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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 06 January 2024

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 06 January 2024]

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 Fuad Tokad.

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


★ U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Saturday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul, during Blinken's latest trip to the Middle East and Europe aimed at ramping up diplomatic efforts over the Israel-Hamas war and preventing an expansion of the conflict.

  According to VOA, in his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a strong critic of Israel's military actions in Gaza, Blinken "emphasized the need to contain the conflict, secure the release of hostages, expand humanitarian assistance such as increasing the number of trucks allowed to enter Gaza to deliver food, water, medicine, and commercial goods, and reduce civilian casualties," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

  The U. S. officials said Blinken was to discuss with Turkey its participation in Gaza's reconstruction efforts.

  His weeklong visit, which will also take him to Israel, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Greece, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, is his fourth trip to the Middle East since the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas on October 7.

  According to Deutsche Welle, a Turkish official said that Fidan called for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza to allow the "uninterrupted" delivery of aid and claimed Israel's "increasing aggression" was a threat to the region.

  Separately, Blinken stressed the importance that Washington places on Turkey's ratification of Sweden's membership in NATO.

  Erdoğan has been able to use Turkey's veto power in NATO to pressure Sweden into taking a tougher stance against Kurdish groups based in Stockholm that Ankara views as "terrorists."

  The Turkish leader had also tried to make Sweden's entry into NATO conditional on the U. S. delivery of 40 F-16 fighter jets and nearly 80 modernization kits for Turkey's air force.

★ According to Reuters, Turkish police detained 33 people suspected of spying for Israel's Mossad intelligence service and of targeting foreigners living in Turkey, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said Tuesday.

★ The first major criminal trial linked to the construction of buildings that collapsed in two massive earthquakes in Turkey last February started on Wednesday.

  A hotel owner is among those facing criminal charges. The prosecutors say the builders built the Grand Islas Hotel in the southeastern city of Adiyaman shoddily, killing 72 people, including students from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

  According to the indictment, the owner converted the building illegally from a residence into a hotel in 2001. He had extra floors added without the requisite permits, the indictment said.

  A separate investigation is underway to determine whether the state authorities who issued the permits bear any responsibility.

  Turkish officials say around 50,800 people lost their lives when a 7.7-magnitude quake struck southeastern Turkey and northern Syria in the morning, followed by a 7.6-magnitude one in the afternoon of February 6. Experts say the number is more like 200,000, and one even says it is around 500,000.

  At the time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said shoddy construction had contributed to the high death toll.

  His government faced widespread criticism for encouraging a construction boom while failing to enforce building regulations.

  Turkish police arrested around 200 people over allegedly poor building construction.

  Meanwhile, online news outlet Bianet reports shelter, water, and food issues persist eleven months after the earthquake.

  Earthquake victims from Hatay say officials cut the aid and are trying to sustain their lives with their means as the anniversary of the February 6 earthquakes approaches.

  Read more >> here <<

★ Mehmet Uçum, Chief Presidential Advisor, claimed that the Constitutional Court violated the Constitution by insisting that Can Atalay, an imprisoned parliamentarian, be released since imprisonment violated his rights. The court ruled twice that Atalay should be free.

  The Court of Cassation, another higher court, sides with President Erdoğan's administration and likened the second decision of the Constitutional Court to an example of "juristocracy" and declared it as "unlawful."

  The Court of Cassation Third Criminal Chamber ruled that the Constitutional Court ruling had no legal value and decided not to comply with the decision.


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

★ Local Elections are on March 31 in Turkey. Here is a piece of news about it:

  Turkey's first mayor from the Communist Party of Turkey, Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu, the mayor of Dersim in Eastern Turkey, will be a mayoral candidate for Istanbul's Kadıköy district, a liberal city renowned for its restaurants and arts and culture event. The Federation of Socialist Assemblies announced Maçoğlu's candidacy on Jan. 5.

  55-year-old Maçoğlu first became Dersim's Ovacık district mayor in 2024. After his success in the district, people elected him as Dersim Mayor in the 2019 local elections.

  Current Kadıköy Mayor Şerdil Dara Odabaşı, from the main opposition Republican People's Party, received 66 percent of the votes in the 2019 local elections.


