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1309x0x Turkish news for week ending 31 December 2005

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  • TRH
    Jan 3, 2006

      x0x Turkish news for week ending 31 December 2005

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      * Turkish President Mr. Ahmet Necdet Sezer visited Egypt where he met with
      his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak. The two then presided over
      inter-delegation meetings, which will focused in particular on boosting
      the current $700 million bilateral trade volume to $2 billion.
      Turkey also sought Egypt's support to end the international isolation of
      the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and for its bid for a temporary
      seat on the United Nations Security Council in 2009-2010.

      * Speaking of Turkish Cypriots, the president of the Turkish Republic of
      Northern Cyprus Mr. Mehmet Ali Talat says that he is willing to give up
      the district of Varosha to the Greek Cypriots if the sanctions imposed on
      Turkish Cypriots are lifted.
      He said that they made the same offer to the Greek Cypriots before but
      got a negative answer.
      The Turks of Cyprus have been striving to settle their differences with
      the Greek Cypriots recently but the Greek Cypriot administration is
      refusing most of the Turkish courting and keeping the problem entrenched.
      The Cyprus problem goes back several decades. Soon after the foundation
      of a bi-communal republic on Cyprus in 1960, the Cypriot Greeks reneged on
      international agreements and pushed the Turks into enclaves and blocked
      them from participating in the economic and administrative life on the
      island. From time to time Cypriot Greeks also massacred the poorly
      defended Turks.
      In 1974 when extremist Greeks, backed by the Greek junta in power then,
      toppled the all-Greek Cypriot government with the ultimate goal of uniting
      the island with Greece, Turkey exercised its right of intervention
      according to a 1960 agreement guaranteeing the independence of the island.
      The Turkish intervention gathered the Cypriot Turks into the Northern
      part of the island to assure them the security and safety that they did
      not have for many years.
      The Cypriot Turks point out that there has been peace on the island ever
      since the 1974 Turkish intervention.
      However, due to effective Greek lobbying and propaganda, the Turks of
      Cyprus have been under economic and political embargo since then.
      In 2004 after lengthy talks between the two communities, the United
      Nations proposed an agreement to reunite the island.
      Although the Cypriot Turks overwhelmingly approved the plan to reunite
      the island, the Greek Cypriots rejected it.
      See the following for more:
      http://www.trncpio.org/ingilizce/DOSYALAR/Embargoes.htm .

      * The new US Ambassador to Ankara Ross Wilson says, "One cannot help but
      be impressed by the economic growth in Turkey", reports the Turkish daily
      "Turkey is Europe's fastest-growing country and one of the World's
      foremost developing countries", Ambassodor Wilson added.
      Mr. Wilson stressed that investment opportunities in Turkey have become
      attractive for international investors and that foreign direct investment
      in recent months has been impressive.
      Mr. Wilson pointed out that one of the Major US corporations General
      Electric is in the midst of investing in Turkey with $1.8 billion. "GE's
      investment in Turkey is a reflection of its confidence in the Turkish
      economy and its future", said Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson said that American
      companies will continue to invest in the Turkish market in the coming

      * According to the Turkish daily Turkiye, the Turkish parliament approved
      a law allowing foreigners to own property in Turkey.
      According to the law, the land purchased cannot exceed 6.2 acres but can
      be increased to 74 acres by by a cabinet decree.
      Foreign foundations, associations, cooperatives, communities and groups
      are not allowed to purchase real estate in Turkey.
      The Cabinet can restrict purchases of land by foreigners and foreign
      companies in areas deemed to be strategically important in term of
      agriculture, energy, irrigation, or protected habitats, areas that possess
      religious or cultural significance.
      The law will be retroactive to July 25, 2005.
      Turkey's Public Works Minister Faruk Ozak said in an address to the
      assembly that as of April 15, 2005 foreigners owned 63 thousand acres of
      land, of which 53 thousand acres were purchased by Syrian nationals prior
      to 1939.
      He said between 2003 and 2005 approximately 2,500 acres were sold to
      foreign entities.

      * Speaking to Reuters Monday, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif
      Sener said that Turkey could pay its debt to the International Monetary
      Fund just like Brazil and Argentina, but the government doesn't want to do
      this in order not to severe relations with the Fund.

