x0x Turkish news for week ending 24 November 2007
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x0x Turkish news for week ending 24 November 2007
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* Voice of America reported on Thursday that the European Union
has told Turkey to deepen its reforms and reform faster. A recent
report by the union says that limits on free speech are
undermining Turkey's chances of becoming a full member of the
The report says that Turkey also needs to reform its judiciary,
fight corruption and strip the military of its political powers.
The Voice of America article points out that Turkey entered into
negotiations with the European Union two years ago, but now
Turkey's European Union membership bid lies at the core of a
bitter controversy over how much farther to expand Europe's
The arrival of European Union leaders opposed to a Turkish
membership may undermine Europe's end of the bargain. For example,
the French president Nicholas Sarkozy wants talks put on hold,
until European leaders agree to his plan for a group of so-called
"wisemen" to examine Europe's future.
* The Italian foreign affairs minister Massimo D'Alema has
reiterated Italy's support for Turkey's membership of the European
Union provided Turkey makes key concessions on human rights and on
the status of Cyprus, reports the Italian news agency AKI on
Mr. D'Alema was speaking at the end of the fourth Turkish-
Italian forum held in Istanbul on Thursday. Earlier he had talks
with his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan during his two-day
AKI writes that Turkey's negotiations with the European Union
stalled after the December 2005 Union decision to freeze 8 of 35
"negotiating chapters" because of Turkey's refusal to open it
ports to trade with the Greek government of Cyprus.
Turkey says that it would open its ports when the embargo on the
Turkish Cypriots lifted as well.
* The Chinese news agency Xinhua reports that Iraqi army has
surrounded a large camp in northern Iraq and set up checkpoints.
The camp is said to be used by the Turkish rebel Kurds.
In related news Agence France-Presse reports that the Turkish
President praised the Iraqi Kurds on Wednesday for taking steps
against Kurdish rebels based in their autonomous region but warned
that Turkey retains the option of a military strike.
* Reuters reported on Tuesday that the Turkish President has
approved a law allowing construction of the country's first set of
nuclear power plants.
Turkey imports majority of its energy in the form of oil. The
nuclear power plants are intended to help avert a serious energy
shortfall in the fast growing Turkish economy.
Turkey also signed a $1-billion deal with Iran for the upgrading
of existing power transmission lines and construction of a fresh
line between the two countries, despite the US objections.
* Thompson Financial reports that Turkey's privatization Board
said on Thursday that it approved the sale of a 51% stake in the
state run petrochemicals company Petkim to the second highest
bidder in a July tender.
The bidder was a consortium of the Azerbaijani oil company
Socar, Turkey's Turcas and Saudi-based Injaz Projects.
The highest bidder was a consortium of the Kazakh Caspi Neft and
Eurasia companies, the Russian bank Troika Dialogue and a number
of Kazakh investors.
The tender commission did not give any reason as to why the
second highest bidder should be given the deal.
* The Turkish daily Hurriyet reported on Thursday that the
construction for the center leg of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway,
dubbed the "Iron Silk Road," began on Wednesday with a
groundbreaking ceremony in Marabda Station in eastern Georgia
attended by Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Georgian President
Mikhail Saakashvili and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
During the ceremony, the Turkish President told reporters that
trains from China will pass through the Caspian region, Baku,
Azerbaijan, Tbilisi, Georgia and Kars, Turkey and then will arrive
in Istanbul, after going through the Marmaray Tube currently under
construction, and then will cross Europe, go underneath the
English Channel and eventually arrive in London
* The Turkey-Greece Natural Gas Pipeline, enabling Caspian natural
gas to reach Europe for the first time, was officially opened on
Sunday with a ceremony at the Ipsala Customs Area on the Turkish
In attendance were Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his Greek
counterpart Costas Karamanlis, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev,
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler, Greek
Development Minister Christos Folias, Georgian Energy Minister
Alexander Khetaguri and US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman,
reported the Turkish dailies Aksam and Sabah.
