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Turkey Letter: 11 February 2019

Foreign Policy:

  • Russian, Turkish defense ministers meet on Syria
  • Turkey, US accelerate work on Manbij roadmap: Turkish FM
  • Erdogan pushes U.S. to lift tariffs on Turkish steel
  • Terror suspect wanted by US deported to Turkey
  • Turkey’s Erdogan says no satisfactory plan yet on North Syria safe zone

Economy & Energy:

  • Turkish Treasury posts $464 million cash surplus in January
  • Turkey, US ‘will reach $75 bln trade target with free trade agreement’
  • Pharmacy stocks run low as Turkey’s drug price policy hits supplies
  • Turkey’s energy import bill up 15.6 percent in 2018

Domestic Politics:

  • Military helicopter crashes in Istanbul: 4 soldiers killed
  • Turkish President Erdoğan launches war on food price ‘terror’
  • Death toll climbs to 21 in Istanbul building collapse
  • ISIL suspects sentenced to jail for plans to attack CHP’s 2017 ‘justice march’
  • Erdogan ignites effort to take over Turkey’s largest listed bank

 

Foreign Policy

 

Russian, Turkish defense ministers meet on Syria
The Russian and Turkish defense ministers have stressed the need to continue military and intelligence cooperation to ensure stability in Syria’s Idlib province despite “provocations” there, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said Monday.
The New York Times, Russian, Turkish defense ministers meet on Syria, 11 February 2019


 Turkey, US accelerate work on Manbij roadmap: Turkish FM
The implementation of the roadmap for ridding Syrian northern town Manbij of the YPG militants has accelerated as the U.S. changed its attitude towards it, Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusolgu said on Feb. 6. “There has been an acceleration when compared to the past… in particular, the U.S. administration and Secretary of State [Mike] Pompeo are asking for immediate implementation of this [roadmap]” he told members of the Turkish press in Washington DC.
Hurriyet, Turkey, US accelerate work on Manbij roadmap: Turkish FM, 7 February 2019


 Erdogan pushes U.S. to lift tariffs on Turkish steel
Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he wanted the United States to lift recent tariffs on Turkish steel, calling them a big obstacle to increasing trade volumes. Washington doubles tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum in August, when relations between the NATO members were strained by the detention of an American evangelical pastor in Turkey.
The New York Times, Erdogan pushes U.S. to lift tariffs on Turkish steel, 7 February 2019


Terror suspect wanted by US deported to Turkey
A Turkish man who is wanted for prosecution in the United States on terrorism charges has instead been deported by Germany back to his home country, U.S. officials said Wednesday. The case concerns Adem Yilmaz, who was indicted under seal in 2015 on charges of participating nearly 10 years earlier in attacks on U.S. military forces along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Washington Post, Terror suspect wanted by US deported to Turkey, 6 February 2019


Turkey’s Erdogan says no satisfactory plan yet on North Syria safe zone
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he had not yet seen an acceptable plan from the United States for the creation of a safe zone in northeastern Syria, three weeks after President Donald Trump suggested establishing the zone. “There is no satisfactory plan that is put before us concretely yet,” Erdogan told a parliamentary meeting of his AK Party. “Of course we are loyal to our agreements, our promise is a promise. But our patience is not limitless.”
The New York Times, Turkey’s Erdogan says no satisfactory plan yet on North Syria safe zone, 5 February 2019


 

Economy & Energy

 

Turkish Treasury posts $464 million cash surplus in January
The Turkish treasury’s cash balance last month saw a surplus of 2.5 billion Turkish Liras ($464 million), according to an official statement on Feb. 8. In the same month last year, the cash budget produced a deficit of 1.55 billion liras. In January, the Treasury’s cash revenues totaled some 97 billion liras ($18billion), showing a 69 percent jump on a yearly basis, the Treasury and Finance Ministry announced
Hurriyet, Turkish Treasury posts $464 million cash surplus in January, 8 February 2019


 Turkey, US ‘will reach $75 bln trade target with free trade agreement’
Trade volume between Turkey and the United States may reach $75 billion through a free trade agreement and the removal of regulations and tariffs, the chairman of the American-Turkish Council has said, stressing that the bilateral potential has never been realized.
Hurriyet, Turkey, US ‘will reach $75 bln trade target with free trade agreement’, 6 February 2019


 Pharmacy stocks run low as Turkey’s drug price policy hits supplies
For months Akpinar says, she and pharmacists across the city, have faced a shortage of critical stocks caused by a government decision to keep the prices it pays pharmaceutical firms for medicines artificially low. “We have been calling the pharma warehouses several times a day to ask if they can deliver these drugs, but we can’t find them,” she told Reuters in her pharmacy in the central Istanbul district of Sisli.
Reuters, Pharmacy stocks run low as Turkey’s drug price policy hits supplies, 6 February 2019


Turkey’s energy import bill up 15.6 percent in 2018
Turkey’s energy import bill in 2018 increased by nearly 15.6 percent compared to 2017, according to Turkish statistical Institutes (TUIK) data on Feb. 6. The institute’s annual data for 2018 showed that the country paid $42.99 billion for its energy imports last year compared to $37.2 billion in 2017.
Hurriyet, Turkey’s energy import bill up 15.6 percent in 2018, 6 February 2019


 

Domestic Politics

 

Military helicopter crashes in Istanbul: 4 soldiers killed
A military helicopter crashed Monday in a residential area of Istanbul while trying to make an emergency landing, killing four soldiers on board, Turkish officials said.
The Washington Post, Military helicopter crashes in Istanbul: 4 soldiers killed, 11 February 2019


 Turkish President Erdoğan launches war on food price ‘terror’
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called recent excessive vegetable and fruit price hikes “food terrorism,” vowing that sales launched on Feb. 11 by several municipalities across the country will lead to market control.
Hurriyet, Turkish President Erdoğan launches war on food price ‘terror’, 11 February 2019


Death toll climbs to 21 in Istanbul building collapse
The death toll from the collapse of an apartment building in Istanbul rose to 21 on Feb. 9, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said authorities have “lessons to learn” from the incident. The seven-storey block in the Kartal district on the Asian side of the city collapsed on Feb. 6 but the cause is not yet clear.
Hurriyet, Death toll climbs to 21 in Istanbul building collapse, 8 February 2019


ISIL suspects sentenced to jail for plans to attack CHP’s 2017 ‘justice march’
Twenty-seven suspects, including a senior member of ISIL, have been handed down lengthy prison sentences for planning attacks on a convoy of the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) “justice march” in 2017.
Hurriyet, ISIL suspects sentenced to jail for plans to attack CHP’s 2017 ‘justice march’, 7 February 2019


Erdogan ignites effort to take over Turkey’s largest listed bank
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan escalated his campaign to seize the nation’s largest listed lender, Turkiye Is Bankasi A.S., calling for a parliamentary vote on takeover. Shares of the lender, which is part owned by the main opposition party, tumbled after Erdogan told lawmakers from his ruling AK party in Ankara Tuesday that “Isbank will become the property of the Treasury, with the permission of God.”
Bloomberg, Erdogan ignites effort to take over Turkey’s largest listed bank, 5 February 2019