x0x Turkish news for week ending 30 June 2007
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x0x Turkish news for week ending 30 June 2007
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Ahmet Toprak edited today's news. Your host is Fuad Tokad.
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* Leaders of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation member states convened in
Istanbul on Wednesday to mark the group's 15th anniversary. At the summit
the leaders discussed issues such as energy and relations with the
Turkey's President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said that the Black Sea Economic
Cooperation has turned into the most comprehensive and important
cooperation platform in this region in the last 15 years.
Addressing the gathering, Turkey's Foreign Affairs Minister Abdullah Gul
said that the Black Sea region is attracting increasing international
attention. Mr. Gul further stressed that if the Black Sea Economic
Cooperation countries work together, dealing with the problems of the 21st
century will become easier. In the post-meeting final declaration, the
Black Sea Economic Cooperation member states stated that they would work
with the European Union to strengthen cooperation over energy and its
In related news, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with his Greek
counterpart Costas Karamanlis during the summit. Mr. Erdogan said that he
always appreciated Mr. Karamanlis' support, adding that economic ties
between the two countries are getting stronger every day.
For his part, the Greek prime minister said that his main goal was to
improve bilateral ties.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was also among those in the city for
the 15th anniversary meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
organization. Other members of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation are
Turkey, Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldavia, Greece, Ukraine, Azerbaijan,
Serbia, Albania and Romania.
In a statement issued after the summit, the leaders agreed that they
wanted the Black Sea Economic Cooperation to take on a larger role in
regional issues and for greater cooperation between members "especially on
issues such as energy, trade and transport." The leaders also pledged to
increase cooperation on security issues.
* In a different venue on Tuesday, Turkish president Ahmet Necdet Sezer
criticized the decision to build a new pipeline through Thrace by Russia,
Bulgaria and Greece. Mr. Sezer said the new pipeline would pollute the
Mr. Sezer was speaking at the 10th Energy Conference, organized in
Istanbul by Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Council and the Cambridge
Energy Research Associates.
The Cambridge Energy Research Associates is a US based consulting
company that specializes in advising governments and private companies on
energy markets, geopolitics, industry trends, and strategy.
Analysts are saying that the new pipeline is Russia's move to counter
and eclipse the US-backed pipeline that brings Caspian oil through Turkey
to the European markets.
* According to the Turkish daily Turkiye, US Ambassador to Turkey Ross
Wilson said on Thursday that as a neighboring country, Iraq's security and
stability are very important for Turkey.
Paying a visit to Turkey's Aegean province of Izmir, Mr. Wilson met with
its governor. Speaking to reporters, the top diplomat said that the US had
been shocked by the rebel Kurdish Workers Party terrorist attacks on
Turkey and that the US administration condemns them.
Stressing that the US is continuing efforts together with Turkish
officials to end the terrorist attacks, Mr. Wilson said that his
administration recently gave a strong message to the Iraqi government to
do more to prevent them.
* As we have been reporting to you, the Turkish government complains about
the rebel Turkish Kurds' bases in northern Iraq. The rebel Kurds
infiltrate Turkey from these bases and attack military and civilian
targets, the Turkish officials say. Turkish officials have been putting
pressure on the US and the Iraqi government to close these bases. They
also have been saying that the Turkish military may go into the Iraqi
territory to take these bases out.
On Thursday the Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbag said that
cross-border operations could damage Turkey's relations with Iraq, and
that the Kurdish Workers Party shouldn't get in the way of better
relations. The Iraqi spokesman was visiting Istanbul, Turkey's largest
city. Mr. al-Dabbag said that the tripartite mechanism established by the
US, Iraq and Turkey will discuss and eliminate these problems.
Mr. al-Dabbag's remarks came one day after the chief of the Turkish
military General Buyukanit reiterated at a press conference that
cross-border operations is needed. The same day the US state department
spokesman Sean McCormack said that an operation of this type by the
Turkish military would not be helpful, either in the short, medium, or
* The daily Milliyet reports that on Tuesday Turkey opened two new
chapters in its European Union accession negotiations. The chapters are on
statistics and financial control.
France blocked the negotiations on a third chapter related to economic
and monetary policy.
Turkey's chief negotiator Mr. Ali Babacan expressed displeasure at
France's move. France's new administration under recently elected
president Nicholas Sarkozy is against a Turkish membership in the European
According to the Turkish daily Star, another criticism to French
blockage came from the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's
Association representative to the European Union. The association's
representative said that France's stance on Turkey is out of step with the
European Union principles and constitutes a hostile stance against the
* According to the Turkish Daily News, Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals
ruled Tuesday that the Istanbul-based Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
Greek patriarch's claim that he is the spiritual head of the 300 million
Orthodox christians around the World lacks any legal basis.
The Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate has been allowed to remain within
Turkish territory since the establishment of the Turkish republic but only
as the head of the church of the Turkish citizens of Greek origin, the
There are currently 3000 minority Greeks living in Turkey.
* The Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reports that Turkey's Banking Supervision
and Regulation Board Chairman Tevfik Bilgin criticized the sale of Turkish
banks to foreign interests.
Turkish banks starved for capital often try to solve this problem by
selling their banks, the chairman said.
ARTS AND CULTURE
* The winner of the 24th Aydin Dogan International Cartoon Competition
regarded as the 'Cartoon Oscars' was announced at the beginning of last
Belarussian Marina Markevitch came first, while Brazilian and Cuban
caricaturists shared second spot, third place went to India.