      * According to the Turkish dailies Cumhuriyet and Turkish Daily News, the
      Turkish Parliament's General Assembly approved the 2006 budget Tuesday
      after contentious debates between the current administration of the ruling
      Justice and Development Party and the opposition.
      The Motherland Party leader Mr. Erkan Mumcu accused the administration
      of implementing an unjust tax policy, saying that the administration is
      getting away with it by frightening the people with fears of a financial
      In his address to the assembly, Mr. Mumcu said that a quarter of the
      educated workforce was unemployed and called on the administration to stop
      delaying the implementation of necessary structural reforms.
      The main opposition Republican Peoples Party leader Deniz Baykal accused
      the administration of ignoring the problems of the country by deciding to
      cut state investments.
      He said all the mistakes the current administration had committed in its
      three years in power had begun to catch up with it.
      Despite the opposition, the ruling Justice and Development Party, which
      enjoys a comfortable majority in the Turkish parliament, ensured that the
      budget passed.

      * According to the Turkish daily Aksam, in a report published on Monday
      The World Bank issued a warning to Turkey's ruling Justice and Development
      Party on possible populist economic policies to create the endemic
      unemployment problem ahead of elections, with an eye towards garnering
      more votes.
      The World Bank added that this policy might be meant to create jobs for
      potential voters. The bank also lamented that Turkey's southeastern region
      has yet to benefit from the nations reform process.
      In the World Banks progress report concerning its country support
      strategy, Turkey is said to be growing faster than expectations, and this
      growth is spurred by the private sector. The report said that this growth,
      supported by the productivity of production supply, and low wages
      compensate for the overvaluation of the Turkish lira.
      It also criticizes the opposition for not having a serious presence
      against the ruling party.
      The World Bank The recent sales of state-owned Turk Telekom, Eregli Iron
      and Steel Works and Tupras are praised and emphasized by the report as
      positive signs for privatization.


      * After having toured Milan, Barcelona and Brighton, world-renowned
      American film director, playwright and actor Woody Allen and his New
      Orleans Jazz Band came to Turkey for the first time for a concert held in
      Istanbul on Thursday.
      In addition to his band members, Woody Allen was accompanied by his wife
      Soon-Yi, and children aged five and seven.
      He said he was wondering about the reaction of their Istanbul audience
      to their performance as well as to New Orleans' jazz. Noting that he had
      been recommended to visit Istanbul and had read much about the city, Woody
      Allen said, "We really wanted to take the opportunity to come."
      Describing the concert being sold out in just five hours as a "miracle,"
      Woody Allen said, "I hope people will like the concert because we very
      much enjoying playing."
      Noting that the music they played was different from traditional Turkish
      music, Woody Allen said what he had heard of Turkish music sounded very
      interesting, although he didn't have much information on it.

      * Istanbul's Hagia Sophia has been a place of attraction for both domestic
      and foreign tourists as well as for historians and archaeologists
      throughout history. The historic building is included in UNESCO's List of
      World Heritage.
      Hagia Sophia, which was built during the reign of Emperor Theodosius and
      turned into a church during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian, is
      considered to be one of the most important historical wonders of Istanbul.
      A group of scientists claim that there could be a huge underground
      cistern, which is believed to exist yet still not proved, below the Hagia
      Sophia Museum in Istanbul, reported the Dogan News Agency.
      Art historian Semavi Eyice said that Hagia Sophia's underground cistern
      was a huge one whereas R. Van Nice, member of the Byzantine Institute of
      America, who has carried out numerous research projects on Hagia Sophia,
      indicated that he had not come across any cistern during his studies.
      Other archaeologists, on the other hand, initiated studies in order to
      clarify the mystery of Hagia Sophia. In this respect, underwater
      archaeologist Dr. Çigdem Özkan Aygün and underwater photographer Engin
      Aygün entered two of the 1,500-year-old wells of Hagia Sophia after
      receiving permission from Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry.
      The two wells did not lead to any cisterns.
      "There are underground chambers almost everywhere in Hagia Sophia", Dr.
      Çigdem Özkan Aygün says. However, she says it is necessary to examine the
      surface for the wells and chambers to ascertain which ones are suitable
      for entering. To this end, the Istanbul Technical University and
      Switzerland's Bern University will cooperate to examine the area using
      A comprehensive scientific study of this nature will require permission
      from the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry Dr. Aygün poins out. She is
      hoping to get this permit and start the study in 2006.

      * The Bilkent Symphony Orchestra will perform a concert for the victims of
      the recent devastating earthquake in Pakistan as part of activities for
      the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the United Nations Children's
      Fund. All proceeds from the concert will go to the UNICEF fund for the
      Pakistan earthquake.
      The Symphony Orchestra is located at the Bilkent University in Turkey's
      capital Ankara.
      Soloist at the concert is Turkey's world-renowned pianist, Gülsin Onay,
      who has served as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF since 2003. She will
      perform works by Mozart and Ludwig Van Beethoven. The Bilkent Symphony
      Orchestra will be conducted by Isin <IshIn> Metin. The concert will be the
      first Mozart concert in 2006, celebrating the 250th anniversary of
      Mozart's birth.
      The concert will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2006 at 8:00 p.m. at the
      Bilkent Concert Hall.

