Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Countrywide Tour of the Radio Scene in Modern Day Turkey

(via JSWC)
Two weeks back here in Wavescan, we presented Part 1 in the topic:  A Countrywide Tour of the Radio Scene in Modern Day Turkey.  In this previous topic, we presented the story of regional radio stations, both shortwave and mediumwave, and we got halfway around this circular tour, covering just 5 cities: Ankara, Istanbul, Trabzon, Erzurum, and Van. 
            In our program today, we pick up the story of this clockwise radio tour around Turkey, and we begin in the city of Hakkari which is located right in the south east corner of Turkey, quite close to the international borders with Iran and Iraq.  This city, Hakkari, is a quite smaller city with a population of around 60,000, and it is located in a ruggedly beautiful majestic mountain area.  It is a little known fact that this area was the original home of the beautiful tulip flower.  The tulip was transplanted to Holland in the 1500s, where it has become a world famous icon of florid beauty.
            A radio station was installed in Hakkari in 1973, a shortwave facility of just 1 kW operating just above the 41 meter band on 7650 kHz, and available information would suggest that it was on the air for a little over a half dozen years.  There was no high powered mediumwave station in this city to serve as a replacement for the then defunct shortwave transmitter.
            We move next to the city of Diyarbakir which is located on the banks of the historic River Tigris, a little north of the border with the country of Iraq.  The name of this city is derived from its association with copper which has been mined in this area for centuries.  Diyarbakir is famous also for silver artifacts, and also for its huge watermelons that can weigh as much as 80 pounds.           
            In the radio scene at Diyarbakir, there was a shortwave station that began as a low power facility of just 300 watts around 1962.  The introductory channel was 9760 kHz, though half a dozen years later when the power was increased to 1 kW, a new channel was chosen, 7650 kHz.   
            This regional shortwave station was on the air for a little over a dozen years, and it was replaced by a high powered 300 kW mediumwave station on 1062 kHz.  Mediumwave Diyarbakir is still on the air to this day.
            Location number 8 in our circular radio tour around the Middle Eastern nation of Turkey is Iskenderun which was established by the famous Greek army general, Alexander the Great of ancient Macedonia in the year 333.  The current name of this city is derived from the original name of its founder, Alexander.  This city, Iskenderun, is located in a narrow peninsula-like section of Turkish territory that juts down into coastal Syria.
            The records inform us that there was a shortwave station here, and it was on the air for half a dozen years during the 1960s.  This station was also a low power operation, with just 300 watts on 9770 kHz.
            Near the eastern edge of Turkey’s Mediterranean coastline is the almost twin city complex of Mersin and Tarsus, an area that is also rich in Biblical backgrounds.  The Old Testament Scriptures inform us that God called the Prophet Jonah to visit the city of Nineveh, and warn its inhabitants of impending doom. 
            However, Jonah became overwhelmed with the magnitude of the task and he decided instead to board a ship and flee to Tarsus.  Although the Bible does not inform us of the exact location of this Tarsus, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus states that Tarsus was located in Cilicia, that is modern day Turkey.  In those ancient times, there was another city with a similar name, Tarshish, on the Mediterranean coast of what is modern day Spain.   
            The early Christian traveling evangelist, St Paul is also associated with the city of Tarsus, his birth location when the city was a Free City under the Roman occupation government.
            The nearby city Mersin is named after the Myrtle Tree, or the Mersin Tree as they call it in their language.  There is currently another high powered 300 kW mediumwave station giving coverage to these areas, and its operating channel is 630 kHz.
            The city of Anatalya is located on the edge of the Mediterranean about half way along the south coast of Turkey.  This city is a major tourist location, with a resident population of one million, and a tourist influx of 12 million each year.  It is recorded in the New Testament Scriptures that Paul and Barnabas traversed through Anatalya on their way homeward from Europe to Jerusalem.
            The high powered mediumwave station giving coverage to Anatalya and its environs is a 300 kW unit operating on 891 kHz.
            Our final visit in this circular radio tour of 11 locations in Turkey is the city of Izmir which is located at the center of the very irregular western coastline.  The chief export from this city has been myrrh, from which the city received its name.
            Likewise, Izmir is mentioned in the New Testament of the Holy Bible as Smyrna and the Prophet John, who was named as one of the brothers of our Lord, wrote a short epistle to the Christians living in this city.  It is contained in the Book of Revelation as one of the 7 cities on a circular travel route in western Turkey.     
            Izmir was the first regional city in Turkey in which a shortwave transmitter was installed, and it was also allotted a callsign.  This station, a 1 kW unit on 7650 kHz under the callsign TAZ, was inaugurated in the early 1950s. 
            This regional shortwave station was in operation for the longest period of time, nearly a score of years.  Some time after its demise, a new high powered mediumwave station was installed and this unit, still on the air to this day, emits 200 kW on 927 kHz.
            And so we come to the end of this our double program as a circular radio tour of Turkey, a visit to 11 different locations in two programs here in Wavescan.  During this circular journey around Turkey, we discovered that there were seven low powered shortwave stations on the air from regional locations during a 30 year period in the 1950s, 1960s and into the 1970s.  We discovered also that these days there are now six high powered mediumwave stations on the air in Turkey.  Just two locations have hosted both an earlier low powered shortwave station and a subsequent high powered mediumwave station, and these were the cities of Diyarbakir and Izmir.
            More on the Turkish radio scene here in a coming edition of Wavescan.

 (AWR/Wavescan/NWS 380)