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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 04 March 2023

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 04  March 2023]

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 Deutsche Welle, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan signaled May elections despite earthquakes. They were supposed to take place in June.

  Some have raised doubts if the people can vote in May in regions hit hardest by the quake.

  The Deutsche Welle article also included the following:

  "Erdoğan's government has taken hefty criticism over the high death toll in the quake that struck Turkey and Syria.

  "Although many construction firms and contractors face legal consequences over buildings that collapsed despite being relatively new, observers say the problem ran deeper.

  "At home and abroad, critics have pointed out that the ruling Justice and Development Party has spent years granting amnesty to builders and homeowners for code violations that made structures less safe.

  "Sports and politics can't be separated. That statement itself is nothing new, and Turkey is no exception.

  "But something was different over the weekend: After the severe earthquake disaster in the southeast of the country, public anger spread around the stadiums of the big traditional football clubs and was aimed directly at President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government for the first time.

  "In unprecedented scenes, fans of Istanbul clubs Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş used league matches to emphatically demand the resignation of the government.

  "Lead by the opposition, Mr. Erdoğan and his ministers have come under heavy criticism over the earthquake disaster.

  "Approval or turning a blind eye to the construction of earthquake-unsafe buildings directly on a fault line by those in charge angered many.

  "Another massive point of criticism is the delayed arrival of search-and-rescue teams to the entire affected area.

  "After the Beşiktaş match against Antalyaspor, Mr. Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, an ally to Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party, described the protests as irresponsible and disrespectful to the earthquake victims. He added that the authorities should investigate the fans and punish them. He canceled his membership in the Beşiktaş club."

  The way it looks, Turkish authorities are heeding Mr. Bahçeli: According to the Turkish daily Duvar, as a punishment to Fenerbahçe, authorities banned fans at the Kayserispor game this weekend.

  Read the full article Deutsche Welle  >> here <<

★ On Thursday, March 2, Turkey's opposition Nation Alliance block announced that they reached a common understanding on who will be their presidential candidate.

  However, on Friday, Ms. Meral Akşener, the Good Party leader, announced she did not endorse the candidacy of Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and pulled her party from the Nation Alliance block. Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu is the main opposition Republican People's Party leader.

  Ms. Akşener said she would support the candidacy of Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu or Ankara mayor Mansur Yavaş, both from the Republican Party. She pointed out that both do much better in public opinion polls against President Erdoğan. However, the poll numbers indicate Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu may not be able to garner enough votes to beat Mr. Erdoğan.

  The Nation Alliance also called the "Table of Six," includes the six opposition parties united to revise Turkey's presidential regime to a strengthened parliamentary system.

  Read more >> here <<

★ According to Deutsche Welle, Finland may proceed with its NATO membership application alone, leaving Sweden to deal with Turkish objections.

  After the Russian assault on Ukraine, the two countries that had been for many decades neutral sought the protection of NATO.

  However, NATO members unanimously approve an incoming member country. According to Deutsche Welle, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan put the brakes on the two countries' bids, primarily due to their perceived tolerance for Kurdish groups he considered enemies.

  Since then, Kurdish groups have become more active in Sweden after Turkey's requests to restrict them, and Mr. Erdoğan started focusing on Sweden.

  "We do not have a major problem concerning Finland, but we are always underlining that Sweden should take concrete steps," Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said last month.

  Fearing both countries could be blocked if they insist on sticking together, NATO has changed its tack. Now, yens Stoltenberg, the NATO Secretary-General approves a split application.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Russia said Wednesday it would only agree to extend the Black Sea grain deal allowing the grain to be safely exported from Ukrainian ports if the Western countries consider the interests of Russian agricultural producers.

  The Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last year, expires on March 18 and cannot be extended unless all parties agree. Russia has already signaled it is unhappy with aspects of the deal.

  Western sanctions have not under delete have not explicitly targeted agricultural exports from Russia. However, Russian officials say restrictions on its payments, logistics, and insurance industries are barriers to exporting grains and fertilizers.

  On Wednesday, the foreign affairs ministry of Russia said that Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov had discussed the prospects for renewing the deal at a meeting with his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines of the G-20 in New Delhi.

★ According to Committee to Protect Journalists, a court in Turkey on Tuesday, February 28, sentenced journalist Sinan Aygül to 10 months in prison for allegedly spreading disinformation.

