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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 08 April 2023

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 08 April 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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★ On March 29-30, President Biden cohosted the second summit for democracy with 74 nations.

  Mr. Biden did not invite Turkey to the summit. In an article titled "Why two ailing democracies missed U. S. Democracy Summit," the VOA wrote the following:

  "The United States did not invite Turkey, a constitutional secular democracy and NATO ally, to the first democracy summit held in 2021, nor to the one that took place last week.

  "Often labeled as an autocrat and dictator, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is blamed for taking Turkey on an undemocratic path — criticism that Erdoğan has strongly rejected.

  "'Turkey is no longer a democratic state but is perhaps best described as an electoral autocracy,' Paul Levin, director of the Institute for Turkish Studies at Stockholm University, told VOA.

  "Aside from concerns about its democratic backtracking, Turkey is the only NATO member country that has refused to enforce Western sanctions against Russia, particularly in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

  "'Ankara feels like it cannot afford to antagonize Russia, as it is dependent on energy imports and deferment of loan payments, as well as needing Russian cooperation to achieve its own objectives in Syria,' Levin said.

  "By playing on both sides of the war in Ukraine, Erdoğan tries to offset the economic crisis that Turkey has been facing, analysts say.'"

★ According to Euronews, Russian foreign affairs minister Sergei Lavrov was in Turkey this week. He met with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

  The two discussed the extension of grain exports from Ukraine that Russia allowed last July.

  Russia said earlier that it would only extend the deal when allowed to export its products, oil, and gas. However, it agreed to extend it until May 18.

  According to Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary-General, the deal is critical for global food security, especially for developing countries. She added the agreement helped to bring down global food prices and stabilize the markets.

  Turkey has good relations with both Ukraine and Russia, Euronews writes. It is using this to get the warring sides to have peace talks.

  The Russian foreign minister commented on the peace efforts and said Russia would negotiate if the ultimate goal would be a new world order without American domination.

★ According to Agence France-Presse, a Swedish court overturned a police move to ban two Koran-burning protests. The decision said people have a right to demonstrate.

  The Swedish police cited intelligence that Islamic terrorists were planning to attack the demonstrators. They arrested five suspects.

  In January, burning the Koran in front of the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm angered the Islamic countries. Turkey also indicated that it would not approve Sweden's NATO membership application.

  Read the full article >> here <<

★ RTÜK, Turkey's media watchdog, has imposed a three percent revenue fine against opposition broadcasters Fox TV, Halk TV, and Tele 1 over remarks by journalists criticizing the government.

  "According to RTÜK, if you stand by the ruling administration, you are 'unbiased,' if you stand against it, you are violating being unbiased," said RTÜK member İlhan Taşçı from the main opposition.

★ Turkish rural police detained 20 earthquake survivors on April 4 in Hatay's Samandağ district after they tried to prevent the dumping of rubble into a stream.

  Scientists have warned about the risk of spreading asbestos since the first day of the quakes, and local people are worried about their health.

★ The administration of Istanbul Technical University dismissed Dr. Funda Yirmibeşoğlu, head of the Urban and Regional Planning Department, from duty after department academics released a declaration in criticism of a February 24-dated presidential decree opening the earthquake zone to rapid construction.

★ Turkish authorities detained Mahir Akkoyun, a graphic designer in the Aegean city of Izmir, for insulting the president and disrupting the electoral order, Turkish online news outlet Bianet reported.

  Akkoyun designed stickers criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ally Devlet Bahçeli over the high cost of living. He encouraged people to put his stickers on the products in stores.

  People started sharing photos of the stickers on items in the grocery and clothing stores on social media.

  One of the stickers says: "Is this product too expensive for you? Thanks to Erdoğan. Keep this in mind when you vote."

  Another sticker features the photographs of Messrs. Erdoğan and Bahçeli, and underneath it says: "This product is expensive because of us. Keep this in mind when you vote."

  After questioning, the authorities released Akkoyun.

★ In a commentary in Euronews, Hamdi Fırat Büyük, a journalist and analyst, wrote that President Erdoğan would not go down without a fight. He also warned people should not be fooled by election polls.

  Here are some excerpts from his analysis:

  "It has been a long time since the citizens of Turkey awaited the high-stakes parliamentary and presidential elections with such bated breath.

  "President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been ruling the country for 21 years, is set to face a united opposition candidate on May 14, and this time, his chances look slim due to never-ending political and economic crises that deepened by the tremors costing more than 10% of the country's 2023 national GDP.

  "... polls suggest that Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party and the joint presidential candidate of the Nation Alliance, leads the presidential race with at least 10 points ahead of Erdoğan.

  "Kılıçdaroğlu is also expected to get support from smaller parties as well as Turkey's third-largest bloc, Labor and Freedom Alliance, led by the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party.

