x0x Turkish News for the week ending 02 January 2010
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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 02 January 2010
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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* According to Turkish dailies Sabah and Aksam, in
an address to the nation the Turkish prime
minister said on Wednesday that Turkey has come a
long way towards solving its chronic problems and
becoming a more peaceful and prosperous country
under Justice and Development Party government.
"In 2009, when giant world economies were rocked
by the global financial crisis, it is clear that
Turkey made its way successfully on a firm ground
established over the last seven years," he said.
Prime Minister Erdogan said that though the
government had revised economic targets, Turkey
had not seen irreparable economic devastation.
He also expressed his expectations of the coming
year. "I see 2010 as a year in which the Turkish
people will completely weather the economic
crisis, escape its fallout, and have a rising
vigor for growth," he said.
Citing Turkey's average 5.8 percent growth in
2002-2008, Erdogan said it pulled itself back from
the brink of a disaster in 2002 to become the
world's 17th-largest economy, rising from number
He said that his government also brought the
inflation to single digits.
Touching on Turkey's European Union accession bid,
Mr. Erdogan called on the European Union to treat
it fairly. Stressing that Turkey has remained
resolved to join the Union despite "unfair
treatment," Mr. Erdogan added, "We have showed our
commitment and sincerity by opening the twelfth
policy chapter on the environment in the European
Union negotiations. And now we expect the same
from European Union members."
* Speaking of the European Union, the Turkish
daily Turkiye reports that on Wednesday the
Turkish prime minister Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan
spoke more about Turkey's membership in the Union
at a joint press conference with the visiting
Belgian prime minister Yves Leterme.
Mr. Erdogan says that Turkey's eventual European
Union accession will help Europe contribute more
to world peace.
A European Union with Turkey as a member improve
peace, stability, harmony and prosperity around
the world, the Turkish prime minister said.
The Belgian prime minister in turn said that
Turkey's European Union accession negotiations are
open ended, and that the accession process must be
streamlined and encouraged.
The Belgian prime minister pointed out that his
first foreign visit was to Turkey and that this is
no coincidence. He said that he considered Turkey
to be a crucial country.
Turkey has been vying for membership in the
European Union for many decades. However, some
European Union member countries are opposing
Turkey's membership. These days it is France and
Germany that are leading the opposition.
* The Hurriyet Daily News reports that the Iraqi
vice president Adil Abdulmahdi was in Turkey this
week. Mr Abdulmahdi met with the Turkish
president, prime minister and the foreign affairs
Cooperation to fight terrorism and boost economic
relations topped the talks, including a tripartite
mechanism between Iraq, the US and Turkey to
eliminate the rebel Turkish Kurds' presence in
The Turkish Petroleum Corporation also recently
won an oil tender in Iraq as a part of an
international consortium led by Russia's Gazprom.
As Turkey is interested in more investments in the
fields of construction, oil and gas, promising
opportunities were discussed by Iraqi and Turkish
delegations as part of talks in the Turkish
As Iraq approaches general elections next month,
ethnic conflicts and the country's fragile
security were also discussed. Turkey urged all
ethnicities to be involved in politics and
participate in the legislative process to shape
their country's future, diplomatic sources said.
* According to the Turkish daily Turkiye, U.S.
ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey said that the
US welcomes a possible restarting of
Syrian-Israeli peace talks under Turkish
"If both sides agree on a mediator, we will
support it," he said, when asked about Israeli
foreign affairs minister Mr. Avigdor Lieberman's
recent remarks seeming to rule out such a Turkish
role. "The US will especially welcome Turkey as a
mediator. Until a year ago, Turkey played an
extremely important and successful role in
indirect peace talks between Syria and Israel."
Asked about the rising controversy over Iran's
nuclear program, Ambassador Jeffrey expressed hope
that this crisis will come to an end as soon as
possible. Praising both Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu for their active promotion of a peaceful
solution to the issue, Ambassador Jeffrey said,
"This is a serious problem for the whole world. If
international efforts to solve this problem
through diplomacy fail, it will be brought to the
UN Security Council."
In related news, Israeli lawmakers criticized
their foreign affairs minister Mr. Lieberman for
bluntly rejecting Turkey as a mediator in any
future peace talks with Syria, saying he is
harming Israel's interests.
Turkish-mediated indirect talks between Syria and
Israel collapsed following Israel's operation in
Gaza which ended early last year, leaving 1,400
* According to Agence France-Presse, Turkey's
foreign affairs minister and his host the Saudi
Arabian foreign affairs minister called on Israel
to halt settlements in Palestine to enable peace
talks to move ahead.
