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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Why Turkey is the best place to shop

This might come as a surprise but Turkey has been chosen as the location for the best shopping experience ahead of New York and Paris.

Cabin crew for voted Turkey as the best European shopping destination; the choice might come as a surprise but is it far from the truth?

Istanbul has already been crowned a shopping capital where East meets West and this is shown with the annual Istanbul Shopping Fest which draws millions of shoppers from around the world.

Also Turkey’s southern coast has become a hotbed of activity for holidaymakers over the past few years with resorts like Marmaris, Olu Deniz and Bodrum attracting visitors in their droves.

The main reason for this sharp increase in popularity is notably the glorious weather and smattering of pristine beaches but the open air markets, chic boutiques and Turkish bazaars also deserve a huge credit.

The shopping experience in Turkey is authentic and has something for everyone whether you’re a haggler or high end fashionista.

It also offers the chance to interact and enjoy a bit of banter with local shopkeepers or stall owners is a great way to learn more about Turkish culture – not to mention bagging a bargain!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Istanbul ends Pride week with Pride Parade

Turkey’s LGBT communities and their supporters ended Istanbul’s 19th Pride Week with a fabulous Pride Parade in Taksim Square.

Thousands took to the streets on Sunday to express their support for Turkey’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT community and to protest against hate crimes.

The week’s events included workshops and panels to film screenings and parties, covering issues on discrimination, homophobia, transphobia, and hate crimes.

Last year’s themes at Pride Week were family, hate crimes and religion; this years’ were taboos and laws.

Friday, 24 June 2011

33 in custody for Turkish stock exchange manipulation

According to reports, the Istanbul Financial Crimes Public Security Branch simultaneously raided several locations in the city and took 33 people into custody for manipulating shares.

Brokers, dealers and former football players were among those taken into custody including the current manager of Beşiktaş’s football team, a previously blacklisted trader and a former national team player.

The suspected transactions took place with the shares of Makine Takım, Işıklar Investment Holding and Hateks. Hateks stock rose 35.4 percent between May 31 and June 8 but then plummeted by nearly 29 percent in 10 days.

The police operation took place “without prior knowledge of the ISE,” according to a statement from the bourse’s chairman.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Opening of new Turkish parliament delayed

Turkey’s Supreme Election Board, or YSK, will not announce the official results of the June 12 elections until either Wednesday or Thursday, necessitating a delay in the parliamentary oath-taking ceremony for victorious deputies.

YSK President Ali Em said Monday that the official results of the June 12 elections, which were won by the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, will be made public on either Wednesday or Thursday.

Parliament will convene five days after the YSK’s official announcement of the election results and Parliament is likely to convene on June 27 or 28 for the newly elected deputies to take their oaths. The YSK had been expected to announce the results earlier.

The delay stems from a court case that ruled that the period pro-Kurdish deputy Hatip Dicle stayed in prison will be retroactively categorized as a fine, but the YSK has yet to make a final decision on whether he will be allowed to assume office.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

All-female Turkish sailing team makes history

Turkey’s only all-female sailing team, “Peri Reis,” made history by completing their first international regatta, the BMW Black Sea International Regatta in Bulgaria.

The five-day event had various onshore and offshore races, sailing between the Romanian seaside resort of Mangalia and the Bulgarian coastal city of Varna.

The sailing team is the only all-female Turkish crew ever to have competed at the international level; brought together by the İzmir-based Piri Reis Maritime Association, Peri Reis is derived from the prominent 15th-century captain and cartographer Piri Reis, whose collective works of maps and charts formed the basis of his book, entitled “Book of Navigation.” “Peri” is also the Turkish word for fairy, and “Reis” is an ancient term for captain.

The Peri Reis team members come from varying social backgrounds and lifestyles, they are working women, married women, women with children and women who run their own successful businesses, so their busy schedule often leads to a change in active participants.

Even so, the 20-plus members continue to sail together hoping to develop a further two permanent teams so the Peri Reis concept can be represented at future sailing events with the hope of becoming a recognized name on the Aegean and Mediterranean regatta scene.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Turkish international Olympics underway

This is the first we’re hearing about this but the ninth International Turkish Olympics opened on Wednesday at Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace.

The annual competition is hosting children from 130 countries who will showcase their talents in Turkish music, dance and poetry while promoting peace according to Turkey’s speaker of Parliament.

Aiming to create intercultural dialogue based on the common ground of “humanity,” the Olympics will be held in 24 different cities around Turkey from June 15 to 30, with the participation of 1,000 contestants and 300 teachers from 130 countries.

