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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 05 August 2023

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 05 August 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 news reports, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan changed the leadership of 24 provincial police departments, all appointed during the tenure of former interior minister Mr. Süleyman Soylu.

  The changes come after President Erdoğan replaced Soylu as Minister of Interior with Ali Yerlikaya, the former İstanbul governor. Soylu was known for his "tough" stance as the minister and has often faced criticism regarding human rights issues.

★ The Supreme Military Counsel led by President Erdoğan also changed the military leadership.

  Journalist Murat Yetkin noted that the new leaders of the Armed Forces usually came from the generals trained in conducting wars.

  The Council appointed General Metin Gürak, Commander of the Second Army, as the new Chief of General Staff.

  The post had been vacant since General Yaşar Güler assumed the Minister of National Defense position with June 3 decisions after Erdoğan got reelected as president in the May elections.

  General Selçuk Bayraktaroğlu, Second Chief of General Staff, was appointed as the Commander of the Land Forces, and General Ziya Cemil Kadıoğlu, Commander of the Combat Air Force, was appointed as the Commander of the Air Force. Naval Forces Commander Admiral Ercüment Tatlıoğlu remained in his position.

★ Turkish Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change Minister Mehmet Özhaseki has stated that 600,000 buildings would collapse in Istanbul in an earthquake with a magnitude above 7, and the megacity would "turn into a huge prison."

  Özhaseki added that out of the 5.8 million residential buildings in Istanbul, 1.5 million are considered risky.

  Geologists warn that a major earthquake will hit the Marmara region soon, especially Istanbul.

  The ministers said that the Justice and Development Party administration wants to pass a special law for Istanbul regarding urban transformation and earthquake preparedness.

★ According to Bianet, Residents of the Dikmece neighborhood in Antakya, Hatay, one of the most severely hit provinces from the February Turkish earthquakes, have been protesting for five days the expropriation of their agricultural lands.

  The government wants to build new residential units in the area, which is 6 miles away from the devastated Antakya city center.

  Noting that most of the land owners in the area are Arab Alevi Turks, Perihan Koca, a Green Left Party parliamentarian, brought the hasty expropriations for earthquake housing in various parts of Hatay to the parliamentary agenda in June and asked, "Are the Arab Alevis in Dikmece being forcibly displaced?"

★ Turkey has announced that it will not be able to host the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, scheduled to take place in Turkey in 2024, reports the Bianet.

  The Convention on Biological Diversity officials expressed that Turkey's decision to withdraw from chairing the meeting was due to the "compelling circumstances caused by the three destructive earthquakes in February 2023."

★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, the number of children dragged into crime increased by 148 percent between 2010 and 2022 in Turkey, according to the government's statistical institute. Children were brought into security units in nearly 602,000 cases in 2022.

  >> here <<

★ According to Habertürk TV, on Wednesday, a swimmer on the Black Sea coast near the Şile district of Istanbul notified authorities about metal objects in the sea. They turned out to be unexploded artillery shells.

  As a precautionary measure, authorities banned access to the coast near the shells and evacuated the residents of homes nearby. Turkish military detonated 20 of them and took eight for inspections by experts.

★ Turkey's constitutional court found that half of the cases in 2022 had rights violations, reports the Turkish daily Duvar.

  The constitutional court reviewed around 35,000 cases in 2022.

★ One out of every two Turkish adult men and one out of every three households own a gun, according to the Umut Foundation, reported the daily Duvar.

  The Umut Foundation works on limiting firearms ownership by individuals. Dr. Ayhan Akcan, a board member of the organization, said that ten years ago, 50% of murders involved guns. These days this figure is 85%. He said that every year around 5000 people are killed by firearms.

★ Mehmet Deniz, a mufti dismissed from his office because of his "lifestyle" by the Religious Affairs Directorate, committed suicide, the daily Duvar reports.

  A court reversed the decision. However, the Directorate did not comply.

  Mr. Deniz wore clothes that were not acceptable and rode bicycles and motorcycles that some of the conservative public did not approve of and brought to the attention of the Directorate.

  His colleagues said that there are hundreds of cases similar to his.

★ Workers building the factory that will produce the Togg EV cars went on strike, reports the Turkish news outlet Bianet. They say they did not receive their wages for the past two months.

  Bianet writes that Togg, Turkey's first domestically produced electric vehicle, is a project proudly supported by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government. It was unveiled last year, at the Republic Day celebration on October 29, in a ceremony attended by the president.

