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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 24 February 2024

[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 24 February 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 Fuad Tokad.


★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, on February 23, the Biden administration said it imposed new trade restrictions on 93 entities from Russia, China, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan, India, and South Korea for supporting Russia's war effort in Ukraine.

  Sixteen of the entities are from Turkey. The Commerce Department included the Turkish companies in three categories based on their activities.

  Two supported Russia's industrial sector by producing U. S.-origin machine tools and electronic test equipment and selling spare parts for Russian end users without the necessary licenses.

  The other eleven entities were engaging in conduct contrary to U. S. foreign policy in support of Russia's war effort, including the supply of potentially important U. S. products to Russia, the Commerce Department disclosed.

  Three Turkish companies were shipping U. S.-origin goods to Russia in flagrant violation of U. S. export controls.

  Earlier this week, the European Union approved the 13th package of Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia, banning about 200 entities, including one company from Turkey.

★ Turks will go to the polls on March 31 to choose their local politicians, such as mayors and city councils.

  The largest three metropolitan areas in Turkey are in the opposition's hands. In the last local elections, the Republican People's Party wrested the metropolitan mayoralties of Ankara, the capital, and Istanbul from the ruling Justice and Development Party.

  The ruling party is working very hard to get the mayoralties in both. It may achieve its goal in Istanbul since the opposition is not united anymore behind Ekrem İmamoğlu, the current mayor, a candidate again.

  The ruling Justice and Development Party candidate Murat Kurum just got an endorsement from Tansu Çiller, Turkey's first and only female prime minister between 1993 and 1996 from the center-right True Path Party and a controversial figure in Turkish politics. She is no longer active in politics, by the way.

  According to the Turkish daily Duvar, Çiller said Kurum brought Istanbul the enthusiasm it has been missing. She added that Kurum talks about two major problems he wants to work on: the expected Istanbul earthquake and the traffic congestion.

  The opposition accused Çiller of endorsing Kurum for approving a permit to open land that her family owned for development, which happened when he was the Environment, Urbanism, and Climate Change minister. The land was a designated protected nature area. The metropolitan Istanbul municipality went to court to stop the zoning change.

  Another reaction to Çiller's endorsement came from the 74-year-old veteran politician Rifat Serdaroğlu. He used a Turkish saying: "Wherever Çiller steps, no grass grows there."

  Serdaroğlu added that thanks to Çiller's endorsement, Murat Kurum had already lost the election.

★ The world celebrated the International Mother Language Day on February 21. UNESCO established the day in 1999 to promote multilingualism and linguistic and cultural diversity.

  Some Turkish parliamentarians tried to speak in their mother tongues at the parliament, but Celal Adan, the deputy speaker of the parliament and a member of the far-right Nationalist Action Party, silenced the microphone as they spoke.

  According to the government, Turkish is the official language and mother tongue of the majority in Turkey, but various ethnic groups speak some 70 other languages.

★ According to the Turkish daily Duvar, a Turkish court sentenced Müslüm Demirer. a builder, to 18 years in prison in Turkey's Şanlıurfa province.

  A condominium building Demirer built collapsed in the February 6 earthquakes last year, killing 34.

  The sentencing marks the first ruling against those responsible for the collapsed buildings during the earthquakes.

★ An inquiry by the Turkish daily Birgün to the Presidential Communications Center about the number of planes and helicopters owned by the presidency got a response after 17 months of waiting.

  The center said the presidency owned "just the necessary number of vehicles."

  In last year's presidential election campaign, the opposition candidate Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said that he would sell the 16 planes owned by the presidency and purchase firefighting planes instead.

  President Erdoğan admitted during the 2021 forest fires that Turkey did not own a single firefighting plane.

★ On February 24, a group of people, thought to be police, swiftly took down a banner reading "End the shame of trade with Israel" unfurled during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's speech at a rally in Northwestern Sakarya province, reports the daily Duvar.

  Duvar adds groups demanding the cessation of relations with Israel organized frequent protests against the Turkish government and companies that did not end their trade relations.

