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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 19 August 2023

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 19 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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  See a larger version of the photograph and read more >> here <<

★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, following the visit of the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group on August 13 to western Çanakkale province's Gökçeada island as part of the Exercise Sage Wolverine, a second American vessel's arrival to the country has coincided with Russia's intensified bombardment of Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

  The U. S. warship USS Mount Whitney arrived in Istanbul on August 18.

  Jeffry Flake, U. S. ambassador to Turkey, said in a statement that the visit was an example of cooperation and coordination between Turkey and the U. S.


★ According to Agence France-Presse, a civilian cargo ship sailing from Odesa, Ukraine, reached Istanbul on Thursday in defiance of a Moscow blockade. While trying to reach Turkey, Russia opened fire on it.

  It was the first vessel to directly challenge Russia's new bid to seal Ukraine's access to the Black Sea, adds Agence France-Presse.

  Read the detailed news >> here <<

  Deutsche Welle correspondent Dorian Jones also commented on the tensions in the Black Sea interview reporting. Among the topics he covered were Turkey's refusal to let NATO and Russian ships travel through the Turkish Straits and the collapse of the agreement to export grain from Ukraine that Turkish President Erdoğan brokered.

  Watch Dorian Jones >> here <<

★ The Justice and Development Party administration considers journalists that write unfavorably about them dangerous and treats them harshly. This week there was another example of that.

  On August 15, Turkish authorities jailed for the fifth time Daily Cumhuriyet columnist Barış Pehlivan due to the case related to his reporting on the fatalities of Turkish intelligence officers in Libya during 2020, which they considered a confidential intelligence matter, reports the Turkish daily Duvar.

  After six months in prison in 2020, authorities released him on probation, provided he is not subject to another court case.

  When he wrote in an article using the initials of a court of cassation member, authorities revoked his probation. Pehlivan thinks the real reason is his book about the former Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.

  "I am considered more dangerous than a murder or a rape convict. I am not benefiting from the probation law passed by the Parliament in July. What I have done is the guarantee of what I will do; I will continue to do journalism inside," Pehlivan said before entering the prison.

  Turkish authorities did not respond to Pehlivan's probation request and excluded him from the regulation issued in July preventing furloughed convicts during the Covid-19 pandemic period from being re-incarcerated. He said they even let murderers and rapists out but considered him more dangerous.

  The journalist may spend eight months in prison if his probation application is not accepted.

  Reporters Without Borders (RSF) stated that Pehlivan was the 13th journalist arrested this year.

  Read more >> here <<

★ According to Deutsche Welle, Turkish authorities put German lawmaker Gökay Akbulut under brief arrest when he traveled to Turkey recently. Akbulut is originally from Turkey.

  After returning to Germany, in an interview with Deutsche Welle, Ms. Akbulut said: "The rule of law has not been in place in Turkey for years. The separation of powers is also not functioning as it should in a progressive or in advancing democracy,"

  Ms. Akbulut learned that there was an arrest warrant from a prosecutor in central Turkey due to social media posts she made in 2019. It said that she was spreading terrorist propaganda when she urged Germany to reverse its ban on the activities of the Kurdistan Workers Party.

  Kurdistan Workers Party is considered a terrorist entity by Germany and the European Union, the United States, and Turkey.


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★ Ankara prosecutor's office started an investigation for a photo shoot of a model with a belly showing in front of the Kocatepe mosque.

  The investigation claims that the photograph widely circulated on social media is insulting religious values. The move came after Islamist and pro-government figures targeted the photoshoot.

★ According to DW Deutsche Welle, A rising number of educated Turkish citizens who oppose the government are heading to Germany. Many seek asylum, but German authorities are less inclined to grant it.

  According to Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, BAMF, more than 23,000 Turkish citizens have applied for asylum in the country this year alone — an increase of 203% over the same period last year.


★ The Turkish budget revenues increased by 156% compared to July 2022, reaching $18.6 billion in local currency. The spending was US$16.8 billion, and the budget surplus was $1.8 billion.

★ The ruling Justice and Development Party administration and President Erdoğan say the Turks should live frugally during hard times. However, they do not seem to follow their own advice.

  The daily Duvar reported that President Erdoğan spent over $100 million from a discretionary fund this year, a recent budget report by the treasury and finance ministry disclosed. The use of the discretionary fund is not subject to audit.

★ Public employee confederation Memur-sen, known for its stance close to the ruling Justice and Development Party government, staged nationwide protests after the Turkish government's revised salary increase proposal of 25% for 2024, falling 8% below the Central Bank's projected inflation

  KESK, another union representing public employees, went on a one-day strike on Friday to protest the government proposal.

