x0x Turkish news for week ending 17 May 2008
- *** Audio archives of our broadcasts are at:
Also available for your MP3 players at: http://turkradio.podomatic.com/
x0x Turkish news for week ending 17 May 2008
[Best when viewed with the courier font.]
A service of the TURKISH RADIO HOUR, producer of:
TURKISH CULTURAL PROGRAM
Saturdays at 6:00 P.M.
KUSF FM 90.3, San Francisco
Also tune to
Tuesdays at 10:00 P.M.
KKUP FM 91.5, CUPERTINO
Ahmet Toprak edited today's news. Your host is Fuad Tokad
For a subscription to the Internet edition of this news,
send a blank email to:
Edited by Okan Kolak
* Turkish papers devoted their front pages to the
historic visit of Britain's Queen Elizabeth the next
factor to Turkey Tuesday through Friday at the
invitation of Turkish President Abdullah Gul.
This is the Queen's first visit to Turkey in over 35
years. The Queen arrived in Ankara in the evening,
accompanied by her husband Prince Philip, British
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
David Miliband, and a delegation.
The Queen first visited the mausoleum of Turkish
Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, followed by a
state banquet in her honour at the Cankaya Presidential
Palace hosted by President Abdullah Gul and his wife
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, and many leading
figures from politics, business, and the media also
During the dinner, the queen made a toast in honor of
the friendship between the two countries, and stressed
Turkey's importance for Europe and the world. Saying
that Turkey has been going through a critical period in
recent years, the queen reiterated Britain's firm
support for Turkey's European Union accession bid, and
highlighted the strategic partner relationship between
the two countries. The queen said that with its
strategic position along energy transportation
corridors, Turkey's accession to the Union would
enhance the EU's worldwide influence.
On Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince
Philip traveled to the northwestern province of Bursa.
The queen visited the historical Koza Han (Silk Cocoon
Market), attended a luncheon, watched a fashion show,
saw a traditional Karagoz shadow puppet performance
with children, visited the Green Mosque and briefed by
Professor Ilber Ortayli about the mosque's history. A
She was accompanied by State Minister Mehmet Aydin and
Bursa Governor Sahabettin Harput.
Meanwhile, Prince Philip visited a car factory in
Bursa. He was greeted by senior executives of Turkey's
leading carmaker TOFAS, including Mustafa Koc, the
chairman of parent company the Koc Group.
Hayrunnisa Gul and Zeynep Babacan, the respective
wives of the president and foreign affairs minister,
accompanied the British royal family. On Thursday the
Queen and Prince Philip arrived in Istanbul and were
welcomed by Governor Muammer Guler, Mayor Kadir Topbas
and the British Consul General to Istanbul, Barbara
Hay. The Queen and her entourage, accompanied by
Turkish State Minister Mehmet Aydin, first attended
"Joint Science Project Between Schools" activities that
was held at Kabatas High school.
The queen later toured the "British-Turkish Design
Exhibition" at the Istanbul Modern Art Museum, while
Prince Philip visited Istanbul's maritime control
centre which oversees traffic through the Bosporus
Straits. The royal couple later joined Abdullah Gul
and his wife Hayrunnisa for a boat ride along the
In the evening, the queen hosted a reception in honor
of Turkish President Gul and the first lady aboard the
British Royal Navy aircraft carrier, HMS Illustrious.
The Queen was back in Ankara on Friday for the last day
of the visit, to attend a garden party at the British
Embassy, wrapping up the historic visit.
See more at:
* In related news, Turkish daily Turkiye reports that
Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Babacan met on
Wednesday with British Secretary of Foreign and
Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband, who was
accompanying Queen Elizabeth.
Speaking to reporters following the meeting Mr.
Babacan said that they had agreed to strengthen
bilateral cooperation against terrorism. Concerning
relations with the northern Iraqi administration, Mr.