  The details and a video showing how they removed the banner are >> here <<

★ VOA's Dorian Jones reports President Erdoğan vyes for a key role in postwar Gaza. However, Mr. Erdoğan's staunch support for Hamas will spur Israeli resistance.

  Dorian Jones video report is >> here <<

★ Turkey's inflation is still very high. Independent experts calculated last month's annualized information as 129%. The government claims it is only 65%.

  According to the Associated Press, Turkey's central bank kept the key interest rate unchanged this month at 45%. Most economists think the rate is not high enough to bring down inflation.

  Analysts think the central bank kept the key rate the same because of the upcoming local elections. After the elections, it may increase the rate significantly.

  On February 23, Gizem Öztok Altınsaç, the Chief Economist of the Turkish Industry and Business Association, chimed in on the discussions while attending the Turkish Economy in 2024 conference.

  She said the Central Bank's year-end inflation forecast of 36 percent for 2024 "cannot be materialized" as the government "has lost control over inflation since the end of 2013."

  She said they expect an annual inflation rate above 73%.

  Among the reasons for a higher inflation rate is the strong domestic demand, she said.

  See more details about her remarks here >> here <<

★ TF-X Kaan, Turkey's first indigenous fighter jet, took its first test flight, reports the Aero Time Hub.

  The publication writes the development of the plane was partially in response to Turkey's removal from the F-35 jet fighter plane.

  Turkey was in the F-35 development effort along with the rest of its NATO allies. However, when it decided to buy Russian-built air defense systems, the rest of the allies removed it from the program and decided not to sell any F-35s to Turkey.

  TAI, the Turkish Aerospace Industries, has developed the plane. Turkish Armed Forces Foundation, the undersecretariat for defense industries, and the Turkish Aeronautical Association own TAI.


★ Josh Kerr, a man from the UK, moved to a Turkish resort in Turkey's Mediterranean province of Antalya after realizing that the resort would cost less than what he pays for his rent and tax in Manchester.

  He said he would rather spend the month in a warm and sunny hotel.

  However, the irony is that according to the Turkish Statistical Institute, 42% of Turkey's households could not afford even a one-week holiday away from home.

★ Istanbul's renowned Grand Bazaar, or as Turks call Covered Market, is under restoration.

  The 563-year-old structure has over 4000 shops. The restoration will be updating the infrastructure, flooring, and main walls.

  However, some of the shopkeepers are not happy about a few things. They say the restorers opened the big gaping hole on some of the walls and put through unpleasant-looking steel beams. The restorers say the thick beams are necessary to strengthen the structure against earthquakes.

★ The Istanbul Music Festival will be from May 21 to June 12 this year. The 52-year-old festival will commemorate, among other activities, the one-hundredth-year anniversary of the population exchange between Turkey and Greece. The historic event saw the two countries send ethnic groups to each other that they considered belonged to the other side after the Turkish independence war, mainly fought against the British-supported invading Greek armies.

  The festival will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of Turkey's diplomatic relations with Hungary and the Netherlands.

  From the Atatürk Cultural Center to the historic Panagia Greek Orthodox Church, there will be 17 venues for the events.

  Among the musicians and orchestras that will participate are:

★ Dormitory, a film scripted and directed by Nehir Tuna, returned from France's Annonay First Films Festival with the Best Film award.

  Previously, Dormitory, which debuted in last year's Venice Film Festival, received awards in Italy, Morocco, and France.

  The film will be in the movie theaters in France next month.

  The film is about a Twelve-year-old boy named Ahmet. He Is devastated when his newly religious father sends him to an Islamic dormitory to learn Muslim values. Recently converted, his father sees it as the righteous path for Ahmet and an opportunity for self-redemption.

  For Ahmet, it's a nightmare.

  As for Nehir Tuna, in 2013, he completed his graduate work in film at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Then, he worked for New York's Green Card Pictures. In 2016, he started graduate work in film at Columbia University.