  "Regardless of the dark clouds gathering fast, Erdoğan and his People's Alliance seem unphased and certain of yet another victory. Many wonder how come -- but the answer can be gleaned from his record.

  "In Mr. Erdoğan's eyes, the state is himself, Büyük writes.

  "For Erdoğan, a victory would represent a go-ahead to cement his autocratic rule once and for all. A win would provide him with a way to rule Turkey for good, moving the country further away from the West and the European Union and destroying every form of opposition against him.

  "For the opposition, the May 14 elections are seen as the last chance to preserve Turkish democracy and prevent the country from sliding further toward autocratic rule.

  "During his more than two decades in power, Erdoğan established near-absolute control over state institutions, especially after an executive presidency was introduced in 2018, giving supreme powers to his office.

  "Since then, people with links to Erdoğan and his party have been systematically placed in positions of power in the judiciary, police, army, and other state institutions.

  "Moreover, while other parties have only donations to rely on in addition to humble financial support from the country's treasury, Erdoğan and his party control all of the state's financial means.

  "The Turkish Presidency's Communications Directorate alone has spent nearly $12 million in the first two months of 2023--a 274% increase to the same period in 2022.

  "The Communications Directorate--although technically a state institution--proved to be the Turkish president's tool for propaganda and a pressure mechanism on what is left of Turkish media

  "The remaining independent media outlets have started to feel the pressure after being hit with heavy fines."

  Mr. Erdoğan also does not like Twitter and tried to ban it in Turkey. In the meantime, more and more reports suggest that Erdoğan and his party are trying to subvert the platform from within.

  "In the last few months, there has been a significant increase in Twitter accounts posing as news outlets without specifying members of their editorial board, journalists, or even linking to a website.

  "These accounts, which have hundreds of thousands of followers, are allegedly controlled by the troll armies of the Justice and Development Party.

  "Several influential commentators, analysts, and academics revealed that dozens of fake accounts using their names have been created in the last weeks.

  "Increased fears of possible election fraud are not baseless hysteria. It would be naïve to believe there would be no attempts at it considering a record of malversations and questionable calls by authorities in Erdoğan's times."


Edited by Saadet Ejder


  Click on the image to read the original article with larger photos

★ According to the Anatolia News Agency, a Turkish-French woman carried relief supplies from France to Turkey after the major earthquakes that hit the country last month.

  Truck driver Gülfem Zengin says that women can be successful in any job.

  Having traveled to 16 countries in four years, Zengin covered 600 thousand kilometers.

  "There is no one in my family who does this job. I loved trucks. I made up my mind to drive. I don't just see it as a job. It has become an addiction for me," she said.

  She added that she enjoyed her job despite the risks and difficulties of carrying heavy loads.

  The survivors welcomed Gülfem Zengin's efforts to deliver much-needed aid to earthquake victims.

  A neighborhood in Bursa in winter.
  (Copyright by Dick Osseman, used with his permission.)
  Click on the photograph to read the original article.

★ Once the capital of the Ottoman Empire, Bursa is now one of most prominent cultural and tourist hubs in Turkey. Bursa is one of the cities that tourists showed interest in after the COVID epidemic.

  The city's landmarks, from its tombs, mosques, and exquisite tiles, are of unmatched value. The most important symbol of the city center is the Great Mosque. The sultan who had the mosque built was Bayezid I. There are 192 calligraphic works on the domes at the top of the building. Most of the lavish monuments of Bursa, the Ottoman capital for 30 years, have remained largely intact over the past 700 years.

  Bursa Mayor Alinur Aktaş says the city was at the intersection of the spice and silk roads.
Click on picture to see the original article with a large photo

★ With the addition of kunefe, a cheese-filled Turkish dessert from the southern city of Antakya, Turkey has registered nine food products to receive European Union protection.

  In addition to kunefe, the Black Sea province of Giresun's "chubby hazelnut," the southeastern province of Gaziantep's baklava, and the Aegean province of Aydin's figs are also on the list.

  Other Turkish products on the list are Malatya apricot in the east, olive oil from Milas in the Aegean, and Stone Bridge garlic in the northwest of Taşköprü.

★ "Tinned Metal Copper" exhibition, where labor and ancient crafts meet, opened at Istanbul Tulip Foundation premises.

  Table and dining equipment, each with a different story and shaped centuries ago by masters such as Arez, are on display in the exhibition.

  Some say that these masters added soul to copper.

  The articles are from the copper collection of collector Gülay Kayacan.

  The exhibition will be on through April 9.
A bird house on a building
Click on photo to see a larger version
  (Copyright by Dick Osseman, used with his permission.)

