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x0x Turkish news for week ending 27 June 2009
[Best when viewed with the courier font.]
A service of the TURKISH RADIO HOUR, producer of:
TURKISH CULTURAL PROGRAM
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Ahmet Toprak edited today's news. Your host is Fuad Tokad.
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Edited by Fuad Tokad
* The leading issue in Turkey last week was the
controversy surrounding a document allegedly
drafted by the Turkish military outlining a plot
to undermine the ruling Justice and Development
Party, and a religious order That Supports the
Party. The document was published in a Turkish
The independent civilian judiciary would carry out
the necessary investigation and clarify the
alleged anti-government document, Prime Minister
Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday, according to the
Hurriyet Daily News.
Earlier the Military Prosecutor's Office declared
the document a forgery and further investigation
is a civilian matter, not within the jurisdiction
of military law.
The Turkish prime minister's remarks came a day
after Turkish army chief Gen. Ilker Basbug said
the alleged anti-government plan is part of a
smear campaign against the army.
Gen. Basbug has urged civilian prosecutors to find
out who is behind the document. He has also
slammed criticism directed at the military
investigation that concluded the alleged document
was a forgery, not prepared at the General Staff
Mr. Erdogan said Saturday efforts to create a
crisis of confidence between state organs would
not only harm relevant parties but entire Turkey
He said all state organs had full confidence in
each other and were loyal to the constitutional
regime and democracy.
The ruling Justice and Development Party and the
Gulen movement are accused of trying to undermine
Turkey's secular order and establish an Islamic
Mr. Gulen, the head of the movement has been
living in Pennsylvania on self-imposed exile since
1998 to avoid prosecution by Turkish authorities
for his remarks in a sermon in Turkey.
* The Turkish daily Radikal reported that Chief of
Turkish General Staff Gen Basbug said "eradicating
Justice and Developmet Party" document was aimed
at wearing down the Turkish Armed Forces while
only a few hours later civilian prosecutors
summoned the Colonel who is said to have signed
the document to bear testimony.
Gen. Ilker Basbug said the "plan to eradicate
Justice and Developmet Party and Gulen
congregation" was not a document but a mere piece
He said certain organized conspiracies turned into
a defamation campaign against Turkish Armed Forces
and regarded this campaign as an "asymmetric
The plan, which was first published two weeks ago
by daily Taraf, details ways to break popular
support for the ruling Justice and Development
Party and its influential supporter, the Muslim
cleric Fethullah Gulen, the leader of the
religious Gulen movement.
"As a result of the investigation, it has been
revealed that there is no document, but just a
piece of paper," Gen. Basbug said. "Discussing
such a paper for two weeks at a moment when there
are so many regional global developments that
concern us is really odd."
* The Turkish prime minister sought Friday to
revitalize Turkey's European Union membership bid.
The bid seems to have bogged down amid opposition
from France and Germany, along with historical
differences over Cyprus, reported the Hurriyet
"No other candidate nation has been subjected to
this kind of treatment," said Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan, who traveled to Brussels with two
senior colleagues for talks with European Union
officials. "This situation has to change," he
added, according to a report by Agence
"Some countries have adopted a political attitude
in the negotiation process, and their efforts to
slow things down upset us," he told reporters. Mr.
Erdogan dismissed proposals by France and Germany
to grant Turkey a "privileged partnership" that
would offer it enhanced trade and other ties
instead of full membership.
Also on Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu reaffirmed Turkey's commitment to
becoming an European Union member, saying speeding
up the negotiations serves the strategic interests
of the country.
"Recent busy diplomatic traffic between Turkey and
the European Union shows Turkey's increasing
motivation about the country's membership bid,"
the Anatolia news agency quoted Mr. Davutoglu as
telling a joint press conference after a meeting
with European Union Enlargement Commissioner Olli
* Speaking of Cyprus, Greek and Turkish Cypriot
leaders have agreed to open a new crossing point
linking the two communities, a United Nations
official announced Friday, Hurriyet Daily News
U.N. envoy Taye-Brook Zerihoun said the
Limnitis/Yesilirmak crossing in the island's
remote northwest will operate like six other
crossing points across the no man's land dividing
the Turkish Cypriot north and the Greek Cypriot
south that opened in 2003, according to a report
by The Associated Press.