      * Turkish director Fatih Akin's "Head-On" tops Newsweek's list of best
      films of 2005, reprots the Turkish Daily News.
      The film was originally screened at the opening of the 7th Annual NY
      Turkish Film Festival sponsored by the Moon and Stars Project, a
      Turkish-American nongovernmental organization, in September, attracting
      great interest from both Turkish and American moviegoers as well as the
      American media
      "Head-On" was described as a "rough German masterpiece about two lost
      Turks transformed by love" in the list selected by David Ansen, one of
      America's leading film critics.
      Indicating that it was not surprising to see movies produced by big
      studios on the list and that 2005 was a terrible year for Hollywood
      movies, after giving a brief summary of the year's movies Ansen said:
      "What stood out was how heavy my favorites were -- tales filled with
      paranoia, terrorism, broken hearts and busted families. In these indelible
      movies, anguish is transformed into art. "
      His list is as follows:
      1. "Head-On"
      2. "Good Night, and Good Luck"
      3. "Kings and Queen"
      4. "Brokeback Mountain"
      5. "The Best of Youth"
      6. "Capote"
      7. "Caché"
      8. "Munich"
      9. "The Squid and The Whale"
      10. "A History of Violence"

      * Turkish Fashion designer Esin Yilmaz introduced her new dress design,
      "Water Nymph", on Tuesday in Turkey's third largest city Izmir. The new
      design was created as part of broader efforts to prevent the ancient city
      of Allianoi from being flooded by the waters of Yortanli Dam.
      An ancient nymph statue that was unearthed in the old city of Allianoi,
      located in Bergama, has attracted the attention of archaeologists and
      provided inspiration for Ms. Yilmaz's designs.
      Yilmaz tried out her new dress on State Opera and Ballet performer Siner
      Gönenç and disguised Gönenç as a nymph by decorating her in silk tulle,
      chiffon cloth, acrylic dye, raffia and powder.
      Allianoi, founded during the Hellenic period and was popularized by
      Roman Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138), was re-discovered during
      construction of a State Waterworks Authority dam in 1995. However, the
      city is in danger of being submerged and lost forever to the encroaching
      waters of Yortanli Dam.
      Salvage excavations are being carried out at the site while national and
      international initiatives continue with efforts to save the unique
      archaeological site of Allianoi.
      As part of these efforts, Europa Nostra, the pan-European federation for
      heritage, has sought Turkey's Foreign Affairs Minister's help in saving
      the ancient city of Allianoi from flooding.

      * The Turkish percussion group Harem is now rocking the Arab world hard
      with their extraordinary rhythms, reports the Turkish Daily News.
      The group represented Turkey to great fanfare at Spain's La Mar de
      Musicas festival in July alongside other well-known names of Turkish music
      such as Sezen Aksu, Mercan Dede and Orient Express. (We told you about the
      destival on our July 9 broadcast.)
      The latest album by Harem was released in Europe and Arab countries at
      the same time under the EMI Arabia label.
      Harem's albums have so far been released in 55 countries. The group
      consists of four percussion geniuses and a backup DJ.
      Harem, which sampled from many popular artists like Despina Vandi to
      Eurovision winner Ruslana in their remixes, is currently on a world tour.
      The group, since they were first founded in 1999, has released four
      albums, which are even sold in music stores in Japan and the United
      Harem is now breaking sales records in 13 Arab countries with their
      latest album "Club and Chill Out Classics."


      EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in New Turkish Liras: 1.34


      High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather

      Ankara, in central Turkey----------: 50/37 Sleet
      Antalya, on the Mediterranean------: 59/46 Showers
      Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey---: 52/46 Rainy
      Izmir, on the Aegean---------------: 59/54 Showers
      Trabzon, on the Black Sea----------: 59/43 Partly Cloudy

      Snow depths at skiing locations:

      Erciyes, in Kayseri, Central Turkey 12 inches
      Ilgaz, in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey 24 inches
      Kartalkaya, in Bolu, Western Turkey 35 inches
      Palandoken, in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey 31 inches
      Saklikent, in Antalya, Southern Turkey - inches
      Sarikamis, in Kars, Eastern Turkey 11 inches
      Uludag, in Bursa, Western Turkey 26 inches


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