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x0x Turkish news for week ending 08 November 2008
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Ahmet Toprak edited today's news. Your hosts is Fuad Tokad.
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Edited by Fuad Tokad
* The Turkish daily Cumhuriyet writes that the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey
Ross Wilson says that almost 95 percent of U.S. policies would be
maintained although the administration changed in the United States.
Ambassador Wilson says foreign policies of countries depends on national
interests, and added that many issues, including issues related with
Turkey, were based on consensus.
* The Turkish daily Milliyet reported that Deputy chairman of Justice and
Development Party Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat resigned from his position.
Mr. Firat, who has allegedly resigned due to his disagreement with Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the "Southeast issue", denied such
The Turkish daily Radikal on the other hand reported that Mr. Firat
resigned due to his ineffective defense of his party against corruption
allegations from the opposition Republican People's Party.
Upon Mr. Firat's resignation, Abdulkadir Aksu became the new deputy
chairman of the Justice and Development Party.
* Delivering a speech at the French parliament, European Commissioner for
Enlargement Olli Rehn said that the European Union is applying "double
standards" against Turkey in its negotiation process to become a member of
Mr. Rehn said that European Union suspended eight chapters of the
negotiations due to Cyprus issue, Demands of France and several other
countries caused the suspension of yet other chapters.
Mr. Rehn said that approximately two chapters could be opened to
negotiation each term, adding that such figure was quite low.
* Mr. Zekeriya Temizel, the former head of Turkey's Banking Regulation and
Supervision Agency blamed the International Monetary Fund for the meltdown
in Turkish economy in 2001, reports the Turkish daily Yeni Safak. Mr.
Temizel said "our banks went bankrupt because of the policies and methods
of the International Monetary Fund. The country was pushed into risk."
Mr. Temizel said that there was no difference between Turkey's 2001 and
the current worldwide economic crisis.
Mr. Temizel also said that there was no finance law in Turkey until 1999
and markets were managed without regulatory framework for five years.
"In the law adopted, we wanted to include a clause saying that banks
shall be ensured liquidity and funds with the transferred to banks in a
difficult condition. This clause was removed from the law with
International Monetary Fund's pressure," Mr. Temizel also said.
Mr. Temizel said, "after the constitutional row between the then Turkish
prime minister and president, foreign capital was withdrawn from Turkey.
We could not immediately implement the floating exchange rate regime,
proposed by the International Monetary Fund, since the prime minister was
"And the following day was a disaster. Interest rates climbed to 2,000
percent and markets collapsed. We were not let to save even strong banks.
Now, they are saving giant banks with the means that was restricted from
* A video footage said to be taken secretly in orphanages in Turkey by a
British TV team along with the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson and her
daughters has stirred a lot of passion both in Turkey and Britain.
The footage was broadcast in Britain on ITV with the headline, "the
forgotten children of Europe."
The broadcast asked if Britain would continue supporting Turkey's bid
for European Union membership if the less-than-desirable conditions in its
The Daily Telegraph criticized the Dutchess of York who was with the
undercover British journalists.
The newspaper wrote that the dutchess was misusing her own daughter to
pay her debt of 4 million pounds.
* Commenting on the documentary on Turkish orphanages during his talks
with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Turkey's Foreign Minister
Ali Babacan said that Sarah Ferguson made public the handicapped lives of
the children at orphanages without their consent.
Mr. Babacan said that this was against the human rights and the children
Mr. Miliband said the Dutchess had no ties neither to the British
government nor to the royal family.
Mr. Miliband said that British officials did not support the disclosure
of the lives of the children without their or the caretakers' consent,
reported the daily Hurriyet.
* In related news, daily Sabah reported that Recep Dogan, the legal
counsel of the Children's Protection Agency of Turkey, was an individual
who also grew up in orphanages.
After graduating from law school and becoming a lawyer, Mr. Dogan went
to Britain to get a doctorate.
Mr. Dogan has launched a legal action against the undercover video
footage of Duchess of York in Britain, reports the daily.
Ismail Baris, the director of the Children's Protection Agency, said the
agency would sue Sarah Ferguson.