Babacan said that Turkey's direct dialogue with the
regional administration was based on confidence
Mr. Miliband was asked about the closure case against
the ruling Justice and Development Party and said that
constitutional principles and rules should be
respected, but added that Britain believes publicly
elected governments should be supported.
* Turkish daily Aksam reports that the funerals of six
fallen soldiers who lost their lives in an attack by
Kurdistan Worker's Party on a military outpost in
Turkish town of Semdinli were held in their hometowns
Kurdistan Worker's Party, which is labeled as a
terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the
European Union, has been waging a separatist war in
Southeastern Turkey for over two decades.
In related news, as reported by Turkish daily
Milliyet, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
said on Sunday that the nation's fight against
terrorism will go on as long as it has to, and called
on terrorists to give themselves up under Turkey's
* Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reports that Democratic
Society Party group leader Ahmet Turk said on Tuesday
that if the government fails to solve the Kurdish
issue, another terror group could rise out of the
Kurdistan Worker's Party's ashes. Addressing deputies
at his party's parliamentary group meeting, Turk
criticized the government's operations against the
Pointing to the premier's call for the militants to
surrender, Mr. Turk said that Kurdistan Worker's Party
was a result of the Kurdish issue, not the reason for
it. The issue can't be resolved through the surrender
of a handful of militants, said Mr. Turk, urging the
government to take concrete steps to find a settlement
to the Kurdish issue.
* Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party
leader Deniz Baykal responded on Tuesday to Europen
Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso's
remarks that secularism cannot be imposed by force,
reports of the Turkish daily Milliyet.
Mr. Baykal said that nobody in Turkey or in the
European union has the right to veto his party's
understanding of democracy.
In related news, opposition Nationalist Movement
Party leader Devlet Bahceli also strongly criticized
recent statements by European Union officials on issues
relating to Turkey.
Mr. Bahceli said that remarks about the fundamentals
of the Republic of Turkey have strained the already
tense atmosphere even more.
* Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reports that Sumru Cortoglu,
the chairwoman of Turkey's top administrative court,
Council of State, stepped down on Tuesday, as she has
reached the mandatory retirement age.
The court will start electing its new head on May 20.
Four members of the court, Justices Yilmaz Cimen,
Mustafa Birden, Gursoy Gonenc and Turgut Candan, have
declared they will seek the post.
The court's chief justice is elected by its members
through a secret ballot. The new Council of State
chair will serve the court for four years, if mandatory
retirement age is not reached.
* Spring meetings of the Military Committee, NATO's
highest military decision-making organ, was held in
Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday, reported the
Turkish daily Turkiye.
Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit
attended the meetings to discuss issues such as
cyber-defense and ongoing military operations in
Afghanistan and Kosovo.
* Speaking on Wednesday to Turkish daily Hurriyet,
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke at length for
the first time about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan's mediation efforts between Syria and Israel
over the Golan Heights issue.
Mr. Olmert said that he was very grateful for these
efforts, called Mr. Erdogan a good friend and added
that he hoped Mr. Erdogan's efforts would bring
* Turkish Daily News reports that Turkish Justice
Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin visited Slovakia for a
meeting of the Turkish-Slovak Economic Commission.
Mr. Sahin presided over the commission meetings that
took place on Monday and Tuesday.
He also met with a number of top Slovak officials and
attended the opening ceremony of the new Slovak-Turkish
Chamber of Commerce.
* The Turkish daily Star reports last the chief of the
International Monetray Fund's Turkey desk Lorenzo
Giorgianni said on Monday that to avoid more
uncertainty among investors as global credit dries up,
Turkey should make a speedy decision on its future
relations with the International Monetary Fund after
the conclusion of its standby arrangement.
Mr. Giorgianni said that there was a lot of hard work
by government and Central Bank officials, to make this
work and added that whatever program replaces the $10
billion standby should be "home grown."
