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2122x0x Turkish News for the week ending 12 July 2014

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  • T.R.H.
    Jul 17, 2014
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      x0x Turkish News for the week ending 12 July 2014 

      [This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 12 July 2014]

      Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

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      * According to Reuters, Turkey's parliament approved a legal framework on Thursday for peace talks with Kurdish militants in an important step towards ending a three-decade insurgency a few weeks before a presidential election. 
        The bill could prove a boost for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, who is hoping to pick up Kurdish votes in his quest to become Turkey's first directly-elected president when the nation goes to the polls on August 10.

      * Prensa Latina reports that the Turkish opposition presidential candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu denounced the repression by the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against mass protests in 2013. 
        During a presentation in Istanbul, İhsanoğlu , 70, said that instead of seeking dialogue with protesters, the executive chose the language of the stick and tear gas, said the Turkish capital's TV highlights. 
        Mr. Erdoğan, candidate of the Justice and Development Party, insists on regarding participants in the demonstrations as marauders, in demonstrations which began in late May last year in Istanbul, after the suppression of an environmental march in defense of the Gezi Park, Istanbul. 
        The onslaught of the anti-riot police against peaceful demonstration led to protests and riots in several Turkish cities, killing nearly a dozen and thousands were injured. 
        In related news, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported comments by Mr. Erdoğan that he would not be impartial to all if elected president, saying he intends to retain his biases if chosen. 
        Read more at >> here <<

      * According to the Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey's top election body has ruled that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan does not need to leave his current post as he campaigns to be the country's first-ever president elected by popular vote. 
        The Higher Election Board unanimously ruled on July 12 that Prime Minister Erdoğan has a constitutional right to run for presidency while keeping his post. The board unanimously rejected all 15 applications demanding the board to force Erdoğan to resign.

      * Security at Istanbul Atatürk Airport has been tightened after the U.S. authorities said they were concerned that al-Qaeda-linked militants were developing new explosives that could be slipped onto planes undetected. 
        Passengers flying from Turkey to the U.S. will have to remove technical equipment, such as laptops and cellphones, from protective covers and turn them on to demonstrate to security that they work. Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard and travelers may also undergo additional screening.

      * Turkish presidential candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu has strongly condemned The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has seized parts of Syria and Iraq and has been keeping 49 Turks hostage in Mosul for more than a month. 
        "ISIL is a ruthless terrorist movement that gives its biggest harm to Islam," Mr. İhsanoğlu told reporters July 12 during his visit to the northwestern province of Bursa, adding that the group's claims of founding a state in the name of Allah should be categorically denied.

      * According to Hurriyet Daily News, some 129 women were killed in the first half of the year, up from 88 in the same period a year earlier, said Aylin Nazlıaka, a main opposition Republican People's Party deputy, at a July 11 press meeting at the Turkish Parliament. 
        The figures came at time when the number of overall murders in the country showed a sharp increase, separate reports cited. Ms. Nazlıaka said 58 women and children were raped as 292 women were wounded, adding that the country was facing "systematic murders" in the last decade. 
        Some 17.6 percent of the victims were killed because they wanted to divorce. 
        On July 8, the day that Turkey's Family Ministry announced that there were no women in Turkey under protection, 21 year old Şefika Söylemez was killed by her husband in the western province of Çanakkale, Ms. Nazlıaka recalled, asking "Is the sole murderer Şefika's husband?" 
        "Her murderers are those who remain deaf to what goes on. It is the Family Ministry, it is the representatives of the government. The society has killed Şefika," she said. 
        Read more at >> here <<

      * Turkey's president Mr. Abdullah Gül has warned Israel not to carry out a ground assault on Gaza Strip, calling the country to stop its air strikes on civilians as political parties across the spectrum continue to react against the deadly raids, reports the Hurriyet Daily News. 
        In the meantime, Turkish prime minister Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on the United Nations to intervene. 
        The main opposition Republican People's Party deputy chair Faruk Loğoğlu, a one-time Turkish ambassador to the U.S., has said his party unconditionally denounces "Israeli actions against innocent civilians, primarily women and children." 
        Read more at >> here <<

      * An independent judicial power is needed to control those use public opportunities as a "tool of hatred," Turkish Constitutional Court head Haşim Kılıç said, during a speech at a European Court of Human Rights panel in Strasbourg, reports the Hurriyet Daily News. 
        Constitutional courts should help build an atmosphere of "love and tolerance" against the culture of hate with their decisions and messages, he also said, adding that religious, linguistic and racial differences, as well as unjust income distribution, lay behind the culture of hate. 
        Judge Kılıç and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are currently at odds, especially following a speech delivered by Kılıç on April 25, in which he slammed the government over its alleged judicial interventions, with Erdoğan himself in the audience. 
        Mr. Erdoğan later accused the top judge of being part of what he calls "the parallel structure," or of protecting it for his future personal ambitions. Mr. Erdoğan uses the phrase for the Gülen movement, which he alleges is behind the large graft operation targeting his government on Dec. 17. 
        However, Judge Kılıç stressed that his Court uses "universal values" while implementing its duties.