  Although some Togg cars have already been delivered to customers and have received significant media attention, the Gemlik factory is not yet operating at capacity. In May, Togg's CEO, Mehmet Gürcan Karakaş, stated that the factory was producing 80 cars per day.

  Also, although introduced as a people's car, the current sticker price of $50,000 makes it out of reach for most citizens.


★ According to the daily Duvar, on August 4, Turkey's new economic administration led by Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek and central bank governor Hafize Gaye Erkan met with international investors for the first time after a significant shift toward Orthodox economic policies.

  Dozens of international investors attended an eight-hour meeting in Istanbul to discuss monetary and fiscal policy and the economic outlook for Turkey.

  The two anonymous sources said Şimşek stressed that reducing inflation was the priority and struck a confident tone that policy was returning to more normal settings.

  According to Reuters, JP Morgan hosted the meeting.

  Journalists Murat Yetkin wrote recently that Erdoğan's "interest rates cause inflation" fixation will continue to alienate investors, from the West or Gulf, from fixed investment, eroding foreign currency reserves and widening the current account deficit further.


  Click on the photograph to see a larger version, and read the news in detail from a Turkish news outlet.

★ The Turkish Statistical Institute announced its calculation of the inflation rate in July as 48%.

  An independent group of economists also announced their estimate and said the inflation rate was 122%.

  Most economists do not think the calculation by the Statistical Institute, a government entity, is correct.

  In the meantime, on Friday, Istanbul's Eyüpsultan District Governor's Office banned the opposition Republican People's Party's mobile exhibition about price hikes and the rising cost of living because it could start a protest rally.

  The exhibition shows numerous products with their current price, what it was 50 days ago, and the rate of increase.

★ We told you last week that the Turkish olive oil producers looked forward to exporting record amounts of olive oil.

  However, that goal may be all but dead. The Turkish government banned the export of bulk olive oil after a visit by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to a market and noticed how much its price was up since 2020.

  He then ordered the exports to stop and the oil sold at stores in Turkey.

  Journalist Murat Yetkin had a veiled criticism of the decision. He wondered if the president knew how much other foodstuffs increased and if he would emulate the 17th century Sultan Murat the Fourth and raid establishments that defied his orders.



Iwona Blazwick

★ According to Bianet, the 18th İstanbul Biennial organized by the İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) will be between September 14- November 17, 2024, and its Curator will be author and art historian Iwona Blazwick from the UK.

  Recently, Iwona Blazwick has been appointed the Chair of the Royal Commission for AlUla's Public Art Expert Panel. Blazwick has been Director of the Whitechapel Gallery in London between 2001-2022. She assumed several responsibilities at Tate Modern and London's ICA and worked as an independent curator in research exhibitions and public art programs in Europe, the US, Japan, and China.

  She was awarded an OBE for services to art in 2007 by the Queen for her contributions to art, besides receiving the Officier des Arts et Lettres in France and Officer of the Star of Italy. Blazwick is a Trustee of Harewood House, Yorkshire, and the Film London Jarman Award.


  Gülriz Sururi and Engin Cezzar

  Click on the photo and read more about them.

★ IKSV, Istanbul Foundation For Culture And Arts, will give The Gülriz Sururi-Engin Cezzar Theater Encouragement Award for the first time and support theater troops that will work in the earthquake zone this year.

  The Atta Festival will produce a new children's play with young players living in the earthquake zone with the support of IKSV.

  IKSV will also support the workshops conducted by Diyarbakir-based Mordem Art for young theater actors who will work in the youth and children's theater field.

  Gülriz Sururi and Engin Cezzar were two Turkish actors who established the Gülriz Sururi-Engin Cezzar Theater in 1962. The repertoire included major plays from world theater literature and left its mark on Turkish theater history by staging local theater for the first time.

  ENKA Open Air Theater

★ The August program of the ENKA Open Air Theater began on August 1 with the "On the Shore" concert by Kardeş Türküler, bringing together music and narrative art.

  Jazz musician Jülide Özçelik also attended the concert as a guest.

  In the coming days, the venue will feature the following:



Read more about Yasmin Levy >> here <<

★ World-renowned Ladino singer Yasemin Levy will be in Istanbul on August 10 for a concert as part of her world tour.

  Yasmin has enchanted listeners worldwide with her hauntingly beautiful interpretations of Ladino classics and her original compositions that effortlessly blend the traditional with the contemporary.

  She was born in Israel to parents who were from Turkey. She incorporates traditional Turkish music, among others, in her songs.

