x0x Turkish news for week ending 26 July 2008
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x0x Turkish news for week ending 26 July 2008
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A service of the TURKISH RADIO HOUR, producer of:
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Ahmet Toprak edited today's news. Your host today is Murat Temeltas.
Anita Donohoe provided the web links for Arts and Culture section.
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* In Kars, Turkey's President Abdullah Gul on
Thursday attended a groundbreaking ceremony to
launch the construction of the Turkish leg of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, also known as the "Iron
Silk Road," reports the Turkish daily Sabah.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Alivey and Georgian
President Mikhail Saakashvili were also in
Addressing the ceremony, Gul said that the
project would create a new economic cooperation
zone in the Caucaus when it is completed, in
parallel to developing good relations among
Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Turkey's Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim
also addressed the ceremony and said the railway
links from the region will extend into Europe with
the completion of an ongoing rail tunnel project
linking the European and Asian sides of Istanbul,
and added thanks to this, the project will link
the East and West from China to England.
* The Turkish daily Star reports that Turkey's
Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Babacan was in New
York to drum up support for Turkey for the
elections to be held in October for a
non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council this
The previous day Mr. Babacan said that over the
last 10 months he had met with the foreign
ministers of 130 countries and pointed out to them
that Turkey had not had a seat on the Security
Council since 1961.
He met on Thursday with the UN permanent
representatives of Jewish associations,
Organization of Islamic Conference and Arab
countries as well as UN Secretary General Ban
During their meeting, Mr. Ban expressed his
pleasure over the recent meeting of Turkish
Republic of Northern Cyprus President Mehmet Ali
Talat and Greek Cyprus administration leader
Dimitris Christofias for a solution on the Cyprus
In related news, Alexander Downer, Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon's special representative to
Cyprus, was expected to visit Cyprus over the
* Before traveling to New York, Mr. Babacan met
with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili,
who was traveling back to Iran via Istanbul after
a weekend visit to Geneva for negotiaions with the
European Union countries.
Afterwar their meeting, the Turkish Foreign
Affairs minister said, "Turkey is holding
consultations on Iran's nuclear program with six
countries, as well as Iran itself."
He added, "We believe every sovereign country
has the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful
aims and to possess that technology. But Turkey is
opposed to nuclear weapons in its region."
* According to the Turkish daily Turkiye, Turkey
welcomed the arrest by Serbian authorities of
accused Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan
"The trial of Karadzic will ease the pains
which occurred in the former Yugoslavia, which
constituted one of the most terrible incidents of
the 20th century," said a Turkish Foreign Affairs
"This trial will also demonstrate that the
perpetrators of such tragedies can not escape
justice," the statement added.
The statement also said, "Turkey hopes that the
remaining war criminals, and particularly Ratko
Mladic, will be brought to justice, and that this
will help heal the wounds."
* Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister and government
spokesperson Cemil Cicek said on Monday July 21st
that the financial damage caused by the Turkish
Kurd rebels adds up to $300 billion dollars over
the past 25 years.
Mr. Cicek said that this amount dwarfs what
Turkey was able to invest in the predominantly
Kurdish southeast. Under the "Southestern Anatolia
Project" effort, known primarily by its Turkish
acronym GAP, Turkish government spent only around
$32 billion for the region, the minister
* Speaking of the Kurdish rebels, the daily
Turkiye reports that in a phone call to the
Turkish prime minister, German Chancellor Angela
Merkel welcomed the news of the rescue of three
German mountain climbers by Turkish security
forces from the rebels and thanked the Turkish
government and security forces for their efforts.
As we reported to you two weeks ago, underground
rebel organization Kurdistan Workers Party had
kidnapped the mountaneers from a camp on Mt.
Ararat at an elevation of 10,000 feet.
The militants reportedly had said that the
kidnapping was in response to recent action taken
by the German government against Kurdistan Workers
Party sympathizers and associations in Germany
linked to the group.
Turkey, European Union and the United States
consider the Kurdistan Workers Party a terrorist
organization. In addition to the Turkish military
personnel, the underground organization has been
responsible for the deaths of many civilians over
the years, especially those who do not sympathize
with their goals.
ARTS AND CULTURE
* The Turkish daily News writer Emrah Guler
reports that in a second adaptation to screen
three decades later, late Turkish satirist Aziz
Nesin's famous story "Yasar Ne Yasar Ne Yasamaz"
--translated into English in 1978 as 'Yasar is
Neither Alive or Dead' takes a sharp look at the
comic tragedies of the ordinary Turkish man.
