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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 23 December 2023

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 23 December 2023]

Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

TURKISH CULTURAL PROGRAM, every Saturday from 2 P.M. to 4 P.M.

on KXSF:  kxsf.fm/ or FM 102.5 in San Francisco

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Ahmet Toprak is the editor-in-chief. Your broadcast host is Ahmet Toprak

[Uzun İnternet adreslerini radyoda okumayın, şu duyuruyu yapın:
"Look at the news section of our website for more details. www.Turkradio.us".]


★ RTÜK, Turkey's media watchdog, imposed 570 fines on media institutions in 2023. Eighty-five percent were directed against broadcasters that "threatened public health, aimed to mislead viewers, and failed to comply with commercial communication deadlines."

  Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, Turkey's culture and tourism minister, gave the statistics during budget talks in response to the opposition lawmakers.

  Main opposition Republican People's Party lawmaker Ahmet Vehbi Bakırlıoğlu and Good Party lawmaker Selcan Taşçı asked the minister, "Why are opposition broadcasters being fined very high amounts while those close to the government are not? Are these activities of the RTÜK in line with its founding objectives?"

  Peoples' Equity and Democracy Party deputy Sevilay Çelenk reminded that RTÜK approved the public service announcement broadcasts on a rally called "Stop LGBT Propaganda" organized by the Istanbul Family Foundation and asked, "Why did the RTÜK make a public service announcement against LGBT?"

  The so-called public service announcement included hate speeches against the country's already marginalized LGBTI+ community.

★ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan traveled to Budapest on Monday, where he received military honors and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban warmly greeted him.

  It is Erdoğan's second visit in the past four months and marked the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

  Despite both countries being the last NATO member states yet to ratify Sweden's membership in the transatlantic military alliance, neither leader brought up the subject in public remarks. However, Hungarian President Katalin Novak, who also met with Erdogan, said the pair did discuss NATO expansion privately.

  (The daily Duvar reported that The Turkish parliament's foreign affairs commission will reconvene on December 26 to review Sweden's NATO membership bid for the second time.)

  The Turkish leader said the countries would also work together to increase bilateral trade volume from roughly $4 billion annually to $6 billion.

  The two leaders exchanged transport-themed gifts, with Orban presenting Erdogan with a Hungarian Nonius horse and Erdogan giving Orban a new Turkish-made electric car.

★ According to DW, with lax laws on money laundering, easy access to citizenship, and insufficient prosecution, Turkey has grown more attractive to international criminal networks.

  In response, the new interior minister has declared a crackdown.

  "My dear nation, today we caught three internationally sought-after gang bosses in Alanya and Istanbul," Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced to the Turkish people on social media earlier this week, declaring himself ready for the fight. "No matter how strong these gangs are or whatever arrest warrant they face, we will choke them out."

  Yerlikaya's predecessor, Suleyman Soylu, has been accused of having close ties with gang members. While Soylu was in office, leading gang figures from the Turkish underworld were released from prison, allowing Turkey to develop into a haven for international criminals, particularly from Serbia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Montenegro.

  Read the details >> here <<
★ The Turkish treasury and finance ministry denied the New York Times claim that the center of Hamas' financial network was a company based in Turkey.

  On December 16, the New York Times article also said that Turkish president Erdoğan classifies Hamas not as a terrorist organization but as a liberation group.

  Read the details >> here <<

★ According to Reuters, on December 19, Turkish President Erdoğan said Turkey earned the right to join the European Union before Ukraine and Moldova.

  However, he says the European Union members keep Turkey waiting for political reasons.

  Last week, the European Union members said they would start talks with Ukraine and Moldova for membership. Turkey has been a candidate since 2005. The European Union says that Turkey does not meet the criteria to become a member with its poor human rights record and conflicts with neighboring countries.

  Read the details >> here <<

★ On March 31, 2024, Turks will go to the polls to elect their local officials for city governments and members of the local assemblies.

  The ruling Justice and Development Party aims to take the metropolitan mayorships in Ankara and Istanbul, the two largest Turkish urban areas. In the previous local elections, the opposition Republican People's Party wrested the mayorships from the ruling party in these urban areas.