* As reported by Turkish daily Turkiye, Turkish State
Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen attended on
Tuesday the third "Turkey-Africa: Foreign Trade Bridge"
meeting organized by the Turkish Confederation of
Businessmen and Industrialists.
Speaking at the opening ceremony in Istanbul, Mr.
Tuzmen warned that food and energy prices are soaring
and that cooperation in these areas is a must.
Pointing out that in 2003 the trade volume between
Turkey and African countries amounted to $5.4 billion,
he added that this rose to $13 billion at the end of
2007 due to improving bilateral relations.
Mr. Tuzmen said they aim to boost the trade volume
with African countries to $50 billion by the end of
Speaking at the same meeting, Turkish foreign affairs
minister Ali Babacan stressed on Thursday that the
meeting would highly contribute to the improvement of
cultural, economic and commercial ties between Turkey
and African countries.
Mr. Babacan added that Turkey would host
Turkish-African Summit in August and that Turkey would
open 15 new embassies in the continent.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul also met with the
African businessmen as part of the meeting.
* Turkish daily Aksam reports that during a meeting on
Thursday, the Monetary Policy Committee, chaired by
Central Bank Governor Durmus Yilmaz, increased the
policy rates 50 base points.
Accordingly, overnight borrowing rate increased from
15.25 percent to 15.75 percent, and lending rate from
19.25 to 19.75 percent.
A report released by the committee said the bank will
continue to take necessary measures to prevent the
potential second-round effects of the adverse
developments in food and energy prices.
The report also noted that the committee will
consider the possibility of a further measured rate
hike in the next meeting.
The extent and timing of possible future rate hike
will depend on developments in global markets, external
demand, fiscal policy implementation, and other factors
affecting the medium term inflation outlook.
* According to Turkish daily Turkiye, Turkish Airlines
CEO Temel Kotil said that his airline's growth in the
first quarter of this year had reached 16 percent.
Mr. Kotil stressed that other airline companies in
Europe and US are feeling the pinch of recession and
added that last year Turkish Airlines had the best
bottom line of any European airline.
Turkish Airlines is celebrating its 75th anniversary
this year and Mr. Kotil said it intends to be the
world's most profitable airline company in 2008.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Edited by Colleen Clark
* On Wednesday this week the popular Turkish pop star
Tarkan was in Hasankeyf, a 10,000 year old town on the
Tigris River in Batman province east of Diyarbakir.
Hasankeyf is threatened with submersion from the
construction of the Ilisu dam about 25 km downriver.
Tarkan was in town to inaugurate the "Stop Ilisu Dam,
Save Hasankeyf" campaign launched by a Turkish nature
association (Doga Dernegi) to convince local and
international institutions to recognize the region as a
World Cultural and Natural Heritage site.
"The funds for this unacceptable dam project are
being provided by the European Export Credit Agencies
with the blessing of the German, Austrian and Swiss
governments, despite the fact that such a project would
never be accepted in the European Union," said Guven
Eken, executive director of the association.
Hasankeyf Mayor Abdulvahap Kusen said, "We have
struggled not to let Hasankeyf be flooded and to save
our past. We all here call on intellectuals and artists
like Tarkan to support us in this struggle."
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Hasankeyf
office, Tarkan said, "Our faith in our roots and our
conscience has to move beyond being silent witnesses to
the Ilisu Dam. We have to assure that Hasankeyf and the
Tigris will survive." Tarkan promised to continue
supporting the campaign until the government retracts
the project. He said he will return to Hasankeyf for a
concert and will bring the world media to town with
See photos of Hasankeyf at:
* Also on Wednesday, England's Queen Elizabeth II was
in Bursa in western Turkey where she attended a Karagoz
shadow theater show. Karagoz is a popular character
throughout Turkey. Karagoz is similar to an equally
popular British puppet show, Punch and Judy.