"Yasar Ne Yasar Ne Yasamaz" is one of the finest
examples of the satirical master of Aziz Nesin --
a man whose work has been translated into over 30
Mr. Nesin, who died more than a decade ago, was
always courageous and a harsh critic of
oppression, bureaucracy, and economic
discrepancies among classes.
He infamously called most Turkish people stupid
in reference to their submission to various forms
of authority without questioning. He was a
frequent visitor of prisons due to his outspoken
nature on politics and he barely escaped death
when radical Islamists burned down a hotel filled
with mostly Alevi intellectuals gathered for a
cultural festival in Sivas.
See more at:
* The Anatolia News Agency reports that Turkish
amateur and professional photographers have
launched an e-petition in which they protested
Turkey's Finance Ministry's policy of levying a 20
percent excise tax on cameras.
The petition, released on the website of the
campaign said the reason why the tax was imposed
on photographers was to raise funds for Istanbul
as it has been selected as the cultural capital of
Europe for 2010.
See more at:
* According to the Turkish Daily News Turkish film
"My Marlon and Brando" directed by Huseyin
Karabey, has won the International Federation of
Film Critics FIBRESCI prize at the Jerusalem Film
Festival, which ran July 10-19.
The movie is based on the true story of its
leading actress Ayca Damgac and her attempts to
travel to northern Iraq during the current war to
see her lover.
Ms. Damgac has returned from festivals in turkey
and abroad with awards for her breakout
The world premiere of the movie was in
Rotterdam, and was followed by Huseyin Karabey
winning the "Best Director" award at the New York
Tribeca Film Festival founded by Robert De Niro.
Damgac also won the "Best Actress" award at this
year's Istanbul International Film Festival and
Adana Altin Koza Film Festival.
See more at:
* Betul Cal of the Turkish Daily News reports that
a new staging of Homer's rendering of the legend
of Troy, one of the core myths in the history of
civilization, made its debut in Turkey's southern
province of Antalya at the Aspendos Arena, near
the Aspendos Antique Theatre.
After three years of hard work, "The Legend of
Troy" was performed by a group of 120 professional
dancers from the dance group Fire of Anatolia.
Premiering at the Istanbul Show Center in
April, "Troya" attracted attention for the
technical work used on the stage and for the world
famous stars who created the musical accompaniment
for the show.
Christopher Ash, who created the stage lighting
for the musical "Chicago" came to Turkey to design
the lighting for "Troya," while the flying system
on stage, the first of its kind in Turkey, was
managed by Ted Moore, designer of the system for
Circque du Soleil.
The songs for "Troya," composed by Yucel Arzen,
were performed by the Prague Philharmonic
Orchestra, while the 80-person musical group for
the show was accompanied by world-renowned
virtuosos Gheorghe Zamfir, Civan Gasparyan and
Vassilis Saleas. Another group of 70 expert
Turkish musicians also contributed to the show
with their distinctive performances.
"The show has been performed in Istanbul as of
April playing full house at every performance,"
said media and public relations manager for Fire
of Anatolia, Ozlem ISler.
Serdar BaSbuG designed over 2,000 costumes for
the show, while Dr. Rustem Aslan, who participated
in the Troy excavations provided historical
Ancient Troy was located what is now
Northwestern Turkey. Its ruins have been excavated
for many decades.
* As to the show's venue:
The ancient settlement Aspendos located beside
the Eurymedon River near the city of Antalya, is
famous for having one of the best-preserved
ancient theaters in Turkey. This spectacular
historical site is one of the finest examples of
Roman theatre construction in the world.
Ancient performances at Aspendos were funded by
civic institutions and admission was charged for
attending plays and competitions. Performances
continue today at Aspendos which has a capacity of
15,000 people, in the form of concerts operas and
the Aspendos Arena is located next to the
Aspendos Theatre and can hold an audience of
4,500. There are shops and a parking lot inside
the complex. The new arena, at 1,300 square meters
boasts the world's biggest theater stage.
See more at:
* A culinary competition designed to revive the
tastes of authentic Ottoman cuisine will take
place in Istanbul from Aug. 15 to 17, reprorts the
Turkish Daily News.
Eleven teams will take part in the contest,
consisting of chefs from the most prominent hotels
Ottoman cuisine has been a culinary culture
shaped by the Istanbul elite since the city became
the capital of the Ottoman Empire after 1453.
