x0x Turkish News for the week ending 02 July 2011
- [A fully formatted version of this news is at: http://turkradio.us/subject.html ]
x0x Turkish News for the week ending 02 July 2011
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 02 July 2011]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
TURKISH CULTURAL PROGRAM, every Saturday from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M.
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Edited by Bilgin Atalay
* According to the BBC, the Turkish prime minister Mr. Recep Tayyip
Erdogan's third term in office has got off to a turbulent start after
opposition parties refused to turn up to the swearing-in of parliament, in
protest over court rulings.
More than 30 percent of elected parliamentarians in the Turkish
parliament refused to take their oath on Tuesday when parliament reopened
for the first time following elections on June 12. That result saw Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development party comfortably
re-elected for a third term.
The main opposition Republican People's Party boycotted the opening
ceremony in reaction to court decisions last week not to release two party
members from detention in a high-profile trial.
The Republican People's Party won 135 seats in the 550-member
The two Republican People's Party lawmakers in question are being
detained in connection with an investigation into an alleged nationalist
network accused of plotting to bring down the government.
Meanwhile, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party - which won 36
seats in the elections - boycotted the ceremony entirely, after the
elections board stripped deputy Hatip Dicle of his seat because of a
conviction. The seat was awarded to a runner-up from Justice and
Should other seats be reallocated to Justice and Development Party as
well, the disqualification of opponents could take the party past the
330-seat mark, which would give Erdogan a large enough majority to call a
referendum for a new constitution without the support of other parties.
Erdogan's Justice and Development Party, a socially conservative party
with Islamist roots, has 327 seats in the new parliament, including the
seat reallocated from the Peace and Democracy Party.
Meanwhile, eight elected candidates - five from the Peace and Democracy
Party, two from the Republican People's Party and one nationalist - have
been barred from taking up their seats because they are in jail.
"Eight parliamentarians have been deprived of the duty that has been
given to them. I would like to put down for the record that this is not
befitting to the history of the Turkish parliament or to our democracy,"
said 79-year-old Oktay Eksi, the oldest member of parliament, who presided
over the ceremony. He was the only Republican People's Party member who
did recite the oath.
Justice and Development Party officials say the Electoral Commission and
courts act independently, but opposition parties are crying foul.
The Nationalist Movement Party, the third opposition party, with 53
seats, fully participated in the swearing-in ceremony, despite the fact
that one of its deputies was also barred from his seat in connection with
an ongoing court case.
* Turkey's economy grew at an eye-watering 11% pace in the first quarter,
outshining China and confirming Turkey as a regional rising tiger, wrote
the Wall Street Journal.
According to the paper, the growth figure easily beat market
expectations. The growth came despite economic and political turmoil in
Europe and the Middle East. Neighboring Greece is in deep trouble, and its
leader asked Greeks to emulate the Turks.
The Wall Street Journal writes that rapid growth was one of the reasons
why the justice and development party of prime minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan did well in the June 12 general elections.
Although the growth figure was much better than expectations, the
journal says foreign investors are not rushing to Turkish assets. They are
worried about the current account deficit which stands above 8% of gross
Turkey's trade deficit also is of major concern. As we reported to you
in a previous programs, imports significantly increased whereas the
exports made only modest gains.
The Wall Street Journal says the investor nervousness has cause the
Istanbul Stock Exchange to be one of the worst performers among emerging
markets this year, down by 9.75% since early May. And the Turkish currency
is also falling with respect to other currencies.
According to the journal, there are other issues as well facing the
Turkish economy. Turkey has a very little oil of its own and spends a
major portion of its foreign earnings in buying oil and gas. Since Turkish
Manufacturing uses imported components rather than domestically made ones
that imports go up as exports increase.
* According to Vercihan Ziflioglu of the Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish
journalists apprehended under the country?s anti-terror laws are planning
to publish a newspaper called the ?Arrested Journal? with contributions of
other Turkish intellectuals. The newspaper?s first issue will reach
newsstands on July 28, the anniversary of the repeal of censorship over
the press in 1908.
Some 60 journalists are currently in prison on anti-terror charges in
Turkey, according to Necati Abay, the spokesperson for the Solidarity with
Imprisoned Journalists Platform. Mr. Abay said Turkey had managed to
outscore China in this regard. The idea of publishing the newspaper was
first advanced by the owner of Aram Publishing House, Bedri Adanir, who
was jailed in Diyarbakir Prison some years ago, the spokesperson said.
The paper?s first issue will only feature the writings of arrested
journalists, while future issues will also include the writings of other
intellectuals from outside prisons, Abay said.