"There should be a freeze on the settlements in
all the occupied territories, and especially in
east Jerusalem," Turkish foreign affairs minister
Mr. Davutoglu said.
In related news, the Palestinian president Mahmoud
Abbas will pay a formal visit to the Turkey on
January 6-7, reported the Anatolia News Agency on
* According to the Dogan News Agency, the Turkish
police and protesters clashed in Istanbul's
Dolapdere neighborhood on Saturday evening.
Protesters, demonstrating against the recent round
up of Kurdish public officials, were dispersed by
the police with tear gas.
Police trying to break up the protest was
confronted with fireworks and Molotov cocktails by
the crowds gathered near Serdar Omer Pasa Avenue.
In December police arrested several former members
of the recently outlawed Democratic Society Party
as part of an investigation against the outlawed
Kurdistan Workers' Party and its offshoots in
More than 100 people were charged in the
investigation carried out in several provinces by
the chief prosecutor's office in Diyarbakir.
A number of protests and riots have taken place
since then, especially in Turkey's mainly Kurdish
* The Hurriyet Daily News, an English daily in
Turkey, says that the free trade agreements are
helping Turkey's economy.
The daily says that export to the countries that
Turkey has free trade agreements rose 10 percent
in the first 10 months in 2009, even as Turkey's
aggregate exports dropped 28 percent.
The Hurriyet Daily News writes that Turkey has
free trade agreements with 26 countries. Turkey
is also carrying out negotiations with more
countries for further free trade. Among these
countries are Lebanon, the Gulf cooperation
Council -- which includes the United Arab
Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain, and
Mercosur countries Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay,
Paraguay, the Faroe Islands, Ukraine, Mauritius,
Seychelles and Libya.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Edited by Carol Dean
* The Hurriyet Daily News writes that Turks
celebrated the arrival of the new year with
enthusiasm and much festivity.
Thousands crammed into the Taksim Square and the
streets of Ni$antI$I in Istanbul and thousands
more into the Republic Square in Izmir for hours
of entertainment before counting down the last
seconds of the first decade of the 21st century.
In Istanbul, Turkish authorities deployed some
2,000 police around Taksim Square to prevent
pickpockets and the disturbers of peace that have
marred New Year celebrations in the past. Some
officers were under cover, disguised as street
vendors or "even in Santa Claus costume," Istanbul
Gov. Muammer Guler said, according to the
* In a search for new paths that are both
profitable and nature-friendly, as traditional
tourism nears a possible saturation point,
"eco-tourism" has emerged to suit then sector's
needs and expectations, writes the Hurriyet Daily
News of Turkey.
Coined at the 2002 Rio Environment Summit,
eco-tourism refers to making the best use of
natural resources without harming the environment
while contributing to the economic development of
locals without affecting their cultures.
Among the most suitable destinations for
eco-tourism, Turkey is noteworthy especially for
its flora, fauna and untouched natural beauty.
Eco-tourism could be very profitable for Turkey if
practices are put into effect in various parts of
the country, Antalya tourism investor Kemal Ergin
told the Hurriyet Daily News.
"It benefits both tourists and the country," he
said. "While tourists pay less for a holiday that
goes hand-in-hand with nature instead of spending
it inside the walls of a luxurious five-star
hotel, the country gains much more from it than
any other industry since its total costs are
comparatively lower in ensuring a good amount of
Stressing that eco-tourism requires lower capital
costs and shrinks faster in terms of investments,
Ergin said it is on the way to becoming one of the
strongest trends in the tourism sector.
In related news, Turkey attracted nearly 26
million tourists in the first 11 months of last
year. Through November, many German, Russian and
British tourists came to Turkey, especially to the
The figure is a 2.4 percent rise over last year,
tourism officials said. The visitors came from all
around the world including 4.2 million Germans,
2.6 million Russians, 2.3 million British
visitors, and tourists from Iran, Bulgaria, the
Netherlands, Georgia, France, the US, and Italy.
Most of the tourists entered Turkey through the
Mediterranean province of Antalya, the
southwestern province of Mugla, and Istanbul. The
number of Iranian and Arab tourists also rose.
Nearly 140,000 Iranian tourists and more than 1
million visitors from the Middle East came to
Turkey in the first 11 months.
While 70.3 percent of tourists arrived in Turkey
by plane, 21.6 percent came by land.
