x0x Turkish News for the week ending 22 June 2013
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x0x Turkish News for the week ending 22 June 2013
[This is a transcript of the news broadcast on 22 June 2013]
Courtesy of Turkish Radio Hour, producer of the
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Edited by Fuad Tokad* Dogan News Agency reported on Saturday that thirty-one people have been arrested over the Gezi Park protests in Ankara and Istanbul, bringing the total of those arrested during the three-week-long Gezi Park protests to 55.
Clashes broke out again late on June 21 near the U.S. Embassy on Kennedy Avenue, which has become the center of clashes in the last week. Police used tear gas and water cannons against a group of protesters who were making barricades on the road. The protesters dispersed to side streets after the police intervention. One protester reportedly passed out as a result of the tear gas.
The Turkish capital has witnessed violent police crackdowns during the demonstrations over the last three weeks with frequent clashes late at night between security forces and protesters.* German Ambassador Eberhard Pohl held talks today with Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu in the Turkish capital Ankara amid recent tensions between the two countries over Berlin's intention to halt Turkey's accession process to the European Union, reported the Anatolia News Agency.
During the meeting, which lasted around 1.5 hours, Turkey asked Germany to support Turkey during the European Union's critical meeting on June 24, when members of the bloc will decide whether to delay Turkey's accession talks, daily Hurriyet reported. Turkey also noted that both countries' foreign ministers had called for the acceleration of the accession talks only a month ago, inquiring about the change in Berlin's posture.
According to daily Hurriyet, Turkey also expressed its unease with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's televised statements, in which she spoke about having seen "horrible images" during the Gezi Park clashes in Turkey. "In many parts of the world, the police respond with similar methods to demonstrations. But for some reason what happens in Turkey is projected very differently. The language used in the statements is disturbing," the Turkish side said.
Pohl was summoned yesterday but the meeting was postponed to today as he was out of the Turkish capital. The German Foreign Ministry had also summoned Turkish Ambassador Huseyin Avni Karslioglu yesterday.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle today on the sidelines of the "Friends of Syria" core group meeting in Doha to discuss recent tensions between the two countries. The meeting came a day after Turkey and Germany summoned each other's ambassadors.
Both foreign ministers told the press after the meeting that the atmosphere was "friendly" and as two allies they had discussed every matter.
Germany insisted last week on halting negotiations with Turkey as a response to Ankara's recent police crackdown on Gezi Park protesters as the European Union was set to open talks on Chapter 22 next week, which would be the first new chapter in nearly 2.5 years. Berlin's decision has stirred a huge reaction in Ankara with European Union Minister Egemen Bagis linking Berlin's move to the campaign for upcoming parliamentary elections in Germany.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union had expressed their rejection of Turkey's European Union membership in their electoral program.* A park in an area considered sacred by the locals in the eastern province of Tunceli faces destruction after a court notice issued last week, as protests sparked by efforts to save Istanbul's Gezi Park from a urban redevelopment project are continuing all across Turkey, reported Dogan News Agency.
A local court had ruled for the demolition of the Jara Gola Cetu Park, located at the intersection of the Munzur and Pulumur rivers in the mountainous province, last Feburary saying the area should be part of the reservoir of the Uzuncayir Dam, which was completed in 2010. The Tunceli Municipality also was fined 2.2 million liras for having undertaken work to save the park and was instructed this week to carry out the court order.
However, the ruling has sparked a huge outcry as the area where the park stands is considered sacred and has a symbolic value for the Alevis who constitute the majority of the population in the province.
Tunceli Mayor Edibe Sahin told Dogan news agency that they had appealed the decision to the Constitutional Court and would apply to the European Court of Human Rights if the appeal was denied.* Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan likened the ongoing protests in Turkey to the demonstrations in Brazil during a party rally today in the Black Sea city of Samsun, arguing that the same thing was at stake in both countries.
"The same plot is being laid in Brazil. The symbols, the banners, Twitter and the international media are the same. They are doing everything they can to accomplish what they couldn't achieve in Turkey," Erdoggan said during a speech in front of thousands of Justice and Development Party supporters. He said the ongoing Gezi Park protests had only benefited the interest rate lobby. "The purpose is the same [in Brazil]," Erdogan said.
After Turkey, protests also erupted in Brazil over a hike in transportation fees in the country's biggest metropolis, Sao Paulo, which saw a heavy-handed police response. What had started as small-scale protests took on a national dimension as more than 1 million protesters took to the streets in dozens of cities last week.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff nevertheless praised the protests before vowing reforms yesterday in the fields of fighting against corruption, education and access to public transportation.
The Turkish government had agreed to put the redevelopment plan of Istanbul's central Gezi Park to a referendum after discussions with representatives of the protesters. The plan is currently on hold as a court has suspended the project from being carried out and the ruling on the appeal is awaited.
