World’s largest photovoltaic solar plant to be established in Konya by 2018

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak has announced that the tender for the 1,000 megawatt-photovoltaic solar power plant, which will be established in Konya's Karapinar district, will be held in December. Poised to be the largest of its kind in the world, the solar power plant will pave the way for a new period in Turkey's use of renewable energy resources.

The United States, China and many European countries aspire to compete in the tender, which will attract $1.3 billion worth of investment to Konya. The solar power plant, which will be constructed on a nearly 2,000-hectare area, will produce 1.7 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, which is enough to be used in 600,000 houses.

Touching on the significance of the Karapinar solar farm among other renewable energy resource areas, Albayrak said that this is one of the first energy projects of its kind, which the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government introduced through its perspective that, "There is no rest for the weary." Successful bidding companies will have to establish a solar power plant that is capable of producing at least 500,000 megawatts of energy a year. The power plant will be able to export energy in the upcoming years.

Remember 29th October is Republic Day

On the 29th October 1923 the Grand National Assembly proclaimed the Republic of Turkey and named Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as the first President of Turkey.  Ataturk had led the War of Independence which started on the 19th May 1919 and ended 3 years later driving out the occupying allied forces of World War 1.

The name Ataturk, which was given to him by the parliament, means “Father of the Turks” and Turkey celebrates Republic day every year.   It is an official holiday and schools celebrate with presentations, sing songs, displays and readings.

Turkey's Isparta globalizes with rose oil, cut flower industry

Having made a name as the world's biggest growers of the Damascena rose, the western Turkish province of Isparta exports rose oil around the world and this year, 30 million euros have been generated from the export of 15,000 tons of rose extract.

Isparta makes up 65 percent of the world's rose oil production and the rose cultivated in Isparta is exported to 15 countries, most notably France, the U.S., Canada, Japan and Saudi Arabia. This year the rose harvest period took longer due to warmer weather, taking almost two months. According to a report by the International Trade Center (ITC), Turkey's rose oil export has also shown an almost steady rise from 2002 to 2012.

Live morning TV show interrupted by stray cat in Turkey's Denizli

A morning TV show in Turkey's south-western Denizli province was interrupted by an uninvited guest on Tuesday when a stray cat, who secretly entered the studio through an open door, popped up on screen.

Presenter of 'Good morning Denizli' show Kudret Celebioglu on Denizli Radio and Television (DRT) was dumbfounded when he saw the cat climb onto his desk and sit on his laptop during a live broadcast as he was reading the headlines for dailies.

Shortly after he realized the cat was in the studio, he said that he had a 'surprise visitor' and continued with his program.

Follow the tastes of fall

The question was simple: “Just the season for (fill in the blank). Where to savor it best?” I was called by the Turkish edition of daily Hurriyet to take part in a survey of food writers to determine the much sought after tastes of fall.

To my astonishment, I found it quite impossible to answer such a simple and straightforward question. Filling the blanks was easy, as the bounty of fall is everywhere and it is the ideal season for many fruits, vegetables, fishes, foraged wild foods, or products prepared as winter provision. But the second half of the question was trickier, as certain fall tastes are easily reached in markets but not reflected in local restaurants. Anyway, I compiled a list of five items as I was asked, without naming any specific restaurants as they did not want me to, (even if they did it would be difficult to give addresses for the items I listed).

Antalya's tourism sector hopeful for 2017

Leaving behind a year in which many bad things occurred, the tourism sector is hopeful for 2017. Russia lifting its ban on chartered flights to Turkey, following the normalization process between Ankara and Moscow, is the main reason behind this hope.

Antalya has left a tough season behind following the jet crisis with Russia and the July 15 failed coup attempt which occurred in the middle of the season. Described as a fragile sector, tourism, which this year survived all the bad scenarios that could be possibly experienced at once, saw a nearly 45 percent decrease in the number of tourists.

Ottoman sultan portrait to be auctioned at Sotheby’s

With a focus on artistic production under Islamic patronage, the sale of Arts of the Islamic World, which will take place on Oct. 19 at Sotheby’s London, covers more than a thousand years of artwork spanning multiple continents.

A portrait by the school of Veronese, depicting the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I and dated 1580, will be auctioned for 150,000 pounds.  The portrait of the sultan, the fourth ruler of the Ottoman Empire, depicted in three-quarter view looking over his shoulder and wearing a large turban and richly embroidered cloak, was directly influenced by a painting of Bayezid by Paolo Caliari, called Paolo Veronese.

Pet paintings support Turkey’s stray animals in new HAYTAP project

Animal lovers can provide support for Turkey’s stray animals by commissioning portraits of their own pets, as part of a new project by the Animal Rights Federation (HAYTAP).

HAYTAP’s “Let’s Paint Your Pet” project will allow pet owners to both get a portrait of their pet while also donating to stray animals at the same time.  “We wanted to be a mediator for people who have a cat, dog or other animal and want to get their portrait painted. We offered this alternative project for those who also want to support animals on the streets. They get the portrait of their pets done and also provide this support,” said HAYTAP Executive Board President Ahmet Kemal Senpolat.

Locals in Diyarbakır take the 'bird house' concept to a whole new level

In south-eastern Diyarbakir, it is very common for pigeons to have their own room in family homes or to see devoted locals caring for these birds on the streets. To support the city's pigeon craze, a 30-room arcade in the city has been transformed into a multi-room pigeon hotel.

Locals who are unable to find a decent place to put their pigeons can take them to the hotel where more than 2,000 pigeons are currently being hosted. The rooms were all designed according to the birds' basic needs and the hotel will be expanded soon due to high demand. Customers generally pay TL 150 ($50) per month in rent. This hotel is one-of-a-kind and Turkey's only hotel devoted to pigeon care.

