x0x Turkish News for the week ending 23 January 2010
x0x Turkish News for the week ending 23 January 2010
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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NEWSEdited by Fokad Tokad
* The Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reported Friday that Turkish police launched a nationwide crackdown on suspected militants linked to the al Qaida terror network.
120 people were detained during simultaneous pre-dawn raids in 16 provinces including Mersin, Bursa, Elazig, Sanliurfa, Mus, Samsun and Izmir.
Those detained include a staff member of the Yuzunci Yil University in the eastern city of Van, who is suspected of recruiting students at the campus and other people through the internet and of sending them to Afghanistan for training.
The suspect was identified only by his initials M.E.Y. Other suspects included some local leaders, university students, and people believed to be spreading al Qaida propaganda.
* A SunExpress flight from Germany to Turkey made an emergency landing in the Greek city of Thessaloniki on Friday after a bomb threat, broadcaster CNNTurk reported Friday evening.
"Someone called the pilot on his mobile phone and threatened him," said a Greek civil aviation official who declined to be named, according to the Anatolia news agency. "The plane has landed safely."
The plane was carrying 69 passengers, Anatolia also reported.
* Turkish foreign affairs minister Mr. Ahmet Davutoglu and his Jordanian counterpart, Nasser Judeh, agreed Friday to establish a high-level, strategic cooperation council and mediate between rival Palestinian groups reported Hurriyet Daily News.
Turkish president Abdullah Gul’s recent visit to Jordan has had a positive effect on bilateral relations, Mr. Davutoglu said, noting recent visa exemption and free trade agreements.
Turkey, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon have also agreed to establish a de facto customs union through the new free trade and visa arrangements.
"Turkey is exerting efforts that would form the basis of permanent peace and stability in the region. A strong economic cooperation zone will be created in the Middle East as a result," Mr. Davutoglu said.
The Jordanian foreign affairs minister Judeh said, "The Palestinian question lies at the heart of the Middle East problem and the Arab-Israeli conflict." Praising Turkey’s regional role, Judeh said he agreed completely with Mr. Davutoglu’s remarks.
East Jerusalem is "a red line," and any one-sided action, including excavations in the vicinity of the Temple Mount or the construction of new settlements, will cause severe tension since both Muslims and Christians see it as a special place, Mr. Judeh said.
* Anatolia News Agency reported Friday that the Turkish search-and-rescue team AKUT pulled another person out alive from under the rubble of a supermarket eight days after the magnitude-7 earthquake devasted Haiti.
The Turkish Search and Rescue Association saved at least six people.
* Foreign property owners in Turkish Cyprus have expressed alarm over a British court ruling that has ordered a couple to tear down a villa built on disputed land and pay compensation to the owner, Agence France-Presse reported on Thursday.
"It’s very bad news for everyone... What can they do, pack up and leave?" asked Marian Stokes, an Irishwoman who lives in the northern port town of Girne.
Around 8,000 Britons live in the Turkish sector of the Mediterranean island.
As well as affecting the expatriate community, the ruling could have worrying consequences for northern Cyprus, where, according to the Greek Cypriot government’s statistics, as much as 78 percent of the land was owned by Greek Cypriots before 1974.
However, Turkish Cypriots say that most of the land was originally theirs and was confiscated from them in 1960s.
Property is one of the most complex and divisive parts of the Cyprus issue, Agence France-Presse adds.
* In related news, the Hurriyet Daily News reported on Friday that Turkey's prime minister Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a phone call to his British counterpart Gordon Brown, expressing his concerns that the UK court’s ruling will be misused to damage the ongoing peace negotiations in Cyprus.
The two leaders also discussed bilateral and international issues including Cyprus, Afghanistan and Africa.
Both prime ministers agreed to encourage Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders to find a solution for the long-divided island.
In the telephone conversation Mr. Brown said: "I understand your reaction, but it is impossible to intervene in the independence of the judiciary."
The British leader also affirmed that his country would continue to support Turkey’s European Union membership bid.
* Turkish Central Bank Gov. Durmus, Yilmaz will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, while the country’s top politicians opt to stay away, reported the Hurriyet Daily News.
Turkey's prime minister Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed out of the summit last year, saying, "I am finished with Davos" following a row with Israeli President Shimon Peres in the public forum. The two clashed over Israel’s military assault against Gaza.
Mr. Erdogan said on Jan. 11 that he would not attend this year’s meeting, followed by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan’s announcement on Jan. 14 that he would not attend either. A day later, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek told reporters a trip to the Gulf made him drop his plans to attend.
Mr. Erdogan’s public support in Turkey surged after he walked out of the debate with Peres, according to poll data published in February 2009.