Addressing the young people who participated en mass in the Gezi Park protests, Erdogan said they had all been cheated by the interest rate lobby. "You have been used as soldiers by the interest lobbies in a plot that you could not become aware of," he said.* The decision of whether or not to delay Turkey's accession talks with the European Union has been postponed to June 24, as members of the 27-nation bloc try to change the position of Germany, which is insisting on a halt to negotiations as a response to Ankara's crackdown on protestors, reported Hurriyet Daily News.
The European Union was set to open talks on Chapter 22, regional policies, next week, after a delay of three years. The representatives of the member states in the European Commission met yesterday to adopt a common position on whether to give a green light to Turkey, but failing that they decided to take up the issue in their next meeting on June 24.
Germany's decision to block the opening of this chapter due to domestic political reasons caused a rift within the European Union countries. Although the Netherlands and Austria are aligned with Germany on this chapter, a significant majority of countries criticized the European Union heavyweight and called on it not to block the opening of the chapter on regional policies. Italy, France, Sweden, Spain, Poland and the United Kingdom have been actively engaged to convince Germany, underlining that this move would fully nix the European Union's leverage on Turkey. The issue was brought to Chancellor Angela Merkel's attention during the G-8 meeting, but her resistance has yet to be overcome thus far.
On June 24, the foreign ministers of the 27-nation bloc will also meet but the disagreement over Turkey was not put on the agenda of the meeting, according to European Union sources. This seems to be a deliberate decision in order to provide more space for behind the scenes talks between member countries. "If the issue was put on the agenda of the ministers, that would have put the whole problem under the spotlight and the positions could have become more entrenched," an European Union official who asked to remain anonymous told the Hurriyet Daily News. Member countries trying to convince Germany said that the European Union could only address all of the issues of concern in Turkey by remaining engaged with Ankara.
'This chapter a milestone'
A Foreign Ministry official said the chapter had great importance. "The chapter will mark an important milestone in our relations with the European Union. We are still awaiting for the common sense to prevail so that this chapter will be opened at the end of this month," the official told the Hurriyet Daily News, recalling that the decision-making process among the 27 countries was still continuing. "In the case of failure of the opening of this chapter, we will be obliged to give a reaction," the official stressed, without giving details.
However, suspending political dialogue, cancelling high-level visits to and from Brussels and calling Turkey's permanent representative to the European Union back to Ankara for consultations are among potential measures the Turkish government is mulling over. Despite the fact that full membership negotiations started in 2006, Turkey has only opened 13 chapters out of 35 and has closed only one chapter. The last chapter the European Union to be opened was in June 2010.* In a development likely to raise more questions over the fate of the ongoing peace process with the rebel Kurds, the Turkish Armed Forces announced on June 21 that a military helicopter carrying command staff in a mountainous area in the southeastern Anatolian province of Hakkari on June 20 was targeted by open fire.
When considering particular developments that took place since early June, this latest announcement has the potential to ring alarm bells over the process which is aimed at ending the three-decade-long conflict between the Turkish Armed Forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party.
Co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party, which is said to be the civilian wing of the rebels, Selahattin Demirtas has repeatedly voiced demands for an acceleration of the legal reforms to make sure that the peace process remains on track. On June 19, a delegation of Peace and Democracy Party deputies, who met the Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin and Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay, reiterated their demand for the Parliament to continue working on the legislation package, defined as second phase by Demirtas, as a "token of will," instead of taking a 3-month break.
Demirtas also recently warned the government that they were leading the process into a deadlock. "The government is about to lock the process," he said on June 18, while addressing his party's parliamentary group.
Acting military commander of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, Murat Karayilan, also underlined their discontent over the government's lack of action on the process. "Actually with these practices, the state, if it is appropriate to say, is doing its best to sabotage the process. It is getting ready for war," he said during an interview with the Firat news agency on June 19.* The Turkish daily Hurriyet reported that the Turkish hacker group Redhack has claimed responsibility for all tweets that were posted about the Taksim Gezi Park protests after the government announced that an investigation into the matter had been launched.
"The Justice and Development Party is going to conduct an investigation. We have posted all tweets and hacked thousands of people's computers. Don't take on the innocent ones, we are here," Redhack wrote on its Twitter account. "All accounts that re-tweet Redhack, write about Redhack, or organize the resistance, were hacked by us."
Following the message by the group, Twitter users began to announce that they were hacked by Redhack with a hashtag "#redhacktarafindanhacklendik" (#wewerehackedbyredhack).
The government recently launched an investigation into the around 5 million tweets posted about the Gezi protests including the hashtags #occupygezi, #direngeziparki and #direngezi.