The journal will be distributed as a supplement to other dailies,
eliminating the need for other distribution channels, said the
The idea of arrested journalists publishing their own journal is
extremely fitting, said Ahmet Abakay, the president of the Ankara-based
Contemporary Journalists Association. Arrested journalists will then be
able to address the public first hand.
?All arrested journalists will transmit their ideas to their readers
freely and without any intermediaries or any discrimination. They will
keep writing persistently,? Abakay said.
?Jails have unfortunately turned into spots for our intellectuals to
gather in and produce [new] ideas, past and present,? said Aytekin Yilmaz,
the mastermind of a literary project called the ?Mahsus Mahal? (Reserved
Locale) that helped young imprisoned writers write during the 1980s.
All thinking individuals with ideas have passed through prisons since
the 1960s, he added, calling the prison journal ?an extremely positive
* The Turkish satire magazine Harakiri has been forced to shut down after
being slapped with a $90,000 fine in local currency by Turkey's Children
Protection Board for being a ?harmful influence on the morality of
The magazine released its first issue in May 2011, but the board quickly
declared that three drawings in the first issue were inappropriate and
banned sales of the magazine to underage minors, in addition to levying
Kutluhan Perker, the cartoonist of the magazine, said they had been
through a very difficult experience.
Speaking with the online web portal dipnot.tv, Mr. Perker said they were
surprised by the context of the board?s citation, such as ?directing
Turkish people to laziness and adventurism? and ?encouraging adultery.?
"I thought we were the ones making jokes. From now on, I can read the
citations as a satire magazine," he said.
Law suits on more than 100 books were filed in Turkey between 2008 and
2011, while around 30 writers and translators went to court during the
first half of this year, according to reports published by the Turkish
Satirical cartoon magazines and websites have also been sued in court,
some for ?hurting people?s moral feelings,? and others in connection with
?I cannot believe what I am going through, but I am determined to keep
treading on this path insistently? told Hurriyet Daily News in a phone
?I sat before a judge in the morning and received an award in the
evening. I was punished by my country and I was granted an award from
abroad. That is a great irony,? said Irfan Sanci, owner of Sel Publishing
House. Sanci received the Freedom to Publish Prize Special Award from the
Geneva-based International Publishing Association last November.
Regarding the freedom of thought and expression, the year 2011 has
turned out to be even grimmer than 1980 when the military delivered
Turkey?s infamous coup d??tat, according to Metin Celal, the president of
the Turkish Publishers Association.
?Writers and translators are being sued, journalists are being jailed,
statues are being demolished... As if all this was not enough,
world-renowned director Emir Kusturica was invited to the Antalya Film
Festival as a member of the jury, only to be protested against. Our Nobel
laureate author Orhan Pamuk was almost sentenced to paying indemnities to
each Turkish citizen because he expressed his thoughts. Another Nobel
laureate writer, Naipaul, was invited to an organization in Istanbul and
made into a pariah on the grounds that he insulted Islam,? Mr. Celal told
Hurriyet Daily News in a phone interview.
?We are still far from the democracy we need. Turkey is not secular
enough and it is getting worse. I need a term such as ?debrainization? to
name the antidemocratic operations in our history,? Mr. Tarik Gunersel,
president of the Turkey branch for the PEN World Association of Writers,
told Hurriyet Daily News by e-mail.
* Security cameras should be set up in all provinces of Turkey in
conjunction with police and support from locals, and locals should be
encouraged to collect money in their communities to buy security systems
where the state is unable to provide the service, Istanbul?s deputy police
chief has said.
According to Kemal Erbir, the deputy police chief responsible for the
Mobile Electronic System Integration Center people are not aware of how
the system works effectively. ?But I?m afraid one day they will regret
[not installing] it. There should be pressure by the authorities on every
location. Even in the case of opening a shop, the owner should be ordered
to set up security cameras at the premises,? Erbir said, adding that the
cameras are a deterrent to theft and other crimes.
?We have experienced cases where witnesses lied about the situation, but
cameras always tell the truth,? said Erbir, adding that people now are
seeking to move to neighborhoods with cameras.
The center has been active since 2005 in Istanbul?s 39 districts with
4,012 cameras. The center is for instant monitoring and a tracking system
at intersection points. Through monitoring, the system makes it possible
to view incidents in the area by both ordinary security cameras and domes
that are able to record 12 different angles, as well as enables later
inspection by recording the incidents.