No exact date for the crossing opening was
announced. Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris
Christofias said it will "take some time yet"
until infrastructure work is completed.
The deal also encompasses overland access and
electricity supply to Kokkina/Erenkoy on the
island's northern coast. The crossing opening is
corollary to the slow-paced talks, aimed at
satisfying a long-standing demand by Greek and
Turkish Cypriot residents to shorten travel time
to Nicosia, 65 kilometers to the east and to also
help boost the region's development.
The U.N.'s announcement came a day after European
Commission President Manuel Barroso urged rival
Cypriot leaders to open the crossing in order to
"send a good signal" and quash growing public
doubt over the talks' chances for success.
* According to the Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey's
Interior Ministry will grant the prosecutor's
office permission to launch a preliminary inquiry
into corruption claims against the Turkish capital
Ankara's Mayor Melih Gokcek.
Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office will
investigate 17 alleged cases between 2004 and
2009 that have been connected to Mr. Gokcek. 64
corruption cases had been dismissed.
Mr. Gokcek is believed to have been dealt a blow
in the March 29 local elections due to corruption
claims despite winning the race.
* There are new attempts in Turkey to change the
Constitution in a referendum to allow the
prosecution of the 1980 coup leaders.
However, Ret. Gen. Kenan Evren says he would
rather commit suicide than be prosecuted for the
Sept. 12, 1980 military coup and have to live with
such dishonor. Gen. Evren headed the military at
the time of the coup, reports the Hurriyet Daily
Speaking to daily Hurriyet's editor in chief,
Ertugrul Ozkok, and daily Milliyet's Fikret Bila
in separate telephone conversations Thursday, the
92-year-old Evren said the coup was not something
the General Staff had wanted, but something it was
forced to carry out.
After the coup, a military-dominated commission
prepared a new constitution. Subsequently the new
constitution was put to a referendum and received
the backing of 92 percent of the electorate.
Gen. Evren then retired from the military and
served as president of the country for seven
years, until Nov. 9, 1989.
The 1982 Constitution banned the prosecution of
those involved in the coup and is seen as a
conservative document that limits rights and
It has been amended many times over the years, but
there are calls -- including from the ruling
Justice and Development Party for it to be
replaced in its entirety.
Earlier this week, opposition Republican People's
Party leader Deniz Baykal called for the annulment
of Article 15 of the Constitution, which bans the
prosecution of the 1980 coup leaders. He is yet to
receive a response from the government.
* The main opposition party in Turkey filed a
lawsuit at Turkey's top court to cancel a law on
de-mining the border between Turkey and Syria,
reported the daily Cumhuriyet.
Republican People's Party executives submitted to
the Constitutional Court on Thursday their
petition, which was signed also by several
lawmakers from other opposition parties, the
Nationalist Movement Party, Democratic Society
Party, Democratic Left Party and the Turkey Party,
as well as independent deputies.
* The Turkish daily Sabah reported on Thursday
that Turkish President Abdullah Gul traveled to
China with a large delegation consisting of mostly
He will sign agreements on trade and investments
worth $2.9 billion.
Agreements will create opportunities especially in
the construction industry. Turkish companies
operating in the telecommunications, energy and
mining industries will take a huge chunk of these
Daily Vatan reported that Mr. Gul was welcomed
with full military honors by his Chinese
counterpart Hu Jintao.
Speaking to reporters about his visit, Mr. Gul
said economic issues will top the agenda of his
"Chinese executives -- be it the head of state,
the secretary-general of the Communist Party or
provincial governor -- they all act like the CEO
of a big company. You need to see China in that
way," Mr. Gul said.
Mr. Gul is the first Turkish president to visit
China in 14 years.
* Turkish parliament adopted a motion authorizing
the government to extend the mandate of Turkish
troops under the banner of U.N. Interim Force in
Lebanon for another year as of Sept. 5, 2009.