The theme of the Geneva-based forum’s 40th conference, held in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, is to challenge decision-makers to "rethink, redesign and rebuild" the global economy after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
About 1,400 executives from 1,000 companies and more than 30 heads of state or government are scheduled to attend the five-day summit, which begins Jan. 27.
* The number of foreign tourists visiting Turkey rose 12.4 percent in December from a year earlier, reported Bloomberg News.
About 1.2 million visitors arrived in the month, up from 1.1 million in the same month of 2008, the Tourism Ministry in Ankara said on its Web site on Friday.
In all of 2009, arrivals rose 2.8 percent from a year earlier to 27.1 million, the ministry said.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Edited by Anita Donohoe
* Sahika Temur of Hurriyet Daily News says that rapid changes in coffee-consumption habits in recent years have created adverse conditions for old-style coffeehouses in Turkey as they try to compete against international chains.
In this climate, coffee-cup reading, a method of fortunetelling using the grounds of Turkish coffee, has become one of the important ways for traditional coffeehouses to attract customers.
"Our products are similar: Both of us are selling coffee," said Ferhat $irin from the Be$ Kuru$ coffeehouse, referring to his chain competitors. "Through fortunetelling, we maintain our revenue to survive."
Many operators of traditional coffeehouses strongly believe that fortunetelling is their advantage in competing against international chains. Shop owners frequently offer free fortunetelling with purchase of a cup of traditional Turkish coffee. Yet since fortunetelling is illegal in Turkey -- punishable with prison terms of up to 20 years --, shop owners doing so also face police raids from time to time.
"Many coffeehouses that people visited for fortunetelling have been closed," said Atilla Ozcan. "However, it is difficult to cope with them. They have mushroomed in Istanbul."
Zeynep Karakas, a fortuneteller at Be$ Kuru$ coffeehouse, claims she can predict the developments that might happen within two months based on the energy she receives from a visitor.
"I can never tell fortunes about developments that need a long time to happen, such as five years or a decade," said Karakas, who has been dubbed "Egyptian Zeynep."
The first coffeehouses in Istanbul were opened in 1555 by two Syrian merchants in the vibrant Ottoman commercial center of Tahtakala. Holders of high offices, dignitaries and pleasure-seekers were regular patrons of these shops.
Coffee mainly gained an outstanding reputation in the Ottoman court, becoming the most respected beverage of the era, after Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent tasted it. Reliable servants who could be trusted to keep secrets were assigned to make coffee for the Sultan. Some rose from these special coffee-making responsibilities all the way to the position of grand vizier.
Europe was introduced to its earliest coffeehouses by Ottoman merchants and high-ranking officials. Ottoman ambassador Suleyman Aga first offered coffee to the upper class in Paris under the reign of Louis XIV. Starting in the early 17th century, coffee became both a temptation and a habit for Europeans.
See more: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com
* British novelist Roger Norman, renowned for his page-turning novels that sweep readers up in an undercurrent of supernatural fantasy, today lives as an exile, albeit a voluntary one, in Turkey, writes the Hurriyet Daily News writer Ceylan Yeginsu.
Norman first came to the country in 1992, arriving at Istanbul’s Sirkeci station by train and then traveling to the historical Haydarpa$a station on the city’s Asian side to continue his journey to the Turkish capital, Ankara.
"Haydarpa$a is my favorite railway station in the world. The line of cormorants at the water’s edge, the charming little blue-tiled ticket kiosk where the boats come in, the huge, impressive concourse," Norman said in an interview with the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review. "[It has] punctual, comfortable trains, polite service, good cheap food at the railway canteen – everything the traveler wants."
Prior to his arrival in Turkey, Norman worked as an olive farmer in Greece, where he spent 12 years. Since Turkey is close to Greece, it felt like the right kind of adventure, he said.
After arriving in Ankara, Norman spent nearly five years working as a features editor at the Daily News, then known as the Turkish Daily News. He also gave lectures at the English department at Hacettepe University. When asked how his perception of Turkey has changed over the years, Norman said: "Regarding Turkey as a whole, there’s a honeymoon period, of course. With me, it lasted for five years, with a few exceptions. Now I know more, see more, find more to criticize, occasionally get infuriated by bureaucracy or bad driving, but I still like it here, which is proven by the fact that I’m not moving and have no intention of doing so."
During his fifth year in Turkey, Norman moved back to England, where he worked on his book "Red Die." The novel recounts the last weeks in the life of a World War I army deserter, Jack Yeoman, in October 1916 as he travels across the Dorset countryside, pursued by his enemies and guided by a set of red dice.