  The Republican People's Party candidates got support from a united opposition. However, in the 2024 elections, the opposition seems splintered. The Good Party, a junior opposition party, announced it would field its mayoral candidates throughout Turkey.

  There is also news of electoral cheating preparations by the ruling party.

  According to the daily Duvar, Mehmet Rüştü Tiryaki, the Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party's Deputy Co-Chair for Local Administrations, said that the government made thousands of police and soldiers "mobile voters" and registered them at addresses that did not exist before in critical electoral districts in the run-up to the 2024 Local Elections.

  Read more >> here <<

★ On December 20, Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu, Turkey's first mayor from the Communist Party of Turkey in the eastern city of Dersim, said he might become a mayoral candidate in western Turkey for the local elections.

★ On December 20, in a statement, TÜSIAD, Turkey's leading business association, criticized Yusuf Tekin, the education minister, for saying that his ministry would continue collaborating with Islamic communities and orders in 2024.

  There should be no place for cults in the education system "considering the bitter experiences of the recent past," the association said, referring to the 2016 failed coup attempt by the followers of Fethullah Gülen, a cleric who led an influential order that was a partner of the ruling Justice and development party administration.

★ On December 21, once again, Turkey's constitutional court found rights violations in Workers Party of Turkey Deputy Can Atalay's imprisonment upon a second application by Atalay's lawyers.

  The court decision was made with a majority vote of 11 to 3, whereas the previous October 25 decision had five dissenting votes.

  Can Atalay is a human rights lawyer. For defending protesters of 2013 in court, with trumped up charges, a court sentenced him to life imprisonment for aiding and abetting the protests. The ruling Justice and Development Party administration claimed that the protesters were trying to overthrow the government.

  Analysts say the ruling Justice and Development Party pressures judges and prosecutors to silence any vocal opposition.

★ In 2022, the ratio of publications per academic in national peer-reviewed journals in Turkey was 0.28, the daily Duvar reports. The number of books per student across the country's universities was 8.5, according to the Council of Higher Education's latest report. Read more >> here <<

  According to Scopus, abstract and citation database, The per capita number of scientific and technical journal articles published in Turkey is 635. The number for the U.S. is 1875, and Switzerland 5461.

★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, the cost of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in Turkey will approach the minimum wage with the expected price increase next week, despite the Health Minister's promise to offer the cancer-preventing vaccine for free.

  The vaccine prevents cervical cancer.

★ According to Bloomberg, on December 21, Turkey's central bank increased the interest rates again. It is the seventh time that the bank has increased the rates. The new rate is 42.5%, up from 40.75% on December 1.

  The new rate is still far below the inflation rate. An independent group of economists calculated the inflation rate as 129% in November.


★ Veli Bayraktar and Memet Özer, two renowned Turkish chefs, were at the Elexus Hotel&Resort&Spa in Cyprus together to prepare a menu that combines traditional Turkish Cypriot cooking with modern elements, reports the Ekonomim arts and culture correspondent Faruk Şüyün.

  Turkish Cypriot cuisine incorporates ingredients and recipes from many cultures that swept through the island over thousands of years. Hittites, Mycenaens, Assyrians, Persians, ancient Greeks, Genovese, Phoenicians, Eastern Romans, Knights, Venetians, Greeks, Ottomans, and British ruled the island over the centuries.

Ahmet Ümit receiving his certificate. He is with Germany's Istanbul Consulate General Johannes Regenbrecht and Istanbul Archaeology Institute director Dr. Felix Pirson.

★ German Archaeological Institute gave Turkish author Ahmet Ümit an archaeologist membership certificate for telling about the archeology of Pergamon, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the cultural heritage between Pergamon and Berlin in his novel "Land of the Lost Gods," and covering the history of relations between Germany and Turkey in a striking language.

  The scientific advisory board of the German Archaeological Institute recommended the certificate for Ahmet Ümit.

  Dr. Felix Pirson, the director of the Istanbul Archaeology Institute, handed the certificate to Mr. Ümit in the presence of German Consulate Gen. Johannes Regenbrecht in Istanbul.

