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2118x0x Turkish News for the week ending 28 June 2014

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  • T.R.H.
    Jun 29, 2014

      x0x Turkish News for the week ending 28 June 2014 

      [This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 28 June April 2014]

      Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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      Edited by Fuad Tokad

      * The Hurriyet Daily News reported that Turkish political parties have intensified their work for the upcoming presidential elections as the official election calendar in Turkey is set to start on June 29. 
        With less than 45 days to go until election day, more than 52 million electorates around the country will vote for Turkey's 12th president. 
        According to the calendar announced by the Supreme Election Board, the political parties will be able to make nominations for the upcoming presidential elections starting June 29 and ending July 3. The campaigning period will begin July 11 after the Supreme Election Board finalizes the candidates and officially publishes them. The first round of elections will take place on Aug. 10 and, if necessary, the second round will be on Aug. 24. 
        The ruling Justice and Development Party will submit the party's presidential candidate to the Parliament on July 1 with a petition signed by 113 lawmakers, deputy leader Mehmet Ali Sahin told reporters on June 27. 
        "I do not have the right to disclose [our nominee] at this time, though it seems that our prime minister [Recep Tayyip Erdogan] is going to be our candidate," Sahin said, indirectly criticizing Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinç who already said Erdogan will run for presidency.


      * Turkey's new Woman Party submitted a petition to the Interior Ministry to be formally registered as a political party on June 26. If the demand is accepted, it will become the country's first ever official "women's party" to participate in general elections. 
        The initiative led by women's rights activist Benal Yazgan, pledges to continue the legacy of the Kadinlar Halk Firkasi (the People's Party of Women) almost a century after its establishment. The movement that was created in 1923 by one of the prominent female figures of the early Republic, Nezihe Muhiddin, but was never officially recognized. Nevertheless, it became an important milestone for the representation of women in society and politics. 
        Read more at >> here <<

      * According to the Hurriyet Daily News, an opposition lawmaker applied to court on June 26 to lift the press coverage ban imposed on the kidnapping of 80 Turkish citizens by Sunni militants in Mosul, Iraq on June 11. 
        "This publication ban restricting fundamental human rights and freedoms has no legal basis and is unacceptable," Sezgin Tanrikulu said in his petition. 
        The ban was imposed nearly a week after Turkey's Consul-General in Mosul, Öztürk Yildirim, and his 48 personnel, along with 31 Turkish truck drivers were kidnapped by ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. 
        Read more at >> here <<

      * According to Fevzi Kizilkoyun of the Hurriyet Daily News, the families of 163 Turkish citizens have recently applied to the security forces, reporting that their relatives have joined ISIL to fight in Syria. 
        According to the latest Turkish intelligence reports, there are currently around 600-700 Turks in ISIL. Reports claiming that around 3,000 Turkish citizens have joined ISIL militias have been rejected by the Turkish government. 
        Those reported missing by their families joined the war after training in ISIL camps on the Syrian border, reports stated. 
        Seven Turks fighting with ISIL in Syria have died so far and six others have been wounded and are being treated in hospitals, according to sources. 
        There have been reports that ISIL has set up armored training camps near the border with Turkey as the first stops for people attempting to join ISIL. These camps are also reportedly run by Turkish citizens, 
        Security measures have recently been intensified along the border against illegal crossings, and thousands of European jihadists were recently blacklisted by Turkey.
        Turkey has long championed robust support for Syria's fragmented opposition, but the growing influence of al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in the war-torn country has left it open to accusations that it is backing radical Islamists.