  In an interview in Turkey, she said that she grew up listening to Turkish music at home from singers such as Zeki Müren and Orhan Gencebay. She also indicated that she likes Bülent Ersoy and İbrahim Tatlıses.

  She sang with Turkish musicians such as Zülfü Livaneli, Taksim Trio, Kubat, Halil Sezai, and Ömer Faruk Tekbilek.

  She says she considers herself Turkish, with Turkey as her home and Turks as her family.

★ Yasmin Levy in Istanbul in 2022



  A mosaic on the floor of the synagogue

  Copyright by Dick Osseman, published with his permission.

  Click on the photograph to see other pictures from the Sardis synagogue.


  Village women working in the restoration of mosaics.
   Click on the photograph to read the original article

★ Arkeonews reports that Turkish village women are taking part in the renovation work of the largest synagogue in the ancient world located in the ancient city of Sardis--modern-day Sart in the Manisa province in the Aegean region of Turkey.

  The synagogue is the biggest one known from antiquity. It got completed in the late third century CE.

  King Croesus, known for his legendary wealth, ruled the city some 2500 years ago until his defeat by the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 546 BCE.

  Read more about the synagogue >> here <<


★ Archaeologists discovered a mysterious chapel in the Bağcılar district of the Istanbul province, reports the Arkeonews website.

  Ömer Faruk Yavaşçay, an archaeologist working on the dig, noticed a structure on old maps marked as "Ayazma," meaning holy water in Greek.

  He said there was a Greek village in the region during the Ottoman and the villagers probably built the chapel. The locals told him that 25 years ago, they used the water coming out of the structure.

  Around the chapel, there are workshops and on it a school.


★ According to Arkeonews, the 2,000-year-old Roman bathhouse Basilica Therma or King's Daughter in Turkey's central Yozgat province is nearing the final stages of its extensive landscaping restoration, Yozgat Governor Ziya Polat noted recently.

  This historic gem, inscribed on UNESCO's Temporary World Heritage List in 2018, is undergoing a transformative restoration effort to highlight its remarkable architecture, rich history, and the therapeutic thermal water flowing at a soothing 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

  Ancients built the bath in the 2nd century CE. Since then, people used it continuously, and its gorgeous fountain continues to be a source of healing with thermal waters.

  See the UNESCO site for more information >> here <<


★ The Arkeolojikhaber website reports that archaeologists conducting surface surveys in the Rize province of Turkey's Eastern Black Sea region discovered rock images. At this point, they have not disclosed the location and estimated age of the ancient artwork.

  Ancients made the images by chiseling the rocks and painting them afterward. The archaeologists expressed surprise that the humid and rainy weather of the region has not damaged them over the millennia.

  Dr. Okay Pekşen, the chair of the History of Antiquities department at the Ondokuz Mayıs and the head of the excavations, said that the surface survey started last year and will continue until October 2026.

  Dr. Aslan

★ The Ministry of Culture of Italy gave the Cumunicare I'Antico, Communications with the Antique Cultures, award to Turkish professor Dr. Rüstem Aslan.

  Rüstem Aslan is a faculty member at the Onsekiz Mart University in the Çanakkale province in Turkey. He is also the head of the Troy antique city archaeology team.

  After the announcement by the Italian ministry, Dr. Aslan says he received many congratulatory calls from around the world.

  The ruins of the ancient city of Troy are in the Çanakkale province.

High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 100/70 Mostly Sunny
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 90/79 Mostly Sunny
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 86/55 Thunderstorms
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 93/73 Mostly Sunny
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 91/75 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 86/75 Partly Cloudy

Seawater Temperatures
Black Sea measured at Trabzon         : 77
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdağ      : 78
Aegean Sea measured at İzmir          : 84
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya : 86

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 26.95


Edited by Ertuğrul Korkmaz

★ Turkeys Youth and Sports Minister Osman Aşkın Bak announced on social media that Turkish athletes received so far in 2023 1170 gold medals, 1269 silver, and 1178 bronze.

  He said the accomplishments of the Turkish athletes will continue.

★ At the Under-17 world wrestling championships in Istanbul, Turkey's Alkan Akar received a bronze medal and 71 kg category.

★ At the European Youth Olympics in Slovenia, the Turkish national judo team received a gold medal.

★ At the Under-23 European Weightlifting Championships in Romania, weightlifter Burcu İldem Gerçekten returned with three silver medals in the women's category.


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


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