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x0x Turkish news for week ending 09 December 2006

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    *** Audio archives of our broadcasts are at: http://www.TurkRadio.us/ar/archives.html {20061209trh.txt} x0x Turkish news for week ending 09 December 2006 [Best
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      x0x Turkish news for week ending 09 December 2006

      [Best when viewed with the courier font.]

      A service of the TURKISH RADIO HOUR, producer of:

      Saturdays at 6:00 P.M.
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      Ahmet Toprak edited today's news. Your host is Merter Bozkurt
      For a subscription to the Internet edition of this news,
      send a blank email to:


      Edited by Hilal Koc

      * Pope Benedict XVI's first full year as head of the Roman Catholic Church
      has been a roller coaster ride in which he unwittingly became an
      antagonist in the "clash of civilizations" between East and West.
      A speech in September in which the pope referred to an obscure Byzantine
      emperor's remarks linking Islam and violence added fuel to a fire still
      smoldering over cartoons satirizing the Prophet Mohammed a year earlier.
      Pope Benedict's visit to Turkey provided the setting Benedict needed for
      a grand conciliatory gesture -- a visit to Istanbul's Sultanahmet Mosque,
      during which he prayed side by side with the city's Mufti Mustafa Çagrici,
      facing Mecca and assuming a classic Muslim prayer posture.
      The moment was "even more meaningful than an apology" for the remarks in
      September, Mr. Çagrici said afterward.
      For his part Benedict, in his first weekly audience since returning home
      from Turkey, voiced relief that the trip had passed off "happily."
      The pope stood firm on a key issue dividing the Roman Catholic Church
      and the estranged Eastern branch of Christianity -- papal authority --
      even though a principal purpose of his trip to Turkey was to seek
      reconciliation with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.
      After meetings with the Greek orthodox patriarch Bartolomeos I in
      Istanbul, the pope described as a "scandal to the world" the schism
      between the feuding Christian branches dating back nearly a millennium.

      * Turkey's President Ahmet Necdet Sezer on Thursday rejected a decree
      appointing Deputy Undersecretary of the Prime Ministry Ruhi Özbilgiç as
      the new head of the state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Corporatio,
      the second time that Mr. Sezer has refused to approve the government's
      candidate for the post.
      Earlier, in October, the Supreme Board of Radio and Television nominated
      three candidates for the post, namely Anatolia news agency
      Director-General Hilmi Bengi, Anatolia news agency Deputy Director-General
      Tahsin Akti and Özbilgiç.
      The nomination of the candidates came after President Sezer refused to
      approve the appointment of the government's previous candidate, Ibrahim
      Sahin, in May. Mr. Sahin was one of the three candidates then recommended
      to the government by the Supreme Board of Radio and Television.
      Mr. Sahin was general manager of Turkey's Postal and Telecommunications
      General Directorate between 2003 and 2005 and then an undersecretary in
      the Transportation Ministry.
      The appointment of bureaucrats to senior state posts has been a source
      of tension between the Turkish president and the ruling Justice and
      Development Party, which has roots in political Islam.
      Critics of the government claim it is trying to promote an Islamist
      agenda by appointing like-minded bureaucrats to top positions.

      * Also on Thursday, President Sezer vetoed the Land Protection and Use
      Law, often referred to as the "Cargill law." The law sparked a heated
      debate at Parliament when an amendment was discussed, and eventually
      passed, late last month.
      The amendment extended an "amnesty" to a construction project by U.S.
      firm Cargill, which has been operating in various sectors in Turkey for
      almost 50 years. The company built an annex to its Orhangazi corn
      processing plant in Bursa based on a Turkish cabinet decision declaring
      the region a special industrial zone.
      Six lawsuits have been filed as a result of the annex, on which the firm
      spent $30 million.
      Turkey's Council of State had previously ruled against Cargill, and
      operations at the plant were suspended.
      The issue was brought up during Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's
      recent visit to the United States.
      The amended law called for "amnesty" for those buildings constructed on
      agricultural land and allows for their completion. Any structure erected
      on such land prior to Oct. 11, 2004 can now be issued a permit, providing
      it complies with local land protection regulations, for a fee of 92 cents
      a square feet in local currency.
      The amendment is not the public's interest, said President Sezer in his
      reasoning for the veto. "According to the principles of international law,
      laws should be general, abstract and objective and they should not be
      specific to individual persons," he added.

