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x0x Turkish news for week ending 17 May 2008

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    Message 1 of 1 , May 19, 2008
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      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:

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      Ahmet Toprak edited today's news. Your host is Fuad Tokad

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      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
      on Sunday.
      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
      penitence law.

      * 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
      separatist group.
      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
      positive results.

      * 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.


      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
      to palaces.
      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
      passed away.
      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
      2.FENERBAHCE 73
      3.BESIKTAS A.S. 73
      4.SIVASSPOR 73
      5.KAYSERISPOR 55
      6.TRABZONSPOR A.S. 49
      7.DENIZLISPOR 45
      10.ANKARASPOR A.S. 41
      13.BURSASPOR 38
      14.KONYASPOR 36
      18.KASIMPASA 29

      In the last weeks games, which was the final week of the season, the
      results were as follows:



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      *** 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)
      Green Salad
      Soft drink/water

      Voleybal tournament
      Backgammon tournament
      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.

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