  Committee to Protect Journalists reports that Aygül is the first journalist prosecuted under the new disinformation amendment, passed in October 2022.

  Authorities arrested Aygül, chief editor of the privately owned website Bitlis News and chair of the Bitlis Journalists Society, in December 2022 after he tweeted allegations about a sexual abuse case involving a government employee before deleting them and apologizing for being mistaken.

  He remains free pending an appeal.

★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, after being restricted for nine days, on March 2, a Turkish court lifted the access ban on Ekşi Sözlük, one of Turkey's most popular social networks.

  However, on Friday, upon the objections of the Information and Communication Technologies Authority, another court once again blocked access to the Ekşi Sözlük site.

  The previous week, journalist İsmail Saymaz stated the office of the Turkish president requested the blocking of Ekşi Sözlük.

  Ekşi Sözlük is a dictionary-like discussion forum. The subscribers of the platform enter The objectionable items, not the staff.

  Recently, pro-government media outlets targeted the site for content related to the recent earthquakes.

  Read more >> here <<

★ According to Reuters, the Greek Cypriots have a new president. Nikos Christodoulides.

  Mr. Nikos Christodoulides said his top priority is to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.

  Cyprus island is currently under two separate administrations. Cypriot Turks run the north, and Cypriot Greeks the South. The administration of the southern part is recognized internationally.

  The division occurred when Greek extremists took power with a coup d'état in 1974. Their goal was to unite the island with Greece, and they saw Turkish Cypriots as an obstacle. Turkey intervened to protect the Turkish minority and pulled them into a defendable area in the north.

★ Journalist Abdulkadir Selvi from the pro-government daily Hürriyet interviewed Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on the absence of the military from the post-earthquake search and rescue efforts.

  Comments by Mr. Akar came amid discussion that Turkey has not immediately mobilized the military in the aftermath of the February 6-dated major quakes, leading to a slow response to victims.

  In contrast, After the 1999 Marmara earthquake, the Turkish Armed Forces deployed thousands of personnel to head the search, rescue, evacuation, and sheltering efforts, which at the time was crucial for the recovery from the disaster.

  Read more >> here <<

★ According to the daily Duvar, the Justice and Development Party and its junior partner Nationalist action party ministers' growing intolerance towards calls on the government to resign over the failure of inadequate response to the earthquakes draws ire.

  Finance Minister Nebati deemed the calls "immoral," whereas Youth and Sports Minister Kasapoğlu "provocation."

  On February 27, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu deemed the protesters in soccer games "marginal," saying "they should not try to poison this (post-quake) process that this nation is facing."

  However, even President Erdoğan acknowledged the late response of the government. On February 27, he asked for "blessing" from Adıyaman citizens admitting that the government had failed to respond adequately in the "first couple of days" of the quakes.

  After asking for a blessing, Mr. Erdoğan handed money to children in Adıyaman.

  The video of Mr. Erdoğan handing out money has stirred strong reactions on social media, as people deemed the moment "shameful."
Read more >> here <<

★ Özgür Aybaş, the head of Turkey's Liquor Stores Platform, has said that its member stores took a decision not to sell Kızılay brand mineral water.

  Kızılay mineral water products are a registered trademark of the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay), which has recently drawn severe criticism after it came to light that the organization had sold tents and food items to Ahbap NGO for distribution to earthquake victims.

  Ahbap founder Haluk Levent later said that they also had to purchase food from the Red Crescent for distribution to the victims. He added that the government emergency management organization AFAD also had to purchase relief items from the Red Crescent.

  Justice and Development Party and Nationalist Action Party lawmakers voted down a parliamentary motion calling for an investigation into the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) over sales.

  Read more >> here <<  and >> here <<

★ A Turkish court has found the Interior Ministry guilty of its efforts to prevent the establishment of the Green Party by not providing necessary documents.

  Read more >> here <<

★ The Anatolia news agency reported Rabbi Marc Schneier, a prominent leader of the Jewish community in the U. S. was in Istanbul to show solidarity with the Turkish people following the devastating February 6 earthquakes.

  "We came here as a solidarity mission with the Turkish people following the devastation and destruction that has taken place because of the earthquakes," Rabbi Schneier, head of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, said as he arrived in Istanbul.

