environment where economic indicators are getting further away from the desired framework, we, as the real sector, need to ask: It is obvious that these policies did not produce a result. What is the economic management's plan B?" Turan asked.

  He added that the government is not fighting inflation with the correct methods. And the economic recession has intensified.

  Turan emphasized that the economic conditions will worsen, and if the current policies stay intact, access to capital will be more difficult.

  As for Turkey's most important three problems, Turan listed: "The damage to our institutions, problems we experience in justice, and the decline in education quality which we care a lot about in terms of our country's future, and the brain drain."

  In June, after similar critical remarks by chair Orhan Turan, President Erdoğan lashed out against him and said, "Hey mister, chairing the Turkish Industry and Business Association, you cannot give us a lesson in foreign policy. You are an apprentice. You first know your place. Who are you to give a lesson to this administration?"

★ The Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs has spent $560 million in local currency in the first half of 2022, corresponding to 70 percent of its allotted budget for the year, reports the Turkish daily BirGün.

  Under the leadership of Ali Erbaş, the Directorate of Religious Affairs has become one of the best-funded institutions in Turkey. The directorate was allocated 12.3 billion liras for 2021 and 13.1 billion liras for 2022, exceeding the budget of some ministries.


Edited by Saadet Ejder


★ The Stage at the Museum, Sakıp Sabancı Museum's traditional open-air event, will focus on the climate crisis and ecological destruction this year. The museum is the only green one in Turkey with a Leed Gold V4 certificate.

  This year, organizers chose the Stage at the Museum event to highlight the highest carbon dioxide rate ever measured in the atmosphere, measured last year at 419 ppm.

  The program will also include the plays "What We Carry" by the Barefoot Ensemble and the "Age of Humanity" by the Tatavla Theater.

  There will be free panel discussions before the plays, and artists, academics, researchers, and activists who are experts in environmental policies will meet with the audience.

  The events, dubbed "The World 419 PPM One Stage," will be between August 10-14.

★ Frida Media Agency, which offers public relations and communication services in Istanbul, Turkey, featured Mexican painter Frida Kahlo with a free exhibition, organized with the slogan "Frida Kahlo Today," at Istanbul's Yapıkredi Bomontiada.

  Thirty artists participated with 33 works.

  The income from the exhibition will support the "Art Ambassadors" project by the Art for Good Association.

  Frida Media Agency President Sinem Ergün said, "Frida Kahlo's life and strong stance were my inspiration when establishing my agency."

★ Yapı Kredi Culture and Arts will host the contemporary art exhibition titled "Life, Death, Love, and Justice" starting September 15. The injustices that have emerged in different forms throughout the world have become even more evident with the global CORONA-19 epidemic. The artists address this situation with a hopeful approach to celebrating love and life.

  The stairs at the entrance to the Yapı Kredi Culture and Arts building in Galatasaray, Istanbul, will also be part of the venue of the exhibition.

  In addition to the new works produced for the exhibition, there are also recent photographs, installations, videos, and murals by contemporary artists. The Triple Chaser video by Forensic Architecture, a multidisciplinary research and artist group investigating state violence and human rights violations worldwide, is on display for the first time in Istanbul.

  The exhibition will be on through January 2, 2023.

★ In a 12-month survey conducted by Tripadvisor, an American online travel company based in San Francisco, Rahmi M. Koç Museum emerged as one of the "25 Best Places to Visit in Istanbul" list and received the "Travelers Choice 2022" award.

  Rahmi M. Koç Museum is Turkey's first and only industrial exhibition venue. General Manager Mine Sofuoğlu said in a statement about the award, "We appeal to visitors of all ages who are interested in different fields."

★ Turkey's pop and jazz singer Jülide Özçelik had a free concert on Friday, August 12.

  Accompanying her were Cem Tuncer on the guitar, Ercüment Orkut on the piano, Kağan Yıldız on the double bass, and Ediz Hafızoğlu on the drums.

  In 2008, in addition to her compositions, she interpreted her favorite music with her musician friends to make her albums "Jazz Istanbul Volume-1" and in 2011, "Jazz Istanbul Volume-2" for her music lovers. In 2019, Özçelik released her third album, "Nefes" ("Breath").

★ According to the Anatolia News Agency, a vacationer from Istanbul noticed an ancient tombstone on a small islet in the Eğirdir Lake in Turkey's southern Isparta province.

  After notifying the Isparta museum authorities, a team of experts surveyed the islet. The survey revealed that the tombstone is from the Roman era from the late antique age. The team also found chards of roof tiles.

  The experts say there may be more artifacts on the island, and the authorities are evaluating if it should be declared a protected zone.

★ The cuneiform tablets recently unearthed in Kültepe Kaniş/Karum Mound in Turkey's central Kayseri province revealed that people of the region consumed dried meat 4,000 years ago. Dr. Jan Gerrit Dercksen, an Assyrian language expert at the Leiden University in the Netherlands, read the tablets. The dried meat may be the precursor of dried shrimp, fish, and pastrami of the modern era.

  Kültepe Kaniş/Karum Mound, where archaeologists found the first written documents of Anatolia, was an Assyrian merchant settlement some 700 miles away from the Assyrian capital in modern-day Iraq.

  Dr. Dercksen is interested in the history of Mesopotamia and Anatolia, especially during the early centuries of the second millennium BCE, the old Assyrian and Babylonian periods. He is currently preparing the publication of an archive excavated in Kültepe.