The U.N. Security Council is expected to adopt
another resolution in August to extend force's
mandate, reported daily Vatan on Wednesday.
* Merrill Lynch made striking assessments about
Turkey, writes the Turkish daily Yeni $afak .
The company, which evaluated the 12 emerging
economies of the world, said Turkey would be the
country that grows most rapidly between 2010 and
Turkish economy is predicted to grow by an annual
average of 4.5 percent in the next decade.
* Zeynep Ilgaz Pala has become the hope of U.S.
parents with the "home test set" that she
manufactured with a company she established in the
Ms. Pala won the "rising star" award granted to
individuals who take giant economic steps.
The device Ms. Pala's company is manufacturing is
a home drug usage test kit that analyzes hair
strands, without having to have the test conducted
in a lab.
Ms. Pala's home test kit is the only home device
of its type in the United States, reported daily
Yeni Safak on Tuesday.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Edited by Anita Donahoe
* Asli Saglam of Hurriyet daily news reports that
the historic city of Mardin has become a center
for film on this week with the opening of the
Fourth Mardin Film Festival on Saturday.
The opening ceremony was held on Saturday evening
at the Erdoba Mansion and, in a break from
previous years, included international guests from
Sweden, Syria and the United States.
Festival director Helun Firat said he was proud to
be holding the fourth film Festival in a city that
had no movie theater just two years ago. He hopes
to further expand the Festival beyond the Turkey's
borders to Damascus Syria.
"This year the festival brings together two close
cultures that have never come together before. The
Turkish film industry and moviegoers have never
had the chance to meet with Arab film although we
only have the border as a barrier," Mr. Tumer
Mardin is on the Syrian border in southeastern
New York-based cultural institution ArteEast is
collaborating with the Mardin festival organizers
to bring the Arab films.
Among the participants from abroad was Turkish
born Assyrian director Nuri Kino. Mr. Kino now
lives in Sweden.
With its unique medieval architecture Mardin is a
city nominated for the UNESCO list of world
See more at:
* The first Kurdish play staged on state theater
in Turkey's eastern city of Van reports the
Hurriyet Daily News correspondent Vercihan
The atmosphere has changed radically since Turkey
declared a state of emergency from 1987 to 2002 to
ensure security in the eastern and southeastern
regions of the country.
Scriptwriter and director of the play Mirza Metin
said during that time, tanks were kept outside the
theaters during performances of free theater
artists for security reasons.
"Plain clothes policemen used to come to the
theater and we had to perform our plays in the
company of police radios. We were sometimes taken
into custody and set free when they understood
that we were theater artists," said Mr. Metin.
But playwright Berfin Zenderlioglu said this time
they did not face similar problems. "State
Theaters General Director Lemi Bilgin's recent
statement that theaters are open to Kurdish plays
is in effect," she added.
See more at:
* According to the web site My Merhaba, Sakip
Sabanci Museum of Istanbul offered a free visit to
the "Voyage to West" and "Lisbon: Memories from
Another City" exhibitions for those who reside or
work at Emirgan, Bebek, Istinye and Resitpasa on
Wednesday, 24 June.
The vistors got an invitation by visiting their
muhtars-- village administrators.
The easily accessible Sabanci Museum has much to
offer from the moment you enter the garden and
walk up the hill to the mansion.
See more at:
* The Anatolian Agency reports that a new Turkish
film titled "Angels and Gamblers" is being shot by
director Ertekin AkpInar in the northwestern city
of AdapazarI. "The film tells the story of the
world of men," said AkpInar.
AkpInar said the film tells a true story about his
friends and him. He said he has worked on the film
for four-and-a-half years and has met 1,500 to
"The names of real people living in AdapazarI will
be used in the film," he said, adding that
"artists, including Cem Davran, Bulent $akrak,
Kutay Kokturk, Nail KIrmIzIgul, Hakan Mericliler
and Macit Sonkan will act in the film and the
names of the male and female leading actors will
be announced later."
See more at:
* According to the Hurriyet Daily News, Canadian
singer-songwriter, novelist and poet Leonard Cohen
is coming to Istanbul in August.