Acknowledging that there was a considerable
difference between the food culture of the palace
and that of ordinary people, the competition aims
to recall the most refined tastes of the time in
order to promote Ottoman tradition and increase
its popularity in a contemporary context.
See more at:
* Cruise travelers bored with typical Caribbean
cruises have turned their eyes to Black Sea and
eastern Mediterranean voyages creating a recent
trend in cruise tourism that may prove a great
benefit to Turkey, writes the Anatolia news
"Istanbul may play the key role in cruise
tourism in the Black Sea, said Artun CaGlayan,
secretary general of the Turkish Maritime Tourism
Association. Caglayan says many prominent cruise
companies in the world have chosen Turkey's major
port city Istanbul as a homeport
Istanbul has easy access to both the
Mediterrenean and Black Seas.
See more at:
* Sile Fabric Culture and Art Festival is annually
organized by the municipality of Sile between the
last week of July and the first week of August.
The festival, which has been identifying the
tradition of Sile became in time a renowned
cultural and artistic event. The town, located 35
miles from Istanbul in the north-eastern part of
Marmara region, is a well-known tourism spot,
famous for its wonderful Black Sea coastline. In
the summer some 300,000 visitors visit Sile each
Sile festival is celebrated with the
contribution of not only famous Turkish performers
but also international guests coming from around
the world. Apart from music the event presents
poetry and literature works including meetings
with renowned writers poets cartoonists and
This year's festival, twenty-first in history,
began with shows for children, taking place on
Friday, July 25. The official opening ceremony,
held at the Festival Square, was followed by the
fashion show of clothing made from Sile fabric.
The finale of festival's first night will bring
the performance of Yesim Salkim.
Saturday and Sunday nights are to bring folk
dance shows as well as concerts of Tan and Izel,
Sami and Group Sefarad, as well as pop music
performers Nev and Kutsi.
As for the fabric that gave its name to the
festival: Sile fabric or crimpled cotton is a
light, see-through, versatile cotton material. It
has become so popular that now even the Chinese
and the Indians are producing their versions.
See more at:
* Capadocia in Central Turkey had a festival that
just ended. The Turkish Daily News writes that an
international group of 15 artist-performers from
France, Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Norway,
Israel, and the U.S. anchored their work and
presence in the everyday life of Uchisar, a town
of Capadocia, using streets squares shops
restaurants homes and the surrounding valleys as
Calling themselves "Le Mouton Rouge", artists
are made up of musicians dancers actors and visual
In addition to Uchisar town, the festival also
visited Pigeon Valley in Goreme and the Goreme
See more at:
* A study by experts from the Eastern
Mediterranean Forestry Research Institute and
Istanbul University is finding Cehennem Dere
Valley (Hell Stream Valley), in Turkey's
mediterrenean province of Mersin, highly suitable
for a variety of ecotourism activities such as
trekking, terrain bicycling, flora discoveries and
observation of natural life, reports the Anatolia
The experts has examined a forest of cedars and
spruces in the Camliyayla district of the southern
province to determine its fitness as an ecological
In addition to its rich flora and fauna, the
valley is also home to a considerable number of
ancient monasteries churches and windmills.
Among the unique plants are pinus brutia
(Turkish pine), pinus thunbergii (black pine), the
taurus cedar and the taurus spruce.
The valley is also home to various caves
cascades and geological forms.
See more at:
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras: 1.2
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey----------: 93/66 Mostly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean------: 90/66 Partly cloudy
Erzurum in eastern Turkey----------: 97/64 Partly cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey---: 84/55 Decreasing Cloudiness
Izmir, on the Aegean---------------: 84/70 Partly cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea----------: 91/66 Mostly Cloudy
Black Sea measured at Trabzon 77
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdag 79
Aegean Sea measured at Bodrum 77
Mediterranean Sea measured at Alanya 82
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*** Come and Celebrate the Turkish Arts and Culture
Aug 2-3, Saturday & Sunday
11th Annual California Turkish Arts & Culture Festival in Monterey
Custom House Plaza, Monterey, CA
Monterey State Historic Park (next to the Fisherman's Wharf)
Live Music Entertainment, Folk Dancing, Belly Dancing, Art
Food and drinks (Doner Kebap, Adana Kebap,borek, baklava, Turkish
Coffee) Many activities for Children (puppet making, painting, coloring,
story telling, folk dancing, games,...)