Meanwhile, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said people were free to communicate via social media, but if it was used to encourage crime and violence â" referring to the Gezi Park protests â then deterrent measures should be taken.* The main opposition party has challenged the government to bring on either the police or the military to crack down on demonstrators whose single demand is freedom and slammed the ruling party for reinforcing police forces instead of heeding the people's calls for more democracy and freedom, reports the Hurriyet Daily News.
At last, the world has seen the "Turkish reality" over the Gezi Park incidents, according to the main opposition party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu , who said, "The eyes of the world have opened now. They saw the reality of Turkey. We told them about the oprression, that intellectuals and journalists are behind bars. They did not believe us." The world has seen the new Turkey under Erdogan's rule and this has degraded not the credibility of Turkey but of the prime minister, said Kilicdaroglu .
"He is sociologist, psychologist, gynecologist, astronaut... he knows everything.
"He also has expertise on a very important issue, he is a ventriloquist. If he would get one more point in the elections, he would become an aircraft engineer," Kilicdaroglu added.* According to the Hurriyet Daily News, the Turkish government launched on June 17 a study to restrict social media, an attempt that has been inspired by the Gezi protests that have spread across the country.
"We have a study on those who provoke the public via manipulations with false news and lead them to actions that would threaten the security of life and property by using Twitter, Facebook or other tools of the social media," Interior Minister Muammer Guler said. "Still, we think that the issue needs a separate regulation," he said.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the micro-blogging site Twitter a "troublemaker" on June 2.
However, the Turkish President disagrreed: Citizens cannot be permitted to conduct a "witch hunt" over Twitter, President Abdullah Gul said June 7, according to Turkish Bar Association head Metin Feyzioglu, who met with the head of state over the Gezi Park protests. "In this process, everyone needs to act responsibly and with restraint. I will not allow a witch hunt over Twitter. I will be following the judicial and executive investigation," Gul said, according to Feyzioglu.
ARTS AND CULTURE* The Anatolia News Agency reports that, a new documentary film, produced by the Konya Metropolitan Municipality and Turkish state television TRT, features the settlement of the Seljuk Empire in Anatolia, their artworks and policies they followed.
The making of the documentary started eight months ago in the Central Anatolian province of Konya and continued in about 20 provinces. Highlighting the architectural structures of the Anatolian Seljuk state, the documentary particularly focuses on the concepts of mosque, caravanserai and madrasah.* According to the Hurriyet Daily News, this year's Shanghai Film Fest is hosting Turkey as a guest of honor as part of the Turkish year in China events. The festival opened on June 15 and is hosting many Turkish films. The festival will continue until June 23.
Among the films is "The Taste of Poetry" directed by Savas Baykal, which will be competing for a Golden Goblet award, while Omer Can's movie "King of the Cotton" will also be shown.* Speaking of China and movies, Turkey's internationally renowned television series "The Magnificent Century" will be aired on Chinese television, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported. The series has been sold to China after Balkan countries, the Middle East and Russia. The series is also the first Turkish TV series sold to Italy.
"The Magnificent Century", which follows the lives of the Ottoman ruler Suleyman the Magnificent, played by Halit Ergenc, and his love, Hurrem Sultan, played by Meryem Uzerli, has been seen in more than 40 countries.
The series has recently become a current issue as Uzerli left the country to seek treatment at a clinic in Berlin for burnout. Producers announced that she would not come back to the series.* Turkish director Rezan Yesilbas's film "Silent" won the Best Film Award at the 1st International Kelar Short Film Festival, organized in the Iraqi city of Sulaymaniah. Turkish actress Nihal Yalcin also won the Best Actress award at the event reports the Anatolia News Agency.
Over the course of the four-day festival, 57 films were shown. Four Turkish short films competed for the Best Film award: "Sound in Window" , "Time" , "Silent," and "Dove" .* Organized by BiMERAS in Istanbul over the past six years, the iDANS Contemporary Dance and Performance Festival, is set to return with a difference this weekend, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.
The festival has become one of the most innovative and prestigious dance and contemporary performing arts festivals in Europe.
It is hosting "Rosas danst Rosas" by pioneer contemporary choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker on June 22 and June 23, as an expression of iDANS's struggle to continue with its "inexhaustible dance" in the most difficult conditions.
In an attempt to support the pluralistic participatory democracy movement in Turkey, tickets for the event will be free of charge.* The Hurriyet Daily News's Emrah Guler reports that the pictures and videos emerging from Gezi Park for the last 18 days are, among many other things, of great contradiction to the world trying to make sense of the protests and the clashes.
The live coverage of police brutality to protesters and civilians with tear gas and water cannons alternate with scenes of peace and solidarity the next day, like a piano concerto in the park where thousands watched and applauded, including the riot police.
