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2045x0x Turkish News for the week ending 27 July 2013

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    Aug 15, 2013
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      x0x Turkish News for the week ending 27 July 2013

      [This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 27 July 2013]

      Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the

      TURKISH CULTURAL PROGRAM, every Saturday from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M.

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      Ahmet Toprak is the editor-in-chief. Your broadcast host is Fuad Tokad.

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      Edited by Fuad Tokad

      * Dogan News Agency reported that the main opposition party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu met with the families of two teenagers killed during the Gezi Park protests in the southern province of Hatay.
        Kilicdaroglu first met with the parents of Abdullah Comert who was killed after being hit by a tear gas canister during protests in Antakya. The head of the Republican People's Party assured Comert's family that his party was closely following the legal case and ensure that justice would be brought.
        Kilicdaroglu also met with the parents of Ali Ismail Korkmaz, who died after being beaten by stick-wielding civilians in Eskisehir.
        Korkmaz's mother asked the Republican People's Party head to make sure his assailants were found and sentenced. "Please don't let my son's [killer go free]. Soothe our pain," Emel Korkmaz said.
        The families of five deceased protesters, four killed during anti-government Gezi Park demonstrations and the other in a protest against the construction of a military outpost in Lice, had met at Parliament on July 26 to demand justice.

      * The Turkish Foreign Affairs Ministry has expressed its condolences and harshly condemned last night's deadly crackdown in Egypt, which Muslim Brotherhood sources say killed more than 100 supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
        "We strongly condemn this serious and unacceptable incident. We are following with concern the latest developments and the possibility that the casualties might increase. Resorting to violence and guns against peaceful protesters and opening fire against the [Egyptian] people has wounded the public's conscience," the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement issued July 27.
        "It is clear that these sort of interventions, causing deaths, will not help Egypt's internal peace. Opening fire on demonstrators protecting their own democratic will is not acceptable with respect to human morality," it added.
        The statement also called on the Egyptian security forces to show more responsibility in the current process. "The latest events at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square have shown the importance of allowing peaceful protests to take place. This attitude against civilian protests will not benefit the transition to democracy and is likely to cause unforeseeable consequences for all Egyptian people," the statement said, calling for an "inclusive" political process.
        The latest killings came at a time when Ankara was expected to send a new envoy to Cairo, as a sign of Turkey's desire to mend relations with the interim government.

      * The leader of the Democratic Union Party of Syria, Saleh Muslim, who is currently on an unexpected visit to Turkey, has said the Syrian Kurds will seek a "new status" in the new political system to be established in Syria, he told Anadolu Agency July 27.
        Muslim also emphasized the need for a provisional council in the territory controlled by Kurds in northern Syria, which could also comprise Arabs, Syriacs and Turkmens, to ensure governance until the two-year-long conflict reaches a settlement.

      * Hurriyet Daily News reported that the opposition insists no democratization can be fully achieved without reducing the 10 percent election threshold, which the government seems unwilling to do in fears of political instability
        "A package [of draft laws]that does not include reducing the election threshold, that does not bring new proposals on [the problem of long] imprisonment, that does not broaden the scope of freedom of speech, and that does not renew laws on freedom of assembly, cannot be considered a democratization package," the Republican People's Party deputy head Sezgin Tanrikulu told reporters at a press conference on Thursday.
        His statement was a response to Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, who said the government was of the opinion that 10 percent election threshold should be preserved for political stability in Turkey.

      * In related news, Aylin Kotil who hit the road to protest the 10 percent election threshold has arrived today to her destination at Ankara's Kugulu Park July 27 after a 19 day-long journey from Istanbul, reported the AA.
        Kotil, who is a member of the main opposition Republican People's Party, was welcomed by a small crowd in Ankara who accompanied her during the last few kilometers to the center of the Turkish capital.
        Before her departure, Kotil was intending to meet at her arrival with the spokespersons of the four political parties and hand them her manifesto to remove the election threshold.
        She told the crowd that the ruling Justice and Development Party was afraid of reducing the threshold. "They are lacking self-assurance, because they know the situation in which they will be when they reduce it. That's why they are insistently resisting to reduce it. But that will be in vain because we will continue our demonstrations until the threshold is removed," Kotil said, adding that she intended to pursue her own efforts until getting herself heard.
        "They are as guilty as the military who instituted this threshold [after the 1980 military coup]. If Turkey's mosaic is reflected in the Parliament, it will become a happier and more peaceful country," she said.
        While marching to the Turkish capital Ankara, Kotil had tweeted that she might march to Brussels if the threshold was not decreased to five percent from 10 percent.
        She also faced a burglary at home while she was away, and told reporters that all her precious objects had been stolen.
        She has walked 24 kilometers every day, accompanied by a group of five people for her logistical needs.

