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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 12 August 2023

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 12 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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  Clear-cut area in the distance in Akbelen forest to facilitate mining

  See a larger view on Yeşil Gazete sight >> here <<

★ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan targeted activists and villagers in Akbelen Forest, resisting the cutting of trees to expand a coal mine in Turkey's southern province of Muğla. He called them "environmentalist-looking marginals," reports the daily Duvar.

  After a cabinet meeting, Erdoğan said: "Akbelen Thermal Power Plant, which produces almost two-thirds of the electricity used in the South Aegean, is a national asset for our country. It must continue to operate with coal. While there is no objection to the increase of coal production in Europe, provocative actions are carried out in Turkey in the name of tree love."

  "I'm asking, how many olive trees have you planted so far? Come out and explain. As the Justice and Development Party government, we planted billions of trees. In the last 21 years, Turkey has planted 6 billion trees, breaking a record in this field," the president added.

  Clear-cut area in the Kaz Mountains See a larger view on Yeşil Gazete sight >> here <<

★ Despite ongoing legal proceedings, tree cutting has begun for a mining expansion project in the Kaz Mountains, also known as Mount Ida, between the provinces of Çanakkale and Balıkesir in northwestern Turkey, Yeşil Gazete (Green Newspaper) reported.

  The tree felling is part of the controversial Halilağa Copper Mine operated by Cengiz Holding, a company facing criticism in recent years due to numerous large-scale infrastructure projects it has undertaken.

  Some claim that the Turkish president and the Justice and development party administration extend favoritism to Cengiz Holding.

  The current project involves the expansion of the mine and the associated waste disposal facility.

  Previously, environmental activists had won a lawsuit against the project, but a second lawsuit is still ongoing.

  It is not the first project to stir controversial concerns in the Kaz Mountains. In 2019, a gold mining project led to months of protests.

★ An explosion occurred on August 8 at the Grain Board of Turkey silos in the Derince district of Kocaeli while unloading grain from a Russian ship.

  The Grain Board Directorate said they did not know the reason.

★ Nakliyat-İş, the transportation workers' union, announced that they would go on strike in FedEx sites in Turkey since it reached no agreement in the negotiations with the company.

  Union members met in Beyazıt Square in İstanbul for a protest rally carrying banners and signs expressing their demands.

  "We will only sign an agreement approved by 80 percent of the workers ," Nakliyat-İş President Ali Rıza Küçükosmanoğlu spoke at the rally and said the strike would start August 19.

  He added that the legal procedures for the strike were complete, but the negotiations would continue.

  See a larger version of the photograph on the Bianet site and read the details >> here <<

★ Nearly 2,000 Turkish workers employed by the Turkish construction company Yapı Merkezi in a railway project in Tanzania have been on strike since August 5, demanding payment of their unpaid wages for the past seven months, reports Bianet.

★ Main opposition Republican People's Party lawmaker Veli Ağbaba said more than ten million people worked as unregistered workers in Turkey and that the solution to it was unionization.

  Mr. Ağbaba said that the number of unregistered workers has increased by 1.5 million in the first five months of 2023.

  He indicated that unregistered work makes the workers vulnerable to work accidents. "Unfortunately, they have no insurance and cannot go to the hospital. When there is a work accident, they can't benefit from any rights," he said.

  He said unregistered unemployment is also against the government's interests since businesses were not paying social security taxes.

  In related news, the Turkish Statistical Institute reported on August 10 that the unemployment rate was 9.6% in June, up by 0.1 percentage points from May.

  The unemployment rate was 7.8% for men and 13.2% for women.

  However, the broader measurement of unemployment saw a notable increase of 1.7 percentage points, reaching 24.2% compared to the previous month, Bianet reported.

  According to a report by OECD, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, on the labor force and employment for the last quarter of 2022, Turkey ranked last among the member countries with an employment rate of 53.7%.

  Read more  >> here <<

★ Turkeys Treasury and Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek has reportedly signaled 2026 for the economic recovery and said: "We will see positive economic development starting 2026. In two and a half to three years, we will be in a better position than today."

  During last week's meetings with foreign capital representatives, the business world, and the Justice and Development Party administration, Mr. Şimşek said foreign capital would be coming to Turkey. However, it would take time, according to the daily Gazete Pencere.

  "The Gulf capital is coming, but European countries want to observe what we will do a bit longer. It is necessary to build trust," Mr. Şimşek said.