ARTS AND CULTURE
* Anatolia News Agency reports that the "Maiden's Castle" name--
Kizkalaesi in Turkish-- is registered by the Erdemli Municipality.
The Kizkalesi castle is in Turkey's Mediterranean city of
Mersin. It is located 200 yards from the coast. Erdemli Mayor Musa
Mutlu said that many companies and institutes were using the name
Kizkalesi as they like. For example, Silifke Municipality has
launched Kizkalesi as it is located within its own borders and a
bus company has used the castle's photos on its buses. "We thought
that all these things were a handicap for the promotion of our
province and registered it for ten years. From now on, no one will
be able to claim to be the owner of the Kizkalesi name and use it
without mentioning Erdemli," he said.
The Kizkalesi town, once known as Korikos, is located 60
kilometers west of Mersin. The town attracts attention with its
climate, landscape and clean sea. Today this coast line is
considered as one of the hidden treasures of Mediterranean with
its historical places and its natural beauty. The silhouette of
the city is formed by the two castles from the Middle Ages, namely
the Korkos castle and the Maiden's caste.
Remnants of a bridge stretching from the castle to Korikos can
be seen under the water.
The city was mentioned of for the first time when the Syrian
King Antonius II ( 197 B.C.) conquered its coast.
The Roman writers Livius, Pilinius, Cicero and the Governor of
Tarsus also mentioned Korikos in their writings.
* Close to 25,000 people intrigued by UFO, aliens and other
extraterrestrial beings have satisfied their curiosity at the UFO
museum in Turkey's Aegean city of Denizli since it opened in 2005,
reports the Anatolian News Agfency
The museum was established in Istanbul in 2002 and opened in
Denizli in 2005.
Museum official Kerem Daylan said that the museum was created by
bringing together the experiences of foreign and local researchers
At the museum visitors can browse through the archives of
organizations that are conducting research on the topic, including
documents and reports, and, of course, photographs of
The most popular section is undoubtedly the statue of an alien
holding a cigarette in its hand, as well as mock ups of flying
objects and models of relevant archaeological findings.
Visits to the museum are free.
* GÜL DEMIR and NIKI GAMM of the Turkish Daily News report that an
exhibition of Mevlevis artifacts has just opened at the Istanbul
Research Institute's gallery, spectacular because over the years
people tended to throw away old Mevlevi garments. 76 pieces were
gathered from public and private collections and are shown along
with engravings, photographs, clothing and musical instruments
from all parts of the lives of the Mevlevis in the Ottoman Empire.
The boutique display of the Institute's Gallery allows visitors to
see the pieces on display up close.
Mevlevis belong to a Sufi order and are commonly known in the
west as the Whirling dervishes.
The Istanbul Research Institute is part of a range of culture
and arts projects that the Suna and Inan Kirac Foundation
pioneered since its establishment in 2003 in the fields of
culture, arts, education and healthcare. Özalp Birol, the
Foundation's General Manager for Culture and Art, is particularly
enthusiastic about this exhibition because it allows the people of
Istanbul to see Mevlevi heritage.
Altimo, a Russian-based telecommunications investment company
headed by Alexey Reznikovich, sponsors the dervish exhibition.
Mr. Reznikovich was unable to attend the opening of the
exhibition but expressed his pleasure at his company's being
sponsor as it is the Year of Mevlana.
The exhibition is on display until May 30, 2008.
* Speaking of Mevlevis, Anatolian news agency reports that
Whirling dervishes have put on a performance in Spain's capital
Queen Sofia has visited the Mevlana Museum during her visits to
Istanbul, the Central Anatolian city of Konya and Cappadocia in
September. She said the performance she watched in Turkey and
Spain were both impressive. The head of Istanbul History and
Turkish Music Association, Ömer Turgul Inançer, presented a
Spanish translation of Mevlana's work Mesnevi to the Queen.
Inançer also reminded the queen of her Greek origins and said, "We
are neighbors." A packed audience of both Turks and Spaniards
watched the performance.