      * Hurriyet Daily News reported that a group of internationally renowned artists and scholars condemned the Turkish authorities' heavy-handed crackdown on the Gezi Park protests, in a full-page letter published July 24 in British broadsheet The Times.
        Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the signatories of an open letter published in The Times criticizing him for police violence during the Gezi Park protests in Turkey were "seriously deceived."
        "Such famous people should read well and understand the texts that they sign. Those who have signed this letter have been seriously deceived," Erdogan said during the opening ceremony of an airport in the southeastern Sirnak province July 26.
        The letter that appeared in the British broadsheet included Hollywood celebrities such as Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon.
        Earlier in the day, Erdogan had accused The Times of showing "lack of morality" in publishing the letter. "These are people who have rented out their minds. If they were sincere about democracy they would not act so immorally as to call a prime minister who was elected on 50 percent of the vote a dictator," Erdogan said on Friday in Istanbul.
        The full-page letter was published in The Times July 24. Along with Penn and Sarandon, it contained the signatures of internationally renowned artists and scholars such as movie director David Lynch, British actor Ben Kingsley or Andrew Mango, the biographer of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish state.
        The prime minister's orders "led to the deaths of five innocent youths," the letter said, adding that he might be called to render account to the European Court of Human Rights for the police's violence.
        They also compared the counter-rallies organized by the ruling Justice and Development Party to the annual Nuremberg rallies organized by the Nazis.

      * The government intends to finalize works on a democratization package that would include some measures to meet the demands of Kurds as part of an ongoing resolution process in a bid to protect its peace bid from collapsing, according to senior officials, reported the Hurriyet Daily News.
        Some activities of the Kurdish militants in Southeast Anatolia are part of a psychological war and are aimed at showing that they are still powerful and can hit back if the process fails, according to the government.
        "We have concluded our initial work. We'll work again on Thursday, probably after the iftar at an open-ended meeting, and we will put in the last word. Then it will be submitted for our prime minister's discretion. Some legal amendments will be brought to Parliament in October upon his approval, which I believe will be positively received," Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told Ankara bureau chiefs late July 23.
        Arinc dismissed links between the democratization package and the ongoing resolution process, noting that they rejected the notion of any give-and-take bargaining with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party and its imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

      * Dogan News Agency reported that Alevi associations asked President Abdullah Gul to change the name of Istanbul's third bridge across the Bosporus Straight during a fast-breaking dinner in Istanbul July 24.
        The bridge had been named after the Ottoman ruler Yavuz Sultan Selim bringing controversy as the glorified Sultan known in English as "Selim the Grim," is known for the slaughter of around 40,000 Alevis.
        "Our plea to the president is to rename [the third bridge] after Yunus Emre, who embraces both Alevis and Sunnis and signals unity," said the Alevi opinion leader Dervis Tur, during the opening remarks. Yunus Emre, a Sufi mystic who lived in Central Anatolia in the 13th century and celebrated as a poet, was among the early influences of Alevism.
        Tur warned the name foreseen for the bridge under construction could create more conflict in Turkish society. "If we bring into our times the wars and disputes that have been lived throughout history, it won't be very auspicious for our nation," he said.
        He also asked Gul for official recognition of the Alevi's houses of prayer, the cemevis, as places of worship.


      * The U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul and the Istanbul-based Rahmi M. Koc Museum have signed a protocol to exhibit the Hiawatha Boat, which is owned by the consulate and named after a legendary Native American chief.
        "I have been dreaming of owning the boat since the 1940s when I studied in Robert College on the Bosporus I wrote many letters to the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul to ask whether they would think of selling this beautiful boat. And finally they said 'yes.' We are so happy to add this unique piece to the marine collection of our museum," said the honorary president of Koc Holding, Rahmi Koc, at the signing ceremony of the protocol.
        He said they had talked about the process for over a year. "The Consulate General could not give the boat directly to us as they would need to sell it in an auction. None of us wanted this. The best formula was to exhibit the boat here under a co-guardianship model, and we chose this option. The U.S. Consulate General will remain the owner of the boat, but the boat will be exhibited here, in the museum, and our American friends can use the boat whenever they want," he said.
        "The Hiawatha boat has been a lively symbol of the close friendship between the U.S. and Turkey for years. The boat will continue to perform its unique mission thanks to the generous support of the Rahmi Koc Museum," U.S. Consul General Scott Kilner said.
        Built in 1922, the Hiawatha has been in Turkey since 1932, cruising on the Bosporus Many Americans used the boat during visits to Istanbul over the years, including the wife of 32nd U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt.


      Edited by Serkan Hatipoglu

      * According to the Hurriyet Daily News, Istanbul is hosting an exclusive exhibition which reveals the Byzantine heritage in the city.
        The exhibition features the photographs taken by Nicholas V. Artamonoff, an amateur photographer of Russian origin, during the time he lived in Istanbul between 1922-1947. The exhibition is part of the Third International Sevgi Gonul Byzantine Studies Symposium, entitled "Trade in Byzantium"
        The exhibition, which will continue until October 6, is at Koc University's Research Center of Anatolian Civilizations Gallery
        The exhibition is a unique record of the city, which since then has gone through a radical transformation.
        Some of the monuments depicted in Artamonoff's photographs have been damaged, at times destroyed, badly restored, or hidden from uninterrupted view by the urban and demographic sprawl of the huge metropolis of Istanbul.
        They display Byzantine remains not only as architectural landmarks of residential and commercial neighborhoods, but also as integral elements in the daily life of the city's residents. He captured through his lens snapshots of monuments, archaeological sites, and cityscapes, as much as of tourists, scholars, and ordinary people in a period of fast transition in all walks of life. Thus, the use and reuse of historic buildings and remains, the transformation of buildings and the urban fabric all appear as recurrent themes in his photography.
        The majority of Artamonoff's 1033 photographs are preserved in the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C., and in the Myron Bement Smith Collection in The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Archives of the Smithsonian Institution.
        Read more at >> here <<