* The Turkish daily Hurriyet reports that main opposition Republican
People's Party parliamentarian Kemal Kilicdaroglu is accusing the current
Turkish administration of favoring the Lebanese Hariri family in the
privatization of Turk Telecom.
Mr. Kilicdaroglu says that the government reduced the corporate tax
after the privatization which provided millions of dollars of additional
profits for the purchasing company, Oger Telekom. The company is part of
Saudi Telekom and controlled by the Lebanese Hariri family.
Mr. Kilicdaroglu distributed Saudi media reports that argued Abdullah
Tivnikli, vice-chair of Kuweit Turk Investment Bank, influenced the sale
of 35 percent of Oger Telecom to the Saudi Telecom company. Mr. Tivnikli
is also said to have helped the Hariri family and Oger Telecom during the
privatization of Turk Telecom, as well as having major influence on the
Justice and Development Party, Mr. Kilicdaroglu said.
He showed photographs of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
with Messier's Tivnikli, Hariri, and two officials from Saudi Telecom.
"It is said that Tivnikli is keeping a portion of Turk Telecom shares
for himself as a trustee,"Mr. Kilicdaroglu added.
* A group of Alevis will stage a rally in the Turkish capital Ankara on
Sunday to demand rights from the government, reports the Turkish daily
The Alevis are expected to reiterate calls for the abolishment of
Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate. Alevis want the government to
legalize their "cemevi" prayer houses and to not build mosques in Alevi
"We are defending the rights of all citizens to freedom, equality and
peace, and freedom from discrimination," a statement by a group of Alevi
intellectuals said. The group that includes authors Yasar Kemal and Adalet
Agaoglu and pianist Fazil Say is expected to join the weekend rally.
The opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, and the pro-Kurdish
Democratic Society, or DTP, are also backing the Alevi rally.
Alevis, which number around 30% of the population, are a religious,
sub-ethnic and cultural community in Turkey. The majority Sunnis sometimes
consider them to be heretics.
The government led by the Justice and Development Party whose roots are
in sunni Islam, have been under fire for not listening to Alevi
The majority of the Alevi community in Turkey traditionally votes for
social democrat and left wing parties.
* The Turkish daily Hurriyet reported on the issues surrounding the
transportation of Caspian basin natural gas through Turkey to Europe.
Nabucco, one of the projects aming to transfer the gas to Europe, has
still not been finalized due to a dispute between European Union and
Turkey on the pricing mechanism.
The European Union is also struggling to beat Russian competition for
Azerbaijan's gas supplies, essential if dependence on Russia is to be
Last week, speaking to the Turkish press, following talks with Turkey's
President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Energy
Minister Hilmi Guler in Ankara, the European Union energy envoy said,
"Today we more or less agreed that the intergovernmental agreement for
Nabucco could be signed early next year."
However the envoy added that the technical formula Turkey's energy
ministry presented is not compatible with the European Union's liberalized
Another major issue raised by the envoy was the liberalization of the
Turkish energy market. "The 2001 reform remained on paper only, a lot of
it was not implemented. We have quite a number of energy operators who are
ready to enter the [Turkish] market but they are reluctant to do so
because market regulation is imperfect. If this is solved, the
commissioner said Turkey will see billions and billions of euros
invested," the envoy added.
* A senior member of the Russian parliament praised Turkey's commitment to
the Montreux Convention of 1936 throughout the Russia-Georgia war that
broke out last summer, on Friday, reported the daily Hurriyet.
"Your commitment to the Montreux convention made us happy," said
Ilyas-Magomed Salamovich Umakhanov, deputy head of the committee on
foreign affairs of the Russian federal council. His remarks came during a
meeting with Murat Mercan, chairman of the Turkish Parliament's Foreign
The Montreux Treaty, which governs the passage of military ships from
countries that do not have coastal access to the Black Sea, became
relevant to Turkey in August when the U.S. military announced plans to
send two large military hospital ships to Georgia, through the Turkish
Straits. Georgia, a close U.S. ally, was at the time being invaded by
"Turkey's letter by letter commitment to the Montreux Convention and its
cooperative efforts during the crisis, were constructive," he stressed.