?In an addition to the fiber optics connections at 1,193 points, before
some protests, rallies or holiday celebrations, we establish wireless
cameras as well on strategic points, for instance Istanbul?s most crowded
location Taksim Square,? said Erbir, adding that in emergency cases and
with permission the police can connect to private wireless security
systems and monitor private areas, as well.
* An online chat software written by a Turkish programmer was downloaded
by 250,000 Internet users in 124 countries in 24 hours, Hurriyet daily
reported on its website.
The software, named "MSP Messenger," was written by software engineer
Necmettin Ozalp, who said the tremendous interest in the software shows
the necessity for indigenous software programs.
MSP Messenger's online translation feature has attracted users, the
report said. People speaking different languages can chat with each other
using MSP Messenger without needing any other software.
The translation feature was a first in the world, the report added.
MSP Messenger is being distributed as freeware, meaning no fees or
payments are needed to download and use the software.
ARTS AND CULTURE
* According to the Anatolia News Agency, the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization on Monday added Turkey's Selimiye
Mosque and its Social Complex on the "World Heritage List". UNESCO's
decision came after several meetings that continued until the weekend.
The square Mosque with its single great dome and four slender minarets,
dominates the skyline of the former Ottoman capital of Edirne. Sinan, the
most famous of the Ottoman architects in the 16th century, considered the
complex to be his best work. The complex includes madrasas (Islamic
schools), a covered market, a clock house, outer courtyard and library,
The interior decoration using Iznik tiles from the peak period of their
production testifies to an art form that remains unsurpassed in this
material. The complex is considered to be the most harmonious expression
ever achieved of the Ottoman kulliye, a group of buildings constructed
around a mosque and managed as a single institution.
The World Heritage Committee, responsible for the implementation of the
World Heritage Convention, comprises representatives of 21 countries,
elected by the States Parties of the World Heritage Convention for four
years. Each year, the Committee adds new sites to the List.
To date, the World Heritage List numbers 911 sites of "outstanding
universal value," including 704 cultural, 180 natural and 27 mixed sites
in 151 States Parties. The World Heritage Convention has been ratified by
187 States Parties to date.
* A Turkish ecologist has been named among the world's "emerging
explorers" by the National Geographic magazine, reports the Anatolia News
Turkish Ornithologist and Conservation Ecologist Cagan Sekercioglu, an
assistant professor at the University of Utah Department of Biology, has
entered the magazine's explorers list for 2011 due to his outstanding
studies on bird populations and environment in Costa Rica, Ethiopia and
Sekercioglu, who was presented with National Geographic's "emerging
explorer" title at a ceremony held in Washington, also received an
invitation from the White House to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama
and other senior officials in upcoming months.
Speaking to Anatolia News Agency on his success, Sekercioglu said his
interest in nature had started at very early ages and eventually led to
academic studies with scholarships at the prominent U.S. universities
Harvard and Stanford.
Sekercioglu, who also launched the world's first global "bird database",
noted that bird species on the planet were faced with the threat of
extinction by 30 percent until the year 2100.
"If we destroy birds, we destroy ourselves. Ecology is like a network
and we are located right in the middle of it. When we damage this network,
we are, in fact, getting closer to our own end," he said.
National Geographic's "Emerging Explorers Program" recognizes and
supports uniquely gifted and inspiring young adventurers, scientists,
photographers, and storytellers?explorers who are already making a
difference early in their careers.
To help the Emerging Explorers realize their potential, National
Geographic awards each of them $10,000 for research and exploration. Each
year explorers are chosen from fields as diverse as anthropology, space
exploration, mountaineering and music.
* According to the Anatolia News Agency, an Israeli jazz ensemble says it
has canceled an appearance in Turkey because of threats by pro-Islamic
Itamar Erez says his Adama ensemble was to have played in Istanbul over
the weekend, at the invitation of the Akbank Sanat foundation. But he says
after the Israeli consulate publicized the show, it drew the attention of
anti-Israel radicals who threatened to disrupt it.
He said the ensemble canceled the show at Akbank Sanat's suggestion.
A peace concert in Istanbul featuring an Israeli singer was canceled for
security concerns earlier this month after pro-Islamic protesters
threatened to disrupt it.
Relations between the two countries deteriorated sharply last year after
a deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish ship trying to breach Israel's Gaza
* According to the Hurriyet Daily News reporter Vercihan Ziflioglu, a
young, blind director has been recruited to film a dream scene in a new
Turkish movie after a childhood of overcoming difficulties convincing his
family and friends that he could study and be successful.