The Olympic final will be held June 30 at the Sinan Erdem Dome in Istanbul’s Ataköy neighbourhood.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Recep Erdogan wins Turkey's general election

Prime Minster Tayyip and his AK Party have won the majority mandate at the general election which took place on Sunday. This makes Recep Tayyip Erdogan the most successful prime minister in the history of Turkey's multiparty system.

The party won 49.9% of all votes, giving it 325 seats in parliament. The result falls short of the two-thirds majority needed to rewrite Turkey's 1982 military constitution without having to consult parliament.

The Republican People's party (CHP) came second with 25.9%. The only other party to gain seats in parliament, the Nationalist Movement party (MHP), took 13%, seemingly unaffected by a sex tape scandal that caused the resignation of 10 senior party members.

Thirty-six independent candidates, most of whom are backed by the Kurdish BDP, were also voted in, among whom was Kurdish campaigner Leyla Zana from Diyarbakir. Turnout was 84.79%.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Turkey’s government gets a reshuffle

With general elections just round the corner, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government will overhaul current Cabinet structure and introduce six new ministries while making changes to others.

He said there will be 25 members of the Cabinet, including the prime minister instead of the current 27 members and there will be four deputy prime ministers and 20 ministers, currently there are three deputy prime ministers.

Elaborating on why the government felt the need to make changes to the current structure, Erdoğan said the new arrangement aims to resolve current problems in the functioning of the Cabinet and the ministries and to enable the government to work faster and more effectively.

The first civil society reaction to the prime minister's announcement came from the Women's Platform of Equality Mechanisms, an umbrella group with more than 80 women's associations as its members. The group released a harshly toned statement, picking apart the announced name change to the ministry in charge of women and family set to be renamed the Ministry of Family and Social Services.The group has already launched a petition campaign against the planned naming.

All eyes are on Turkey as it goes to the polls in a few days; Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his AK Party are expected to win hands down.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Arrests made in dodgy alcohol case

Turkish police investigating counterfeit alcoholic beverages containing highly toxic methyl alcohol have made 22 arrests and seized thousands of bottles of bootleg liquor.

The counterfeit alcoholic drinks has already claimed the lives of four Russian tour guides and left twenty other people seriously ill.

In the southern province of Mersin, the police raided a clandestine factory where 7,000 bottles of bootleg liquor were found along with empty bottles, stickers and other materials used in production.

The alcohol sold under the brands EagleBlow vodka and gin, Raki 7 raki and Mr. Burdon whiskey is said to have been served on a yacht tour in the Aegean Sea but may pose a wider health threat as the company that imported the drinks from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) reportedly distributed the drinks to many other provinces.

Russian officials have reported filed a lawsuit against the Turkish company that organized the yacht cruise and so has the Russian travel agencies affected.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The confessions of a secret agent

It’s always fascinating when an employee of a secret government agency decides to spill his guts and former member of the National Police Department's Special Operations Unit, Ayhan Çarkın has done just that.

He claimed responsibility for four unsolved murders which took place in the 90’s and even showed the prosecutor where the victims were buried.

Çarkın recently told a specially authorized prosecutor that he had killed four men, including the ex-head of the supervisory board of the Ministry of Health, Namık Erdoğan, the uncle of renowned stage actor Yılmaz Erdoğan as well as lawyers Yusuf Ekinci and Faik Candan and the head of the Altındağ Registry Office, Mecit Baskın.

You know what they say, confession is good for the soul, Çarkın might have a clear conscience but will be spending the recent future is in a prison.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Famous singer returns to Turkey

Famous Turkish singer Ibrahim Tatlises who was shot in the head in an armed attack in Istanbul returned to Turkey yesterday after undergoing physical treatment in Germany.

He was attacked while he was leaving the Beyaz TV Studio building in Nurol Plaza, where he was filming a program in March. Assailants in a black car opened fire with long-barreled weapons before fleeing the scene. Seven suspects were detained in an investigation, which was launched into the shooting of Tatlıses.

Doctors said Tatlıses has improved mobility on the left side of his body, which was paralyzed after he was shot.

He’s now at the Darüşşafaka Rehabilitation Center in Istanbul's Maltepe district where his rehabilitation will continue.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Istanbul marks flotilla raid anniversary

Late Monday night, Over 30,000 people marched to Istanbul's Taksim Square to commemorate the first anniversary of the deadly flotilla raid in which nine activists died. The night was marked with songs, speeches and prayers for the slain activists.

An international coalition of activists said Egypt's removal of a four-year blockade of the Gaza Strip on the weekend will not affect their plans for a new flotilla, which will depart from various European ports in another attempt to break Israel's sea blockade.

The flotilla will try to break Israel's blockade of the territory will consist of around 15 boats with activists from 25 nations compared to just six ships last year.