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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 26 August 2023

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 26 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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★ Radio and Television Supreme Council, Turkey's media regulator, issued a censorship threat against the Turkish service of the Voice of America and gave it 72 hours to apply for a license within 72 hours.

  The Council had blocked access to the Voice America website in June 2022 due to failure to apply for a license. Voice of America changed its web address and continued its services.

  Since August 1, 2019, a Turkish regulation has mandated online platforms to obtain broadcasting licenses from the Council. It also requires licensees to remove content deemed inappropriate.

  The Council also targeted the Turkish service of the Deutsche Welle of Germany.

  "As a public service broadcaster designed to provide accurate and objective news, VOA cannot comply with any directive intended to enable censorship," VOA spokesperson Bridget Serchak said in an email.

  "Respect for freedom of expression is enshrined in Turkey's constitution and in its international commitments and obligations," the spokesperson said.

  The U.S. State Department said Tuesday it was closely following the situation and is "deeply concerned." In the past, the department has said moves to block VOA and Deutsche Welle content in Turkey amounted to an expansion of "government control over freedom of expression and media freedom in Turkey. Free press is essential to a robust democracy."

  Reporters Without Borders says that 90% of the media in Turkey is controlled by the Justice and Development Party administration, leaving only a few independent or critical news outlets. The Press Freedom Index ranks Turkey 165 out of 180, one point below Russia.

  See the press freedom index >> here <<  Read the food article here  >> here <<

★ On August 25, HSK, Turkey's Council of Judges and Prosecutors, removed the chairman and a member from the 24th Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Appeals responsible for overseeing the appeal process for the sentence handed down to Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu for the charge of "insulting the members of the Supreme Election Council." On December 14, 2022, İmamoğlu received a verdict of two years and seven months in prison, along with a political ban. His legal team appealed the judgment.

  With its decision, the HSK changed two names of the three-person committee that takes decisions by simple majority. The review of the appeal by the 24th Criminal Chamber is still ongoing. Following the appeal verdict, the case will be transferred to the 4th Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation for the final judgment, according to the Turkish service of Deutsche Welle.

  If the Court of Cassation approves the judgment for Mr. İmamoğlu, the popular mayor will not be able to run again for the Istanbul mayoralty in the March 2024 local elections. Ever since his decisive victory in the Istanbul elections in 2019, Mr. İmamoğlu is one of the figures targeted frequently by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party. Infuriated by losing Turkey's largest city to the main opposition, the Justice and Development Party has been making İmamoğlu face investigations on bogus charges.

★ Germany's government on Wednesday presented a proposal to reform the country's citizenship law.

  The proposed reform includes a shorter period of residency as a requirement to become a German citizen and allows dual citizenship.

  Turks will benefit the most from the reform. They make up 3.4% of the population in Germany, the largest block of non-Germans.

★ Both private and public Turkish universities admit students based on their performance in the Higher Education Entrance Exams given by the Student Selection and Placement Center.

  Almost 3 million students took the two-stage exams this year, and 900,000 received admissions. About 3% of the available admission spots were left vacant. Most of these are in engineering and architecture schools.

  Experts attribute the vacancies to an increase in fees at private universities. This year, they start at $11,000 for the prestigious Bilkent University and go up to $19,000 for the Koç University.

★ Due to an ongoing forest fire in the northwestern Turkish province of Çanakkale, maritime traffic between the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara has been temporarily halted. The wildfire had prompted the evacuation of at least 15 villages involving more than 1,200 people.

  More than 100 cargo vessels were waiting to pass through the strait, which was closed until further notice to allow helicopters and other aircraft to collect water to help douse the flames, the Tribeca shipping agency said.

  The forestry minister says that even though the fire is very close to the city center, it will probably pass through due to the direction of the wind.

★ Bianet reported that a Turkish organization titled Buğday, meaning "Wheat," has a campaign to ban harmful agricultural pesticides.

  Dubbed the "Toxic-Free Tables," the campaign announced that it managed to get Turkish authorities to ban six more pesticides, bringing the total to 223.

  Bianet writes that over 90% of agricultural pesticides do not reach their targets, contaminating the air, water, and soil.


★ The Turkish government and Memur-Sen, a public employees union, could not agree on the salary increase rate for 2024-2025 during collective bargaining negotiations for approximately four million civil servants and 2.5 million retirees.

  Memur-Sen took part in the collective bargaining negotiations as the authorized confederation and had asked for an increase of 35 percent in the first three months, 10 percent in the second three months, 15 percent in the third three months, and 10 percent in the fourth three months, including the welfare share in 3-month periods for 2024.

  The government had proposed a 25 percent increase for the whole of 2024.

  Since the negotiations did not end with a compromise, the Public Officials Arbitration Board would determine the salary increase.

  The 11-member board, consisting of the judiciary, bureaucrats, trade unionists, and academics, will decide on the collective agreement by August 31. The decision will be binding.

  KESK, a rival union, criticized the government and the Memur-Sen and stated there were no gains in the collective bargaining process. It also criticized its exclusion from the bargaining process.

  KESK also emphasized that the negotiators did not take any steps for rent and nursery allowances, injustices caused by income tax, abolition interviews in public recruitment, and equal opportunities for women civil servants.

★ According to National Public Radio, the monetary policy committee of the Turkish central bank increased the policy interest rate from 17 1/2% to 25%, surprising the analysts who were expecting 20%.