  KESK criticized the reliance on the government-run Turkish Statistical Institute's inflation data. Experts say that the Institute deliberately underestimates inflation. For example, the Institute calculated the annualized inflation rate for July as 48%, whereas ENAG, an independent group of experts, announced that it was 123%.

★ According to the central bank, in June, Turkey's residential property prices rose 96% from a year earlier. Istanbul, Turkey's most populous urban area, saw an increase of 85%. In the capital Ankara it was 106% and in the third-largest metropolitan area Izmir, 100%.

  The average unit price of a dwelling was US$908 per square meter in June, which comes to about $85 per square foot.

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 27.1


★ Istanbul, the cultural hub of Turkey, is having the following events in the next few weeks:


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★ The name of Turkey's first female medical doctor who earned the title of a "physician" in Germany, Safiye Ali, who received her medical education in Germany and graduated as the top student at that time from Würzburg University has been given to a street in Dortmund, Germany.

  Born in Istanbul in 1894, Safiye Ali, with the support of her father, who was an attendant at the Ottoman palace, obtained a scholarship to study medicine in Würzburg, Germany, after the end of World War I. She became a specialist in women's and children's diseases. After marrying Dr. Ferdinand Krekeler, an ophthalmologist in Germany, Safiye Ali returned to Turkey in 1923 and practiced medicine in her private clinic in Istanbul.

  On August 17, Taylan Aydın, local government officials, Turkey's Consul General in Essen, representatives from political parties, and civil society organizations attended the inauguration ceremony for Dr. Safiye Ali Street, Expat Guide Turkey reported.


  See a larger version of the photograph and read more >> here <<

★ On August 14, Google Doodle commemorated the birthday of Prof. Dr. Nüzhet Gökdoğan, a distinguished astronomer and mathematician, one of Turkey's pioneering woman astronomers.

  The Doodle showed Gökdoğan celebrating her legacy as one of Turkey's first women astronomers alongside images of planets and books, and Google paid tribute to her significant contributions.

  Upon clicking the Doodle, users reached a page providing information and news about Prof. Dr. Nüzhet Gökdoğan.

  Dr. Gökdoğan was born on August 14, 1910, in Istanbul.

  After graduating from Erenköy Girls' High School in 1928, Gökdoğan earned a government scholarship to pursue a mathematics and physics degree in France. She completed her mathematics degree at Lyon University in 1932 and began her physics studies at Paris University in 1933, where she also undertook an internship at Paris Observatory. Subsequently, she returned to Turkey.

  In Turkey, she first worked at the Astronomy Institute at Istanbul University's School of Sciences. In 1936, she became an associate professor at the Higher Engineering School, now Istanbul Technical University, becoming the institution's first woman staff member.

  In 1954, Gökdoğan was elected as the dean of the Istanbul University Faculty of Science, becoming Turkey's first woman dean.

  She retired in 1980. She passed away in 2003.


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

★ Archaeologists discovered a three-headed Statue of the goddess Hecate in the ruins of the ancient city of Kelenderis in Turkey's southern Mediterranean province of Mersin. Experts said the four-inch statue is 2300 years old.

  Excavations at the ancient city started in 1987.

  Head of the excavation, Associate Professor Mahmut Aydın, stated that they unearthed the Roman period floors in this season's excavations and found Hellenistic ceramics in these floor coverings.

  The ancient Greeks revered Hecate as the underworld goddess, capable of both good and evil. She was associated with magic, witchcraft, the moon, and creatures of the night, such as ghosts. They also depicted her face on their doorways.


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

★ The ruins of the ancient Olba city, also in the Mersin province, have revealed unique finds.

  The most recent one is a female statue believed to belong to the second century CE and two frieze fragments depicting mythological scenes.

  This year the excavations are continuing with a team of 15 individuals, including art historians, archaeologists, and students. Prof. Yavuz Yeğin from Ardahan University Archeology Department is leading the excavations.

  Olba was once a major trade center. The city is deep in the Taurus Mountains. Historians think it was the capital of a local kingdom called Pirindu around six century BCE. During the Roman era, the city became a bishopric.


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

★ The waters at Van Lake, Turkey's largest with a surface area of 1435 square miles, receded 25 feet in recent years, revealing many ancient objects and structures.

  In 2017, a team of archaeologists and divers from Van University discovered a 3000-year-old fortress.

  Among the latest finds are a graveyard and buildings that may have belonged to a village.


★ The hottest temperature ever recorded in Turkey occurred August 14, breaking a previous record in 2021, reports the daily Duvar.

  In the Hassa district of the Hatay province, the temperature reached 122°F.


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


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