Puppet shadow theater originated in Indonesia many
centuries ago, say scholars, and spread from there to
India. Just how and when it arrived in the
Mediterranean is still in dispute. Professor Metin And,
one of the world's leading experts on theater history,
says that puppet shadow theater existed neither in
ancient Greece nor in Byzantium and there was none in
Persia or Central Asia.
It is said to have been introduced to the Ottoman
Empire after Sultan Selim I conquered Egypt in 1517.
The Sultan enjoyed the performances so much that he
brought a troupe back with him to Istanbul where it
quickly became popular everywhere from street corners
Another theater tradition dating from the Seljuk
period in Anatolia around the 12th century featured
improvisation, impersonation, and practical jokes. In
Italy it was known as commedia dell'Arte. Punch and
Judy are part of this tradition and were introduced to
the British puppet theater in 1662 by an Italian.
More on Karagoz is at: http://www.karagoztravel.com/karagozhistory.htm
* Istanbul welcomed the alternative rock legend Shellac
this Friday, capping off a month of concert madness.
The month opened with the crooning guys of The Gutter
Twins, followed by lo-fi symphony group Sebadoh last
Monday, and peaked with the glorious two-day
performance of the Canadian indie rock family Broken
Social Scene. Now, the arrival of Shellac is sure to
have alternative music aficionados on cloud nine.
Shellac's career has not been a conventional one, as
the trio has released only four records in its 16 years
of existence. Two years after it was formed by
guitarist Steve Albini, drummer Todd Trainer, and bass
player Bob Weston in 1992, Shellac recorded its debut
album "At Action Park."
Steve Albini had spent the 1980s with bands Big Black
and Rapeman, two cult acts who often strayed into the
brutal areas of noise rock. As part of these groups,
Albini helped to redefine punk. Albini is also a
recording engineer (he refuses to be called a
producer), which has helped him build his reputation as
a grandmaster of noise.
As an engineer, he worked with Nirvana, the Pixies,
Bush and PJ Harvey, among hundreds of other artists.
Albini likes to keep vocals buried behind raw guitar
and a powerful rhythm section.
In 1998, Albini and Shellac released "Terraform."
After they released "1,000 Hurts" in 2000 the music
press finally gave the band the rave reviews they
desired. Shellac's last full-length release is
"Excellent Italian Greyhound" from 2007.
Shellac performed at the Garajistanbul concert hall
in Istanbul's Beyog(lu district.
Here is a Shellac performance:
* Istanbul's pop music scene was written up in the
Travel section of the New York Times on Sunday, May
Susanne Fowler writes, "The modern beats pulsing
through this cosmopolitan city are as diverse as its
cultural history. The award-winning director Fatih
Akin, a German of Turkish descent, touched on this in a
2005 documentary, "Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of
Istanbul," which has been described as a Turkish "Buena
Vista Social Club.""
The article mentions several venues complete with
examples of performers. Links to websites are provided
as are addresses and telephone numbers.
The above mentioned Garagjistanbul is described as a
"cutting edge" place where one can hear "innovative
The city will be host to a jazz festival from July 2
to 16. www.iksv.org/caz/english
See the full article at
* The Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reports that Turkish
soprano Leyla Gencer, one of the greatest opera singers
of the 20th century, has died on Friday of heart
failure in Milan, Italy, at the age of 79. Ms. Gencer
was born in Istanbul in October 1928. She won
international recognition after her debut in 1957 at
Milan's La Scala Theater as Madame Lidoine in the world
premiere of Poulenc's "Les Dialogues des Carmelites."
Ms. Gencer performed at La Scala and other leading
world theaters until 1985, accumulating a repertoire of
more than 70 roles, notably the great heroines of
Donizetti, and was known as "La Diva Turca". She was
the artistic director of the La Scala Academy when she
A memorial service for Ms. Gencer was held in Milan
on Wednesday. The service took place at the historical
Santa Babila Church, near the Scala Theater.