German musician Davide Martello carried his piano to the center of the park on June 12 for a spontaneous performance with Turkish musician Yigit Ozatalay. The reaction was emotional, the feelings overwhelming, and the inspiration instant. Soon after, New York's Zuccotti Park, home to the Occupy Wall Street movement, had its own baby piano.
As much as the protests against the Turkish government's increasingly autocratic regime have been a source of angst and anxiety since its first days, it has also been a source of creativity and artistic inspiration. Protesters in social media have coined the term "disproportional wit" or "disproportional creativity" in an answer to the much-used term "disproportional violence" throughout the protests.
visit the website capulcular.bandcamp.com, to listen to over 80 songs written, performed and recorded during these 18 days.
Read more at >> here <<
1st prize / KRZYSZTOF GRZONDZIEL* The 30th Aydin Dogan Cartoon Contest kicked off in Bodrum on June 17 with a day-long session where judges got together to select the winner, reports the Hurriyet Daily News. br /> The selection committee, headed by Czech Adolf Born, was made up of leading figures in the cartoon world: Turkish Ercan Akyol, Latif Demirci, Selcuk Demirel, Piyale Madra, U.S. Brad Holland, Robert Mankoff, Canadian Anita Kunz, and British Ralph Steadman.
Polish cartoonist Krzysztof Grzondziel's work, which features the damage caused by wars, won the first prize in this year's contest. The second prize of the contest went to Turkish artist Asuman Kucukkantarcilar and third prize to Luxembourger Pol Leurs.
The winner of the contest will be given $8,000 while the winner of the second and third prize will be given $5,000 and $3,000. The other winning cartoons will be awarded $500.
See the rest of the cartoons at http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/Default.aspx?pageID=429&GalleryID=1479
Read more at >> here <<
Zeugma Mosaic Museum* According to the Anatolia News Agency, Turkey's southeastern city of Gaziantep, famous for its mosaics, is to host an international mosaic contest. br /> "There will be 15 countries from all around the world joining the contest. This is a very important way for us to be known worldwide" Gaziantep Deputy Governor Mehmet Tasdogen stated.
The mosaic contest will be held between Oct. 27 and 29. The contestants can apply to participate in the contest by providing three high definition jpeg formatted photos of their artwork. Ninety works will be chosen from among the applications and the winner will receive 20,000 Turkish Liras, the first runner-up will get 15,000 liras and the second runner-up will get 10,000 liras.* The Hurriyet Daily News reports that, Istanbul's Topkapi Palace is hosting for the first time the magnificent art of Korea. The exhibition "Majesty and Grace: The Art of Korea," which is being jointly organized by the Korean Culture, Sports and Tourism Ministry, the Korean National Museum and the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, opened yesterday at the Has Ahirlar section of the palace.
The exhibition displays a total of 165 artifacts, including the ones regarded as the national treasures of Korea, under five different sections. Among these items are objects unearthed from royal graves, traditional accessories symbolizing power, objects symbolizing Buddhism, the first religion in old Korea and pots and porcelains reflecting the local life in Korea.
The exhibition will continue until Sept. 29.* According to the Dogan News Agency, The 10th International Cappadocia Arts Camp, organized by Karlik Evi, started on June 20 in the Uchisar region of Cappadocia, Turkey.
Abdullah Sen, the manager of Karlik Evi, said Cappadocia was one of the few open-air museums in the world with its many natural, historical and cultural attractions. They aim to increase the number of arts and culture activities held in the city and benefit the promotion of the city worldwide.
Germany, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, France, Canada, Crimean, Turkish Cyprus, Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Greece are the countries attending the camp this year with 24 artists in total.
The painters attending the camp will have a walk through the wonders of Cappadocia and then express this energy in the garden of Karlik Evi in their artwork. The artwork they have created will be exhibited on June 28 for art lovers.* According to the Hurriyet Daily News, one of the big names of Turkish literature, Peride Celal has died at the age of 97, Can Publishing House announced June 16 in a written statement.
Her literary career can be divided into two parts. During the first half, she wrote mostly romantic novels. During the second half, she focused on the twisted and corrupt lives of the Turkish bourgeoisie.
She was the guest of honor at 15th Istanbul International Book Fair in 1996. Her novel "Red Vase" was adapted for the film with two different scripts by Atif Yilmaz in 1961 and 1969. Another novel of hers, "Yildiztepe" was adapted to the screen in 1965 by Memduh Un, and her short story "Island" by Sureyya Duru in 1988.
She won the Sedat Simav Literray Award in 1977 with her novel "Three 24 hours" and the Orhan Kemal Novel Award in 1991 with "Kurtlar."
[Saat 18:30 and 19:30 'da iki kez okuyun]
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