* The Hurriyet Daily News reporter Muge Akgun
writes that food writer and cook Byron Ayanoglu,
who emigrated to Canada with his family at the age
of 12, returned to Istanbul 51 years later.
Mr. Ayanoglu started working in the restaurant
business when he was short of money in Britain,
where he went to study theater. "It was incredible
that the son of an Istanbul family became a cook.
Until I came to London when I was 21, I never
entered the kitchen," he said.
Mr. Ayanoglu has been writing about food for
various newspapers and magazines in Canada for
over 25 years. His book "Crete on the Half-Shell"
was given the "Gourmand Best Mediterranean Food
Book" award in 2003.
Mr. Ayanoglu, who is known as the "God of Food" in
Canada , said he wants to spend his life in Turkey
from now on. His plan is to continue writing on
food philosophy, novels and restaurant critiques.
* Renowned Turkish-German director Fatih AkIn's
latest film "Soul Kitchen" had its Turkish
premiere Tuesday night at Kanyon Movie Theater in
Istanbul . The film, which will be released
throughout the country on Jan. 1, 2010, brought
together actors Adam Bousdoukos, Pheline Roggan,
Anna Bederke and Birol Unel.
"Soul Kitchen" features the story of a restaurant
run by Zinos, who is a third-generation Greek
living in Germany . Zinos has to decide between
moving to China with his lover to save his
relationship, or staying in Germany and saving his
restaurant. But while trying to do everything he
loses it all. Asked whether the movie was a risk
given that it was his first attempt in the comedy
genre, AkIn said as a viewer he liked all cinema
genres and if he has time he would like to make
films in each one.
He also said the Venice prize was a surprise for
him because he did not expect a comedy film to win
at the festival, adding that the jury told him
they rewarded "Soul Kitchen" because of the film
Meanwhile, he said could not attend the Cannes
Film Festival because the film was not ready on
time. "I thank God for every award. These awards
make us progress. I was a jury member at festivals
like Cannes but saw that it is not a matter of a
good film but of chance," he said, adding that
some jury members evaluate films according to
their mood on that day.
AkIn uses various ethnic characters in his films.
Asked whether he chose an ethnic angle for the
film because of Germany 's demographics, he said:
"I see Adam [Bousdoukos] not as a Greek but as
Adam. I see Birol [Unel] not as a Turk but as
Birol. I don't see the girls as Germans. This is
the same in the U.S. and Turkey, too. This is
globalization. I have lived with Albanians and
Arabs since my childhood. I see them as not a
people of any country but as humans."
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in New Turkish Liras: 1.49
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey----------: 57/45 Showers
Antalya, on the Mediterranean------: 70/55 Thunderstorms
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey---: 59/54 Showers
Izmir, on the Aegean---------------: 66/63 Showers
Trabzon, on the Black Sea----------: 75/54 Showers
Snow depths at skiing locations:
Erciyes, in Kayseri, Central Turkey 16 inches
Ilgaz, in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey 6 inches
Kartalkaya, in Bolu, Western Turkey 16 inches
Palandoken, in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey 18 inches
Saklikent, in Antalya, Southern Turkey 2 inches
Sarikamis, in Kars, Eastern Turkey 31 inches
Uludag, in Bursa, Western Turkey 6 inches
* Strong wind and heavy rain affected life negatively in Turkey's coastal
provinces on Saturday.
Strong winds blew off the top of a minaret in Aksehir, Konya, on
Saturday afternoon. According to the Anatolia news agency, nobody was hurt
when the pieces fell into the mosque's tea garden.
Sea transport came to a halt due to strong southwesterly winds in the
Canakkale province. Meteorology experts said that storms and heavy rain
were expected in the Mediterranean province of Antalya and the
southwestern province of Mugla on Saturday.
The northwestern province of Tekirdag was also affected negatively by
southwestern winds, whose speed rose up to 30 km. Ferry trips to Karabiga
and Erdek were cancelled.
A total of 31 ships travelling in the Marmara Sea toward the Bosphorus
Straits had to anchor near Tekirdag's Sark?y town due to the wind reaching
a speed of 80 km/h.
Meteorology experts in Tekirdag announced that southwestern wind would
be present in the city centre today and warned the citizens to take
All ferry trips, apart from the Karsiyaka-Konak route, were cancelled
due to bad weather conditions in the Aegean province of Izmir.
Ferry trips in Gulf of Izmit were also cancelled and high waves damaged
buildings on the coast line.
No soccer until Febrauary.
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