  The committee said that monetary tightening will continue until a significant improvement in the inflation outlook occurs.

  After the increase, Turkey's Treasury and Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said on social media that they are determined, and their top priority is price stability.

  The Turkish currency lira gained value against the foreign currencies immediately. The dollar, trading at 27.27 liras before the increase, receded to 26.25.

  Turkish President Mr. Erdoğan had claimed that high-interest rates cause higher inflation. However, after the elections, he made a U-turn and appointed Mr. Mehmet Şimşek as the Treasury and Finance Minister and Ms. Hafize Gaye Erkan as the central bank governor.

  Both individuals, well known in international finance circles, are following the proven economic remedy of fighting high inflation with monetary tightening, including increasing interest rates.

★ The Turkish firm Getir, the instant grocery delivery company that flourished during the pandemic, says it is cutting 2,500 jobs in nine countries, more than a tenth of its workforce, BBC reported on August 24.

  Getir has about 23,000 employees in the U.K. and Germany alone. The company left Spain, France, Portugal, and Italy recently.

  BBC says the firm's shrinkage is due to regulatory crackdowns in some countries and rising competition from supermarkets.

  The firm has quit Italy, Spain, France, and Portugal in the last few months.

  Turkish news outlet Bianet writes that Getir had a market value of $12 billion in March 2023.

  See the details >> here <<

EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 26.55



Neş'e Erdok with one of her paintings.
See her paintings >> here <<

★ Neş'e Erdok, one of the leading representatives of Turkish painting, has her 36th solo exhibition, featuring works she produced in the last two years.

  The exhibition is a continuation of the artist's continuous art production that spans more than half a century and appears as a diary in which she recounts what she has witnessed in the last few years.

  Paintings in which she deals with important social issues in recent times accompany Neş'e Erdok's portraits from everyday life, self-portraits reflecting her inner world, and her childhood paintings.

  Neş'e Erdok exhibition meets with its audience at Istanbul's Yapı Kredi Bomontiada between August 22 and September 10.

★ Between September 23 and October 8, one of the most prestigious in Europe, the Akbank Jazz Festival, is getting ready to bring the colors and timbres of jazz to Istanbul once again. It is the 33rd year of the festival.

  The festival initially announced seven concerts in its program but later added ten more. Among the artists and orchestras included in the festival are: 
  This year's festival venues include Akbank Sanat, Aya İrini Museum, Babylon, Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall, and Zorlu Center PSM, all in Istanbul.

  The Akbank Jazz Festival is one of the longest-running music festivals in Turkey.


  See a larger view of the photograph and detailed information on the museum >> here <<

★ Kenan Yavuz Ethnography Museum started the "Memory of the Sieve" project within the framework of the artist installation program.

  The museum is the only one with the two most important awards in the world in cultural heritage. It also received a special award from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 2022.

  The Kenan Yavuz Ethnography Museum is a family-founded non-profit organization in the Bayburt province in North Eastern Turkey. The museum's goal is to preserve and revive the heritage of local villages in the Bayburt region. The museum has an average customer rating of 4.8/5 from 420 reviews.

  Kenan Yavuz, a businessman born and raised in Bayburt's Beşpınar village, launched the museum in the summer of 2012.

★ The Aydın Doğan Award has been given by the Aydın Doğan Foundation every year since 1996 to reward individuals or institutions praised in different fields, such as culture, art, literature, and science, on national and international platforms.

  This year, the foundation decided to give the award to the Civilizations Choir of Antakya from Turkey's Hatay province. The choir held over 1,500 concerts over the years, both in Turkey and abroad, giving messages of peace.

  Antakya residents of different ethnic groups established the choir in 2007 to celebrate the religious diversity of their city. The choir members are from Christianity, Islam, Judaism, three local monotheistic religions, and six sects.

Read more about the Antalya International Food Fest >> here <<

★ Antalya Metropolitan Municipality kicked off the second International Food Fest with an event featuring a sumptuous dinner at the 85-year-old Seven Mehmet restaurant. Antalya Metropolitan Mayor Muhittin Böcek invited guests from other parts of Turkey to the feast.

  International Food Fest Antalya Gastronomy Festival is an event that the Antalya Metropolitan Municipality first organized last year to protect local food and to make Antalya's geographically indicated products and cuisine a world brand. This year, it will open its doors for the second time on September 1-3.

  In the festival, held with the motto "From Antalya to the World," world-renowned chefs from Turkey and abroad will be present.

  Among the chefs is Michelin-starred Mark Segarra from Spain, who will bring Spanish and Turkish cuisine together.

  There will also be exhibitions, product presentations, workshops, panels, talks, and competitions.

  See the Festival pages on Facebook >> here <<

www.TurkRadio.us www.TurkRadio.us

  Read the full article with large-view photographs >> here <<

★ Archaeologists have found traces of humans dating back to 86,000 years ago in İnkaya cave in Turkey's Northwestern province of Çanakkale, reports the Arkeonews website.

  Among the fines are many tools made from flint for various purposes.

  Archaeologists first found the cave during a surface survey in 2016. In 2017 and 2020, a team of international archaeologists led by the Troy Museum Directorate conducted excavations at the Middle Paleolithic level.

  This year, a team of 20 conducting excavations found the objects at the same level.

  Dr. İsmail Özer, a lecturer at Ankara University's Department of Paleoanthropology, said they have not found any human remains yet. He added that the excavations will continue inside the cave and the open area settlement around it.


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


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