      * In related news, a 14-year-old Turkish youth who joined Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants was found in a serious condition at the Akçakale border gate with Syria, daily Milliyet has reported. 
        It was revealed that the young teenager, identified as Taylan Ö.Y., left his home in Ankara for Syria with five other friends, some 45 days before being delivered to Turkish soldiers at the border gate in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa. 
        He was immediately rushed to the district hospital on June 22, where he underwent an eight-hour operation. 
        Along with his five friends, he paid 20 Turkish Liras (9 U.S. dollars) to smugglers in the southeastern Kilis province to cross the border into the Syrian region controlled by ISIL militants. 
        His friends then returned to Turkey, but Taylan was taken into intensive training by the militants. 
        In the meantime, he had also contacted his father, telling him that he did not intend to return to Turkey. 
        Taylan was then heavily injured after being hit by a shrapnel. Due to his life-threatening condition he was brought back to the Turkish border. 
        Taylan told Dogan News Agency he regretted joining ISIL and not returning to Turkey as his friends had done. 
        The people delivering him to the Turkish military had identified him as Syrian citizen Mehmed al-Ahmad, born in 1998. 
        The police only learned Taylan's real identity after his father came to the hospital a day after the surgery, after being contacted by his son. 
        The father said the Turkish police even brought translators in order to interrogate the young teenager when he arrived at the hospital, adding that Taylan had been afraid to speak until he arrived. Taylan's condition is reportedly improving, doctors have said. 
        The father also said his son joined ISIL after chatting with some people on the Internet. "He ran away from home in the name of 'jihad' after he was brainwashed and went to Syria. I ask all of the authorities to strengthen security measures at the border to prevent more families from suffering," he said. 
        "What we have been through should be a lesson for all of the mothers and fathers. We are secular, but devout people; we have never supported ISIL's point of view and have nothing to do with them. People should pay more attention to what their children do on the Internet to not to find themselves in the same situation as us," he added.

      * Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party Istanbul deputy Engin Alan, a Sledgehammer convict who was released from prison last week, has taken his oath at Parliament, almost three years after being elected as a member of Parliament in June 2011. 
        Operation Sledgehammer (Turkish Balyoz Harekatı) is the name of an alleged Turkish secularist military coup plan which reportedly dates back to 2003, and was allegedly in response to the Islamist Justice and Development Party gaining office. 
        In 2012 some 300 of the 365 suspects were sentenced to prison terms, while 34 suspects were acquitted. 
        Mr. Alan's release came after an Istanbul court ruled for the release of all convicts in the Sledgehammer case, a day after the Constitutional Court ruled that the rights of the 230 convicts were violated and that they should be retried, reported the Hurriyet Daily News.


      * Hundreds of protesters and gay rights activists took to Istanbul's iconic Istiklal Avenue for the 5th annual Trans Pride march on June 22, one week ahead of the annual LGBTI Pride march, reports the Dogan News Agency. 
        The march started in front of the French Embassy, as police did not permit demonstrators to gather at Taksim Square. 
        The group marched to Tünel Square and made a press statement. 
        "We will keep on fighting until finally throwing a monkey wrench into your corrupt regime. We will resist and protect gay pride on the streets, in the parks and prisons," they said in the statement. 
        The group also asked for improvements on regulations regarding the employment of gay people, a change in the rules of prostitution and preparation against hate crimes in legislation. 
        The statement also demanded that sex workers be accepted as a recognized branch of business with guaranteed labor union rights, reported the Hurriyet Daily News on Monday.



      * Hundreds of objects and accessories, which were ordered during the renovation of the palace at the time of the Ottoman Sultan Murad III, went down into water when the ship sank near the inlet Gnalic in Croatia. 
        According to the Anatolia News Agency, the 16th century treasures, which have been removed from the shipwreck, will arrive in Istanbul next year for an exhibition. 
        The coordinator of the project, the Turkish Foundation of the Underwater Archaeology President Oğuz Aydemir said the Turkish TV drama "Magnificent Century" was very popular in Croatia and people were much interested in Ottoman culture and that the exhibition project about the trade ship that had sunk in the 16th century had come up due to this interest. 
        "Excavations are still continuing in the shipwreck, which was discovered by a Belgian tourist in 1968." 
        "A lot of objects, accessories and treasures were sent to the Ottomans in the winter months of 1583, but the ship sank in the northern Dalmatian coasts. We can get clear information about the objects via the insurance documents of the ship. The most important artifacts found in the ship are objects displayed in Topkapı Palace. Among the striking pieces were a 43-meter-long weaved silk cloth, glass objects made on Murano Island and candles that were found in an iron chest." 
        Aydemir said a project was also carried out to simultaneously display the artifacts removed from another shipwreck, which sunk in the 16th century around the Croatian Mljet Island. "The İznik tiles found in this shipwreck have not been displayed so far. The project drew attention of businessman Ömer Koç, who has a big collection of İznik tiles. We plan to exhibit these tiles in Istanbul first, then Zagreb and finally in Dubrovnik," he said.

