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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 25 February 2023

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 25 February 2023]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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★ The news about Turkey this week is predominately on the devastating February 6 earthquake and the upcoming general elections.

  Most Turkish press pundits wonder if the elections will be in June or if President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will use unorthodox means to manipulate them.

  Some journalists and columnists say the president might defer the elections to next year.

  Others emphasize that the Turkish Constitution does not allow this, and the elections will be held on June 18 as scheduled.

★ In the elections, Turks will choose a president and their parliamentarians.

  Six of the opposition parties, which formed a block, are planning to field a joint candidate for not to divide their votes and to dislodge Mr. Erdoğan from the presidential position and garner more parliamentarians in the parliament.

  However, they still have not decided on a candidate, and recent news suggests disagreement among them.

  There are also two other blocks of smaller parties. The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party is in one of them. Selahattin Demirtaş, the former leader of this party, is in jail. He called on this week to all opposition blocks to work together and choose a single candidate. Some analysts saw this as a development that would strengthen the hand of the opposition in the elections.

  The Peoples' Democratic Party received almost 12% of the votes in the 2018 elections and got into the 600-member Turkish parliament with 67 parliamentarians.

★ On February 21, two more earthquakes of magnitude 6.4 and 5.8 hit Turkey's southern province of Hatay.

  The strong quakes killed eight more people and wounded hundreds.

★ Şebnem Fincancı, the head of the Turkish Medical Association, said that there is discrimination in healthcare in the earthquake zone.

  She claimed that the authorities provided extra healthcare services in districts that previously voted for the ruling Justice and Development Party. However, this was not the case for other quake-hit areas.

★ The ruling Justice and development party administration started clamping down on critics. Last week, a judge ordered access to Ekşi Sözlük, a popular social network, blocked.

  The ruling said that the website gave false information to the public on the earthquake and showed the state in a helpless condition, creating an environment of turmoil between segments of the society.

  The same judge also ruled on 95 other cases.

  RTUK, the government's radio and television watchdog, also shut down Tele 1 for three days for broadcasting opposition parliamentarian Sera Kadıgil's remarks about the Directorate of Religious Affairs. She said that the Directorate is a tool of political Islam.

  According to the Balkan Insight website, the watchdog also fined Tele 1 and two other TV channels -Fox TV and Halk TV 3 - for the coverage of the government's slow and ineffective quake response.   Read more >> here <<

  There is also news that the ruling Justice and development party administration is looking for 925 social media posters for their posts that it did not like. According to a statement issued by the Security General Directorate, authorities detained 134 persons and arrested 25.   Read more >> here <<

  Balkan Insight wrote that Turkey ranked in 153rd place out of 180 countries in 2022 in the latest press freedom index of watchdog organization Reporters Without Borders, RSF, which classifies the Turkish government's control over media outlets as high.

★ The New York Times reports that Turkish builders are under intense scrutiny over shoddy construction.

  So far, the government is investigating 564 people for suspected connections to flawed or collapsed buildings.

★ After their meeting on February 18, in a statement, the Nation Alliance, the biggest of the Turkish opposition blocs, said: "The extravagant greed of unearned income that opened the door to corruption in the construction sector has caused our nation to pay a fatal bill."

  The statement also criticized the government for its incapacity and divisive attitude during the post-earthquake process.

★ Istanbul Greater Municipality, now led by the opposition Republican peoples party Ekrem İmamoğlu, is tearing down apartment and condominium buildings that are not earthquake resistant.

  The municipality is also offering services to the Istanbulites in assessing if their buildings are earthquake worthy.

  Istanbul Governor's Office is also evacuating risky buildings. So far, they evacuated 93 school buildings that taught almost 52,000 students by 2800 teachers.

  A survey by Sonar Research found that some 59% of Istanbul residents find their buildings risky and do not trust them in case of an earthquake.

  According to the daily Duvar, Dr. Doğan Kalafat, director of Kandilli Observatory's Regional Earthquake-Tsunami Tracking Center in Istanbul, has said that the probability of an earthquake with a magnitude above 7.0 hitting Istanbul until the year 2030 is 64 percent. Read more >> here <<

  Scientists, engineers, and geologists forecast hundreds of thousands of buildings will collapse, causing as many as 500,000 casualties.

★ Observers say that the ruling Justice and Development Party administration led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is on the defensive against its poor performance during the rescue efforts in the aftermath of the major earthquake.

  Experts blame the administration for not acting to protect people against earthquakes in its 20-year rule and for allowing shoddy construction.

  President Erdoğan said in the earlier days of the earthquake recovery efforts that it was programmed in the people's destiny to die in an earthquake, implying that they could not have changed it.