★ Some sobering statistics: Men killed 30 women in December. Men subjected at least 38 women to violence, abused five boys and girls, and harassed at least five women. 19 women died suspiciously.

  According to The Health and Safety Labor Watch, 154 workers, five of them child workers, were killed on the job in December. The highest number of deaths occur in the construction sector. The total for the year was over 1900

  Details are >> here << and >> here <<

★ In 2023, Turkey's primary legislation method was presidential decrees, revealed a study by the main opposition Republican People's Party's Istanbul deputy Turan Taşkın Özer, reports the daily Duvar.

  Turkish President singlehandedly issued 1,726 legislative articles in 2023, around six times the 295 articles passed by the Parliament with 600 members.

  Özer stated that since the transition to the presidential system in 2017, the executive branch has increasingly violated the legislative powers of the Turkish Parliament. "The ruling People's Alliance has eliminated the deliberative quality of the Parliament and turned it into an approval center for all their impositions owing to their quantitative majority," said Özer.

  The report suggested that the increased powers of the President, evident from the number of decrees passed in 2023, have lifted fundamental checks and balances on governmental power, constitutionalism, and the rule of law.


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

★ According to the daily Duvar, on January 1, Turkey's pro-government TÜGVA, Turkey Youth Foundation, on Jan. 1 held a rally for Palestine at Istanbul's historic Galata Bridge. Two hundred and fifty thousand people were in attendance, stated the organization.

  Bilal Erdoğan, son of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and a TÜGVA board member, was one of the organizers. Former finance minister and President Erdoğan's son-in-law Berat Albayrak made his first public appearance in years at the rally.

  Turkey's Health and Youth Ministers, ruling Justice and Development Party deputy and former Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, President Erdoğan's son-in-law and defense contractor Selçuk Bayraktar, joined the march.

  Faed Mustafa, Ambassador of Palestine to Turkey, and President Erdogan gave speeches.

★ On World Braille Day, January 4, the Barrier-Free Access Association of Turkey launched a campaign against the requirement for visually impaired citizens to have witnesses during notary transactions.

  As part of the campaign, visually impaired individuals sent letters to the Turkey Notary Association written in Braille.

  Nurşen Korkmaz, The President of the Barrier-Free Access Association, emphasized that the witness requirement applies to illiterate citizens, stating, "A blind citizen, whether a teacher, lawyer, civil servant, or academic, is disregarded for literacy. They impose the procedures applied to illiterate citizens also on us. We have repeatedly urged them to abandon these incorrect practices. This time, we decided to convey it through our writing and initiated this campaign nationwide."

★ According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, in December, the annual inflation was 65%, while according to ENAG, a research institution, it was 127%. With the rates announced by the Statistical Institute, the salary increases for retirees and civil servants became clear.

  Turkish Statistical Institute did not release the commodity basket list used for the calculation this month as a recent court ruling ordered. The institution has discontinued publishing this list since June 4, 2022.

★ According to Bianet, President Erdogan said the Turkish economy grew 5.9 percent in the third quarter of 2023, emphasizing that the growth has been uninterrupted for the last 13 quarters. He stated that Turkey is the second-fastest-growing country among G-20 nations.

  Bianet writes that Mr. Erdogan did not address the issue of the working class not benefiting from the growth in his speech but acknowledged the ongoing high inflation.

★ Children and Women First Association of Turkey on Jan. 3 announced that it has filed a criminal complaint against TV personality Dr. Canan Karatay for "threatening public health" with her claims that HPV, the Human Papillomavirus vaccine, caused paralysis.

  The association stated that Karatay's claims in a YouTube video dated Jan. 1 constituted "deliberate misinformation of the public" about the HPV vaccine. In the past, other physicians and experts criticized her for other controversial statements regarding eating habits and diets.

  The association says 1250 people die in Turkey each year due to HPV-related cancers.


★ Turkey's Industry and Technology Ministry Mehmet Fatih Kacır announced that Alper Gezeravcı, Turkey's first astronaut, entered quarantine for space travel.

  The launching will occur on January 18 in Florida, and the astronauts will dock with the International Space Station on January 19.

  Spanish, Italian, and Swedish colleagues will accompany the Turkish astronaut.

  PTT, Turkish Post and Telegraph Agency, will issue a commemorative stamp.

