x0x Turkish news for week ending 26 July 2003
x0x Turkish news for week ending 26 July 2003
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A service of the TURKISH RADIO HOUR, producer of:
TURKISH CULTURAL PROGRAM
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Ahmet Toprak edited today's news. Your host today is Fuad Tokad.
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* Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Abdullah Gul was in Washington
this week. In a press conference at the end of his trip to Washington
Mr. Gul announced that the two allies had agreed to expand their
cooperation. Mr. Gul defined the scope of the cooperation as "Iraq,
Middle East, and beyond."
The relationship between the two countries was strained leading up
to the Iraq war when Turkish parliament refused with a narrow vote to
open its territory for a northern front against Saddam Hussein's
While the two sides were trying to mend fences after the defeat of
the Saddam Hussein regime, it was further strained three weeks ago
when U-S troops detained 11 Turkish soldiers in northern Iraq for
allegedly plotting against local Kurdish officials.
On Thursday the visiting Minister met with Secretary of State
Colin Powell. During the meeting Mr. Powell called on Turkey to send
troops to Iraq, the private Turkish channel NTV reports.
The Secretary of State and the Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister
also discussed Turkish offer to contribute to the rebuilding of the
* U-S officials have not provided details of the troops request to
Turkey, but Turkish media reports have said it would involve several
thousand troops to be stationed in central Iraq near Baghdad and
Tikrit, the hometown of former ruler Saddam Hussein says the voice of
On Wednesday, the Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister told the
Washington Post that Turkey would like to see the larger role for
itself in Iraq, not just be the policeman there. And the same day
the Turkish president Mr. Ahmet Necdet Sezer met with the opposition
leader in the Turkish parliament to talk about the Turkish troop
deployment. During the meeting President Sezer said that a United
Nations resolutions would be needed before any such deployment.
Turkish press is also reporting that the Turkish parliament has to
approve any such deployment.
* Turkish Parliament's special Anti-Corruption Commission ended its
work investigating allegations of corruption under previous
administrations, Turkish papers reported this week.
After over four months of work, the commission proposed setting up
separate investigation commissions to focus on 25 former government
ministers, including former Prime Ministers Bulent Ecevit and Mesut
A statement issued by the commission warned that corruption
threatens Turkey's security, adding that ending corruption could free
up large sums of money for improving the nations education and health
Many Turkish politicians are being suspected of taking kickbacks in
government funded construction, infrastructure and procurement
The Justice and Development party administration has made it one of
its campaign pledges to eradicate corruption. The International
Monetary Fund is also encouraging the Turkish government to clamp
down on corruption.
* The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus president Mr. Rauf
Denktash is continuing with his peace offensive.
In his latest letter to the United Nations Secretary General Kofi
Annan, Mr. Denktash proposed the eradication of mines between the
Greek and Turkish sectors of Nicosia.
* While Mr. Rauf Denktash is continuing with his efforts, and the
rapprochement between Turkey and Greece seems to be active, and there
are still international and United Nations efforts to bridge the gap
between the Turkish and Greek communities on the island of Cyprus to
reunite the island, there is still hesitance from both communities to
take further steps. As the following news indicates, the deep
mistrust and bad feelings between the two communities still persist.
Two weeks ago Lefteris Pancazis, a Greek singer, had to cancel the
concert in the Turkish zone of the island after The Greek Cypriot
authorities threatened him with six months of imprisonment, reports
the Anatolian News Agency.
However, several weeks prior to Mr. Pancazis visit to the island, a
Turkish and a Greek singer held a successful peace concert on the
Greek zone of the island. In fact the Turkish singer is also a
standing member of the Turkish parliament.
* US Ambassador to Turkey Mr. Robert Pearson, whose tenure in the
Turkish capital Ankara is fast drawing to a close, visited State
Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan, reports the Turkish daily
During their talks, Ambassador Pearson praised Mr. Babacan for the
successful completion of discussions for the fifth review of the
Turkey's International Monetary Fund-supported economic
program. "But providing jobs for the Turks is even more important",
Speaking afterwards, Mr. Pearson said that Turkey's economy was
greatly improved as compared to three years ago, when he began
serving in Ankara. "It is vital that Turkey complete its
privatization process as soon as possible", urged the ambassador.