The event was organized with the cooperation of the Culture and
Tourism Ministry and Turkey's Embassy in Madrid as part of
celebrations on the 800th anniversary of Rumi.
* The Turkish daily Hurriyet reports that A photography exhibition
featuring Istanbul's Beykoz district 35 years ago has opened in
Feridun Karakaya Culture Center in Anadolu Hisari, on the
Anatolian side of Istanbul. Photographs are taken by Professor
Kohei Kihara of Japan.
Now retired from teaching in a university in Tokyo, Professor
Kihara worked in Istanbul 1970-1973.
Kihara lived in an apartment in Beykoz in 1971 when he taught at
the vocational school of marine and fishery products. He was in
Istanbul thanks to the cooperation of the Turkish and Japanese
governments. He said he appreciates the Beykoz municipality for
its support of his exhibition, which consists of 35-year-old
Kihara, 67, now lives in Japan with his family, but he
emphasized that he cannot forget his memories in Beykoz. "I feel
so excited because I am back here again after so many years," he
said. The exhibition will be open for the next two weeks.
* Two American women who call Turkey their home, are exhibiting
their paintings and collages at newly opened Gölcük Municipality
Art Gallery, an hour drive East of Istanbul, reports Damaris
Kremida of the Turkish Daily News. The gallery's founder and
director says Gölcük's response to art and the two artists has
Karrie Erenoglu, 30, and Rose Deniz, 29, are part of a handful
of expatriates living in the greater municipality of Kocaeli,
located just over an hour drive East of Istanbul. Both are married
to Turkish men. They said that running into each other was
fortuitous on the one hand, and just a matter of time on the
other. They moved to Kocaeli around the same time in 2005 and said
that Turkey affected and inspired their work.
Deniz, from the Midwest, is formally trained as a painter and
said her work took a small detour in handbag design before she
could apply her paintbrush to the canvas.
An environmental design major from California, Erenoglu said
that she moved from architecture to jewelry design, which she
continues part time. It was just last summer that she started
creating unique mixed media collages.
Also Erenoglu's love of Ottoman art and Iznik tile work is
reflected in the patterns of her work. "Motifs of fruits including
grapes and pomegranates symbolized paradise in Ottoman tradition.
I enjoy using these ancient and beautiful designs as inspiration
for my work in contemporary mixed media collage," she said.
The woman behind the Gölcük Belediyesi Sanat Galerisi, Dilek
Perçin told the Turkish Daily News that the 12,000 square feet Art
Gallery was the result of post-earthquake investments in the town,
but was never used as such until last April.
The exhibition at the gallery runs through Nov. 25.
* Dogan News Agency reports that Turkey aims to host 25 million
tourists in 2008, Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul
Günay said during the opening of World Travel Market, the world's
third largest tourism fair, in London.
Günay, who held a press conference at Turkey's stand at the
fair, said the country promises more than sea and sand and aims
for a big increase in the number of tourists visiting the country.
"Of the 20 million people who came to Turkey this year, only
100,000 visited Mount Nemrut. Turkey has riches other than sea and
sand. That is why we give priority to 'four seasons, 12 months'
tourism campaigns," he said.
*Anatolian news Agency reports that the statue head of ancient
Greek god Hades, god of the underworld, has been unearthed in the
ancient city of Laodiceia near Denizli, a city on Turkey's Aegean
The unearthing of the finding was announced by Associate
Professor Celal Simsek who leads the excavations in the ancient
The excavations have been conducted in the ancient site for five
years and this year's digs uncovered a large number of marble
findings in particular, Simsek told the Anatolia news agency.
"Among the most important findings of this year are the
Aphrodite of Knidos sculpture, a queen sculpture symbolizing the
affluence and fertility found in the bath, the Eros sculpture and
the statue head of Hades. The head is a very skillfully carved
sculpture," said Simsek.
In addition to the sculptures, a large number of historical
artifacts including terracotta cups, bottles, coins, glass and
metal pieces were also unearthed.
"We also found ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus' head, which
revealed the importance the dwellers of the ancient site attached
to science, art and philosophy. Another finding is the Hellenistic
period stele for vowing with the figures of a god, two snakes, a
pine cone and an eagle depicted on it. It is an important finding
because it is unique," he said.
Simsek said the excavations have so far uncovered an ancient
street called Suriye, a central bath, a late-Roman era villa and a
glass workshop, and the early Roman period necropolis in the
ancient site. This year's works focused on restoration works in
Suriye Street while the team plans to revive the Eastern Byzantium
Gate in 2008.
Simsek added that the digs carried out in Asopos hill provided
them important evidences regarding the ancient city's history. "We
increased the known history of the ancient city from 2,300 years
to 5,000 years," he said. "The findings indicate that the ancient
city of Laodiceia was established by the Anatolian people" he
"Our aim is to establish the city museum where all the findings
could be displayed. The visitors to the city have already
increased by 500 percent in 2007. The ancient city was included in
the tour operators' programs" he said.
* The 2006 "Balkanika" prize was awarded late Sunday night to
Turkish writer Tahsin Yücel for his work "Skyscraper" during
celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the
"Balkanika" international foundation in Sofia, the Athens news
agency of Greece reported Monday.
Yücel is one of the renowned contemporary Turkish writers and
most prominent translators of science fiction books. He has been
teaching at the University of Istanbul for many years.
The other candidates for the prize were Iliet Halitzka from
Albania, Emil Antreef from Bulgaria, Helen Houzouri from Greece,
Alexander Prokopiev from the Former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia, Balendin Taskou from Romania and Gordana Tsiarints from
The "Balkanika" foundation was established in Ohrid by
intellectuals from seven different Balkan countries: Albania,
Bulgaria, Greece, FYROM, Romania, Serbia and Turkey.
The chairman of the foundation, Nikolai Stoyanov, said that the
foundation never stopped operating, even during the crisis in
Yugoslavia and the clashes in Kosovo and FYROM.
* According to the Turkish Daily News the Istanbul State Theatre
will take their performance of "Idiot House" to China this week.
The play will run today and tomorrow at the Asian Contemporary
Art Festival, which takes place in Shanghai's Dramatic Art Center
and continues until Nov. 30.
Mehlika Balkan, Erkan Tasdögen, Burak Karaman, Mustafa Ugurlu,
Kubilay Karslioglu and Tülin Özen are performing in the
Idiot House follows a group of neighbors who live in a four-
storey apartment. The landlord is a curious person who lives with
the strange and peculiar tenants. The lower floor tenant hangs
himself because his business collapses.
The apartment is built on the seashore, which was heavily built
to create a village. The play features a boat which sank in a
storm many years ago and the boat crew was lost to the depths of
the sea. The dead come back to earth for new adventures after the
suicide of the failed businessman.
* Turkish Daily News reports that the 31st International Cairo
Film Festival, will host recent Turkish films "Adam and the
Devil", "The Edge of Heaven", "Last of the Ottomans" and "Police".
The film festival will be held in Cairo from Nov. 27 to Dec. 7.
The Turkish artists Nurgül Yesilçay and Cem Özer, who star in the
film "Adam and the Devil," are on the jury.
The festival is organized with the support of the Ministry of
Culture of Egypt. This year's guest of honor is the world-famous
Egyptian film actor Omar Sharif.
* The Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry has allocated $33,000
for restoration works in the church of St. Nicholas in Antalya's
Demre township, reports the Turkish Daily News.
Archaeologist and designer, Ridvan Isler, who is working on the
restoration of the wall paintings inside the St. Nicholas Church
for more then 10 years now, traveled to Ankara to meet officials
from the responsible ministries.
The urgent works include the repairing of the roof, building a
path to protect the marbles at the entrance, repairing the pumps
that remove the rainwater and protecting the paintings from
sunlight and humidity. While the urgent restorations are scheduled
to be completed in a short period of time, the plans for the long-
term projects will continue.
* Einstein, The father of relativity had a magnetic charm around
women and received so-so report cards in grade school. Like a pop-
science concoction, an exhibition about Albert Einstein's private
life as well as his scientific discoveries has landed in Istanbul.
One can peruse intimate details of the life and work of the
famed physicist at Istanbul's Maslak Dogus Power Center. The
exhibition, covering a 280,000-square-feet area, was first opened
in the Museum of Natural History in the United States in 2002 and
has since traveled to Chicago, Boston, Ottawa, Jerusalem and
The Einstein exhibition will be open through March 2008.
* Western classical music met the tantalizing harmonies of the
Baglama, writes the Turkish Daily News. A Unique Baglama Concerto
written by renowned soloist Murat Yildirim and performed with The
Thames Philharmonic Orchestra was performed on Nov. 17 at St.
John's Church in London.
Baglama is one of the most delicate of Turkish instruments. It
is a string instrument that has a prominent place in
Turkish/Anatolian folk music. With its unique sound and playing
techniques has influenced the region's music for many centuries.
Yildirim has performed with many Turkish singers and
participated in London-community concerts since 1986. In March
2004, Yildirim and his orchestra Mozaik London performed at the
Royal Festival Hall -- the first local Turkish orchestra ever to
appear there. BBC 3 Radio and many local radio stations in London
broadcast the concert.
Yildirim aims to use his music to set a positive example for
children living in deprived areas of Britain, as an alternative
way of life to that of gang and drug culture.
* The International Bead and Beadwork Conference opened Thursday
in Istanbul. The conference, which will continue through Nov. 25,
will be held in the Istanbul Archeological Museum and Kadir Has
University's Rezan Has Museum.
As part of the conference there are nearly 100 beadworks on
display, bringing together different geographic, cultural,
archaeological and artistic works from various countries.
One can peruse a one-and-a-quarter-inch beadwork for at least 15
minutes because the beads not only have patterns on them, but they
also have detailed works of art such as a view of a forest in the
fall, a woman's face and a Japanese fish meeting in a narrow
* According to the Turkish Daily News, Director Fatih Akin's
multiple-award winning film "The Edge of Heaven" premiered Sunday
night in London.
After the screening of the film, Akin replied to questions. When
asked if there was any difference between Turkey in "The Edge of
Heaven" and in his other film "Against the Wall", Akin said it was
not an intentional thing, adding that he and Turkey were both
undergoing a change.
"The Edge of Heaven" is Akin's most recent film. The film won
the "Best Screenplay Award" at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
* "World Grandparents Day" will be celebrated for the first time
in the world in Turkey. The day chosen for World Grandparents Day
is Feb. 8. The aim is to bring together grandchildren and
grandparents in Turkey with special tour packages
* Turkish pianist Fazil Say is the composer of the music for the
Japanese cartoon "Pianist Wolfie." Besides composing for the film,
Mr. Say's finger movements were turned into a wolf's paw for the
Mr. Say, who gave life to the wolf, the leading character in the
film, watched the film in Japan during its world tour and liked it
very much. He was also happy that Japanese people liked his
compositions, daily Milliyet reported.
* Anatolia News Agency reports the fifth International Turkey
Gastronomy Festival and Food Competition is being held in the
Mediterranean city of Antalya.
The festival that started on Wednesday is hosting many chefs and
students from universities teaching tourism at the Sabanci
Congress and Fair Center.
On its first day, competitions on pastry, carving vegetables,
making bread, world cuisine and ethnic sauces were held.
Presentation of the food was the most important thing for the
competitors. Chairman of the Turkey Professional Cuisine Managers
Foundation (PMYD) Ali Riza Dölkeles said they want to turn this
festival into an international brand and added, "we want Antalya
to have a second international festival, after the international
Golden Orange Film Festival. Chefs have been taking the flavors of
Turkish cuisine abroad for so many years."
Turkey Professional Cuisine Managers Foundation has organized
Edited by Mark Nowak
* EuroCup 2008 Qualifying Round
Turkey and Greece advance to the Final Phase
Pts GP W D L GF GA
Greece 31 12 10 1 1 25 10
Turkey 24 12 7 3 2 25 11
------------EURO2008 Finals -----------
Norway 23 12 7 2 3 27 11
Bosnia-Herzegovina 16 12 4 1 6 16 21
Moldova 12 12 3 3 6 12 19
Hungary 12 12 4 0 7 11 22
Malta 5 12 1 2 9 10 31
* Turcell Superleague
Week 13 Matches
Genclerbirligi Oftas Besiktas
Istanbul BB 0 - 2 Denizlispor
FenerbahCe BB Ankaraspor
Caykur Rizespor Kasimpasa
MKE AnkaragUcU Manisaspor
G W D L GF GA Pts
1 Galatasaray 12 8 4 0 24 8 28
2 Sivasspor 12 9 1 2 23 9 28
3 FenerbahCe 12 6 4 2 18 12 22
4 Be$ikta$ 12 6 3 3 14 11 21
5 Kayseri 12 5 5 2 18 13 20
6 MKE AnkaragUcU 12 5 3 4 14 14 18
7 Denizlispor 12 5 3 4 18 15 18
8 Istanbul BB 12 5 3 4 16 12 18
9 GenClerbirliGi 12 5 2 5 14 12 17
10 Trabzonspor 12 4 4 4 14 13 16
11 Konyaspor 12 4 4 4 14 21 16
12 Gaziantepspor 12 4 2 6 14 16 14
13 VESTEL Manisa 12 3 4 5 17 20 13
14 Bursaspor 12 2 6 4 12 14 12
15 CAYKUR Rize 12 3 1 8 11 25 10
16 GenClerbirliGi 12 2 3 7 14 20 9
17 Ankaraspor 12 1 5 6 9 15 8
18 KasImpa$a 12 2 1 9 8 22 7
* Turkish Basketball
Efes P. - Besiktas 77-93
Beykoz - TED Koleji 74-76
Galatasaray - Darussafaka 88-50
T.Telekom - Alpella 97-66
Kepez Bld - Mersin 72-64
Oyak Renault - Banvit 70-73
Selcuk Uni. - Antalya 91-88
Fenerbahce - Karsiyaka 93-85
1. T.Telekom 6-1
2. Fenerbahce 5-2
3. Galatasaray 5-2
4. Karsiyaka 5-2
5. Besiktas 5-2
6. Efes P. 4-3
7. Antalya 3-4
8. Banvitspor 3-4
9. Beykoz 3-4
10. Mersin 3-4
11. Selcuk Uni. 3-4
12. Kepez Bld 3-4
13. Alpella 3-4
14. TED Koleji 3-4
15. Darussafaka 1-6
16. Oyak Renault 1-6
Hidayet Turkoglu stats
Orlando 105 - 92 Charlotte 16 pts 7 reb 6 asst 40 min
Orlando 110 - 128 San Anotnio 26 pts 5 reb 5 asst 42 min
Orlando 88 - 95 New Orleans 15 pts 7 reb 4 asst 39 min
Orlando 104 - 102 Boston 16 pts 6 reb 1 asst 39 min
Mehmet Okur stats
Utah 99 - 71 Charlotte 12 pts 5 reb 3 asst 29 min
Utah 102 - 75 New Jersey 14 pts 7 reb 1 asst 27 min
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*** Santa Rosa Junior College is exhibiting textiles from the Turkish
"From Tent to Palace: Textiles of Central Asia and Turkey"
Where: SRJC Art Gallery
This exhibit introduces to the public the historic
aesthetic sensibilities of the Turkic Islamic world as
it extended from Central Asia to Anatolia and from
tent to palace among nomadic and settled peoples. It
presents the colors, forms, and patterns of an Islamic
culture that prefigured modernity but that often
survives to inform aesthetic sensibilities in the