      * Smugglers in the region near the eastern Anatolian province of Van have
      been handing over 20 percent of their revenue to the outlawed rebel
      Kurdish Workers' Party, officials from the Van Police Department told the
      Anatolia news agency on Thursday.
      Those engaged in smuggling were originally based in Iran in the past;
      however, due to pressure from Iranian authorities, they later moved to
      Van, officials told Anatolia. Introducing themselves as Azerbaijani in
      Van, they continued making their earnings via smuggling in cooperation
      with their relatives in Iran, they said.
      The smuggled items were being carried on the backs of pack animals from
      Iran to Turkey through the regions where the Kurdish Workers Party has
      control, thus the smugglers were giving 20 percent of their smuggling
      revenue to the rebel Kurds, officials said.
      Also during the first 11 months of this year, 202 separate operations
      were held concerning the smuggling of fuel oil, tea, sugar, honey,
      agricultural medicine and animal medicine. In total, 250 people were
      arrested during those operations and they were fined $120 million in local
      Last month, Turkey's interior minister Mr. Abdülkadir Aksu said that the
      Kurdish Workers Party was abusing the right to political asylum in Europe.
      "The Kurdish Workers Party obtains the majority of its finances through
      drug smuggling, human trafficking, extortion and money laundering,
      especially in European countries," he said then.
      The Kurdish Workers Party is blacklisted as a terrorist group by Turkey,
      the European Union and the United States.

      * Turkey has come up with a fresh proposal to overcome a deadlock with the
      European Union over Cyprus, offering to open one port and one airport to
      traffic from Greek Cyprus for a period of one year.
      In a move interpreted as a deadline for the European Union to act for a
      solution on Cyprus, Turkey said in its proposal that two steps should be
      taken during the one-year period. The first is that the European Union
      should take steps to fulfill its pledges to ease isolation of the Turkish
      Turkey also wants comprehensive talks on Cyprus start under U.N.
      auspices within that period. If these two steps are not taken, Turkey is
      to close the port and airport that it is now agreeing to open.
      Diplomatic sources said Turkey in return expects the Port of Famagusta
      and Ercan Airport in Turkish Cyprus be opened to international traffic
      within the one-year period.
      The European Union Commission described Turkey's proposal as an
      important step. Permanent representatives of European Union member states
      were due to discuss the proposal at a meeting later.
      The Greek Cypriot administration said yesterday that it would not accept
      the opening of Ercan Airport to international trade, while Greece demanded
      that Turkey open all its ports and airports.
      Last week The European Union Commission recommended that European Union
      not open accession talks on eight of the 35 negotiating chapters due to
      Turkey's refusal to open its ports and airports to traffic from Greek
      But some European Union states want the punishment to be stiffened,
      while others, such as Italy, Britain and Spain find the commission's
      recommendation to be too tough.
      These countries are also against any review clause as proposed by France
      and Germany.

      * Meanwhile, the European Commission's recommendation about Turkey's
      accession process has triggered many European businessmen to lobby on
      behalf of Turkey. Prominent businessmen in Europe, CEOs of giant
      companies, have clearly expressed their disappointment at the commission's
      decision to recommend not to open negotiations on eight chapters with
      Nongovernmental organizations representing Europe's giant companies
      started cautioning their presidents to have a gentler stance towards
      Turkey. In many international meetings, Europe's leading firms are
      lobbying on behalf of Turkey to make a softer version of the
      recommendation before the European Union Summit on Dec. 14-15. The Union
      of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe head Ernest Antoine
      Seilliere, Mercedes-Benz CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Siemens AG CEO Oliver O.
      Hauck and Metro AG CEO Hans Joachim Körber are among those names who
      aren't leaving Turkey alone on its way to the European Union.
      Chairman of Unilever and of the European Round Table of Industrialists
      Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Antony Burgmans said membership of
      Turkey, with its strong and dynamic economy, was extremely important and
      added that European leaders should be ready to respond to it with proper
      psychological preparation.
      Many medium and big sized European companies that have invested or are
      planning to invest in Turkey are expected to play a key role in solving
      the political deadlock in Turkey's accession to the European Union. This
      group lead by The Confederation of European Business is preparing to force
      open the European Union's doors, which never happen to be open for Turkey.
      The Confederation of European Business, meeting for a dinner just before
      the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Jacques Chirac
      meet, called on Ms. its Merkel not to take a stance that would damage
      Turkish-European Union relations. The Confederation of European Business
      head Ernest-Antoine Seilliere said, "Whatever the consequences, we asked
      for the most possible gentle stance to be taken towards Turkey." He said
      they wanted to avoid negative commercial reactions like a boycott.