For his part, Mr. Babacan said that the Iraq war had raised
certain sensitivities in Turkish-US relations, adding that economic
ties between the two countries should be strengthened.
* The Turkish government's program of selling off state assets
failed to reach its revenue objectives for the first six months of
2003, falling far short of expectations, writes the Turkish private
The Turkish parliament is debating new privatization legislation
that would pave the way for the selling off of public utilities such
the Türk Telekom.
According to figures released by Turkish authorities on Tuesday, a
mere $52 million was generated by the privatization of state assets.
Given that the full projected figure for 2003 is $4.0 billion, the
prognosis for the end of year total reaching its target is poor.
* The percentage of Turkey's industrial capacity being utilized in
June rose to 80.4 percent from 76 percent in May, with companies
citing increased foreign demand as one of the reasons.
Many industrialists cite weak domestic demand for the capacity
utilization not being even higher.
* In a press release, a local organization reported a successful
drive to help the handicapped in Turkey.
The Friends of Merzifon says that in cooperation with the Pleasant
Hill Rotary Club, and the Wheelchair Foundation of Danville recently
sent 280 wheelchairs to the disabled and handicapped people of their
The Friends of Merzifon is an organization behind the sister city
relationship between Pleasant Hill and the Turkish city of Merzifon.
The distribution of wheelchairs began on June 18 and has been
continuing for several weeks. In Merzifon, officials and the
visiting delegation from Pleasant Hill held a ceremony to start the
Representing the Wheelchair Foundation, Pleasant Hill Rotary, and
Friends of Merzifon were John, Peggy, Susan, and Brendan Blake.
Locally, volunteers from the Disabled and Handicapped Society of
Merzifon organized the distribution.
Following an assessment of the need for wheelchairs among the youth
and adult populations of Amasya Province in north central Turkey
where Merzifon is located, Friends of Merzifon began last fall to
work closely with Pleasant Hill Rotary to raise funds for the
purchase and delivery of 280 wheelchairs.
The two organizations successfully collected $21,000 which was
matched dollar for dollar by the Wheelchair Foundation, said Earl
Rupp, President of Friends of Merzifon.
The Wheelchair Foundation shipped a container of 280 wheelchairs to
Istanbul from where it was transported overland by truck to
Merzifon. Thanks to the contacts of Rotary International and Sister
Cities International, no dock fees, customs duties, storage charges,
or import taxes were assessed on the shipment.
For more on Friends of Merzifon see
http://www.FriendsOfMerzifon.org and for photographs of the
distribution of the wheelchairs
Exchange rate for the U.S. dollar in Turkish Liras:
High and Low Temperatures in Degrees F, Weather
Ankara, in central Turkey----------: 81/57 Partly Cloudy
Antalya, on the Mediterranean------: 100/79 Clear
Istanbul, in northwestern Turkey---: 84/72 Showers
Izmir, on the Aegean---------------: 95/73 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon, on the Black Sea----------: 75/68 Partly Cloudy
Trabzon (Black Sea) 77
Tekirdag (Marmara Sea) 77
Bodrum (Aegean Sea) 77
Alanya (Mediterranean Sea) 84
ARTS AND CULTURE
* Turkish Scientist Dr. Ali Erdemir, known as the genius of
Tribology, won the research and development Prize for a third time,
known as the Nobel Prize of applied sciences, with his invention
creating artificial diamond characteristics by using nano-technology.
Prof. Erdemir's invention involves the transformation of carbide-
based materials into nano-structured, integrated carbon plates. In
the carbon plate, which is said to be used in many devices, there are
nano-sized diamonds, graphites and several kinds of carbon stages.
See more about Dr. Erdemir at
* Turkish film director Fezan Özpetek was given the "special career"
award at the 33rd Giffoni Film Festival on Tuesday.
The prize, judged by a panel of children aged 9 to 19, selected the
Italian-based Turkish director on the strength of his many award
winning works. The judges and other children taking part in the
festival came from 22 separate countries.
Mr. Özpetek's most recent film, Opposite Window (La Finestra di
Fronte), has picked up a slew of prizes, including the Italian
equivalent of the Oscars, the David di Donatello.
