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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 20 August 2022
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 20 August 2022]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (L), Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (C), and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (R)
★ According to CNN, on August 20, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was in Lviv, Ukraine, where he had meetings with the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Mr. Erdoğan suggested that the grain deal signed last month could open the door to broader negotiations on ending the conflict. However, President Zelensky was surprised by Mr. Erdoğan's suggestion and said he had no faith in the Russian Federation to President Erdoğan.
"The people who are killing, raping, dropping rockets on our civilian infrastructures every day cannot want peace, so they have to free our territories first," he added.
According to VOA, Mr. Zelensky also said:
"I held substantive negotiations on many topics today with President of Turkey Erdoğan. I am grateful for his unwavering support for our state's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We discussed defense, economic, and energy cooperation."
He added: "I am grateful to Turkey for its willingness to take under its patronage to reconstruct Kharkiv and the region. It is a mission for a truly powerful country. Today, we took the first step and signed an infrastructure agreement."
★ According to Reuters, Turkey and Israel are restoring full diplomatic relations and will appoint ambassadors soon.
The two countries expelled ambassadors in 2017 over the killing of 60 Palestinians by Israeli forces during protests on the Gaza border against the moving of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
Reuters reports that Turkey also launched a charm offensive in 2020 to repair ties with estranged rivals, making overtures to Egypt, the UAE, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Efforts with Cairo have yielded little progress, but officials have said normalization work with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi is going well.
The latest in this offensive seems to be against Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently said he does not rule out dialogue and diplomacy with Syria. He also said that Turkey is not seeking the removal of Assad as president in Syria.
According to the Turkish daily Duvar, Turkey's neo-nationalist Homeland Party leader Doğu Perinçek, an ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has announced that he will travel to Syria with a delegation and hold a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
★ According to Stratfor, Turkey is conducting a restrained campaign to strike Kurdish militants in Syria. But cycles of retaliation between its troops and the Syrian Democratic Forces could spark a new, major Turkish invasion, which would complicate ties between Turkey and Russia, push the SDF closer to Damascus and possibly end the SDF's alliance with the United States.
On August 16, local observers reported heavy fighting between SDF and Turkish forces near the northern Syrian city of Kobane, which lies between two Turkish buffer zones. The city also hosts some Syrian government troops.
Several Turkish drone strikes have also killed at least three SDF commanders in the past month. Meanwhile, the SDF has been striking Turkish forces in Syria and Turkey as the SDF attempts to deter further Turkish operations against the group.
Stratfor adds that Turkey is threatening to expand the northwest portion of the area controlled in Syria.
Stratfor is an American geopolitics publisher and consultancy founded in 1996.
★ According to the Turkish online news site Artı Gerçek, Turkish officials are saying that Sweden and Finland are refusing to comply with the agreement on the extradition of terror suspects.
When Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership, President Erdoğan's administration said in May that the two countries harbored terror suspects and objected to their membership.
Later, Turkey lifted its objections after Sweden and Finland agreed to Turkish demands.
However, Turkey's justice minister Bekir Bozdağ said on August 20 that the two countries did not extradite a single person that Turkey wanted. The minister added Turkey would not approve the NATO membership of Sweden and Finland if the two countries made no progress on the issue.
According to Turkey's Anatolia News Agency, Turkey requested the extradition of 33 people accused of terrorism. The Swedish government agreed to extradite only one person. However, this person is not a terrorist but a perpetrator of credit card fraud.
★ According to the daily Duvar, Turkish Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum has announced that unoccupied offices will be converted into homes to tackle the growing housing crisis. He said that such a move would create 50,000 new homes.
The minister said that there are 43 million square feet of office space in Turkey that cannot be leased or sold due to excess supply.
★ According to Deutsche Welle, Turkey's counterintuitive economic policy encouraged by its president shows no sign of abating.
Its central bank has again cut interest rates amid rampant inflation, causing the lira to lose value against the dollar and other major currencies.
The current key rate now is 13%, down from 14%. Independent economists calculated the inflation rate for July to be 176%.