      * Turkish capital Ankara's Salt Ulus will host screenings of two history documentaries, "Edirne" from 1998 and "Treasures of Anatolia" from 2000 as part of the exhibition "Modern Turkey's Discovery of Ottoman Heritage: The Ali Saim Ulgen Archive" reports the Hurriyet Daily News.
        Hilmi Etikan's "Edirne" is a documentary that focuses on architectural concepts in Edirne, a historical city in Turkish Thrace on the border with Greece and Bulgaria.
        "Treasures of Anatolia" by Enis Riza Sakizli is a historical and cultural journey through nine important locations under the protection of UNESCO: Istanbul, Safranbolu, Hattusa, Goreme, Divrigi, Nemrut, Xanthos-Letoon, Pamukkale and Troy.
        The Ali Saim Ulgen Open Archive project aims to present a cross-section of the state of cultural assets and conservation efforts in Turkey before the 1960s, based on the world of Ali Saim Ulgen, a researcher, architect and specialist in the restoration of classical Ottoman architecture.
        One of the pioneering architectural restoration experts in Turkey, Ulgen carried out hundreds of restorations not only in Turkey but also in Libya, Jerusalem and Baghdad, collecting and producing all kinds of materials that document historical works, such as construction photographs, newspaper clippings and articles, thus creating an extensive foundation for the books he would subsequently write.
        The material Ulgen collected during his travels, not only in the course of the administrative duties he assumed during the long years he worked at the General Directorate of Foundations, but also as an aficionado and an academic, has been meticulously preserved posthumously by his family.
        Read more at >> here <<

      * ArtInternational Istanbul, a new international platform for contemporary art, will take place September 15 to 18 at the spectacularly situated Halic Congress Center, which sits along the shores of the Golden Horn in Beyoglu, Istanbul reports the Hurriyet Daily News.
        ArtInternational Istanbul aims to create bridges between the global art community by offering collectors access to international contemporary art with a focus on Turkey, the Middle East and beyond.
        Presented by the co-owners of Art HK and the IndiaArt Fair, ArtInternational Istanbul brings together leading and emerging international and regional galleries. Drawing on its unique geographic location as a gateway between "East" and "West," in a city that is a less-than-four-hour flight from over 50 countries, the fair is well positioned to fast become a cultural bridge spanning the art community, and a significant event on the international art circuit.
        In addition to the participation of leading and emerging contemporary galleries, the fair will also provide a program of exhibitions, events and forums, enabling visitors to experience the rich cultural history of Istanbul alongside the flourishing contemporary art scene developing today. Tapping into the growing international interest in the Middle Eastern and Asian contemporary art scene, it offers collectors a focused space in which to consider the compelling art emerging from these regions.
        Read more at >> here <<

      * According to the Anatolia News Agency visitors to the north Aegean will soon be able to enjoy summer festivals and concerts in an ancient setting, as restoration begins on the ancient theater of Assos, in the province of Canakkale.
        The ancient theater of Assos is particularly expected to host concerts and festivals during the summer months.
        The ancient theater is particularly expected to host concerts and festivals during the summer months.
        Noting that there were many architects, archaeologists and academics that have come to Assos to work on the acropolis, Onsekiz Mart University Archeology Department Professor Nurettin Arslan said they would first work on the hills of the ancient site, which is 238 meters above sea level and which features the remains of the Temple of Athena from the Doric Order.
        Six of the area's original 38 columns are still present at the site.
        Many of the buildings in Assos were produced with andesite, a volcanic rock that is very difficult to process but consequently resistant to wear from the elements. The town itself was originally founded in the sixth century B.C. on the site of a dormant volcano.
        Many of the older buildings in Assos are in ruins today, but Behramkale (the city's modern name) is still active, Arslan said.
        The researcher also said the sarcophagi made in the city were very famous in the ancient world and that they were called "flesh-eating sarcophagi" because bodies placed in them rapidly decomposed. "Sarcophagi produced in Assos were exported to many regions in Anatolia," the professor added.
        As part of the new excavations, archaeologists also plan to reorganize the tomb doors at the necropolis.
        Restoration is of critical importance for Assos in the long term, the professor said, adding that there were many well-protected areas at the entrance to the village that will be the focus of excavations.
        It is possible to see much of the surrounding area from the ancient Temple of Athena, built on top of a trachyte crag. From the temple, it is possible on a clear day to see nearby Lesbos in the south, Pergamum in the southeast, and Mount Ida of Phrygia in the east. To the north, one can see the Tuzla River, while to the northwest, visitors can glimpse the gate to the city featuring two massive Hellenic columns that still exist today.
        Read more at >> here <<


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