      * Turkish girl, 17, who stands at 7 ft. tall is officially declared world's tallest teenager by Guinness World Records. 
        Rumeysa is an 11th grade high school student and lives at home with her parents and older siblings, who are all "normal" height. 
        Her height is caused by a condition called Weaver Syndrome - a rare genetic disorder that causes rapid growth

      * According to the Hurriyet Daily News, Karadeniz Holding, a Turkish energy company that supplies power to the Iraqi city of Mosul, seized by Islamist jihadist militants, announced it suspended electricity exports to Iraq two weeks ago as their contract ended

      * According to the Reuters, as Iraq chaos deters truckers, Turkish exports suffer. Iraq is Turkey's second biggest export market

      * According to the Hurriyet Daily News, with low domestic savings and volatile external competitiveness, Turkish growth is highly dependent on domestic demand and foreign finance, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has said in a new report that urges the Turkish government to introduce urgent fiscal policies. 
        Read more at >> here <<

      * According to Bloomberg, analysts are questioning whether the improvement in Turkey's current-account deficit is sustainable as mounting export risks and prospects for rising imports highlight a key financial vulnerability. 
        The shortfall narrowed to $3.4 billion in May, according to data published by the central bank today. That took the gap to $19.8 billion in the first five months, down 39 percent from the same period last year. 
        Read more at >> here <<

      * Stephen Hall, writing in his blog, says that the Turkish bank "Garanti" has managed to get its Glass app, called "iGaranti, approved on the official Glassware directory.
        Interestingly, Stephen says, it managed to do this with Google Glass not even yet being available in the country, and also before any American bank even had an app officially approved. But regardless, it seems to actually be a quite useful app, Stephen concludes. 
        Read more at >> here <<

      * Another news about Garanti Bank, The Marketwatch writes that Garanti won FICO Decision Management Award for Fraud Control. Garanti Bank is the second largest bank in Turkey. 
        Read more at >> here <<


      Edited by Colleen Clark


      * Edirne Palace, located next to the River Tunca in Turkey's western province of Edirne, is currently under restoration and will soon be opened to the public, along with its surrounding area. 
        The palace was home to Fatih Sultan Mehmet and Süleyman the Magnificent and his wife Hurrem Sultan during the glory years of the Ottoman Empire. 
        When the Ottoman Empire took control of Edirne in 1361, they ordered for a palace to be constructed around the Selimiye Mosque. When this first palace did not meet the expectations of the sultan, the Edirne Palace was then constructed. 
        There is little information available on the first palace, and the only detail historians know is that the first palace was ruined during the construction of Selimiye Mosque's social complex and included in the land of Selimiye. 
        The construction of the Edirne Palace started at the time of Murat II and ended during the reign of Fatih Sultan Mehmet. Although Istanbul was the capital, the palace was seen as important symbol of the Ottoman Empire. 
        Excavation works that have been continuing for six years in the area of the palace have so far unearthed the Ottoman era sewerage system, kitchen tools of the palace and the perfume bottles used by Hürrem Sultan. Now the plan is to take this area under protection and turn it into an ancient site. 
        The palace, which includes 72 different structures, has not undergone any restoration work since 2009, and Şahin criticized the fact that four different institutions had been involved the process. "This is why all the restoration works will now be handed over to the Turkish Grand National Assembly's National Palaces Department," he said. 
        Read more at >> here << 

        A historical tablet with Armenian writings on it was discovered in the ruins of an Armenian church.

      * In the ruins of the Armenian Surp Asvadavin Mother Mary Church, which is located on Mount Mereto in Turkey's eastern province of Batman's Sason district, a historical tablet and some historical artifacts have been discovered, reports the Dogan News Agency. The tablet and pieces were delivered to the Batman Museum Directorate. 
        The ruins of the Armenian church, some part of which was damaged in 2012, were cleaned by the Istanbul-based Sason Armenians Association Chairman Aziz Dağcı with 10 people. They found the historic pieces during the cleaning. 
        Read more at >> here <<


      * Turkey's central Anatolian city of Yozgat has been one of the areas of archaeological excavations for many years. With the beginning of summer season, the city hosts archaeological teams from Turkey and the world. 
        Surface surveys and excavations that have been continuing in the central Anatolian province of Yozgat's five different areas have been initiated once again this year, this time in three areas. 
        Yozgat Museum Directorate officials are working on the remains of a historic Roman bath in the Sarıkaya neighborhood, while foreign archaeologists are carrying out excavations in Çadırhöyük, which was home to five civilizations in history, and the Kerkenes mount, where the traces of the lost city of Pteria have been unearthed.
        A team, led by Dr. Gregory McMahon of the American New Hampshire University, will continue working in Çadırhöyük, which is located near the district of Sorgun's Peyniryemez village, until the middle of August. 
        The first surface survey started in Çadırhöyük in 1993 and permission for archaeological excavations was given in 1994. As a result of excavations there, artifacts from five different civilizations and five different ages, including the Copper, Bronze, Hittite, Hellenistic and Upper Byzantine eras, have been so far unearthed. 
        Read more at >> here <<