Deutsche Welle writes that Turkey's repeated reductions in rates come at the insistence of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Mr. Erdoğan believes — contrary to well-established economic principles — that reducing interest rates can slow inflation rather than fuel it.
Mr. Erdoğan, keen for the central bank to pursue policies designed to spur growth, has sacked three heads of the central bank for conducting a more traditional economic policy since 2019. Turkey will have elections next June; rapid economic growth has been a core plank of Mr. Erdoğan's past campaigns.
The central bank made a series of controversial rate cuts late last year, causing the lira to lose value and inflation to increase. However, it had refrained from any activity since December.
★ According to a survey by the research company Ipsos, 63% of Turks believe that living standards will further worsen within the next year, reports the Turkish daily Sözcü. 73% said they would have difficulty paying their utility bills in the next six months.
Sözcü adds that Turks are least hopeful of their future among the 28 countries Ipsos conducted the same survey.
★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar's correspondent Kadir Cesur, Iranian tourists flocked to the eastern Turkish province of Van during the days of Ashura, which is a public holiday in Iran, supporting shop owners and the province's economy amidst the financial crisis. Van is at a close distance to the Iranian border.
Iranian tourists especially bought clothing and make-up in Van. Some of them say that they sell clothes when they return.
Cevdet Özgökçe, head of the Eastern Anatolia Regional Executive Board of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies, noted that an average of 3,000 Iranian tourists are hosted in Van daily. They stay for a minimum of three days and spend an average of 1000 dollars per person.
The shop owners of Van make a living only thanks to the Iranians, he added.
According to Iranian tourists, accommodation fees in Van are more affordable than in other provinces.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Edited by Saadet Ejder
★ The countdown has begun for the 17th Istanbul Biennial, reports the Turkish daily Dünya's Faruk Şüyün.
The biennial opens on September 17. The Curators are Ute Meta Bauer, Amar Kanwar, and David Teh.
There will be 500 projects in 50 venues. The contributions by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts and Koç Holding
are making the biennial possible.
Participants from many fields will contribute: Artists, thinkers, writers, poets, researchers, architects, radio programmers, fishermen, activists, stand-up comedians, chefs, ethnomusicologists, and ornithologists will participate.
The Istanbul Biennial will be held in 12 exhibition venues in Beyoğlu, Kadıköy, Fatih and Zeytinburnu. It will also meet with the audience at over 50 bookstores, second-hand bookshops, hospitals, nursing homes, cafes, metro stations, and a radio station all over metropolitan Istanbul.
The biennial aims to create a long-term impact and be a meeting point that strengthens interaction.
The biennial will end on November 20.
★ Meşher, the establishment of the Vehbi Koç Foundation on İstiklal Street, will host its visitors with a new exhibition as of September 14.
Based on the unrequited love story of Echo and Narcissus from ancient Greek mythology, the exhibition presents the themes of reflection, resonance, and metamorphosis under the influence of today's artistic and social dynamics.
Nearly 120 works of 44 artists from Turkey and abroad will participate in the exhibition. It will be free to visit from Tuesday to Sunday until February 12, 2023.
Click on photos to see a larger view
★ The eighth Ayvalık International Music Academy summer music festival is between August 16-22 this year.
Sabancı Foundation, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and Ayvalık Municipality support the festival. The sponsor of the concert is Allianz Turkey.
In the opening concert, world-renowned Israeli violin virtuoso Prof. Hagai Shaham performed. Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University String Instruments Department Head Prof. Dr. Pelin Halkacı Akın accompanied him.
Other participants in the performances are:
- Nucleus Trio
(Piano: Tolga Atalay Ün; Cello: Umut Sağlam; Violin: Ilgın Ülkü)
- Quartet Braces
- Güldiyar Tanrıdağlı and Erkut Cantürk (Rachmaninov Anatolian Project)
- Istanbul Flute Ensemble
- Elif Çağlar jazz concert
- Golden Horn Brass ensemble
★ OPET, a Turkish petroleum company engaged in marketing commercial and industrial fuels, mineral oils, retail sales, warehousing, and international sales, continues its "Respect for Nature Project."