Having completed the majority of his novel, the writer moved back to Turkey, this time to the northwestern city of Eski$ehir. Asked what precipitated the move, Norman said, "In a word – my wife." He explained that Eski$ehir is her hometown, where she lectures at a university.
Norman told the Daily News that he hopes to write something about Turkey when he feels he knows enough about the country. Speaking of one of his favorite Turkish writers, Ya$ar Kemal, he added. "I’d like to think that he might have influenced me in some respects, but I won’t really know that until I attempt a book in a Turkish setting."
Setting a novel in Turkey, he said, would be a very demanding task.
"It takes a deep confidence in terms of atmosphere, character and incident, which is not easily feigned," Norman said.
See more: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com
* Istanbul on Saturday launched a year of art events as it became one of three European Capitals of Culture for 2010. The launch began with concerts, street shows and firework displays.
The accolade, bestowed by the European Union, is seen by Turkey as an opportunity to reaffirm its bid to join the bloc. It is also an opportunity to showcase a diverse heritage shaped by both Western and Eastern cultures.
Festivities, including light shows, were organized at seven locations across the city of 14 million, symbolizing the seven hills on which ancient Istanbul was built.
Istanbul, which once served as the capital of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, has been designated as a cultural capital along with the German city of Essen and the Hungarian city of Pecs.
The first Turkish city to be given the title, Istanbul hopes to increase its number of visitors from 7.5 million to 10 million with around 170 cultural events throughout the year.
Founded by Roman Emperor Constantine in 330 under the name of Constantinople, the city was conquered by Ottoman Turks in 1453 and served as their capital until modern Turkey was founded in 1923, with its capital in Ankara.
Istanbul however has remained as Turkey's cultural and financial center, growing into a sprawling metropolis spread over dozens of square kilometers on both sides of the Bosphorus Strait, which separates Europe and Asia.
The program will feature the opening of the "Museum of Innocence" in July, conceived by 2006 Nobel literature laureate Orhan Pamuk. This will follow the release of his latest novel bearing the same name. It will also feature the exhibition "From Byzantium to Istanbul" in September and November. The European Universities Theatre Festival is scheduled for May, and a concert by Irish rock band U2 in September.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znt5o0F2tVU
See more: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com
* Ali Oz stands before a powerful image of an Iraqi woman with a tear coursing down her cheek, a photograph he took in the lead-up to the current war in Iraq. This time however Oz is the subject, as young journalists take his photo and quiz him about his exhibition. Notes are taken, and although they’d rather stay and chat with Oz, looming deadlines force them to rush back to their offices.
"Journalists don’t have enough time anymore," he said to the Hurriyet Daily News writer Jane Tuna-Akatay, looking saddened as they left the room. "Back in my day, we would investigate and really spend a good amount of time on a story."
He is a soft-spoken, modest man who for the last three decades has poured boundless energy and passion into his profession. He says in a sensitive country like Turkey, any irresponsibly reported information could easily incite an intense public reaction.
"Like a doctor looks after the health of a person, journalists look after the health of a country, so I take my job very seriously. Since I started in the media industry, I have been careful and meticulous about getting to the truth of an issue," he said.
Early on, Oz decided to become a journalist. At the age of 26, he graduated from Ankara University’s Political Science and Media faculty and moved to Istanbul to start his first job working for the now defunct political magazine Nokta; that was in 1979, a year before the military coup and a very heated time in Turkish politics.
"It was a volatile time and there was a feeling in the air that something big was going to happen. It was a steep learning curve for me, but also an interesting time to have started journalism," he said.
Shortly after he started, Oz saw a photo that changed the course of his life. "At that time, images from the Vietnam War were flowing freely across the world. The one that struck my heart was the black and white photo of a naked girl [Kim Phuc – taken by Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Nick Ut] running in pain and despair from the severe burns resulting from a napalm attack on her village."
"There was so much tragedy going on with the war that words were no longer enough. Seeing this photo made me realize how photography could capture something words could not, and that’s when I realized how important photography really was."
"Since then I’ve devoted my life to photography and using my camera as a weapon as a means to fight against war, poverty and suffering in my own country," he said.
Despite constantly battling bureaucratic hurdles and facing life-threatening situations, Oz has gone on to take an estimated 1 million photos over the last three decades.
"Honestly, I think my addiction to photography is at the level of a mad man. This job has also taken its toll on my body – my elbows and knees are in pain all the time. But I can’t stop taking photographs even if I’m limping and my arms are weak," Oz said.
While he is a well-respected photojournalist among his peers, Oz is also admired across the complex Turkish political sphere. Unlike fellow journalists, he has never been sentenced to prison for his work.