  Muharrem İnce, opposition Homeland Party leader, said: "why is it that it is not the destiny of the Japanese but the destiny of the Turk?"

★ According to the Nordic Monitor, private Turkish military contractor SADAT, a paramilitary unit loyal to the president of Turkey, is peddling conspiracy theories claiming that the US might be behind deadly Turkish earthquakes and that a Western anti-Islam/anti-Turkish campaign aims to overthrow Turkey's Islamist leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

★ According to the daily Duvar, in the last three days, TOKİ, the Turkish Housing Development Administration, held eight tenders for constructing 3,770 residential buildings in the earthquake-hit provinces, journalist Çiğdem Toker from online news outlet T24 reported on February 24. She wrote that the construction would cost the government six billion liras (approximately $320 million.)

  The daily Duvar further wrote that in her column, Toker wrote that the tenders took place in haste through sealed bids. She said that such tendering creates problems with the oversight mechanism.

  Earlier in the week, President Erdoğan said the government planned to construct 200,000 buildings in the quake-affected provinces.

  Economist Atilla Yeşilada commenting on the massive construction projects, said that they will cause the already high inflation to go up. He also said there is no sufficient domestic capacity to produce the construction materials needed.

★ According to Moody's, the recent earthquakes in Turkey could cost $25 billion to the Turkish economy. According to economist Atilla Yeşilada, 80 billion dollars of wealth loss also occurred.

  Reuters reported that according to four economists and a government official, the hyperinflation will not ease in Turkey and will be above 40% in the run-up to elections scheduled for June. Reuters sources estimated the loss to the economy at $50 billion.


Edited by Saadet Ejder

  An old Street in Antakya. Click to see a larger view on its original site.
  Published with the permission of Dick Osseman
  See more of Dick Osseman's photographs of Antakya click >> here <<

★ The Washington Post wrote that the two massive earthquakes damaged the ancient city of Antakya and many of its structures from antiquity.

  According to Agenzia Fides, the earthquake destroyed:     The historical Hatay state parliament building also collapsed.

  According to BBC, Mehmet Severoğlu, a local tour guide, said the city is not recognizable anymore. Read more >> here <<

  A general of Alexander the Great established the city in 300 BCE.

★ In other provinces also, the earthquake destroyed many ancient sites and buildings. According to archaeological news sites, the following is a list of places and structures affected:  are among the structures that sustained damage

  After visiting the earthquake region, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, the Ministry of culture and tourism, said they would determine the damage caused to historical and cultural entities. He added that they would protect every piece separated from the buildings and undertake speedy restorations to return them true to the original.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 18.88

High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 61/39 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 66/52 Showers
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 36/16 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 64/52 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 68/54 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 64/50 Partly Cloudy

Snow depths at skiing locations:

Erciyes in Kayseri, Central Turkey      : 28 inches
Ilgaz in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey: 9 inches
Kartalkaya in Bolu, Western Turkey      : 58 inches
Palandöken in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey   : 56 inches
Saklıkent in Antalya, Southern Turkey   : 9 inches
Uludağ in Bursa, Western Turkey         : 43 inches
Sarıkamış in Kars, Eastern Turkey       : 24 inches


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz


Premier League

* Results for week: 21
Alanya      -      Sivas             0 - 3
K.gümrük        -      Beşiktaş          1 - 1
G. Saray        -      Ümrani̇ye         3 - 2
Trabzon         -      Antalya           2 - 0
Kasımpaşa       -      Giresun           5 - 1
G. Antep        -      Hatay             4 - 1
Kayseri         -      Başakşehir        1 - 0
Konya           -      Istanbul          0 - 1
Adana           -      Fenerbahçe        1 - 1

* In games played so far this weekend:
Ankaragücü      -      K.gümrük       0 - 2
Antalya         -      G. Antep       1 - 0
Sivas           -      Beşiktaş       1 - 0
Hatay           -      Kasımpaşa      1 - 0
G. Saray        -      Trabzon        2 - 1
Istanbul        -      Alanya     2 - 1
Giresun         -      Kayseri        1 - 2
Fenerbahçe      -      Konya          4 - 0
Ümrani̇ye       -      Adana          -

* Standing in the league as of week ending 21
 1 - G. Saray        51
 2 - Fenerbahçe      45
 3 - Başakşehir      40
 4 - Beşiktaş        39
 5 - Adana           38
 6 - Trabzon         38
 7 - Kayseri         32
 8 - Konya           27
 9 - G. Antep        25
10 - Alanya      25
11 - K.gümrük        23
12 - Ankaragücü      22
13 - Kasımpaşa       22
14 - Sivas           21
15 - Antalya         21
16 - Giresun         21
17 - Hatay           20
18 - Istanbul        18
19 - Ümrani̇ye       14


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


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