Mr. Umakhanov also praised the Turkish initiative aiming to create a
regional cooperation pact, also involving Russia.
For his part, Mr. Mercan said he had the impression that Russia had no
uneasiness about the Turkish position and expressed the belief that Turkey
would continue to make positive contributions to the process of dialogue
in the Caucasus region.
Turkey came up with a proposal to create a Caucasus pact in the wake of
the Russia-Georgia war to bring the conflicting parties to the table,
including rivals Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Earlier in the week, the re-elected leader of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev,
was in Turkey. He said Turkey's efforts would bring peace to the region,
while calling on Armenia to show the political will for a solution to the
dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Azerbaijani territory occupied by
ARTS AND CULTURE
Edited by Serkan Hatipoglu
* A new exhibition depicting a chronological account of Ataturk's life
opened last Thursday at the Rahmi M. Koc Museum runs through until Nov.30.
The exhibition is comprised of photographs covering the life and death
of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish republic. Film slides
illustrating important events in his life will be on display at the
The Rahmi M Koc Museum is the first major museum in Turkey dedicated to
the history of Transport, Industry and Communications. Situated on the
shore of the historic Golden Horn it is the perfect setting to house this
new Ataturk exhibition.
Mr. Necmettin Ozcelik, who has dedicated years to collecting the work of
various different artists and photographers, both native and
international, has put the collection together.
Each photograph selected standouts for its unique portrayal of different
aspects of Ataturk's life, from his activities and preoccupations in the
Dolmabahce Palace to the grand parade of his funeral car.
Among these photographs will be fragments from newspapers of the time
and portraits of memorial services that have taken place in remembrance of
Ataturk over the years.
Reactions to Ataturk's death will be shown through slides illustrating
messages from government officials and the famous eulogy delivered by
General Ismet Inonu will be among these.
* The new documentary "Mustafa," by the renowned documentary director and
biographer Can Dundar, sheds a whole new light on Turkey's greatest hero,
depicting the deified leader as a human being, perhaps, for the first
"Mustafa" chronicles Ataturk's life, from his childhood in Macedonia to
his death in Istanbul in 1938. The film begins with Ataturk's final months
on his deathbed in Dolmabahce Palace where he was fighting cirrhosis.
Narrated by director and writer Dundar, we are told Ataturk's impressions
of a painting in his room that reminded him of his early years in
Macedonia. He tells his adopted daughter Afet Inan of his
(never-fulfilled) wish to make a final trip to the land where he was born.
As implied by the title, "Mustafa" is a very intimate recount of Ataturk
in a never-before-seen light. Following arduous research through public
archives of Ataturk's personal journals, Dundar brings a whole new
dimension to the leader. In the movie, here's a man who flirts, misses his
mother, has his heart broken, clashes with his friends, makes mistakes,
dances, drinks and eventually leads a lonely life in the face of a new
century he understands perfectly well but cannot share with anyone.
Some journalists, and columnists deemed it unnecessary to reflect
Ataturk's strong views on the role of Islam in the new country he was
building from scratch, his fondness for partying brightened by the nicely
distilled rakI and his single-party regime, and some argued that it has
been a long time since someone reminded us that the heroics of great men
become all the more valuable with their weaknesses.
* New excavations have revealed that Turkey's Aegean city of Izmir, once
believed to be 5,000 years old, may be as old as 8,500 years.
Professor Zafer Derin of the Ege University archeology department, the
head of the excavation team, said in a written statement his team had
discovered 150 artifacts at the Ye$ilova Tumulus excavation site, reported
the Anatolia News Agency.
Professor Derin said that findings determined that those who lived in
this area 8,500 years ago had an organized society and were related to the
people who lived in Anatolia, the mainland part of modern-day Turkey. "We
had clues that they also had commercial relations with people in the
Anatolia region," he added.
Professor Derin said they discovered spoons with religious motifs and
that the handle of the spoons unearthed at the site had been carved as a
figure of a mother and used to feed babies.