"It still baffles me that I did not get into trouble like some of my journalist friends. Even with this exhibition, I’ve had very different people from different walks of life and political views all give positive feedback," he said.
"Turkey Through Photography – 1982 to 2009" is on display in Trabzon until the end of today. Dates will be announced soon for Izmir, Ankara, DiyarbakIr, Adana and Germany. The exhibition will also feature at the Yunus Nadi Literary Festival in Fethiye, Mugla. For further information, visit www.alioz.net
See more: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com
* According to the Anatolia News Agency, the Women’s Artifacts Library and Information Center Foundation, located in the Balat neighborhood of Istanbul’s Fatih district, has been an invaluable resource on the history of women for 20 years.
The library catalogs the history of women with more than 10,000 books, 500 periodical publications, 3,000 articles, thousands of newspaper clippings and many other documents collected over the past two decades.
"The library was established by five women volunteers so that they could learn about women’s history, present the collected information to researchers and bequeath today’s written documents to future generations," AslI Davaz, one of the institution’s founders and its current executive board chair, told the Anatolia news agency.
According to Davaz, similar facilities were founded throughout the world at the end of the 1930s as a result of the burgeoning feminist movement.
"We decided to open this library because our country did not have a similar institution, because the women’s movement has a century-long history and because these documents were not collected anywhere," Davaz said. "No other institutes systematically collected documents produced by women’s associations, women’s private archives and very rare magazines and bulletins. Now we are doing this."
The library building was provided by the Istanbul municipality, the co-founder noted. "There are works from the 19th century to the present in the library... But we are far behind what we should have," she said. "After all, no libraries throughout the world particularly progressed when faced with impossibilities."
Donations from members, along with revenue from the sales of postcards, publications and agenda books, are crucial to the continued existence of the library, Davaz added.
The library has prepared a different theme every year since its establishment. "This year’s theme is ‘Women’s Magazines from the Ottoman [Era] to the Republic,’" Davaz said. "At the same time, we make women visible with our agendas, which are like a bedside book."
Davaz said that the library and the archives function as a "memory bank" for women and women’s movements and that many conferences, panel discussions, festivities, concerts, exhibitions and international symposiums on women have been organized at the facility over the years.
The library has a large audience including students, businesswomen, politicians and visitors from foreign countries, Davaz said. "Our library is open to everyone. [But] this is not a library that gives books out for people to read. This is a research library," she added. "Our aim is to continue to collect documents and keep them. This is a kind of National Library of women."
The library includes private archives from Turkey’s first female lawyer, Sureyya Agaoglu, the country’s first female mayor, Mufide Ilhan, and its first female sculptor, Zerrin Bolukba$I.
See more: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com
* A book presenting 500 years of maps of Istanbul was released this week, including everything from a map of the city’s Byzantine heritage to one geared toward insurance companies.
The book, titled "1422-1922 Istanbul HaritalarI" (1422-1922 Istanbul Maps), was prepared by art historian Dr. Ay$e Yeti$kin Kubilay in consultation with TopkapI Palace Museum Director Professor Ilber OrtaylI and the support of the Agaoglu companies group. It was published by Denizler Book Store.
The book includes 100 maps chosen from 580 documents by Nick Adjemoglu, an Istanbul local living in Greece, Kubilay said, adding that it does not feature Istanbul’s history or Istanbul maps, but "Istanbul in maps."
According to the art historian, the first known map of Istanbul was a handwritten document from 1422 by a famous traveler and mapmaker from Florence, Christoforo Boundelmonte.
"Boundelmonte’s map, titled ‘Urbis Constantinopolitanae,’ is significant since it was drawn as a result of his observations during his visit, as well as being the first map of the city," she said. "Many maps and plans featuring Istanbul during the same period were drawn by people who never visited the city."
Kubilay added that the city’s first printed, and second oldest, map was published by Hartman Schedel in 1453 and featured Byzantine Istanbul. "The map shows the city from the Sea of Marmara and includes Surici [the Old City inside the walls] and the Galata-Pera region," she said. "It is like a landscape picture rather than a plan or a map. It is actually an illustration of the city."
Giuseppe Rosaccio’s map from 1598 is the oldest Istanbul map using the silver printing method, the historian said, noting also that "One of the most important mapmakers of the 16th century, Swede Sebastian Munster’s Istanbul maps were included in the most popular atlas of the time."
Italian jurist and family tree researcher Antonio Abizzi’s "Istanbul Map of a Family Tree," which includes the dynastic lists of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, is just one of the maps in the book that utilizes alternative perspectives.