When was asked about his next movie, Mr. Özpetek said he planned to
rest for the remainder of the year but added that his next movie is
already lined up.
"I It will be filmed in Napoli and will be called Sacred Heart
(Cuore Sacro)," he said.
A week earlier Mr. Ozpetek swept the pool at the Czech Republic's
Karlovy Vary Cinema Awards with his latest film La Finestra di
Fronte -- The Opposite Window. The film was presented with the best
film and best director towards, while the lead actress in the movie
receiving the best actress award.
* The Ankara Film Festival is having funding problems, says the
Anatolian News Agency. The festival was postponed for eight months
last year also due to budgetary problems.
So far, only Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry has extended
funding to the festival. Festival organizers are saying that they
need sponsors for transporting the films to be shown to the Turkish
capital. Fortunately, the foreign film artists are able to get
funding for their travel from their home countries.
If sufficient funding is found, the Ankara Film Festival will take
place in December.
* The restoration of the colossal statues on top of Mount Nemrut are
continuing, reports Turkey's Anatolian News Agency.
Dr. Eric Moorman, the lead scholar in the restoration effort and a
professor at Amsterdam University, says that this year the ground
where the statues are located is being compacted. Afterwards the
bodies of the 2000-year-old statues will be reinforced.
Dr. Moorman is also saying that some of the broken relieves are
being transported to the museum in the eastern Turkish city of
Adiyaman for further repairs.
According to Dr. Moorman the main source of damage to the statues
has been the tourists flocking to the mountaintop to see the unique
To learn more about these 2000-year-old statues visit
* The Turkish private channel NTV reports that the man who helped
make Turkey a candidate country for hosting the Olympic Games, Mr.
Sinan Erdem, has died in Paris at the age of 76.
Mr. Erdem had been receiving treatment for a liver tumor.
During his 14-year term as the head of Turkey's Olympic movement,
Mr. Erdem had been at the forefront of Istanbul's three failed bids
to host the summer games, in the years 2000, 2004 and 2008. Turkey
was the fifth placed country in the rankings to hold the 2000
Olympics, the closest it has come to success.
Mr. Erdem was not only a successful administrator, he had also been
an active athlete, having both captained and later coached Turkey's
national volleyball team.
*** Turkish American Association of California has partially
underwritten today's program. TAAC is a non-profit
charitable organization established to promote better
understanding between Americans and Turks.
If you have any questions about Turks and Turkey,
give them a call:
or e-mail them at
**** 6th Annual California Turkish Arts & Culture Festival
Saturday & Sunday, August 2-3, 2003 (11am - 6pm)
Monterey Custom House Plaza (next to the Fisherman's Wharf)
Live music entertainment, Folk dancing, Belly dancing
Art Exhibits (Crafts,Carpet weaving, Photography)
Food and drinks (Doner Kebap, borek, baklava, Turkish Coffee, ...)
Many activities for Children (puppet making, painting, coloring, story
telling, folk dancing, games,...)
Information: (831) 646-1916, http://www.taaca.org, turkfest@...
*** Tune in to the following broadcasts in the Bay Area:
- Every Saturday at 5 P.M. to the
Turkish Cultural Program on KUSF FM 90.3
- Every Tuesday at 10 P.M.
KKUP 91.5 to the Orient Express
- Tune in to KPFA FM 94.1 every Monday at 10 A.M. for
Music from Africa-Asia, hosted by Kutay Kugay.
- Mondays 7:00 - 10:00 P.M. 89.5 FM
International Program KBES
(Covers Stanislaus County all the way to Manteca),
Hosted by George Geevargis.
- International Cultural Program.
San Francisco World TV Channel 29
Sundays at 9 - 10 P.M..
Available on internet at www.betnahrain.com on Friday's at 9 PM
Also can be viewed in other cities in California, Chicago,
New York, Russia, and Georgia.
Consult with 415-564-7778 timing and stations.
*** Planning to go to Turkey? Take a look at our Web pages that is
articles and information furnished by travelers like yourselves:
http://come.to/sunholiday or http://travel.to/sunholiday
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