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Turkey Letter: 17 January 2017

Foreign Politics

  • U.S. increases support for Turkish military operations in Syria
  • Amid Turkey’s media crackdown, