x0x Turkish news for week ending 23 February 2008
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x0x Turkish news for week ending 23 February 2008
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A service of the TURKISH RADIO HOUR, producer of:
TURKISH CULTURAL PROGRAM
Saturdays at 6:00 P.M.
KUSF FM 90.3, San Francisco
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Ahmet Toprak edited today's news. Your host is Fuad Tokad
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Edited by Fuad Tokad
* The Turkish press reported that 10,000 troops backed by warplanes and
Cobra attack helicopters entered northern Iraq, but the U.S command in
Iraq said only a few hundred Turkish troops joined the operation.
There were several reports indicating that Turkish troops moved anywhere
from 10 to 25 miles into Iraq.
Television footage showed dozens of tanks moving at high speed along the
The operation was reportedly concentrated in the Hakurk region, south of
the Turkish border town of Cukurca. The Anatolia news agency reported that
warplanes were seen taking off from the air base in Diyarbakir, in
southeastern Turkey. It said planes and helicopters were conducting
reconnaissance flights over the border region, and that military units
were deployed at the border to prevent terrorist infiltration.
The Dogan news agency reported that the Habur border gate, a major
conduit for trade between Iraq and Turkey, was closed to vehicle traffic.
But Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Hayati Yazici reportedly said the
border gate was not closed, but that priority was being given to Turkish
Turkey launched several major land operations in the 1990s into northern
Iraq to hunt down the Kurdistan Workers Party militants, but failed to
dislodge them. The military has confirmed a total of five aerial attacks
inside Iraq since Dec. 16, which came as part of the intelligence sharing
mechanism with the United States that began after the November meeting
between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President George W.
Bush who declared the Kurdistan Workers Party a common enemy.
U.S. administration said that they have been informed of the incursion
ahead of time.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern about the situation.
"The protection of civilian life on both sides of the border remains the
paramount concern," he said.
Correspondents say Turkey's aim is to isolate rebels of the Kurdistan
Workers' Party, and to prevent them using northern Iraq as a launch-pad
for attacks on Turkish soil, reported BBC News.
More than 30,000 people have been killed since the Kurdistan Workers
Party began fighting in 1984 as a separatist movement.
Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union consider Kurdistan Workers Party
as a terrorist organization.
Iraq's foreign minister said his government had only had been informed
of the Turkish incursion "in the last minute" - and did not approve it.
"This is a limited military incursion into a remote, isolated and
uninhabited region," Mr Zebari told BBC.
"But if it goes on, I think it could destabilize the region, because
really one mistake could lead to further escalation."
Mr. Zebari said despite a Turkish promise to Baghdad that Turkish troops
would "avoid targeting the infrastructure", a number of bridges had
already been destroyed.
* As Turkish troops launched a ground operation into northern Iraq on
Friday, Turkey's President Abdullah Gul invited his Iraqi counterpart
Jalal Talabani to Ankara for official talks, in a move to ease tensions
with Baghdad which reportedly had opposed the military offensive.
President Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan engaged in a
series of diplomatic phone calls late Thursday to inform its neighbor Iraq
and ally the United States about the military's offensive.
In his call to Iraq, President Gul tried to assure Talabani that the
troops have no other purpose than hunting down Kurdistan Workers Party
militants and would be withdrawn when the task is completed, diplomatic
sources said. Talabani, on the other hand, accepted the invitation but did
not welcome the offensive.
* Turkish President Abdullah Gul has signed into law a constitutional
amendment which allow women to wear Islamic headscarves at universities,
reported the BBC News.
The main opposition party in Turkey, where the state is strictly
secular, has said it will ask the Constitutional Court to quash the law.
Correspondents say Turkey's secular elite fear the reform will undermine
the separation of state and religion.
There is reported to you two weeks ago, the Turkish parliament passed
the amendment by an overwhelming majority.
A strict headscarf ban had been in force in Turkish universities since
1997. The ban came after the staunchly secularist military exerted
pressure to oust a government it saw as too Islamist.
The changes state that only traditional scarves will be permitted in
universities, tied loosely under the chin.
Headscarves that cover the neck are still banned, as is the "charshaf"
and the all-enveloping "buruk".
A Turkish University professor in the Turkish capital Ankara disputed
that the new amendment will resolve the issue of wearing headscarves, and
predicted that the Turkish Constitutional court will upheld the ban.
ARTS AND CULTURE
* The Turkish daily News reports that Islamic art pieces, part of the
Louvre Museum's collection in Paris are now on display in Istanbul's Sakip
Turkey's President Abdullah Gül opened the exhibition on Monday. The
exhibition is titled "Istanbul, Isfahan, Delhi: Three Capitals of Islamic
Art, Masterpieces from the Louvre Collection"
"This exhibition comes as a chance to Turkish viewers who have seen
Islamic art only through the Ottoman point of view... They can see the
Islamic art's variety in a larger spectrum. They can see how different
they are and also find common points," said the museum's director, Nazan
Ölçer during at a press conference earlier that day.
The works in the exhibit includes works from the Ottoman Empire, the
Safavid Empire in Iran and the Mughals in India.
The relationship between the Louvre Museum and the the Sakip Sabanci
Museum first started in the 2000 when the museum's calligraphy collection
was exhibited in Paris. A cultural and scientific collaboration agreement
was signed between the two institutions on Mar. 20, 2007. The exhibition
comes as the first activity under this agreement.
See more abut it at: http://www.mymerhaba.com/en/main/content.asp_Q_id_E_3513
* This year's Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Belgrade, Serbia
on May 20-24 and Turkey will be presented through one of its popular rock
bands, Mor ve Ötesi (Violet and Beyond).
The band will sing a song named "Deli" (Crazy) at the contest. A special
panle of judges made up of Turkish Radio Television Corporation officials
as well as Turkish music professionals.
The band, formed in 1995, is known to be anti-war and environmentalist.
It has released five albums.
The band members said they will need support because this year the
competition is tough.
Mor Ve Ötesi will participate in the second semi final of the Eurovision
Song Contest on Thursday, May 22.
See Mor ve Otesi at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0i-8cidT_g
* Geoffrey Lewis who has translated many Turkish books into English and
was also an important academic for the Turkish language died last Friday.
Lewis was born in London in 1920 and studied in University College and
St. John's College. He wrote the books "Teach Yourself Turkish" and
"Turkish Grammar," which are considered important for the students of the
Turkish language. He also published "The Book of Dede Korkut" in 1974.
His studies on Turkey started right after World War II.
He received the Turkish Republic Order of Merit in 1998 and honorary
doctorate from Bogazici University.
Read more about Professor Lewis at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Lewis_Lewis
* According to the Anatolian News Agency, Pope Benedictus' visit in 2006
to Istanbul's Saint Sophia increased the interest in the 1400-year-old
In 2006, 1.6 million people visited the museum, and this number increased
to 2.2 million in 2007.
St. Sophia was built in between 532 and 537 as a church on the orders of
the Byzantine emperor Justinian.
After the conquest of the then Constantinople by Ottomans in 1453, it
served as a mosque until 1935.
The Turkish republic then converted it into a museum. In the process the
ancient Byzantine mosaics on the walls and the dome, which were covered
in 1600's not to offend the moslem worshipers, were uncovered.
* According to the Turkish private channel NTV, a study to determine the
best universities in the world placed three of Turkey's state higher
education facilities in the top 500.
The Istanbul Technical University was the best ranked of Turkeys
universities, being ranked 390. The Middle East Technical University was
the next best placed Turkish university with a ranking of 438, while the
Istanbul University rounded out Turkeys state backed entries in the top
500, coming in at 472.
Only one of Turkeys private universities made it into the top 500, with
Ankara's Bilkent University being 479 on the list, with the next best
rated private university being the Sabanci University, which came the
See more about Turkish universities at: http://www.columbia.edu/~sss31/Turkiye/universite.html
* Turkish American Scientists and Scholars Association, is holding an
information meeting on Friday March 14 at 7:00pm at the Türkevi, 821 UN
Plaza (46th Street and 1st Avenue), New York, NY 10017.
The association's mission is to establish a sustainable science bridge
between the United States of America and Turkey for the purpose of
facilitating the advancement of science in both countries via scientific
and scholarly exchange. Established in June 2004 as an independent,
non-profit and non-political organization, TASSA promotes educational,
scientific, and technological networking and collaboration between the two
The association says that previous three annual TASSA conferences
brought together prominent scientists and scholars from leading Turkish
and American institutions, as well as policy makers in science and
education. They provided a venue for strengthening and enhancing the
scientific and technological cooperation between the United States and
Turkish American Scientists and Scholars Association will hold its 4th
annual conference on April 11-13, 2008 at Harvard Medical School
Conference Center, Boston, USA.
This years conference theme is "Innovation as Driver for Social
Transformation and Economic Growth."
For more information point your browsers to: http://www.tassausa.org/
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 1.2
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey----------: 46/32 Mostly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean------: 63/41 Partly cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey---: 52/43 Mostly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean---------------: 52/43 Partly cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea----------: 48/37 Decreasing Cloudiness
Snow depths at skiing locations:
Davraz, in Isparta , South Central Turkey 59 inches
Erciyes, in Kayseri, Central Turkey 57 inches
Ilgaz, in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey 104 inches
Kartalkaya, in Bolu, Western Turkey 100 inches
Palandoken, in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey 33 inches
Sarikamis, in Kars, Eastern Turkey 71 inches
Uludag, in Bursa, Western Turkey 77 inches
Saklikent, in Antalya, Southern Turkey 39 inches
*** Turkish American Association of California is a non-profit
charitable organization established to promote better
understanding between Americans and Turks.
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