Mehmet Batmaz, the president of the Diyarbakir Bird Lovers Association, said that the devotion to pigeons is a part of culture, beginning from childhood and growing with the locals who are keen on taking care of the birds. Some have even taken this a step further, installing air conditioners for their pigeons in rooms at the hotel.The local pigeons come from a variety of bird species originating from the Netherlands, Russia, Germany and Belgium. Architect Halit Kocyigit who helped design the hotel, has been caring for pigeons for 30 years. "I helped to establish this hotel and personally have around 150 pigeons of my own. They are all priceless to me," he said, adding that his pigeons are worth almost TL 100,000.

Untouched ancient burial chamber found in Turkey’s Mugla

A burial chamber dating back to 2,400 years ago was recently unearthed at a construction site in the south-western province of Mugla’s Milas district.

Milas Archaeology Museum officials found 103 artefacts in the burial chamber, untouched and unlooted for a millennia, which is thought to have belonged to a wealthy local family.

Milas Museum Director Gulnaz Savran said the burial chamber was unearthed close to the holy road between the city of Mylasa, which was the capital of the Karia region in the ancient era, and the Labraunda religious centre.  Savran said a settlement had been existing at the site for 2,600 years and that Milas was formed on this ancient city, which had a number of important structures that are officially under protection.   “We were recently informed that a marble tomb was found at a construction site. When we got there, we saw that the tomb had been removed and some parts of it were damaged. We started excavations in the area and realized there was a new burial chamber. Then we found that the chamber has never been looted, which made us very happy,” said Savran, adding that the museum carried out works in many fields in the city.

Hundreds of int'l sportsmen to run along fairy chimneys

Including 110+ km, 60+ km and 30+ km runs, the Salomon Cappadocia Ultra Trail is expected to bring 1,100 sports people from 51 countries between the ages 18 and 85 together on Oct. 22 and 23.

The competitions, which will begin at the narrow trails at the first light of day and continue throughout the night are characterized as a sports, adventure and durability event.

Ancient crossword puzzle found in Smyrna

A crossword puzzle with top-to-bottom and left-to-right Greek words has been unearthed on the walls of a basilica at the Smyrna agora, located in Izmir’s Ikicesmelik area.

“It looks like an acrostic. The same words are defined both top to bottom and left to right in five columns. The word ‘logos’ in the center is said to have been used by a Christian group to communicate with each other during times of oppression. We want to consider this as a puzzle because there are benches in front of these wall paintings. The lives of those who were working here are depicted in these paintings,” said the head of the Smyrna agora excavations, Akın Ersoy.

Turkey’s first upside-down house attracts 30,000 since January

An upside-down house opened as a tourist attraction spot in the southern province of Antalya has offered prospects for Turkey’s major resort town after it was hit hard by a poor tourism season, by drawing 30,000 visitors in 10 months.

Built in two years, the 85 square-meter house is Turkey’s first upside-down house with its entire interior and exterior designed to face downwards.  The chief executive of the innovative business, Kaan Karahan, said the house was the first in Turkey and the 13th in the world.  “The 25-degree angle of the house leaves our visitors dizzy at first. When the visitors turn the pictures they take inside the house 180 degrees, they see themselves hung upside-down from the ceiling while the furniture looks like it is on the ground,” said Karahan, adding that the project had benefited action photography and was widely popular among bridal couples.

Experience Ottoman-style living in small Turkish towns

Even in 2016, there are still small towns around Turkey where you can experience the lifestyle of the Ottomans, evident in both the architecture and slow-paced lifestyle of these towns. Dotted with two to three-story homes architecturally designed by the Ottomans, these well-kept secrets will take you back to the 17th century.

Beypazari in Ankara:  Known as a hidden sanctuary for a peaceful escape from the daily grind in Turkey's capital city, Beypazari is a small, historic town just two hours away from Ankara. The town is divided into two parts with one side of town offering pieces of history in tranquil settings while the other side of town, known as "New Beypazarı," has little to offer tourists. Still, the town of Beypazari was founded on the lands of several ancient civilizations including the Hittites, Phrygians, Ancient Romans, Byzantines, Seljuk Turks and finally the Ottomans. The architecture of the town's establishments is purely Ottoman, as this was the last civilization to occupy the area.  The historic town of Beypazari is just a two-hour minibus ride from Ankara and tourists can easily take the Ankaray Metro Line to the Akkopru bus stop located at Ankara's large shopping mall "Anka-Mall" on Gazi Street to get to the minibuses. From there, just hop one of the minibuses heading to Beypazari and you will be there in less than two hours.

Ancient Hierapolis pool collapses after two earthquakes

Two small earthquakes that occurred  in the south-western Turkish province of Denizli’s Pamukkale district have caused collapses in the pool of the ancient city of Hierapolis.

The first 4.1-magnitude quake occurred in the district on Sept. 27, followed by another 4.2-magnitude quake the next day. A number of smaller aftershocks were also felt.  The quakes have reportedly led to collapses in the ancient pool, which is the source of the famous water in Pamukkale and which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

First runway at Istanbul's third airport appears

Aerial images of the construction work on the number 1 runway at the Istanbul New Airport have been released.

The construction work at the airport continues at full speed, with some 30 percent of construction work being completed so far. It is planned that the rough construction work on the main terminal building will be completed by the end of the year. Scheduled to come into service on Feb. 26, 2018, the airport will make Turkey one of the most important aviation centers in the world.

Istanbul Grand Airport (İGA), which was founded to carry out the construction work and operate the airport for 25 years, shared the latest aerial images of the number 1 runway through its social media accounts. Bulky planes like Airbus A380s and Boeing 747s can easily land and take off from the 3,750-meter-long and 60-meter-wide runway.

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