      * Mr. William Armstrong of the Hurriyet Daily News resumed a new book titled "The Making of a Protest Movement in Turkey". 
        The book is a collection of 10 essays on the demonstrations, penned by both foreign and Turkish academics. In his introduction, editor Umut Özkırımlı writes that the aim is to "offer a sober and critical reflection on the 'eighteen days that shook the model'" and identify the "key problems Turkey will be grappling with in the near future." 
        On the whole this is a thought-provoking and worthwhile read, Mr. Armstrong concludes. One thing all contributors agree on is that the implications and the true significance of the protests may only become clear in years, perhaps decades. The park at the center of the storm may have been saved (if only temporarily), but the tendencies that roused the anger of the Gezi protesters have only accelerated since. Like the old regimes of Europe after the revolutions of 1848, the Erdoğan administration (regime?) has only tightened its iron grip on power. However, also like after 1848, the forces that those protests unleashed are sure to return further down the line; it only remains to be seen when and in what form. 
        Read more at >> here <<

      * As part of the 21st Istanbul Jazz Festival, Hugh Laurie, known from the hit US TV show 'House,' performed to a sold-out crowd on July 9 at the Cemil Topuzlu Open-Air Theater, reports Çetin Cem Yılmaz of the Hurriyet Daily News. 
        Hugh Laurie and his immaculate Copper Bottom Band sang the blues, played the jazz, and danced to the tango. 
        The Istanbul Jazz Festival continued with two more shows on July 10: Cecile McLorin Salvant and Darcy James Argue's Secret Society played at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum and the Elvan Aracı Quartet featuring Dilek S. Erdoğan, and Per-Ola Gadd performed at Salon İKSV. 
        Read more at >> here <<

        French oboe artist Celine Moniet performed at the Gümüşlük event

      * According to the Dogan News Agency, the 11th International Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival kicked off July 12 with a concert by renowned pianist Gülsin Onay, who performed at the festival's unique venue, the Koyunbaba Antique Stone Quarry, reports the Dogan News Agency. 
        Famous Russian pianist Ilya Itin, French piano virtuoso Jean-Bernard Pommier, violinist Olga Martinova, oboe artist Celine Moinet, bassoonist Rui Lopez, Trio Milhaud and soprano Çimen Seymen will be among some of the performers at the festival. 
        Piano and violin master classes, which are organized every year during the festival, will take place at the Gümüşlük Academy. Between July 14 and 21, Turkish pianist Elif Şahin will give classes; from July 22 to August 6, a piano master class will take place with festival guests Itin, Onay, Pommiern and Kemal Gekic; and Olga Martinova will give a violin master class to young talents between August 3 and 9. 
        Gümüşlük, is a seaside village and fishing port in south western Turkey, in the Mugla province. 
        Read more at >> here <<

      * On July 7 Vivian Schweitzer of the New York Times had an article about istanbul's a cultural scene. 
        She covered the Istanbul jazz festival, noting that the 12 century mystic Rumi was an inspiration for the festival. She wrote: 
        "It seemed fitting, then, to listen a few days later to Zulfu Livaneli's "Rumi Suite: The Eternal Day" ��" an engaging contemporary fusion of jazz, traditional Turkish tunes and other genres. The work was presented on Wednesday during the Istanbul Jazz Festival, part of a lineup of jazz, classical music, film, visual art and theater under the umbrella of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, which brings prominent international artists to the city." 
        "Mr. Livaneli, a well-known author, composer, human-rights activist and political figure in Turkey, dedicated the piece to the anniversary of the Sivas massacre of July 2, 1993, in which 35 people (mostly artists, intellectuals and writers) staying at the Madimak Hotel in the Turkish city of Sivas were killed by Islamic fundamentalists." 
        Mr. Livaneli told Ms. Schweizer that Rumi was against racist and religious and sexual discrimination. "We need this kind of bright understanding now, he added". 
        Ms. Schweitzer's article covers a lot more and is worth reading. Follow the link here to read it online.


      EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 2.12


      High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
      Ankara, in central Turkey:         88/66 Partly Cloudy
      Antalya, on the Mediterranean:     95/72 Mostly Sunny
      Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey:  84/70 Thunderstorms
      Izmir, on the Aegean:              90/72 Mostly Sunny
      Trabzon, on the Black Sea:         82/75 Partly Cloudy
      Van, in Eastern Turkey:            84/59 Mostly Sunny
      Snow depths at skiing locations:
      Black Sea measured at Trabzon         75
      Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdag      72
      Aegean Sea measured at Izmir          79
      Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya 81


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