The book concludes with a map for insurance companies created by Jacques Pervititch in 1922. "Istanbul was a city of fires and a potential market for fire-insurance companies. Fires occurred all the time because houses were made of wood," Kubilay said. "This is why the number of insurance companies increased in the city and companies prepared fire maps."
"Thanks to the maps, I entered the streets of Istanbul. I visited the city like a Byzantine in the Byzantium period, and like an Ottoman in the Ottoman period," she said. "The book provides a journey through time starting from 1422. I walked on the streets of the city, examining the buildings. I stayed in the villages on the coast of the Bosphorus. Istanbul is the capital of the world."
See more: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com
* Istanbul hosted the U.S. Travel Channel’s popular program "Anthony Bourdain: No Resevations" in 2009, according to the Hurriyet Daily News. The show is now being broadcast.
Gourmet chef, writer and producer Bourdain is known as the channel’s most famous hosts. In his program, Bourdain spontaneously discovers cities and promotes local cuisine culture. "Turkey was a mysterious place for me. I did not know what I would face in the country. But when I came to Istanbul, I saw a modern and sophisticated city as well as a historic one. It was a big surprise for me to know the richness and variety of Turkish cuisine," he said.
Visiting the city during the month of Ramadan, Bourdain began the day with a Turkish breakfast at a cafe with the Bosphorus view, tasted various flavors in Taksim and enjoyed eating on the streets.
Director of the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office in New York, Nihan Bekar made a statement about the issue. She said the Culture and Tourism Ministry paid special attention to the program project and that Bourdain’s Turkey discovery would affect many chefs, writers and travel program producers. She said the program has been broadcast twice in prime time.
See the show at:
1 of 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecFfC-3557Y
2 of 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hViI2wQdrq4&NR=1
3 of 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHyOQkbCxsk&NR=1
4 of 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UazFCb8gZfM&feature=related
5 of 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmvByCf4w-4&feature=related
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----------: 39/32 Snow Antalya, on the Mediterranean------: 59/50 Showers Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey---: 36/32 Showers Izmir, on the Aegean---------------: 41/39 Mostly Cloudy Trabzon, on the Black Sea----------: 52/45 Showers
Snow depths at skiing locations:
Erciyes, in Kayseri, Central Turkey 41 inches Ilgaz, in Kastamonu, North Central Turkey 20 inches Kartalkaya, in Bolu, Western Turkey 59 inches Palandoken, in Erzurum, Eastern Turkey 31 inches Saklikent, in Antalya, Southern Turkey - inches Sarikamis, in Kars, Eastern Turkey 59 inches Uludag, in Bursa, Western Turkey 43 inches
[Saat 18:30 and 19:30 'da iki kez okuyun]
*** THE MEDITERRANEAN STUDIES FORUM at STANFORD UNIVERSITY
presents*** Turkish American Business Connection members are getting together in Palo Alto Thursday.
PROF. AHMET EVIN
Sabanci University (Istanbul) / Transatlantic Academy Fellow
"The Regional Context of Turkey's Foreign Policy"
Abstract: Taking a contemporary policy-focused approach, this presentation will focus on the changes in Turkey's neighborhood and the concomitant transformation of Turkey's foreign policy since the demise of the Soviet Union and the beginning of the competition for the energy resources in the Caspian region. How and under which conditions can Turkey's transatlantic obligations, EU membership objectives, and regional aspirations can be reconciled?
Monday, January 25, noon- 1:30 pm
Encina Hall East, Rm. E008 (Ground floor)
616 Serra Street, Stanford
Nonmembers are welcome.*** The Turkish Coalition of America Summer Internship
The chance to connect with new people and expand your network!
Date: Thursday, January 28, 2010
Time: 7:00pm - 11:00pm
Location: Wine Room
Street: 520 Ramona St.
City/Town: Palo Alto, CA
Application deadline has been extended to February 1, 2010. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience Washington and its process.
This program will provide an opportunity for Turkish American students to live and work in Washington D.C. and become exposed to U.S. governmental bodies and policy-making processes. Through this program, TCA intends to contribute to the preparation of future Turkish American political leaders and enhance the participation of the Turkish American community in American political life.
Interns will work for 3 weeks or more between June-August 2010 in offices of Members of U.S. Congress or select governmental and non-governmental organizations. Accordingly, TCA will provide interns with a modest monthly stipend.
Currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students in addition to recent graduates are eligible to apply for this program. Applicants must hold U.S. citizenship and submit completed application materials no later than February 1, 2010 via email to Beril Unver at bunver@.... Or go to the Turkish coalition of America web site at www.tc-america.com.
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*** Yore dance invites you to:
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