As part of his World Tour 2009, Mr. Cohen will
perform in two concerts at the Cemil Topuzlu Open
See more at:
* Students in Edirne have made a film featuring
the life of Roma citizens in their city, according
to the Hurriyet Daily News.
The film was made by Edirne's young directors of
the future as part of a project entitled
"International Youth Filmmaking." The project was
initiated last July with the support of the U.S.
State Department. As a result, the young directors
have produced two films on Roma.
The goal of this project was to promote greater
understanding and awareness among young people in
Turkey of important social issues through
youth-created films and videos. The northwestern
city of Edirne's young students chose Romas living
in the city as the theme of their films.
The young people, who ignored others' warning to
stay away Roma neighborhoods because they are
dangerous, have shot two films featuring the
position of the Roma in social life and the
troubles they face in their daily lives in the
See more at:
* The Anatolian Agency reports that the Turkish
music band, Karde$ Turkuler, will share the same
stage with Armenian and Palestinian musicians at a
concert next week at Kurucesme Arena in Istanbul
Karde$ Turkuler was formed in 1993 as a concert
project by the Bogazici University Folklore Club.
The concert aimed at interpreting Anatolian
folksongs based on their own cultural structure
and in their original languages.
The project, based on the ideal of living together
in fraternity, also took a stand against the
polarization and tensions that have been created
among different peoples in a multicultural land.
See more at:
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in New Turkish Liras: 1.54
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey----------: 82/59 Thunderstorms
Antalya, on the Mediterranean------: 88/68 Mostly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey---: 82/68 Mostly Cloudy
Izmir, on the Aegean---------------: 88/70 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea----------: 79/70 Thunderstorms
Black Sea measured at Trabzon 73
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdag 68
Aegean Sea measured at Izmir 72
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya 75
* Turkish road championships for bicyclists started in the black Sea
Province of Trabzon.
20 teams made up of 77 athletes are participating.
* In the Mediterranean Olympics taken place in Italy, Turkish lady
weightlifter Nurcan Taylan broke two records in the 53 kgs category by
lifting 109 kgs first then breaking this first record with a 112 record.
Ms Taylan received to gold medals.
Another Turkish lady weightlifter Emine Bilgin received and bronze medal
by lifting 102 kgs in the same category.
In the men's 62 kg category Turkish weightlifter Erol Bilgin is got two
gold medals. He lifted 138 kg and broke the previous record of 137 of
Tunisian Atef Jarray.
The men's 56 kg category Turkey's Sedat Artuc received a silver and Gokhan
Kilic a bronze.
In Greco-Roman wrestling the following Turkish athletes received medals:
74 kg. $eref Tufenk Gold
55 kg. Erhan Karakus Bronze
60 kg. Soner Sucu, Bronze
66 kg. Abdullah Coskun Bronze
84 kg. Akif Canbaz Bronze
In total tally Turkey's leading with 8 gold, 2 silver, and 7 bronze
medals. Second in place is Italy with 6 gold, 3 silver and 9 bronze
* In the wheelchair basketball championships that took place in Istanbul
Galatasaray became the champion. Second-place went to Be$ikta$.
* In this year is Oily Wrestling championships that will take place in
Kirkpinar in Turkey's Edirne Province, 2000 wrestlers are expected.
This is the 648th year of this traditional wrestling competition, making
in it into the Guinness World Record for the longest running sports
competition The champion will receive approximately $10,000 in local
* We will also give away tickets to the following concert. Leave your
name, telephone number and or email for a drawing. Or drop an email to
You are invited to a Azerbaijani concert on July 11 2009 at 8 PM.
The concert is brought to you by the Azerbaijan cultural society of
Featured in the concert with the musicians directly coming from
Nuriya Huseynova, Afhakerim Nafiz, Novruz Novruzlu, Helimat Sultan,
Fakhraddin Salim, Aydin Ghuliyev and Iffat
The concert will take place at the Santa Clara convention center on 5001
great America Parkway.
For more information call 408-356-0414
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