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(Photograph by NATO)
★ Sweden is finally on its way to becoming a NATO member. Turkey's president Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, removed his objections to Sweden's membership while at a meeting of NATO members between July 11 and July 12 in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.
A call from President Biden to Mr. Erdoğan, promising, among others, to work with Congress to allow Turkish purchases of F-16 fighters and upgrade kits for the existing ones, may have been one factor in President Erdoğan's U-turn.
He also asked Swedes to help them gain European Union membership, which Turkey has been waiting for 50 years.
According to NATO sources,
speaking at the start of a two-day NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 11, 2023, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's agreement to forward the accession protocol for Sweden to Turkey's Grand National Assembly as soon as possible, calling this a historic decision which is good for Sweden, good for Turkey, and also for the whole Alliance.
★ Abdülbaki Erol died this week at the age of 74. He was the leader of a group influential with the government. His group was termed a cult by some and a religious community by others. He had the title of Sheikh, which he inherited from his father.
Turkish Airlines had several flights 15 minutes apart to his home province of Adıyaman in Eastern Turkey. Two hundred fifty thousand people attended his funeral.
Political observers say that his group replaced the place of the ousted Fethullah Gülen's followers in the government after a coup attempt in 2016.
They also have many foundations, associations, and businesses. Many of them get significant amounts of public funds from the state.
★ On July 6, according to the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, Turkey's Board of Judges and Prosecutors dismissed judge Ahmet Çakmak from the profession after he was relocated twice during an investigation regarding his objection to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's third-time candidacy in the 2023 Presidential Elections. The Turkish Constitution limits Turkish presidents to two terms.
According to the Law on Judges and Prosecutors, the government dismisses a person sentenced for relocation twice from the profession.
Ahmet Çakmak was relocated twice as a result of investigations opened for reasons such as "using bold fonts in official correspondence," saying, "I will apply to the European Court of Human Rights for the allegations in my file that can be part of a sketch comedy" in a petition, and asking for more training to the prosecutor who asked for the arrest of a 12-year-old child.
★ According to a report published by the Turkish Journalists' Union, 43% of the journalists said they went through censorship because of political reasons or employer relations, reports the daily Duvar.
Censorship usually takes the form of not publishing, removing, or changing news items. The rate of censorship is higher among female journalists and journalists under the age of 35 compared to other groups.
Approximately a quarter of journalists stated they frequently or constantly practiced self-censorship in their news, while 37% said they never practiced self-censorship.
According to the report, most journalists in Turkey also receive low salaries, work 45 hours or more per week, and are not entitled to annual leave.
Commenting on the report findings, Mustafa Kuleli, deputy chair of the European Federation of Journalists, said that even if political repression ends, Turkish journalists cannot practice good journalism in Turkey unless they work under better conditions.
★ Until further notice, the Turkish Interior Ministry will no longer issue a new residence permit for foreigners residing in Istanbul, the daily Duvar reports.
The move comes as Turkey prepares for local elections scheduled for March 2024 amid a growing negative public attitude toward refugees.
According to the Turkish president's office, in 2022, there were 5.4 million foreigners in Turkey. 1.2 million were in Istanbul, about 8% of the megacities population, and half a million are Syrian refugees. Experts say that, with the unregistered foreigners, the numbers are more likely to be twice higher, reports the daily Duvar.
★ A bill submitted by the ruling coalition partner and ultra-nationalist Nationalist Action Party seeks up to five years in jail for pollsters over survey results providing "false, misleading or incomplete information to direct or influence the public."
Many polling firms failed to predict the outcome of the presidential election on May 14.
★ According to the Turkish daily Birgün, Turks are waiting longer to get appointments in the healthcare system partially because many Turkish doctors emigrated recently.
The devaluation of the Turkish currency against major foreign currencies also challenges access to medication and medical equipment.
Parliamentarian Murat Emir from the main opposition Republican People's Party says that people living in the central districts of Turkey's capital Ankara could not find any appointments and had to go to remote hospitals.
Izmir, the third largest province, has the same problems.
ARTS AND CULTURE
★ Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts and sponsored by Garanti Bank, the Istanbul Jazz Festival started with a night at the garden of the Austrian Cultural Office in Istanbul.
Takeshi's Cashew and Eggmann Quartet, one of the Young Jazz+ finalists, gave the guests a lively night at the ceremony, where the festival supporters received plaques.
The festival will last until July19 with a colorful program.
★ On July 22, the Australian electronic music trio RÜFÜS DU SOL will take the stage at Istanbul's Life Park.
Luke Alessi and Orkun Bozdemir will also participate in the event.
RÜFÜS DU SOL started in 2010 in Sydney, and current members are Tyrone Lindqvist, Jon George, and James Hunt.
They have released four albums so far. Two of them received the ARIA Platinum awards and one ARIA Gold.
★ Interpol, a band established in New York City in 1997, will be in Istanbul's Maximum UNIQ on July 24.
The members of Interpol are vocalist and guitarist Paul Banks, guitarist Daniel Kessler, bassist Brad Truax, and drummer Sam Forgarino.
It performs post-punk revival music. So far, it released seven albums under its name, the last one in 2022.
★ Ghostly Kisses, a musical project led by Canadian singer-songwriter Margaux Sauve, will be in Istanbul's Maximum UNIQ for a concert on August 10.
Ghostly Kisses is a rising star in dream pop and folktronica.
According to Wikipedia, Sauve was in college studying
psychology when she had a burst of creativity to start composing songs. She
was a trained violinist but had never considered she could be a singer
before. At the end of her studies, she showed her songs to Dragos Chiriac,
who praised Sauvé's voice and suggested they work together.