"We have discovered accessories made of stone and bones, beside seeds
and animal bones. These prove that Ye$ilova's Neolithic inhabitants were
good at handcraft and agriculture."
Ege University has also launched a project to transform the area where
the Ye$ilova Tumulus is located into an educational area by re-enacting
life in the area for visitors.
According to the project, called "Time Travel" and developed as a
European project by the Bornova and Kalmar municipalities from Sweden, the
archeological area will first be visited and explained to students and
then students will participate in experimental excavations at the
Students will also wear clothes from the era and have a chance to
experience the conditions of the age.
* Damaris Kremida of the Turkish daily Hurriyet writes that hundreds of
artists from around the world have convened for the 18th annual TUYAP
Istanbul Art Fair running along side the book fair until Sunday.
Not long ago, two men, one Greek, the other Turkish, met at a human
rights conference for artists in a small Greek town, three hours west of
Athens. When they learned that they both had roots in Samsun, they
embraced and cried.
The story of Deniz Han Ozer and Sotiris Iosifidis is testament to how
common roots, and more importantly art, can bring people together. This
week at the annual art exhibition at Istanbul's TUYAP Art Fair, among the
hundreds of different works of art from around the world, hangs one
painting with a message of peace.
Iosifidis told that when Ozer invited him to the TUYAP event last month,
he felt he had to bring a piece that said something. One night at two in
the morning he pulled the sheet off his bed and started his anti-war
manifesto. When he was done, he rolled it up and boarded the plane for
Istanbul for the first time.
"This work is not about Turkey," said Iosifidis. "It is about humanity."
His work is a study on how wars, like the well known story of Troy, were
fought for love. His piece, he said, reveals this contradiction and makes
the statement; "Not by war." Above the writing on his painting a pair of
white underwear replaces the white flag of peace and takes on a meaning of
love and attraction, Iosifidis explains. At the end of the day, everyone
is looking for love, not war, he added.
Iosifidis is one of the nearly 170 artists displaying their work at
TUYAP, which runs until Sunday in conjunction with the TUYAP Book Fair. A
Bulgarian native, Vassil Stoyev told the Daily News that this was his
second time at the event, which has been held annually for the last 18
years. The fair is known for its more casual and unpretentious attitude
toward art, said one of the fair organizers from the non-profit Koridor
Contemporary Art Program, Ozer. He explained that the main purpose of the
TUYAP event was for artists to show their work and get to know each other.
"There is no star artist here," he said, explaining that the primary
audience was the artistic community and that everyone contributed to the
* The Anatolia News Agency reports that one of the most important projects
undertaken to revive the city of Izmir's cultural and artistic heritage,
the Adnan Saygun Art Center, is set to open soon.
According to a statement made by the Izmir Municipality, the famous
Turkish pianist, Gulsin Onay, who resides in London, came to Izmir to see
the construction of the center that bears the name of her teacher, Ahmet
Adnan Saygun, composer of the first Turkish opera.
Ms. Onay, pointing out the importance of the center's concert hall, with
a capacity of 1,255 people, said, "This will be a huge artistic structure
and a unique arts center for the country."
She said that once it opened, she would no longer be jealous of art
centers in other cities such as New York, Berlin and Paris, because the
Adnan Saygun Art Center would be just as magnificent.
Ms. Onay, who graduated from the Paris Conservatory at the age of 16,
gave her first concert in Europe when she was just 18. She received the
title of State Artist in 1987 and was chosen as a goodwill ambassador in
2003, by the UNICEF Turkey National Committee. She was also awarded a
Polish State Medal due to her successful interpretation of Chopin's
Mr. Saygun dedicated his second piano concerto to Ms. Onay, who is a
powerful interpreter of Mr. Saygun's compositions.
* The 14th Festival on Wheels, organized by the Ankara Cinema Association
with the support of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the
Kars Municipality, began its journey last Friday in the eastern Turkish
city of Kars, before stopping in Artvin, a northeastern Black Sea city
from Nov. 14 to 16, reports the Turkish daily Hurriyet.
