“Don’t mess with my plans”, President Erdogan warns parties

Erdogan - “don’t mess with my plans”

Turkish president Reccip Tayyip Erdogan has warned parties not to get in the way of his dream projects as party leaders meet to thresh out the bones of a coalition.

The ruling AKP party leader, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, is to meet the leaders of the Nationalist Movement today, and the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party tomorrow. He has 45 days to form a coalition government.

At recent elections, the AKP party failed to secure an overall majority for the first time in its existence.

The AKP’s potential coalition partners each want different things - but are all in accord over one issue, which is diminished powers for President Erdogan. Each party is insistent that Erdogan must be reigned in and accept the presidency’s largely ceremonial role - a role Erdogan is keen to expand on.

Erdogan has hinted that some of the parties want to shelve his grand projects, such as the construction of a third Istanbul airport and a third Bosporus bridge.


Child’s tears over football hero spur online campaign 

A four-year-old boy whose tears over his favourite football player’s transferral to Turkey were caught on video has captured the hearts of Turks, who have set up a fundraising campaign to send him to meet his hero.

London’s Louis Diamond was filmed crying after his parents told him Manchester United’s Robin van Persie could be moving to Turkish club Fenerbahce.

The video has gone viral, watched by more than 100,000 people around the world. It’s particularly struck a chord in Turkey, and now a generous hotel owner has begun a crowdfunding campaign to fly Louis and his father to Istanbul to see the Dutch striker in action playing for Fenerbahce.

Louis’s dad, Sam, said going to Turkey would be a dream come true. “And seeing van Persie play for Fenerbahce would be amazing.”

As well as fundraising for the pair’s flights with an Indiegogo campaign that has so far raised US$900, the Turkish hotelier has offered Sam and Louis a free stay in his hotel.

The sympathetic hotelier, Ragip Ulas Altun, wrote on the Indiegogo page: “If you really love something, you start crying the moment you get close to losing it. As a child, you haven’t quite grasped the workings of the world yet so it’s even harder [to lose something you love].”

robin van persie fenerbahce

Antalya’s ice sculpture museum first of its kind in Turkey

Ice museum Antalya

Unsurprisingly, the south coast of Turkey isn’t known for ice-related institutions. But this is set to change with the construction of the country’s first ice sculpture museum, set to open in the Antalya Aquarium in a few weeks.

Among the sculptures, designed and created by sculptor Serkan Kalkan, are a two-metre pyramid and a depiction of Bellerophontes (the Greek hero who killed a Chimera), as well as recreations of Hadrian’s Gate, the Temple of Apollo and the Lycian necropolis.

The walls of the museum are covered with ice aquariums, displaying an array of frozen fish and crabs.

Dogged search sees return of stolen manuscripts

Two manuscripts that were stolen from a Turkish library have been tracked down in the US, thanks to a student’s unrelenting search.

Utrecht University PhD student Huseyin Sen realised the 1000-year-old manuscripts were missing after researching Ottoman birdhouses for his wife.

Sen tracked the artifacts to the University of Pennsylvania’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, and immediately took action, contacting Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s wife Sare Davutoglu, who in turn got in touch with Konya Manuscripts Library Director Bekir Sahin, as well as other officials.

An inspection revealed that the artifacts were two of 103 manuscripts and seven Arabic-language books that were stolen from Konya in 2000.

Speaking to the press, Sen said the manuscripts were uncovered during research into Ottoman bird houses, which his wife was studying. During his foray he discovered that one of the manuscripts he needed was missing. He searched the ministry’s site and discovered the document had been stolen.

The manuscripts were returned to the library at the end of June.

Turkish minister welcomes Tehran nuclear deal

Iran’s historic nuclear deal, garnered between the Middle Eastern country and the world’s major powers, has been welcomed as a “very positive development” by Turkey’s energy minister.

The deal was struck this week and ensures Tehran does not acquire a nuclear bomb. In return, Iran will be offered relief from crippling sanctions.

Turkish energy minister Taner Yildiz welcomed the agreement, saying it was a “very positive development” that “could unlock investment.”

The deal was agreed after 18 days of talks in Vienna, where officials from Tehran met those from the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

Iran’s nuclear programme will be curtailed as part of the deal, with strict UN inspections imposed.

In return, UN and Western sanctions against Iranian oil exports and the economy will gradually be lifted.

Taner Yildiz


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