Devrim Tarim, who has been blind since birth, has contributed to the new
movie called ?Entelkoy ? Efekoy? by Yuksel Aksu filmed in the Aegean town
of Didim about a village?s fight against construction of a new power
plant. Tarim is the latest example of Turkey?s new generation of directors
pushing the limits of art in Turkish film.
Tarim, who studied film at Istanbul University and the Middle East
Technical University, directed a dream scene in the film. ?I hesitated
when I first received the proposal and wanted to read the script,? Tarim
said. ?The approach is very important because disabled people in Turkey
are open to exploitation. But when I learned that the director of the film
was Aksu, I accepted it, because I took script lessons from him at
* According to the Hurriyet Daily News , the 2nd International Istanbul
Opera Festival kicked off on Thursday and will continue until July 21,
hosting 19 opera shows at open air theaters and historic venues.
Istanbul?s palace gardens, historical venues and open-air theaters are
preparing to host both foreign and state ensembles.
Instead of staging the shows indoors, this year the organization chose
to enchant opera audiences with open-air venues as backdrops. With the
motto of ?Opera for Everyone,? the festival?s main attraction during the
shows will be Istanbul?s historical background. The city?s beauty and
special cultural attractions will help to open a new dimension for
Istanbul?s opera festivals, as the festival plans to bedazzle audiences to
attract more global opera ensembles and turn Istanbul into a permanent
Avid opera fans will have the chance to see eight opera productions and
one gala concert. State opera ensembles from Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir,
Mersin, Antalya and Samsun and two international opera ensembles from
Germany, Munich?s Gartnerplatztheater and the Badisches Staatstheater
Karlsruhe from near Frankfurt, will take their places onstage for the
festival. Gartnerplatztheater will stage Bertolt Brecht?s famous play ?The
rise and fall of the city of Mahagonny,? while Badisches Staatstheater
Karlsruhe will stage a contemporary interpretation of Gioacchino Rossini?s
?An Algerian Italian Girl.?
This year?s special guest Elina Garanca, one of the most important mezzo
sopranos in the world, will be singing in Hagia Irene with conductor Karel
Audiences will have the chance to see Turkish culture reflected in the
opera shows this year. The ?Abduction from the Seraglio? will be performed
July 8-12 at Yildiz Palace. ?Zaide? will be onstage from July 18-20 and
?IV Murat? onstage from July 2-3, both at Topkapi Palace. Puccini?s Tosca
will be onstage at the Cemil Topuzlu Open-air Theater on July 4. Turkish
author Halit Ziya Usakligil?s work ?Ask-i Memnu? (Forbidden Love) will
meet audiences for the first time in Istanbul at Yildiz Palace on July
15-17. Considered the last ?Carmen? of our days, Latvia?s Garanca will be
onstage in Istanbul for the first time on July 13 for the gala concert.
* Featuring over 40 concerts and more than 300 local and foreign artists,
the 18th Istanbul Jazz Festival kicked off Friday, continuing through
until July 19, reports the Hurriyet Daily News.
Building on its success last year, the second Tunel Feast will be run
the first weekend of the festival with a program even more comprehensive
than last year?s schedule. The ?festival within the festival? begins
Saturday and will continue until the late hours with concerts, workshops,
special exhibitions, treats and events in the streets throughout Beyoglu,
Sishane, Galata and Asmalimescit, alongside the main stages at Tunel and
This year?s lifetime achievement award will go to Okay Temiz, a master
who made his name heard through his innovative works and albums combining
Anatolia?s voices and music with jazz and contemporary music. Temiz, who
has more than 20 recorded albums to his name and has collaborated on more
than 40 other albums, gave numerous concerts and participated in festivals
throughout his career of over 50 years. His award will be presented at the
opening ceremony of the festival Thursday evening at The Marmara Esma
One of the pioneers of the singer-songwriter tradition, the famous
American folk singer Paul Simon will be in Istanbul for the first time as
a special festival guest. He will take the stage on July 19 at the Cemil
Topuzlu Open Air Theater.
Other legendary figures expected to attend the event include Herbie
Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Marcus Miller at an event titled ?Tribute to
The festival is being organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture
and Arts and sponsored by Garanti Bank.
* Niki Gamm of Hurriyet Daily News reports that Istanbul?s premier
Archaeology Museum is now 120 years old with a history all its own. The
idea of an imperial museum in Istanbul emerged during an era when Ottoman
authorities began trying to Westernize the empire.
The architecture of the museum reflects the styles that were in vogue in
Istanbul during the 19th century.