The award ceremony will be held on November 3 in Istanbul.
The Aydin Dogan Foundation has been holding the competition every year
in Turkey since 1983.
The award for best cartoon is a cash prize of $8,000, a statuette, and
plaques by Turkey's Ministry of Culture and the Turkish daily Hurriyet.
* Internationally renowned Turkish pianist, Fazil Say performed in the
open air concert part of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, a significant
festival in Europe, at the famous Piazza della Signoria in Florence Italy
on Saturday night, reports the Turkish Daily News.
Mr. Say performed here with the San Jose Symphony Orchestra in the year
2000, and received good reviews.
* Speaking of Italy, the 62nd Nastri d'Argento (silver Ribbon) Italian
Film Awards were presented to the winners last Saturday night in a
ceremony held at the International Film Festival in Taormina on the Island
of Sicily, reports the Turkish Daily News.
Turkish director Ferzan Özpetek's "Saturno Contro" (Against Saturn) won
four awards at the festival. Özpetek's film was awarded with Best
Scenario, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and the Best Film Music.
Saturno Contro also won four awards last month in a poll conducted by
Italy's monthly film magazine CIAK among its readers.
The film starring, Italian actors Margherita Buy, Stefano Accorsi,
Pierfrancesco Favino and the director's indispensable Turkish actress
* According to the Anatolia news agency, Milan's famous theater La Scala
will host an opera adapted from Turkish writer Yasar Kemal's novel
"Teneke" in September.
The opera, libretto by Franco Marcoaldi with music by Fabio Vacchi, will
first face the audience on September 22, according to La Scala's Web site.
The opera will be staged seven times until October. Roberto Abbado will
conduct the opera, while Ermanno Olmi will undertake staging, and Arnaldo
Pomodoro designing of the sets and costumes. Teneke is one of Yasar
Kemal's novels, which was first translated into Italian by Antonella
Passaro in 1997. Passaro used the book's original name. Teneke tells the
story of peasants who had problems with landlords in central Anatolia
"Teneke" was performed in Sweden's Gothenburg Theater and in Istanbul's
Bakirköy National Theater a year ago.
* Turkey's Dogan News Agency reports that more tourist facilities are
being planned near the ruins of the ancient city of Troy.
A project that just got drafted will be turning the nearby Tevfikiye
village into the accommodation center of the ancient city. Within the
project, an amphitheater will be built in Tevfikiye. Home-based bed and
breakfast businesses will also be developed.
The ruins of Troy are located in Turkey's northwestern province of
Canakkale. Each year hundreds of thousands of local and foreign tourists
visit the site.
* According to the Turkish Daily News, The 13th International Children
and Youth Theater Festival has started on June 25, and will end on the
30th in the Alacati town of Turkey's Aegean province of Izmir.
Among the contributors to the festival are Turkey's State Theater, Opera
and Ballet Employees Foundation and Alacati Municipality.
Theater groups from Italy, Portugal and England will join and hold
workshops at the festival.
* "Film Family 2007," the first International Family Films Festival kicked
off at Istanbul Miniaturk with an open air film screening on Saturday,
June 23. The My Family Association with contributions by the Ministry of
Culture, Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Culture Corporation and Prime
Ministry Introduction Fund have organized the festival.
The eight-day festival aims to draw the attention of the public and
families to the art of film and give them a piece of time to share all
together. The festival, which is the first one with such a theme, featured
films from nearly 20 countries.
The festival will end June 30 and films can be seen for free at the
Kartal Bülent Ecevit Culture Center, Tarik Zafer Tunaya Culture Center,
Ümraniye Atakent Culture Center and in Miniaturk
* Turkey's surreal region of Cappadocia has one more underground city
opened to public this week.
The underground city is located in Güzelyurt township.
Excavation Chairman Ms. Güzin Karaköy, who brought the underground city
to public, said they unearthed the city, which could not have been
uncovered for many years, in six months with a 25-person excavation team.
The underground city dates back to the Byzantine period. Ms. Karaköy
said it is larger than similar cities in nearby Aksaray and made up of a
bath, two churches, animal shelters, depots, small and large kitchens and
The first visitors of the underground city were a 10-person tourist
group including German, French, Hungarian, Chinese and Japanese tourists.
Ms. Karaköy personally led the tour of the city to these first visitors.
* According to be Anatolia News Agency, the International Blue Flag Jury
awarded Turkey's 235 beaches and 14 marinas blue flags.
The jury gives the blue flags depending on cleanliness of water,
environmental concerns, security, safety and services at beaches and
The Environmental Education Foundation of Turkey unveiled the first Blue
Flag in the Aegean resort of Kusadisi town with a ceremony attended by the
local authorities of Aydin province and Kusadasi township.
There are 2,579 Blue Flag beaches and 631 marinas around the World.
Turkey ranks fourth after Spain. The number of beaches in Turkey increased
20 percent this year compared to 2006.
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in New Turkish Liras: 1.31
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey----------: 81/54 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean------: 90/73 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey---: 99/70 Fair
Izmir, on the Aegean---------------: 99/70 Fair
Trabzon, on the Black Sea----------: 88/70 Clear
Black Sea measured at Trabzon 73
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdag 75
Aegean Sea measured at Izmir 81
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya 77
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