★ A female bear cub, found intoxicated, recovered with the help of locals and a veterinarian in Turkey's North Western province of Düzce.

  After finding her in a slumber, concerned for her welfare, the people took her by truck to a local veterinarian where she could get treatment for a bad case of honey hangover.

  When veterinarian Murat Ünlü examined the cub, he saw that the animal was unconscious, in shock, and needed immediate treatment.

  Noting that the cub's health has improved, but treatment is continuing, Dr. Ünlü said, "the bear is better compared to the day she first came. (Now) she can eat and walk. Hopefully, when the bear regains her health completely, we will reunite her with her mother."

  As hallucinogenic mad honey is widely available in the region, he added, "I think our bear ate the honey because it was still a baby and did not know any better. The bees probably stung the bear cub, also. The toxicity of the mad honey and the injuries caused by the bees resulted in hallucinations and shock appearing in our cub."

  Mad honey contains neurotoxins called grayanotoxins produced by rhododendron species and other plants in the family. This type of honey is most frequently harvested and consumed in regions of Nepal and Turkey as a recreational drug and traditional medicine. In Turkey, mad honey, known as "deli bal," is a recreational drug and traditional medicine. It is several times more expensive than regular honey.

★ The ancient Kahta Fortress in Turkey's southeastern Adiyaman province, dating back to the Commagene period some 2000 years ago, has opened its doors to visitors after 17 years, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  Used continuously up to the modern era, the Kahta Fortress fascinates visitors with its bazaar, mosque, dungeon, and waterways.

  Bearing traces of three civilizations on the route to Mount Nemrut, authorities closed the fortress to visitors in 2005 for safety reasons.

  "Kahta Fortress underwent a long period of restoration. As part of the project, Revitalization of the Tourism Sector in Adıyaman, we built a glass terrace inside the fortress and completed applying security strips on the walkways. It is now waiting for visitors," Mahmut Çuhadar, governor of Adıyaman, said.

  "Kahta fortress is one of the best preserved historical fortresses in Turkey. The fortress is worth seeing. Our visitors will not regret it. We welcome domestic and foreign tourists here," Çudahar added.

  Susanne Kalla, a visitor from Austria, said she could not visit the fortress three years ago because it was closed to visitors.

  "I am one of the luckiest people in the world to see this magnificent fortress. I have seen many fortresses, but this place is well-preserved. I am very impressed," she said.

  A French visitor, Emmanuel Juste, said he is a travel guide in his hometown and would add his impressions of the fortress to his travel book and update it.

  Mount Nemrut in Adiyaman province also houses the mausoleum of Antiochus I (98-31 BCE), who reigned over Commagene, a kingdom based north of Syria and the Euphrates after the collapse of Alexander's empire.

  "It is one of the most ambitious constructions of the Hellenistic period," according to UNESCO.

  See more pictures of the fortress >> here <<

★ Turkey's Midyat district is a meeting point for Assyrian ex-pats who left their homeland many years ago, reports the Anatolia News Agency.

  The historic district in the southeastern province of Mardin is a melting pot of different cultures and languages - Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, and Assyrian.

  The ex-pats and tourists from different parts of the world breathe new life into Midyat during the summer season.

  The top attractions in the region are the thousands of years old stone houses, inns, mosques, churches, and monasteries.

  Turkey's predominantly Christian Assyrian ex-pats travel miles from Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and Lebanon to spend their summer holidays in their hometown Midyat.

  The population of Assyrians in Midyat increases many times with the arrival of the ex-pats in the summers.

  Assyrian ex-pats stay in detached houses built from famous Midyat stones.

  Speaking to Anatolia News Agency, Nebil Çelik, 57, who lives in Giessen, Germany, said: "Although we live in Germany, we are so excited to come here every year. Do people ever forget where they were born? Our roots are here. We grew up here."

  Çelik went on to say: "Assyrian is our mother tongue. We speak Assyrian with our friends here in Midyat."

  Nuri Ergin, an artisan in Midyat, said Assyrian ex-pats buy and build houses in the district and repair their aging homes.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 17.94 

High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 93/70 Thunderstorms
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 86/77 Partly Cloudy
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 91/63 Mostly Sunny
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 86/70 Thunderstorms
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 90/75 Mostly Sunny

Seawater Temperatures in Degrees F
Black Sea measured at Trabzon         : 76
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdağ      : 76
Aegean Sea measured at İzmir          : 77
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya : 86


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz

★ The premier soccer league games started in Turkey two weeks ago. The results for games played this week so far are

  KAYSERİSPOR          1 - 0     İSTANBULSPOR A.Ş.

★ Turkey's athletes returned from Columbia with a historic success, reports the Turkish publication Fanatik. The athletes participated in the under-20 athletics championships.

  The Turkish athletes received two gold, one silver and one bronze.

  In 400 m hurdle race İsmail Nezir and in 10,000 m walk Mazlum Demir became world champions.

★ Renowned Granfondo bicycle races will take place in Ankara Turkey this year. The race will have hundreds of Turkish and foreign bicyclists. The race will take place on two courses, one of them 103, the other one 54 km.


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

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*** Turkish American Association of California

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*** Azerbaijan Cultural Society of Northern California

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*** Heart to Heart Anatolia
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