Forest fires damaged Many villages last year. The project carries out physical change and rehabilitation works in these villages.
There are also training programs for socio-cultural development.
Within the scope of the project, there will be work in Marmaris Osmaniye, Bodrum Pınarlıbelen (Etrim), İrmene, and Çamlık villages until the end of the year.
Nurten Öztürk, Founding Member of the OPET Board of Directors, said, "We work with all our institutions and organizations to support the sustainable development of our villages."
★ The 4th Van Sea Bike Festival has started in Turkey's Eastern province of Van.
The festival aims to contribute to the "Van Lake Basin Protection Action Plan and Implementation Program."
Two hundred and fifty people from many provinces of Turkey attended.
Cycling enthusiasts gathered in Atatürk Park in the Van Fortress and had fun dancing the halay line dance with drums and horns.
The track is 450 kilometers.
The festival will end with the program in front of the Van Cat House on August 21.
Esiner Çetin, Deputy Secretary General of the Metropolitan Municipality, said, "We aim to contribute to the tourism of the city and to raise awareness about the protection of Lake Van."
★ The remains of a 2,200-year-old Roman fountain have been uncovered in northwestern Türkiye, archeologists at the ancient site of Assos said on Monday, reports the Anatolia news agency.
"According to our initial findings, we learned that it was a magnificent fountain structure. We know of many cisterns in Assos, but this is the first time we've come across a monumental fountain structure," dig site head Nurettin Arslan told Anatolia News Agency.
"It's a very prominent structure in urban architecture," said Aslan, a professor at the Onsekiz Mart University in Canakkale province, where the ruins are.
Underlining that the excavations at Assos have continued uninterrupted for 42 years, he said the current 30-strong team, including scientists and academics from Germany, were planning this season to unearth multiple cisterns added onto the ancient city's gymnasium.
The fountain they discovered was in front of these Roman-era cisterns, explained the archeologist, adding that it sustained damage during the Byzantine period.
Assos, also known as Behramkale, was one of the most important port cities of its era and is a cultural heritage site dating back from the period of Roman rule in the region. It includes an ancient theater, agora, necropolis, and protective walls.
Located 11 miles south of the present-day town of Ayvacik, UNESCO added it to its Tentative World Heritage List in 2017.
According to UNESCO, Assos was a Greek city-state and maintained its regional importance until the Byzantine Empire.
★ Artifacts dedicated to the cult of Nike, the ancient Greek goddess of victory, are making a triumphant return at a museum in Türkiye's Aegean region.
In August, the Izmir Archeology Museum has on display artifacts related to Nike for the first time as part of its project called "Seeing What You Can't See."
Every month, the project will feature unique artifacts from storage rarely seen by the public.
Three works depicting Nike are now open to visitors in the treasury room of the museum.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is a 19-inch marble column dating back to the Hellenistic era.
The column was unearthed in 1925 from the ancient city of Pergamon in Izmir's Bergama district.
The piece shows a figure of Nike holding onto her skirts with her hands and has wings, a dress, and laurel leaf motifs.
The second piece in the exhibit, a burned clay oil lamp unearthed from the ancient city of Iasos in Milas in the western Mugla province, has a figure of Nike on its concave surface.
Archeologists unearthed the nearly 2,500-year-old Nike figure from the ancient city of Neonteikhos in Menemen, Izmir, and experts believe it was a burial gift.
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 18.09
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey : 91/66 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean : 90/81 Thunderstorms
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey : 90/57 Thunderstorms
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 86/72 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean : 97/77 Mostly Sunny
Seawater Temperatures in Degrees F
Black Sea measured at Trabzon : 76
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdağ : 77
Aegean Sea measured at İzmir : 81
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya : 86
[Saat 14:30 and 15:30 'da iki kez okuyun]
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