  "As a writer, it is a great honor to be rewarded by scientists. I hope we will protect our rich history and magnificent archaeological sites more. Because those who do not protect their past cannot protect their present," said Ahmet Ümit.

  In 2006, the Turkish Antiquity Institute awarded Mr. Ümit the archaeologist's certificate for his works "Patasana" and "Ninata's Bracelet."


Click on photograph to read the details and see a larger view of the image.

★ Istanbul's Liszt Institute- Hungarian Cultural Center is celebrating its 10th year.

  The institute aims to expose Turks to every aspect of Hungarian culture. The center has exhibition halls, an auditorium, a library, and lecture halls equipped with modern technology.

  Among the activities at the culture are concerts, theater performances, Hungarian language courses, cooking classes, and workshops for children.

  The first Hungarian Cultural and Scientific Research Institute opened in Istanbul in 1916.

  The current center is getting ready to celebrate the 2024 Hungarian-Turkish culture year on the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship signed between the two nations.

  There are 26 branches of the Liszt Institute around the world.


★ Local Bay Area Turkish artist Çelik Kayalar has been very active lately. He participated in the Sacramento International film Festival with his film "Imagine – 1619." It was on the screen on December 16.

  LUXlife magazine chose his school FABA as the best film-acting school in California.

  On January 27 at 6 PM, his movie "Moonlight Sonata" will be on the screen. ETAC will host the screening at 3170 De La Cruz Blvd. Suite 119 in Santa Clara and there will be no charge.

  Artistcloseup magazine featured Çelik's paintings recently. Yes, in addition to being a moviemaker, Çelik also paints.

  In November he started selling prints of his painting titled "Child Crying in a Gaza Basement" to raise money for Red Cross to help the wounded innocent civilians in Gaza. He did the same last year with painting "Child Hiding in a Kyiv Basement" and raised about $10,000 for Ukrainian charity.


Halime Hatun Tomb

★ During the archaeological excavations in the second largest Turkish-Islamic cemetery in Turkey's Eastern province of Van's Gevaş district, archaeologists found a tomb dated 1305. Before this, archaeologists have unearthed graves dating back to the mid-14th century only.

  The cemetery is from the Seljuk Turks era in Anatolia, the Asiatic part of modern Turkey.

  One of the notable persons buried at the cemetery is Halime Hatun, thought to be the daughter of the Seljuk ruler Melik Izzeddin and perhaps a member of the Karakoyunlu dynasty. Her tomb dates to 1335.

  On the headstones and other decorative rocks, Seljuks carved hoops, rosettes, passionflowers, candlesticks, and many different oil lamp motifs. There are more than 700 tombstones at the cemetery.

  Archaeologists are restoring the tombstones and other structures in the cemetery as part of a plan to turn the site into an open-air Museum.


Click on photograph to read the details and see a larger view of the image.

★ People object to a new road project in Turkey's Mediterranean province of Antalya. The road will go to historical sites and may destroy artifacts and nature.

  The road will have four lanes, 11 bridges, six tunnels, and 12 over and underpasses. It will cost $75 million in local currency.

★ An 8500-year-old skull at the Çatalhöyük Neolithic site shows cuts indicating a brain surgery, archaeologists think.

  Archaeologists found the skull in excavations last year. Afterward, experts have been studying the skull and the 1-inch cut on it. The conclusion is that the people of the era deliberately cut after shaving the hair and removing the skin.

  This skull belongs to an approximately 18-19-year-old young man.

  Çatalhöyük is a large mound where people settled 9500 years ago and lived for 1100 years. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is in Turkey's Konya province, 87 miles from Mount Hasan, a twin-coned volcano.

  English archaeologist James Mellaart first excavated the site in 1958. Archaeologists are still excavating and finding artifacts there.


★ Turkish State Meteorological Service (MGM) reported that November of 2023 was the warmest and simultaneously the rainiest November for Turkey in decades.

  The Service stated the average temperature was 12.5 in 2023, 3.2 degrees above the average temperatures recorded between 1991 and 2020. Minimum and maximum temperatures had also increased in 2023.


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


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