  Read an interview and watch a video about Nehir Tuna >> here <<

  Read more about the film >> here <<

★ Tim Grierson of the Los Angeles Times reviewed Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan's film "About Dry Grasses" on February 22. Grierson called the drama "superb."

  He says:

  "[Nuri Bilge ] Ceylan's films enrapture on the big screen, where the vastness of Anatolia's barren, majestic exteriors dwarf his downtrodden characters' dramas.

  "Immersively shot in widescreen by cinematographers Cevahir Şahin and Kürşat Üresin, with an emphasis on static camera setups that allow the characters to engage in lengthy conversations that often end up as debates, 'About Dry Grasses' traps Samet, [and art teacher in Eastern Anatolia], both at school and the world, a sullen man aggrieved that he must endure the indignities of his small-town existence.

  "But actor Celiloğlu keeps challenging our attitude toward Samet, his sad smile and vulnerable eyes occasionally hinting at a buried soulfulness."

  Nuri Bilge Ceylan, born in 1959, is a Turkish director, screenwriter, photographer, and actor. His film Winter Sleep (2014) won the Palme d'Or at the 67th Cannes Film Festival, while his six films were Turkey's submission for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.

  Read the whole review >> here <<

★ Cemi'i Can Deliorman, Turkey's presidential Symphony Orchestra director, will direct Russia's prestigious St. Petersburg Mariinsky orchestra throughout the 2023-2024 season.

  With an extensive and brilliant academic background, Deliorman became a director at a young age.

  He says one of his goals is to have Mariinsky acquire experience in Turkish music work and have Turkish soloists on stage.

★ This month, Istanbul's Pera Museum hosts Selen Gülün and Çağıl Kaya in their "Together" concerts. 

  Selen Gülün is a composer, pianist, songwriter, vocalist, and educator whose performances and compositions have been deemed worthy of international awards.

  On the Gülün stage, she will host the interdisciplinary artist Çağıl Kaya, who tries to draw pictures from the lands she dreams of with her music.

  "Bir Arada" concerts bring music lovers and artists who stand out in their careers. The concerts are held on the last Friday of every month at Pera Café in collaboration with Beats by Girlz Turkey, a music and technology initiative that supports young women who pursue their music and want to tell their stories.

  The audience attending the concert at Pera Café will be able to visit the museum free of charge.

  See the Pera Museum website >> here <<

★ On February 23, the Ankara governor banned the 12th Pink Life QueerFest, an LGBTI+ film festival organized by the capital Ankara-based Pink Life LGBTI+ Solidarity Association.

  The governor's office sent the ban decision to the venues and based the decision on "the protection of public order, public health and morals, and the rights and freedoms of others."

  In a press statement, the Pink Life Association stated that the festival would switch to online platforms without a change in the program.

  The Ankara Governor's Office had banned all LGBTI+ events from being organized in the province "indefinitely" twice in 2017 and 2018. Turkish courts ruled in 2019 and 2020 that these bans were unlawful and that if there were threats to the events, the governor should have taken law enforcement measures instead of banning them.

★ On February 19, women's organizations protested in front of the Alanya district municipality against its cancellation of the theater play "Manukyan."

  Alanya is on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, and the government-ally Nationalist Movement Party leads the municipal government.

  The ban came after pro-government daily Yeni Akit claimed that the play was "absolving the dirty lifestyle" of Matild Manukyan, the renowned late brothel owner of the 1990s.

  The play depicted Matild Manukyan in a confrontation with sex workers on her deathbed.

Exchange Rate 31.00


High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey        : 59/36 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean    : 70/54 Partly Cloudy
Erzurum, in Eastern Turkey       : 41/21 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey : 64/48 Partly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean             : 68/50 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea        : 55/43 Partly Cloudy
Snow depths at skiing locations:
Erciyes in Kayseri, Central Turkey      : 20 inches
Ilgaz in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey: 9 inches
Kartalkaya in Bolu, Western Turkey      : 66 inches
Palandöken in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey   : 57 inches
Uludağ in Bursa, Western Turkey         : 22 inches
Sarıkamış in Kars, Eastern Turkey       : 59 inches