She released her first single, "Never Know," in May 2015. Her debut EP, "What You See," in March 2017. She released her sophomore EP, "This City Holds My Heart," in 2018. The EP included a cover of The Cranberries' song "Zombie."
★ Other bands and musicians that will be in Turkey:
- British band The Prodigy will be at Istanbul's Küçükçiftlik Park on July 23. It performs electronic dance music.
- DJ duo Sparrow & Barbossa live of Spain will be on a boat on the Bosphorus Strait and perform Latin, Afro, and electronic music along with Serhat Demiral and Zoe Dona.
- Christina Aguilera will perform in Turkey on August 8 for the first time. In our future programs, we will keep you posted on the details.
★ Renowned Turkish photographer İzzet Keribar has an exhibition in Istanbul province's Üsküdar district.
Titled "Enchanted City," the exhibition venue is Nevmekan Coast Gallery, featuring photographs of Istanbul.
The 87-year-old photographer says he loves Istanbul, which changed so much over his lifetime. He said he should have taken more photographs of older Istanbul that he prefers. He says the new Istanbul lost its unique texture, and the city turned into concrete with ugly buildings.
Turkey's leading magazines, and publications abroad, including Lonely Planet, Altair, National Geographic Traveler, and GEO, have published his photographs.
Since 1997, after dropping his work in textiles and decoration, he made photography his sole occupation. He devotes most of his time to shooting in Turkey and still organizes photography trips abroad.
★ Speaking of İzzet Keribar, he will be on the jury of a new photography competition along with Dr. Beyhan Özdemir, Çerkes Karadağ, İsa Çelik, and an official from the Muğla metropolitan area municipality, reports the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet.
Organized for the past six years, the theme of this year's competition is "Muğla's Archaeologic Heritage."
The last day to submit photographs is August 4.
★ Istanbul's British Council, the cultural arm of Britain in Turkey, announced its second grant program to support the development and creative collaboration of culture and arts organizations in Turkey and the United Kingdom. The goal is to encourage innovative and artistic works.
The grant is awaiting applications by the culture and arts institutions in Turkey. The
program will choose seven among the applicants and award them $13,400 each.
The deadline is July 17.
Views from the Four Seasons Hotel Bosphorus
★ The tea time menu, prepared by combining the scents of Jo Malone London and the flavors that match them, is offered to the guests at the Four Seasons Hotel Bosphorus Grace Brands Patisserie every afternoon until the end of the month.
Jo Malone London is a perfume and home fragrance products company.
The flavors, inspired by the notes of five scents from Jo Malone London: Lime Basil & Mandarin, English Pear & Freesia, Peony Blush & Suede, Wood Sage & Sea Salt, and Myrrh & Tonka, will host the guests.
An archaeological excavation in Turkey
(Photo by Dick Osseman, used with his permission.)
★ Nearly all of the 240 archaeological excavations by Turkish and foreign scholars and Museum Directorates started with the permission of Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
The number of excavations will reach 750 by the end of the year. There will also be around 140 archaeological surveys by Turkish and foreign archaeologists.
Among the participants of the excavations in Turkey, there will be 250 foreign archaeologists and scientists from 20 countries.
The ministry transferred approximately $7.7 million for use in the excavations. By the end of 2023, the appropriation support for these works will exceed $19 million.
★ On July 8, an 1800-year-old theater in the ancient city of Nysa was the venue for a play about 16 prominent female characters who left their mark in Anatolia during different periods.
A single actress, Ayça Bingöl, played the 16 characters spread over 6000 years in the 1984 play titled "I am Anatolia" by Güngör Dilmen.
Two thousand theater enthusiasts attended the play.
Nysa's remains are in Turkey's Aegean province of Aydın, some 31 miles east of the Ionian city of Ephesus. Homer's Iliad mentions the city and refers to the sacred mountains around it.
The city took its name from one of the wives of Antiochus I Soter, who reigned from 281 two 261 BCE and was the king of the Seleucid Empire established by a general of Alexander the Great. There was an earlier town called Athymbra at the location.
Click on photograph to read the full article with larger pictures.
★ The Gaziantep Zeugma Mosaic Museum in southeastern Turkey received a Zeugma tombstone, repatriated after being smuggled to Italy.
The delivery ceremony had Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Minister of Culture and Tourism, who highlighted their successful efforts in returning 12,016 artifacts from various countries over the past two decades.
"This artifact, originating from Zeugma, was seized in Italy by Venetian authorities. Subsequently, they reached out to our ministry for more information. We immediately conducted a thorough evaluation based on the provided details," said the minister.
"Through meticulous examinations led by Professor Dr. Kutalmış Görkay, the excavation director at Zeugma, he determined that the stone type, craftsmanship techniques, and stylistic elements conclusively align with Zeugma's heritage. We are confident that [smugglers] took it out of our country.
"The coordination between the Directorate for Combating Smuggling and Italian authorities led to the presentation of extensive data and examples, affirming the artifact's origin.
"The inscriptions on the stone reveal heartfelt farewell words: 'A wife who loves her husband bids farewell to Saturn.'
"This artifact carries a powerful narrative of separation, sorrow, and unwavering devotion, allowing us to connect with a human story that spans nearly 2,200 years.
"Its return to the lands where it holds purpose and meaning is truly a remarkable heritage homecoming. We must acknowledge Italy's dedication to combatting cultural asset trafficking, as they have experienced similar challenges to Turkey."
Minister Ersoy concluded by emphasizing their ongoing efforts in preserving cultural heritage, highlighting that Turkey has signed agreements with 12 countries to safeguard the origin, repatriation, and prevent the illegal circulation of precious artifacts.
[Saat 14:30 and 15:30 'da iki kez okuyun]
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