Afterwards, her body was taken to the Milano Lambrate
cemetery to be cremated. Following her wishes, her
ashes were then brought to Istanbul and scattered over
the Bosphorus on Friday.
More at: http://sopranos.freeservers.com/gencer.htm
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 1.23
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey----------: 73/50 Decreasing Cloudiness
Antalya, on the Mediterranean------: 79/63 Decreasing Cloudiness
Erzurum in eastern Turkey----------: 50/37 Heavy Showers
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey---: 72/54 Decreasing Cloudiness
Izmir, on the Aegean---------------: 82/55 Decreasing Cloudiness
Trabzon, on the Black Sea----------: 64/54 Partly cloudy
* Turkish papers report that, Ferrari's Felipe Massa won on
Sunday the Turkish Grand Prix at Istanbul Park, the fifth race of the
Formula One World Championship.
The Brazilian driver started the
58-lap race in the pole position and finished in first place.
McLaren's British driver Lewis Hamilton, who started the race in the
third place, finished close behind Mr. Massa, while Ferrari's Finnish
driver Kimi Raikonnen came in third.
Istanbul was hosting the race
for the fourth time. The next stop on the Formula 1 calendar is the
55th Monaco GP in Monte Carlo on May 25th.
Turkish soccer premiere (Turkcell super) league
1.GALATASARAY A.S. 79
3.BESIKTAS A.S. 73
6.TRABZONSPOR A.S. 49
8.MKE ANKARAGUCU 43
10.ANKARASPOR A.S. 41
11.GENCLERBIRLIGI OFTASSPOR 40
12.BUYUKSEHIR BLD.SPOR 38
16.VESTEL MANISASPOR 29
17.CAYKUR RIZESPOR 29
In the last weeks games, which was the final week of the season, the
results were as follows:
GAZIANTEPSPOR 1 - 0 BUYUKSEHIR BLD.SPOR
DENIZLISPOR 5 - 1 CAYKUR RIZESPOR
KAYSERISPOR 0 - 2 MKE ANKARAGUCU
ANKARASPOR A.S. 1 - 1 BURSASPOR
TRABZONSPOR A.S. 2 - 0 FENERBAHCE
GALATASARAY A.S. 2 - 0 GENCLERBIRLIGI OFTASSPOR
KASIMPASA 2 - 1 KONYASPOR
BESIKTAS A.S. 5 - 1 VESTEL MANISASPOR
GENCLERBIRLIGI 0 - 2 SIVASSPOR
*** Turkish American Association of California is a non-profit
charitable organization established to promote better
understanding between Americans and Turks.
If you have any questions about Turks and Turkey,
e-mail them at taac@...
*** Planning to go to Turkey? Take a look at our Web pages
that are full of articles and information furnished by
travelers like yourselves:
*** For more music from Turkey and the Middle East tune to
International Cultural Program.
San Francisco World TV Channel 29
Sundays at 9-10 A.M.
*** Turkish American Association of California (TAAC) invites you to
19 May - Ataturk Remembrance, Youth and Sports Day Picnic
[TAAC Silicon Valley Chapter Kick Off Meeting]
WHEN: Sunday, May 18, 1-5pm
WHERE: SERRA Park, 730 The Dalles Ave, Sunnyvale, CA
COST: $12 TAAC members, $15 Non-members
MENU: BBQ - Kofte or Chicken
Kisir (Bulgur Salad)
Sports/entertainmen t races for adults and children
Prizes for first place winners...
Come and celebrate Youth and Sports Day, participate in friendly
competitions, and meet/network with the members of our community.
Please visit TAAC website to become a TAAC member/ renew your membership,
or you can fill out the membership forms at the site, to help and support
TAAC activities. (www.taaca.org)
TAAC is a California 501 c(3) Nonprofit Public Benefit corporation and is
eligible to write letters for the High School students for their volunteer
time at the events. Please contact TAAC at taac@... if you want to
volunteer for the event.