Istanbul?s Archaeology Museum is celebrating its double diamond jubilee
this month with more visitors than ever expected to come through its
The museum welcomed a quarter of a million visitors last year, thanks in
large part to renovations conducted for Istanbul?s tenure as the 2010
European Capital of Culture. But while the museum has become one of
Istanbul?s best repositories for displaying the city?s ancient history,
the facility itself has a history all its own, stretching well back into
The proposal to have a museum arose because of the familiarity of
several key players in the Ottoman political scene with the Louvre in
The decision to establish an imperial museum under the Education
Ministry came in 1869 with the appointment of a new director, but the idea
of a museum was dropped with his resignation and because of budget
As education minister in 1872, Ahmet Vefik Pasa set up a museum
directorship for the second time and hired the German historian,
archaeologist, epigraphist and painter, Dr. Phillip Anton Dethier. He
proved to be so successful at collecting materials that the idea of a
purpose-built museum gained traction.
When Dethier died in 1881, Osman Hamdi Bey was appointed to the position
that same year. He was a painter as well as an archaeologist with
well-placed connections in the Ottoman hierarchy.
* Cittaslow International Coordination Committee announced slow cities in
Turkey, reports the Anatolia News Agency.
The committee named Tarakli, a small town of western province of
Sakarya; Gokceada town of western province of Canakkale; Yenipazar town of
western province of Aydin and Akyaka town of Aegean province of Mugla as
Turkey's "cittaslows" or literally "slow cities".
Cittaslow is a movement founded in Italy in October 1999. The
inspiration of Cittaslow was the Slow Food organization that moves against
fast-food culture. Cittaslow organization defines itself as a growing
international network of over 120 towns in 18 countries across the world
that have adopted a set of common goals and principles to enhance their
quality of life for residents and visitors.
In simple terms, Cittaslow towns aim to be great places to live, work
and visit. They aim to support local businesses, foster local traditions,
protect the environment, welcome visitors, and encourage active
participation in community life.
See more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
EXCHANGE RATE for the U.S. dollar in New Turkish Liras: 1.61
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey: 81/61 Thunderstorms
Antalya, on the Mediterranean: 86/72 Partly Cloudy
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey: 77/64 Thunderstorms
Izmir, on the Aegean: 88/72 Partly Cloudy
Van, in Eastern Turkey 79/52 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea: 88/72 Partly Cloudy
Black Sea measured at Trabzon 73
Marmara Sea measured at Tekirdag 75
Aegean Sea measured at Izmir 75
Mediterranean Sea measured at Antalya 77
[Saat 18:30 and 19:30 'da iki kez okuyun]
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If you have any questions about Turks and Turkey, e-mail them at
14th Annual Turkish Art and Culture Festival
July 30-31, 2011, Sat & Sun, 11am - 6pm
Monterey Custom House Plaza/State Historic Park
[next to the Fisherman's Wharf]
Featuring many fun activities for the whole family, the two-day festival will include Live Turkish music and folk dances performances, Turkish art and crafts exhibits and vendor booths, Food (Doner kebap, Adana Kofte,...) and Drinks (Turkish Coffee/tea, Soft drinks, Turkish Raki, beer, wine) and Many special activities for children.
*** Planning to go to Turkey?
Take a look at our Web pages
that are full of articles and information furnished by
travelers like yourselves:
*** For more music from Turkey and the Middle East tune to
International Cultural Program.
San Francisco World TV Channel 29
Sundays at 9-10 A.M.
*** Yore dance invites you to:
Free Turkish Folkdance Classes.
Please contact with Yore Folk Ensemble for the details.
TELL YOUR FRIENDS who might be interested joining our group.
Yore Folk Ensemble
*** Azerbaijan Cultural Society of Northern California
Azeri Turkish classes: Check with the ACSNC center
web pages for dates and times: http://acsnc.org/
All are welcome to attend and learn more about
the rich and beautiful Azeri tongue.
16400 Lark Ave. Ste # 260
Los Gatos, CA 95032
ACSNC is holding our second Public Meeting,
Thursday, July 7th, 2011 at 7:30 PM.
We will discuss the upcoming events and plans and
hope to hear your feedback
regarding the past events. We would like to hear
your opinions on how to make the
new program as best as it can be.
Your ideas are greatly needed and valued!
*** Turkish Classical Music Chorus started practices again.
They are looking for singers and players of instruments
Join them on Friday evenings in San Jose
Please contact with Sema Oktay for the details.
Sema_Aksu_Oktay [at] yahoo [dot] com
TELL YOUR FRIENDS who might be interested joining the chorus.