The festival will travel beyond Europe this year, to the United States,
Mexico, Argentina, India, Germany, and Sweden. Audiences will be able to
choose from a program of 156 films, spread across the feature, short and
Ten films, examples of contemporary world cinema, will compete for the
Golden Goose, Silver Goose and the Cinema Writers Association Awards in
the third International Golden Goose Competition.
Two films from Turkey will also be competing for an award; Semih
Kaplanoglu's highly anticipated film "Milk" and Ozcan Alper's first
feature film "Autumn."
Other Turkish films at the festival are "My Marlon and Brando" by
Huseyin Karabey who received the Best Director award at New York's Tribeca
Film Festival; Dervi$ Zaim's latest feature "Dot," "Pandora's Box," by
Ye$im Ustaoglu; "Three Monkeys," which won Nuri Bilge Ceylan the Best
Director Award at the 61st Cannes Film Festival; and Seyfi Teoman's
feature "Summer Book," which has won Turkish cinema a succession of awards
The Festival on Wheels also has a section allocated to Romanian cinema,
a rising star in recent years. The section will serve as a showcase of
recent Romanian short films. Festival guests from different countries and
cultures around the world will meet in Kars to watch films together, share
experiences and create.
See more at: http://www.festivalonwheels.org/
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in New Turkish Liras: 1.54
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey----------: 36/61 Mostly Sunny
Antalya, on the Mediterranean------: 55/81 Mostly Sunny
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey---: 54/61 Mostly Sunny
Izmir, on the Aegean---------------: 54/72 Mostly Sunny
Trabzon, on the Black Sea----------: 50/57 Clear
Black Sea measured at Trabzon 64
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdag 63
Aegean Sea measured at Izmir 68
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya 79
* Turkish Premier Soccer League
BE$IKTA$ A.$. KOCAELISPOR 5- 2
MKE ANKARAGUCU BURSASPOR 1- 1
TRABZONSPOR A.$. HACETTEPE SPOR 1- 0
* In games played last week:
HACETTEPE SPOR KONYASPOR 1- 2
BUYUK$EHIR BLD.SPOR TRABZONSPOR A.$. 0- 4
ESKI$EHIRSPOR FENERBAHCE 2- 2
SIVASSPOR DENIZLISPOR 3- 1
GENCLERBIRLIGI ANTALYASPOR A.$. 1- 2
BURSASPOR ANKARASPOR A.$. 0- 1
KOCAELISPOR MKE ANKARAGUCU 1- 1
KAYSERISPOR BE$IKTA$ A.$. 1- 0
GALATASARAY A.$. GAZIANTEPSPOR 3- 1
* Standing in the league:
1.TRABZONSPOR A.$. 20
2.ANKARASPOR A.$. 19
4.BE$IKTA$ A.$. 18
5.GALATASARAY A.$. 17
13.BUYUK$EHIR BLD.SPOR 9
15.HACETTEPE SPOR 8
16.MKE ANKARAGUCU 6
17.ANTALYASPOR A.$. 5
* The Turkish soccer team Galatasaray beat Portugal's Benefica in its own
turf to 0 on Wednesday. This victory will enable the Turkish team to
qualify for the U. E. F. A. cup.
Galatasaray is now up at the top of Group B.
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*** Republic Day commemerative breakfast
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*** Commeration events for M.K. Ataturk, the first president of Turkey:
-- Monterey: Pebble Beach Community Services District Boardroom,
Nov. 9, 2008, 14:00
3101 Forest Lake Rd., Pebble Beach, CA
Organized by TAAC Monterey
2:00 Moment of Silence
2:05 National Anthem
2:10 Importance of the Day
2:25 Ataturk Documentary Film
3:30 Poems by Children
(Coffee & Desserts will be served)
-- Stanford: Village Center, 750 Escondido Road, Stanford,
Nov. 9, 2008, 14:00
Organized by TAAC Silicon Valley
- Tolga Ornek's Ataturk film
- Violinist Sema Oktay's performance of Ataturk's favorite music
- Poem recitation by the Turkish Community School students