Bilge Yeşil on the Turkish media, past and present

Demonstrators hold banners with the picture of Erol Önderoglu, local representative of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), during a protest against the arrest of three prominent activists for press freedom, in front of Metris prison in Istanbul. REUTERS photo20/08/2016 (Hurriyet – Turkey): The closure of dozens of outlets and detention of journalists accused of links to the Gülen movement after the recent attempted military coup has turned the spotlight on Turkey’s media once again. But problems in the Turkish press are nothing new. A new book by CUNY associate professor Bilge Yeşil, “Media in New Turkey: The Origins of an Authoritarian Neoliberal State” (reviewed in HDN here), traces the question back to the 1980s, when the economic structure of the current media system took shape. Yeşil spoke to the Hürriyet Daily News about her work. The conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity…


Turkey’s Akbank to get $250M from finance body IFC

Turkey's Akbank to get $250M from finance body IFC20/08/2016 (Anadolu Agency – Turkey): The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced on Friday it will extend $250 million in loans to Turkish lender Akbank to support small-and-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Turkey. “IFC’s eight-year funding package will support Akbank’s Diversified Payment Rights [DPR] program, an established financing instrument in Turkey’s capital markets to raise long-term financing,” a member of the World Bank Group said in a statement. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group. “Extending new loans to SMEs is one of our strategic priorities. We are committed to providing long-term financing to the real sector and Turkish economy at longer tenors and the most favorable rates,” Kerim Rota, Akbank executive vice president in charge of Treasury, said…


Syria regime pounds Kurdish positions for second day

Syrian kurds20/08/2016 (Ahram Online – Egypt): Fresh strikes came as the Pentagon said that US-led coalition fighter jets scrambled to protect Kurdish forces working with American advisers in Syria as they were targeted by regime planes Thursday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights — which monitors the conflict and determines which planes carry out raids according to their type, location, flight patterns and the munitions involved — said Friday’s strikes were conducted by regime jets. The journalist in Hasakeh said eight air strikes could be heard throughout the day, mostly focused in the city’s southwestern neighbourhoods. Most of Hasakeh city, the capital of the northeastern province by the same name, is controlled by Kurdish forces, while the rest is held by fighters loyal to President Bashar al-Assad…


Wastewater treatment plant, 200-bed hospital inaugurated, costing $670m

06/08/2016 (Tehran Times – Iran): TEHRAN — A wastewater treatment plant and a 200-bed hospital costing 2,347 trillion rials (nearly $670m) were inaugurated in Shahryar, western Tehran, on Wednesday, IRIB reported. The wastewater treatment plant was inaugurated in a ceremony attended by First Vice-President Es’haq Jahangiri and Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian. The project, financed by ECO Trade and Development Bank’s 18-million-euro loan, is stretching over a land area of 23 hectares. According to Fars news agency, the scheme would meet the needs of some 720,000 people by Iranian calendar year 1415 (2036-2037). The capital used to finance this totals some 38.5m euros. The wastewater scheme is aiming at collection and treatment of household wastewater in Shahryar district to boost environmental status of the area, protect water resources from contamination, stop groundwater from depletion, develop agriculture and industries, and create job opportunities. Moreover, the inauguration ceremony was held concurrent with 14 other water projects aiming at providing water to 252 villages in 14 provinces of the country over a video conference…


Russia and Turkey restoring ties to gain political, economic and strategic advantages

Russia and Turkey restoring ties to gain political, economic and strategic advantages06/08/2016 (Sabah – Turkey): As Russian Minister for Economic Development Alexey Yulukaev visits Turkey on Aug. 6, there are hopes that a number of factors will encourage both the Russian and Turkish sides “restoring their bilateral ties in sphere of economy, energy, agriculture, transport and other sectors”, Ekho Moskvy reported today citing Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Likhachev. Both Russia and Turkey are seeking to restore relations for gaining political, economic and strategic considerations. They will also like to improve their bargaining position vis-a-vis the European Union and also to release pressure from Brussels which is posed in the form of many demands and regulations posed by the EU. Russia is recalculating its considerations in view of falling energy prices, lesser market share and reduced revenues, Economy Professor Pavel Rodkyn told Daily Vzglyad Tuesday…