      * The 4th International Istanbul Ballet Competition and Festival, organized by the State Opera and Ballet, ended on June 26 with a gala night and an award ceremony held at Istanbul's Cemal Reşit Rey Concert Hall, reports the Anatolia News Agency. 
        While delivering the opening speech, State Opera and Ballet General Director, Rengim Gökmen, said Istanbul was a good location to create new ballet stars and also to promote the art to a wider audience. 
        At the ceremony, the finalists of the competition were presented their diplomas by jury president, Irek Mukhamedov. The greatest award of the event, the Istanbul Grand Prix prize, went to Kanstantin Geronik and Ludmila Kitrova, a couple from Russia. The couple received their award from International Organization of Turkic Culture Secretary General Düsen Kaseinov.
        The ceremony ended with performances by competition winners.

      Director Semih Kaplanoğlu's film 'Buğday' has been granted support.

      * According to the Hurriyet Daily News, the Board of Management of the Council of Europe's Eurimages, European Film Support Fund, has agreed to support 20 film projects of feature films and two animated films for a total amount 8.3 million euros. 
        The projects, which were announced during the organization's 135th meeting in Sarejevo between June 16 and 20, will include two Turkish films: "Mustang" by Deniz Gamze Ergüven, and "wheat" by Semih Kaplanoğlu. 
        The Board will also grant technical support by providing digital equipment to three Turkish movie theaters, including Hayal movie theater in Fethiye, Cinemarine in Balıkesir and Cinemarine in Bodrum.


      * Turkish musician, composer, writer and director Zülfü Livaneli has been awarded France's highest distinction, the Legion d'Honneur, reports the Hurriyet Daily News. 
        The award will be presented to Livaneli at a July 3 ceremony at the French Palace in Istanbul by French Ambassador Laurent Bili. 
        Other Turkish holders of the Legion d'Honneur from the world of arts and business include Yaşar Kemal, Ekrem Akurgal, Celal Atik, Behiç Erkin, Nilüfer Göle, Hicri Fişek, Ümit Boyner, Ara Güler, Sakıp Sabancı, İnan Kıraç, Oya Eczacıbaşı and Güler Sabancı. 
        The Legion d'Honneur was first established by Napoleon Bonaparte as a way to recognize civilians based on merit. The order is the highest decoration in France and is divided into five various degrees: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand Croix (Grand Cross).

      * A version of one of Michael Jackson's greatest hits by amateur Turkish folk musicians, to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the death of the King of Pop, has gone viral on Turkish social media, reports the Hurriyet Daily News. 
        With traditional bağlamas, darbukas and violins in hand, the musicians from the western Black Sea port of Ereğli produce a lively version of 1995 hit "They Don't Care About Us," in a video clip that also includes some playful choreography. 
        The musicians posted the clip to YouTube and Twitter, including a tribute message dedicated to Michael Jackson. Preparation of the video, filmed mainly on the top of a boat cruising in the Bosphorus, reportedly took one month. 
        Ereğli previously made headlines in 2009 when its former mayor told Turkish media that he had personally invited the megastar Jackson to the town's annual music festival. 
        'Dear Halil, my whole program for 2009 is full. But I might think about coming to Ereğli in 2010. Can you prepare the infrastructure?' was Michael jackson's response. The mayor responded by saying "You give me the order and I will make sure to prepare it". 
        See the video >> here << 
        Read more >> here <<