  The foundation is a New York-based organization devoted to improving Muslim-Jewish and Black-Jewish relations.

  Describing his work as "interfaith diplomacy," the 64-year-old rabbi said the first thing he and Turkey's ambassador to the U.S., Hasan Murat Mercan, did was to attend an "emergency meeting of different religious leaders whose faiths have large relief, rescue operations, and organizations."

  The Anatolia news agency added that Rabbi Schneier would meet with some families saved by Jewish rescue teams.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Uyghur community in the Bay Area collected $6600 in earthquake relief aid and sent it to Ahbap NGO.

  The number of Uyghur families here in the Bay Area is around 100.


 Some headlines in the economy


Edited by Saadet Ejder

★ Analyzing high-resolution images made available by satellites of China, Germany, and Italy, a team of academicians is mapping the damage to 1,652 cultural assets in Turkey's 11 southern provinces following last month's major earthquakes.

  Turkey's southern region is known for its rich history and numerous archaeological sites.

  Prof. Çiler Çilingiroğlu of the Department of Archaeology at Ege University and Assoc. Prof. Nusret Demir of the Department of Space Sciences and Technologies at Akdeniz University started the project.

  Read more >> here <<

★ According to the Archaeology News site, Israeli authorities returned to Turkey Book of Esther parchments taken to Israel by the Israeli earthquake rescue team from a collapsed synagogue in Antakya city.

  The chief rabbinate in Istanbul took custody of the ancient book.

★ Turkish authorities marked a 659-year-old church for demolition after it suffered damage in some areas from the February-6 earthquake. The church is in the southern province of Hatay's Sarılar village.

  The head of the Saint George Greek Orthodox church endowment Menir Balıkçıoğlu said that the church just went through a three-year renovation.

  Authorities contacted said the church was not in the registry of historic buildings.

  Historians, archaeologists, and the congregation have objected to the decision.

★ According to the Turkish daily Ekonomim, The Rezan Has Museum in Istanbul added a new collection featuring Urartian belts. Urartians

  Among these is a belt with a mirror decorated with a god figurine and a narrow one with a fortress depiction.

  The Rezan Has Museum is a private museum in Istanbul, Turkey dedicated to culture and arts. It is a museum space that connects the past to the future with the 17th-century Ottoman building remains and the 11th-century Byzantine water cistern.

★ An Agnes Denes work titled Living Pyramid continues its presence on the grounds of Istanbul's Sakıp Sabancı private museum on the Sabancı University campus.

  The pyramid has different plants from the Istanbul flora placed on its sides depending on the need for shade or sun.

  Agnes Denes is an American conceptual artist based in New York. She was born in 1931 in Budapest, Hungry. She is known for works in a wide range of media - from poetry and philosophical writings to extremely detailed drawings, sculptures, and iconic land artworks, such as Wheatfield — A Confrontation (1982), a two-acre field of wheat in downtown Manhattan, and Tree Mountain—A Living Time Capsule in Ylojärvi, Finland.

  Click to see a photograph of the pyramid. Read more >> here <<

★ According to Faruk Şüyün, Theater Cooperative started a campaign on the stage, dubbed "Solidarity with the Earthquake Survivors."

  The cooperative, established in 2018 with the cooperation of 13 private theaters, now incorporates 76.

  It is calling for solidarity with the earthquake survivors. It will share the profits from its plays staged with them. In addition, it will undertake projects to normalize the life and well-being of the communities in the earthquake region.

★ The Antakya Civilizations Chorus lost seven artists, Faruk Şüyün reports. The goal of the chorus is to establish a bridge between civilizations and religions from six congregations and create publicity for the Hatay province.

★ With the theme "Music and Arts Heal," on March 7, over a dozen musicians will have a concert dubbed "Instruments under the Rubble" to support the musicians who survived the earthquake.

  The organizers will donate all of the proceeds to the musicians in the region to replace their instruments buried under rubble.


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


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Our online school is starting in September. There are some innovations in our new term program, which we will start in September 2022.

We have prepared more enjoyable posts with your happy feedbacks from you.

 > By the principles of language learning; listening, speaking, reading, writing activities
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 > Anatolian Civilizations
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 > About This Day

See you in September, love...

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