X-ray uncovers hidden portrait beneath famed Degas painting

AFP photo06/08/2016 (Hurriyet – Turkey): A powerful X-ray technique has unveiled a hidden portrait beneath a famed painting byFrench impressionist artist Edgar Degas, helping solve a mystery that has stumped the art world for decades. An article published this week in the online journal Scientific Reports reveals that the long-puzzled-over image concealed behind Degas’ “Portrait of a Woman” is, in fact, a portrait of another woman. Australian researchers believe she is Emma Dobigny, one of the painter’s favorite models. For nearly a century, experts have known that Degas painted the famed portrait over another image sometime between 1876 and 1880. As the painting aged, the faint outline of what appeared to be another woman began leaking through the top layers of paint. Staff at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, where the portrait is housed, wanted to see what was hidden underneath. But traditional X-ray techniques and infrared photography weren’t powerful enough to reveal any detail…


The illusion of democracy

06/08/2016 (Arab News – KSA by Sabria S. Jawhar*):If Donald Trump hopes to make America great again, then he will need a lot more than eight years to accomplish the job if he should serve two terms in the White House. The message for Saudis, who have been following the presidential campaigns of both parties and who also keenly watched the recently concluded Republican and Democratic national conventions and the subsequent outlandish statements from Trump, is that democracy is nothing special. Certainly Americans will say they revel in the messy, raucous sausage-making business of electing a leader. It’s not pretty, but it works, Americans claim. We are not convinced. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are tainted goods in the eyes of Arabs and Muslims. Clinton was the secretary of state in the Obama administration and is viewed as a weak sister on the international stage. Trump is simply a demagogue exploiting the fears of a huge white and undereducated voters bloc. A vote for Trump is a vote for racism, bigotry, misogyny and an invitation to foreign powers to commit cyber terrorism…

*Sabria S. Jawhar is  a Saudi Arabian journalist and columnist for the Jeddah-based Arab News.


We will step up military operations now that talks have failed: Al-Assiri

06/08/2016 (Arab News – KSA): RIYADH: Brigadier General Ahmad Al-Assiri, adviser to the defense minister’s office and Arab Collation spokesperson on Saturday stressed that the legitimate government of Yemen will not allow Houthis to make any progress on the ground. In a television interview, Al-Assiri said that Yemeni government forces will battle Houthi militias in Naham or anywhere else on Yemeni territory. He said that Houthis are feeling the heat after failing to bow to the international will to achieve peace in Yemen and have turned their backs on peace negotiations in Kuwait. “The coalition’s priority is to give more space for peace. The momentum of the military operations declined to give time to the efforts made to reach a peace agreement between the legitimate government and the Houthis in order to save lives. But now that the talks have stopped we will step up the military operations,” he said…


‘Too early’ to discuss role in govt: Tunisia’s Ennahda

'Too early' to discuss role in govt: Tunisia's Ennahda06/08/2016 (Anadolu Agency – Turkey): Tunisia’s Ennahda movement announced that it was “still too early” to discuss its potential participation in an incoming government of national unity. Chairman of the Shura (Consultative) Council of the Ennahda Movement, Abdelkarim Harouni, said in statements this week that his movement will join the consultations over the new government, but it is early to talk about the participation in the government before the end of the discussions. “Ennahda is ready for effective participation in forming the national unity government, and it is keen to have a national unity government that includes the largest number of political parties,” Harouni said. Harouni also noted that, “Ennahda did not object for the Prime Minister-designate to be a follower of the Nidaa Tounes party,” and that the movement calls for the need to “respect the results of the 2014 elections.”..