      A miniature painting by Matrakçı Nasuh

      * On the 450th anniversary of his death, one of the most important statesmen in the era of the Ottoman Sultan Kanuni Sultan Süleyman, Matrakçı Nasuh is being remembered, reports the Anatolia News Agency.
        UNESCO has also added him to its 2014 agenda to commemorate him throughout the year. As well as being a mathematician, miniature master and the inventor of the game "matrak" . 
        Matrakçı Nasuh is also described as one of the most talented swordsmen in history. 
        In related news, a tile master living in the western province of Kütahya, Fahri Çetinkaya has created a series of tiles depicting Matrakçı Nasuh's miniatures. 
        Read more at >> here <<


      * Istanbul's Proje4L Contemporary Art Museum, also known as Elgiz Museum, has opened its season with Terrace Exhibitions. Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, director of the museum Billur Tansel said the terrace exhibitions have become a traditional event for the summer months. 
        Tansel said the terrace exhibitions began in 2012 and this year's will be the third in the "Terrace Exhibitions" series. The exhibition shows the works of sculptors under the age of 40. 32 sculptors' works have been selected for this year's Terrace Exhibitions. The exhibition, which opened June 18, will continue until Aug. 23. 
        Read more at >> here <<

      * Speaking of tiles, the Hurriyet Daily News reports that the legacy of late Turkish tile master Sıtkı Olçar, who was selected as a living human treasure by UNESCO and died in 2010, aged 62, survives at a museum that has recently opened. 
        Located in the village of Sofa at the 35th kilometer of Kütahya-Eskişehir highway, the museum displays his tools used in fishing and his tiles.


      * The iconic English-language bookstore Robinson Crusoe in Istanbul's Beyoğlu district has been forced to move from its well-known location on the central İstiklal Avenue, after struggling to pay its rent in an increasingly tough area for small businesses, reports the Hurriyet Daily News. 
        The store has relocated to the fourth floor of the nearby SALT Beyoğlu art gallery, and volunteer bookworms were on hand to carry its stock of books across the street, as the store finally said farewell to its classic location. 
        The volunteers formed a human chain two facilitate the moving. 
        Employees at the bookstore said their rent increase from $12,000 per month $35,000 recently.


      * According to the Hurriyet Daily News, Bergama, the site of a world-famous ancient city in turkey's Aegean province of İzmir, and the Cumalıkazık village in northwestern Bursa, have both welcomed a UNESCO decision putting the two spots on the prestigious World Heritage List. 
        "Bergama represents many archaeological remains dating back to Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods, as well as prehistory," UNESCO states on its website. 
        As for Cumalikazik, "The site illustrates the creation of an urban and rural system establishing the Ottoman Empire in the early 14th century," UNESCO says in a separate article on its website. 
        Read more at >> here <<


      * The remains of a Roman temple have been discovered during digging for the construction of a school in turkey's northern province of Bartın's Amasra district, reports the Anatolia News Agency. 
        The construction process has been stopped and the school will now be constructed elsewhere. Archaeological excavations will soon start over an area of 30,000 square feet in order to reveal the ancient settlement. 
        Amasra Museum Director Baran Aydın said a column heading, pedestals and the marble ground of the temple had been uncovered. 
        Read more at >> here <<


      * Izmir is six ancient sites, where excavations are still being conducted, will open to visitors soon, reports the Dogan News Agency. 
        İzmir is currently one of the centers of intense archaeological works in Turkey, with 22 excavations currently taking place. 
        Annually, approximately 3 million people visit 16 museums and ancient sites in İzmir. The Ephesus ancient city has the highest number of visitors. This is followed by St. Jean Church in Selçuk, Acropolis in Bergama, Terrace Houses in Ephesus, and the ancient city of Asklepieion in Bergama. 
        Read more at >> here <<


      EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 2.13


      High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
      	Ankara, in central Turkey:         86/61 Partly Cloudy
      	Antalya, on the Mediterranean:     88/77 Hot
      	Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey:  82/70 Partly Cloudy
      	Izmir, on the Aegean:              90/72 Clear
      	Trabzon, on the Black Sea:         77/70 Thunderstorms
      	Van, in Eastern Turkey:            81/54 Partly Cloudy
      Seawater temperatures:
      	 Black Sea measured at Trabzon         72
      	 Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdag      70
      	 Aegean Sea measured at Izmir          79
      	 Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya 77


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