  Mr. Şimşek also said they introduced the recent tax increases because of the deadly February 6 earthquakes that struck southeastern Turkey. "The cost of the earthquake is more than $100 billion. It is not possible for us to meet this in the current economic picture. We had to introduce tax increases."

  He added that August will be difficult financially "because the treasury has many payments due."

  Mr. Şimşek also said they expected the inflation rate to peak around 60% at the beginning of 2024, and then it would start to fall.

★ Speaking of inflation, Mr. Şimşek called government-run Turkish Statistical Institute head Erhan Çetinkaya and asked him to report the "true" inflation figures, journalist Mustafa Balbay has said. Experts and the Turkish public are highly critical of the state's official inflation rates and say real inflation is much higher than the announced figures.

  The Turkish Statistical Institute reported an annual inflation rate of 48 percent for July, whereas ENAG, a group of independent economists, put the figure at 123 percent.

  In what economists see as a pivot to economic orthodoxy, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed Mehmet Şimşek as finance minister and Hafize Gaye Erkan as central bank governor after his re-election in May.

  Mr. Erdoğan holds the unorthodox view that high-interest rates cause inflation.

★ After the February earthquakes, challenging conditions drive an unsanctioned building boom in Malatya province in Eastern Turkey, reports Bianet.

  Since the earthquake shifted by 35 inches in Malatya City and as much as 100 inches in the Doğanşehir district, municipalities are unable to issue building permits. The process of correcting the locations of lots has just started.

  The Malatya midtown market area suffered extensive damage. The earthquakes destroyed most buildings constructed before 2000, and 11,000 businesses shut down.

  Crews cleared the debris of all the collapsed buildings, but Malatya City still has about 13,000 moderately damaged homes.

  Depicting the extent of Malatya's earthquake-induced damage, Yunus Emre Fidanel, chair of the Chamber of Architects Malatya Branch, said, "With the destruction of the city center in Malatya, we lost its commerce. Bostanbaşı Neighborhood's heavy damage led to a loss of accommodation areas, and the collapse of registered historic structures in the Gündüzbey Neighborhood resulted in the loss of tourism areas. Unfortunately, there is nothing left in Malatya to anchor people."




  See a larger view of the photograph and read the details of the news >> here <<

★ American pop star Christina Aguilar had her first concert in Turkey on August 8.

  The venue was Regnum Carya in Turkey's southern province of Antalya.

  The 2500-people venue was sold-out, and some paid as much as $37,000 to see Christina Aguilar.

  She was on the stage for one and a half hours, accompanied by eight dancers and three vocalists. Among the songs she sang were her hits "Stripped" and "Dirrty."

  Christina Aguilar said she would return to Antalya for a vacation with her family after her tour.

  Also in the news: Regnum Carya will host British singer-songwriter Tom Odell on August 21. Odell is the winner of the Brit Award for Rising Star.

★ Bursa province's Nilüfer district municipality announced that they canceled their annual music festival in September to protest the district governor's ban on camping and alcohol sales.

  District's mayor Turgay Erdem on August 10 held a press conference attended by the main opposition Republican People's Party officials and parliamentarians and said that the government wanted to block the festival just like last year.

  On July 7, A civil society platform consisting of several Islamist NGOs released a memorandum named "Let's say 'No' to wrong-doings at the festivals" and demanded their cancellations because they "direct the youth to illicit, nonethical relations, intoxicating alcohol and substance use, rebellion, and riots."

  A larger view is available at >> here <<

★ The Bergama Theater Festival is taking place this weekend in the ancient city of Pergamum in the Aegean region of Turkey.

  The venue is the ancient Greek theater.

  In addition to theater performances, the festival will feature seminars, workshops, hikes, tours, food fairs, and dance performances.

  The Dutch consulate and the Swedish Embassy also supported some of the performances.

  See a larger version of the photograph on the Bianet site and read the details >> here <<

★ Political prisoners in Turkish jails started a "kettle-only cooking project" based on Çiğdem Mater's September 2022 article published on the online news outlet Bianet. Participants prepare dishes cooked in an electric kettle and then share the recipes online.

  The first recipe is for lentil balls.

  According to Wikipedia:

  Çiğdem Mater is a Turkish film producer and journalist. She was one of 13 civil society figures arrested in November 2018 by the Turkish government in the crackdown against people and organizations connected to philanthropist Osman Kavala and the 2013 Gezi Park protests.