  See more >> here <<


★ Mehmet Kizilay is a London-based creative director and designer. Emmys nominated him for Outstanding Main Title Design 2024 as the designer/lead animator for HBO's "Silicon Valley."

  Born in Tekirdağ, Turkey, in 1981, he studied digital media production at Oxford Brookes University. He has been directing and designing film and television title sequences, commercials, and, since 2007, I.D. packages for television. He began his career at Trafo as Head of Motion Graphics Department and, in 2008, became creative director and partner at Dirty Cheap Creative in Istanbul.

  In 2024, he founded Kraken Istanbul and led a team of artists designing title sequences, commercials, and branding identity packages for film and television.

  Kizilay received numerous international and local design honors, including a Gold Prize from the Bass Awards with the idents he designed for NTV.


★ Archaeologists unearthed a collection of 10 coins believed to date back nearly 1,400 years, retrieved from what appears to be a piggy bank in the ongoing excavations at the ancient city of Hadrianopolis in Karabük's Eskipazar district, Turkey.

  Excavations started in 2003 at the structures in Hadrianopolis and continued in periods under the direction of Ersin Çelikbaş, a lecturer at the Archaeology Department of Karabük University. The ancient city is known as "Zeugma of the Black Sea." due to its mosaics depicting various animals such as horses, elephants, panthers, deer, and griffons.

  Zeugma was an ancient city in Gaziantep, Turkey's southeastern province, where, since 2007, exquisite mosaics emerged during excavations.

  Hadrianopolis, known for its churches decorated with mosaics, has produced important discoveries that include walls, villas, defensive fortifications, rock tombs, theaters, arched and domed structures, and monumental cultic niches.

  Discussing the recent findings with Anatolia News Agency, Çelikbaş, the head of the excavations, highlighted their efforts to uncover new structures across extensive areas with a dedicated team of approximately 60 individuals.

  Hadrianopolis in Paphlagonia, also known as Eskipazar, was a city in southwestern Asia Minor, located approximately 1.5 miles west of the modern town of Eskipazar in Turkey's Karabük Province, inhabited from the first century BCE until the eighth century Common Era, and named after the Roman emperor Hadrian in the second century Common Era.

★ Archeologists found an 8,200-year-old workshop at excavations in Yeşilova Mound in the Bornova District of Turkey's Aegean province of Izmir.

  Zafer Derin, head of the excavations and a professor at the Ege University, said that they have been working in the mound for about four months. He said they understood the village life, what people ate and drank, and added that they discovered ten layers on the mound corresponding to attend villages, the oldest dating back to the Neolithic period.

  Dr. Derin added that they found stone and bone tools at the workshop. Most of the tools were axes and cutters. The activation also revealed many bowls and pottery depicting life in antiquity. There were also remains of many crustaceans, possibly consumed by the artisans at the shop.


  Opening ceremony of the library

★ According to the Anatolia news agency, Aksu Municipality and the office of the Antalya governor restored and transformed Antalya's 90-year-old Taş Mektep, meaning "stone school," into a library.

  Authorities were going to demolish the school structure, but in June 2020, 2.3 million Turkish liras of funds--approximately $80,000-- enabled the restoration of the building.

  The original building is a single-story structure built entirely with stone masonry techniques.


★ Bianet reported that President Erdoğan blamed the opposition, not Saudi Arabia, for the Turkish Soccer Super Cup cancellation scheduled in the Arab kingdom.

  Bianet adds that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan commented on the incidents during the Super Cup final in Riyadh, stating, "We are aware of attempts to alienate our country from brotherly nations through various provocations and malicious rhetoric." He targeted opposition parties in his remarks.

  The "Super Cup" final between Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe, Turkey's two major football teams, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has been canceled after the Saudi Arabian Football Federation did not approve the request of Galatasaray players to warm up on the field wearing Atatürk shirts.

  Similarly, the Fenerbahçe Club requested to enter the field with a banner featuring Atatürk's famous quote, "Peace at Home, Peace in the World," and the Galatasaray Club expressed the desire to include the "How happy is the one who says, 'I am a Turk'" banner in the pre-match ceremony.

  However, both of these requests were reportedly denied by the Saudi authorities, resulting in the two teams leaving Riyadh and returning to Turkey without playing the final.

 Read more >> here <<


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


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