      * The United States has welcomed recently stepped-up diplomacy by Turkey
      in the Middle East as efforts to promote "peace and stability in the
      "Turkey has diplomatic relations with all of its neighbors. We expect
      them to be engaged with their neighbors," U.S. State Department spokesman
      Sean McCormack told a daily press briefing on Wednesday.
      His remarks were in response to a question asking about U.S. reaction
      toward Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's latest visits to
      neighboring Iran and Syria and his efforts concerning issues in the Middle
      "From our perspective, Turkey is a good friend and ally and we
      appreciate their efforts to try to further the causes of peace and
      stability in the region," he added.
      On Wednesday, Mr. Erdogan said before his departure for a one-day visit
      to Syria that the Turkish government was eager to exert efforts to make a
      contribution with regard to recent developments both in Lebanon and
      Palestine and the situation in Iraq in cooperation with its neighboring
      countries in a sense of common responsibility.
      He also said Turkey has a distinct importance in the risky Middle East
      region, adding that Turkey would evaluate the Middle East peace process as
      well as recent developments in Lebanon and Palestine.

      * In business news, Turkish businessman Muhtar Kent has become global
      giant Coca-Cola's chief operating officer. Coca Cola's CEO Neville Isdell
      said, "Muhtar Kent is an experienced and successful executive." He added
      that they have asked Kent to take this position in line with their
      long-term growth strategic decisions.
      Mr. Kent first joined the Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta in 1978 and has
      held a variety of marketing and operations roles throughout his career. In
      1985, he was appointed general manager of Coca-Cola Turkey and Central
      From 1989 to 1995, he served as president of the company's East Central
      Europe Division and senior vice-president of Coca-Cola International, with
      responsibility for 23 countries. Between 1995 and 1998, Mr. Kent served as
      managing director of Coca-Cola Amatil-Europe, covering bottling operations
      in 12 countries.
      From 1999 until he rejoined The Coca-Cola Company in May 2005, he served
      as president and CEO of the Efes Beverage Group, the largest local
      shareholder of Turkish bottler Coca-Cola Içecek.
      Then he was appointed to take over the position of the president and
      chief operating officer of the company's North Asia, Eurasia and Middle
      East Group. He used to report directly to Chairman and CEO Neville Isdell.
      Another career first for Mr. Kent came in Feb. 1, 2006, when he was
      appointed to be the then newly-created position of president of the
      Coca-Cola International. In this capacity, Kent was responsible for all
      operations and group presidents outside of North America.


      Edited by Serkan Hatipoglu

      * Turkey's Oscar entry for the best foreign film category, "Ice Cream, I
      Scream", was screened at a special gala in Los Angeles over the weekend,
      where the film was presented to the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press
      Association, organizer of the annual Golden Globe Awards.
      The movie, the debut feature film by director Yüksel Aksu, is among 56
      contenders on the long list for best foreign film at the 64th Golden
      Globes, to be held Jan. 15. The nominees will be announced Dec. 14. The
      film's English-language poster was also launched during the screening,
      which took place at the Los Angeles Fine Arts Theater. Around 200 Turkish
      fans came to the movie theater to support the film, reported the Dogan
      News Agency.
      The film had its first international success in November, getting the
      best director and best comedy film awards at the fourth Queens
      International Film Festival, held in New York.
      "Ice Cream, I Scream" depicts the Quixotic story of a home-made ice
      cream vendor named Ali Usta striving to survive against giant ice cream
      brands in a small Aegean town in the 1990s. The movie is extraordinary in
      that all but one of its cast members are ordinary residents of Mugla.
      Apart from its leading actor, the Mugla-born Turan Özdemir, the film
      features 51 supporting characters and around 2,000 movie extras. Turkish
      film circles praised the film during this year's Istanbul International
      Film Festival, where it also won the Jury's Special Prize.
      The film was selected Turkey's nominee to run for the best foreign film
      Oscar in September. It is competing against entries from around the world
      to take a place among the final nominees named by the Academy of Motion
      Picture Arts and Sciences in January.