Premier League

* Results for week:
Kasımpaşa       -      K.gümrük          1 - 1
Rize            -      Fenerbahçe        1 - 3
Hatay           -      Sivas             1 - 1
Antalya         -      Istanbul          2 - 2
Pendik          -      Trabzon           0 - 2
G. Antep        -      Samsun            1 - 1
Ankaragücü      -      G. Saray          0 - 3
Alanya      -      Adana             3 - 3
Beşiktaş        -      Konya             2 - 0
Başakşehir      -      Kayseri           2 - 3

* In games played so far this weekend:
Samsun          -      Rize           3 - 0
G. Antep        -      Başakşehir     0 - 2
Konya           -      Hatay          2 - 0
Kayseri         -      Ankaragücü     3 - 2
Fenerbahçe      -      Kasımpaşa      2 - 1
K.gümrük        -      Alanya     -
Istanbul        -      Beşiktaş       -
Trabzon         -      Adana          -
Sivas           -      Pendik         -
G. Saray        -      Antalya        -

* Standing in the league as of week ending 26
 1 - G. Saray        69
 2 - Fenerbahçe      67
 3 - Trabzon         43
 4 - Beşiktaş        43
 5 - Kasımpaşa       39
 6 - Rize            36
 7 - Antalya         35
 8 - Sivas           34
 9 - Başakşehir      33
10 - Adana           32
11 - Kayseri         32
12 - Samsun          30
13 - Ankaragücü      29
14 - Hatay           29
15 - Alanya          29
16 - K.gümrük        28
17 - G. Antep        28
18 - Pendik          26
19 - Konya           25
19 - Istanbul        12

★ Turkey's Doruk Erolçevik, who competed in the European Junior and Junior Fencing Championships held in Naples, Italy, won the bronze medal in the star men's epee category.


★ The Marmara Sailing Sports Club-MASS Brotherhood Cup, held for the eighth time this year, will be on March 2, 2024, under the main sponsorship of MASS Arıtma Sistemleri.

  Sailing enthusiasts come together with the Brotherhood Cup. The cup will be open to the participation of IRC-Support-Sportsboat classes.

  All income from race registration fees will go to the Advanced Life Foundation.

★ Petranboard Festival, held since 2008, is reshaped as "Red Bull Petranboard" as of this year and turned into a unique winter experience and fun-filled event.

  Sunday, the eagerly-awaited Red Bull Petranboard will be at Petran Plateau in Rize's İkizdere district in Northeastern Turkey.

  "Petranboard," which emerged with the quick wit of the local people against the harsh natural conditions of the Black Sea, is known as the ancestor of snowboarding and is used by the local people as both a means of transportation and a method of entertainment.

★ Competing in the 2024 VIRTUS World Indoor Athletics Championships held in Reims, France, Fatma Damla Altın from Turkey showed great success in the women's pentathlon. Altın finished the competition first with his performance and won the gold medal.

★ In the first match of the CEV Volleyball Cup 2024 Play-Off semi-finals, Turkey's Arkas Spor won the advantage before the rematch by beating Germany's SVG Lüneburg team, which it hosted in Izmir, 3-0.

★ Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Sports Club President Fatih Keleş and national wrestlers Selçuk Can, Yunus Emre Başar, Murat Fırat, Zeynep Yetgil, and Muhammed Gimri, who won medals in the European Wrestling Championship, met with members of the press on the media day.

  The athletes made statements.

★ Turkey's Ejder Toktay, competing in the men's 73 kg category, won the bronze medal on the first day of the Baku Judo Grand Slam, held in Baku, Azerbaijan, and scored points for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

★ In the championship held in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, Turkish paraplegic rower Yiğit Doğukan Bozkurt came third in Europe in the men's PR2 2 thousand meters at the 2024 World and European Indoor Rowing Championships.

  This achievement is Turkey's first medal in the history of this organization. With this result, the national athlete also ranked 4th in the world.


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


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*** Turkish Folk Dancing with TUFOD in the South Bay

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