★ "Our Heritage: Birdhouses" exhibition is at Mimar Sinan Gallery in Üsküdar

  It has works that won an award in the "Birdhouses Design Competition from Generation to Generation," organized by Vakıf Katılım.

  Vakıf Katılım says it organized the competition to continue the birdhouse tradition with the best contemporary designs.

Exhibition flier
Click the image to see an article on the exhibition

★ Yıldız Holding's "Talking Writings" exhibition continues throughout Ramadan

  The "Talking Writings" exhibition is in the Yıldız Holding art collection and brings together the best examples of Islamic calligraphy art.

  One can visit the exhibition at Yıldız Holding's Exhibition Hall in Çamlıca during Ramadan.

  In the exhibition, the works of Bakkal Arif Efendi, Mehmet Nuri Sivasi Efendi, Mahmut Celalettin Efendi, and many great calligraphers meet with art lovers.

Exhibition flier

★ A new exhibition on Iznik Tiles is at Axis Istanbul Shopping Center.

  Iznik Tiles carry the cultural history of more than a thousand years of Turkish-Islamic art history in their designs. The articles are from the Iznik Tile Foundation's private collection.

  Dubbed "Iznik Tiles from Past to Present, Flowers Born from Fire," the exhibition has the best-known examples of tiles. It also includes modern interpretations by contemporary artists.

  The exhibition will be on through April 16.

★ Borusan Sanat announced its April schedule and welcomed the month with a rich program again.

  While the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra hosts world-renowned conductors and soloists, Borusan Music House will give the audience an enjoyable musical experience with Sigrid Horn and James Brandon Lewis Trio concerts.

  Borusan Quartet, on the other hand, will come together with soloists in its last concert this season.

  Borusansanat.tv, Borusan Sanat's online platform, broadcasts recordings of popular concerts.

★ Organizers announced the artists eligible to participate in SaDe, an artist support program of Mercedes-Benz Turk and Istanbul Culture and Arts Foundation.

  The program started in 2022. However, Mercedes-Benz Turk and Istanbul Culture and Arts Foundation have separately supported artists in different fields for many years.

  There were applications to the program by 140 artists from different provinces of Turkey.

  Organizers admitted five artists to the first term of SaDe after extensive evaluations. The artists are Alev Ersan, Ezgi Tok, Müge Yıldız, Onur Karaoğlu and Yasemin Özcan.

★ The Darüşşafaka Society, founded on March 30, 1863, with the sultan's edict by five Ottoman intellectuals led by Yusuf Ziya Pasha.

  For 160 years, it has changed lives with the belief that every child should receive education under equal conditions and with the quality education it provides.

  Darüşşafaka Society provides free qualified boarding education for eight years to talented children whose parents are dead, illuminating the future of Turkey with its thousands of graduates so far.

  Darüşşafaka Society celebrated its 160th anniversary with a simple ceremony due to the earthquake disasters in Kahramanmaraş and Hatay.

  At the ceremony held at Darüşşafaka TİM Performance Center, alumni, students, teachers, and donors came together.


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz

★ The judo Grand Slam just ended in Turkey's Mediterranean province of Antalya.

  One Turkish judoka received gold. Two other Turks received bronze medals.

  Eighty-three countries fielded 600 competitors, 337 men and 263 women in competitions.

  France received most of the medals: five goals and two bronzes.

  The Netherlands is in second place with two goals and one silver. Brazil is in third place with two goals and two bronzes. Japan was in fourth place with one gold and one silver.

  Turkey ended up in fifth place.

★ A Euronews article says that although Turkey is associated with summer sports. However, it is also a good destination for winter sports such as skiing.

  Here are some excerpts from the Euronews article:

  "Its coasts in four different seas contain unique snow content with the humid air coming from the mountains and the sea around them, the Taurus mountain chain, and the mountain chains stretching from the Black Sea coasts to the Caucasus," said ski instructor Erdem Kurt. "Crystal snow is located on the northern slopes with the conversion of moisture from the sea to land".

  The country also has a surprisingly long history of winter sports.

  "There is a 300-year-old petranboard culture in the Black Sea region, which is assumed to be the ancestor of snowboarding," said Erdem. He added that locals used the petranboards to travel between villages since there is heavy snowfall on the Black Sea coast,

  Petranboards, named for the village of Petran in the Kaçkar Mountains region where locals first developed it, are wooden planks hammered together and then waxed to allow them to glide over snow, with a steering rope and a wooden stick for holding to balance.

  The article also mentions that lifts are considerably cheaper in Turkey than in Western Europe.

  Then it cites various ski resorts we also cover in our snow depth report.


[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.

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 > By the principles of language learning; listening, speaking, reading, writing activities
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 > Anatolian Civilizations
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See you in September, love...

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