      * Mr. Ahmet Ertegün, a Turkish legend in the music world, is placed on
      life support in a New York hospital last Thursday, following an accident
      on Oct. 29. The accident took place at a Rolling Stones concert on
      Broadway in New York City when Ertegün, 83, slipped and hit his head. He
      has been in an intensive care unit ever since.
      Dr. Howard Riina, Ertegün's surgeon, said: "His situation is very
      critical and his recovery, speaking medically, does not look possible. He
      may be able to live for a while on support units, however, his will does
      clarify that he does not want to live this way. The final decision will
      have to be made by his wife Mica."
      Mr. Ertegün is the son of former Turkish Ambassador to Washington D.C.,
      Münir Ertegün. Born in Istanbul in 1923, Ertegün formed Atlantic Records
      with his brother, Nesuhi Ertegün in 1947.
      With a talent for picking performers who would become famous, Mr.
      Ertegün worked with names like Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis,
      Herbie Mann, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bette Midler, Tori Amos and
      many others.

      * The restoration of backstage rooms and tunnels discovered three years
      ago underneath the 2,500-year-old theater in the ancient city of
      Halicarnassus --modern-day Turkish city of Bodrum-- has been completed,
      with the opening of the rooms to visitors.
      The restoration of the Hellenistic period theater was initiated jointly
      by the Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry and the Bodrum Underwater
      Archaeology Museum in 2003.
      Three huge backstage rooms as well as two long tunnels -- one measures
      90 feet and the other 450 -- used by spectators and artists to pass
      underneath the theater were restored by a team led by Professor Emre
      Madran of the Middle East Technical University and archaeologist Erhan
      Özcan as part of the project.
      Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum Director Yasar Yildiz said that for
      the past four years the ancient venue had once again been used for theater
      performances and concerts, in line with its original purpose.
      The archeologists also discovered some ceramic ornaments during the
      restoration. Laboratory examination has revealed them to be
      contemporaneous with the theater's period of activity.
      There are three nearly 400 square feet of backstage rooms carved out of
      the rock in the area. Archeologists estimate that there are at least 10
      more backstage rooms underneath the theater.
      Professor Madran said the theater attracts many tourists in summer and
      that the opening of further rooms would be an important step in terms of
      cultural tourism.

      * The Mevlana Museum in Konya attracted around 7,000 visitors on the
      second day of commemoration activities scheduled for the 733rd anniversary
      of Mevlana Jelaladdin Rumi's "reunion with God," said museum Deputy
      Director Naci Bakirci on Sunday.
      Mr. Bakirci said the Mevlana Museum remained among the most visited
      museums in Turkey. He added that the museum had attracted almost 1.4
      million visitors last year, the highest figure since 1926.
      Mr. Bakirci said they were anticipating a huge number of guests during
      the 17 days of activities, adding: "We expect around 100,000 visitors to
      our museum within this period. Many tourists will come to Konya to watch
      sema performances and visit our museum as well as see other museums and

      * An exhibition titled "Human Rights with Cartoons," organized jointly by
      the Turkish Bar Association and the Cartoon Foundation, will begin on Dec.
      9 at the foundation's gallery in Turkey's capital Ankara.
      A statement released by the foundation said the exhibition will feature
      70 works by prominent artists including Turhan Selçuk, Tan Oral, Eray
      Özbek, Nezih Danyal, Ercan Akyol, Piyale Madra and Muhammet Sengöz.
      Following the event in Ankara, which will run through Dec. 22, the
      exhibition will move to Turkey's largest city Istanbul and then to
      third-largest city Izmir, reported the Anatolia news agency.


      EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in New Turkish Liras: 1.44


      High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather

      Ankara, in central Turkey----------: 52/28 Foggy
      Antalya, on the Mediterranean------: 66/52 Mostly Sunny
      Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey---: 54/41 Foggy
      Izmir, on the Aegean---------------: 63/45 Partly Cloudy
      Trabzon, on the Black Sea----------: 55/37 Partly Cloudy

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      in San Francisco

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