  Mater is the producer of Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei's 2017 documentary Human Flow and Turkish films Majority and Sivas and Dusting Rag.

  See a Kettle recipe


★ The Koç University president announced that to the most recent official data published by the European Commission in June, Koç University ranked as the most successful Turkish research institution in the Horizon Europe (2021-2027) program.

  As of this month, Koç University has 19 projects and received €14.4M from Horizon Europe's 2021 and 22 calls.

  The announcement said: "Koç University owes its prestigious position as the most successful Turkish research institution to its excellent research environment, distinguished faculty profile, and commitment to interdisciplinary studies. These significant pillars have played a crucial role in securing prestigious grants from leading sponsors across Europe amidst fierce competition on a European-wide scale."

★ Faruk Şüyün of the daily Ekonomim reports that Turkey's cultural Road festivals for this year are starting in Nevşehir in Cappadocia, in central Turkey.

  The series of festivals started two years ago, and in 2023, 11 provinces are participating.

  Organized by Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Nevşehir Festival will bring together more than 300 events consisting of exhibitions, concerts, talks, and workshops with art lovers free of charge.

★ Kuşadası Street Festival, organized by the municipality of Kuşadası and the Kuşadası Golden Pigeon Culture, Art and Promotion Foundation for a second year, started in the Aegean district.

  The venue is the courtyard of Mehmet Pasha the Ox Caravanserai.

  The festival will feature, among other events, the culinary culture of 11 cities in Turkey.

★ Gault & Millau of France, One of the prestigious gastronomy guides in the world, will now have a Turkish edition.

  The Turkish edition will be available in November.

★ One of the problems of our music world is that young artists do not get opportunities on the stage where they can show themselves.

  İş Sanat is one of the few institutions in Turkey that helps artists solve this problem by offering performances. Since 2002, İş Sanat has been holding the Shining Stars concerts.

  The organizers ask musicians to apply by September 4 for this year's concert.

  İş Sanat is the cultural arm of Turkey's İş Bank.

★ On August 10, Turkey's jazz musician Önder Focan had a concert at Yapı Kredi Bomontiada in Istanbul.

  See a larger view of the photograph and other award-winning photographs of 2022 >> here <<

★ Applications for a photography contest organized by the Turkish air conditioning company Alarko Carrier has started.

  Dubbed the "Global Climate Change Photography Contest," the event's goal is to raise awareness about climate change affecting the world.

  Contest organizers are asking the applicants to submit photographs that reflect the effects of global climate change on our planet in the most striking way.

  It is the 10th year of the contest.

★ The ruins of the ancient city of Perinthos are located in Turkey's Tekirdağ province. Turkish archaeologists started excavations there two years ago.

  The ruins of an ancient theater said to be the largest in the Thrace region of Turkey, have been the focus of the archaeologists.

  Dr. Zeynep Koçel Erdem, head of the excavations, said that massive shaved and smooth bedrock constituted the theater stage. She noted that this is unusual for an ancient theater. The theater also uses carved areas within the rocky hill it leans to.

  Dr. Erdem hopes they can dig up the steps leading to the theater this year. So far, the excavation crew uncovered a few under five yards of dirt. Some of the theater seats are also visible now.

  In addition to Roman-era ceramics, Dr. Erdem says that they found objects going back to six century BCE, indicating that the theater was in use since then.


★ According to ANKA News Agency, on August 11, Istanbul Water and Sewerage Administration General Manager Şafak Başa called on Istanbulites to save water.

  Speaking at the Groundbreaking Ceremony for Wastewater, Rainwater, and Stream Rehabilitation Investments in Istanbul's Şile district, Başa said they are experiencing a "catastrophic drought."


  See a larger view of the photographs and read the details >> here <<

★ Aysu Türkoğlu, a 22-year-old Turkish swimmer, achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first Turkish woman to swim across the formidable North Channel.

  Covering nearly 25 miles, Türkoğlu embarked on her journey from Northern Ireland to Scotland, completing the demanding North Channel swim in 11 hours, 48 minutes, and 19 seconds.

  In 2022, Türkoğlu made the headlines by becoming the youngest Turkish swimmer to swim across the English Channel, an accomplishment that required her to endure 16 hours and 28 minutes of swimming.


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


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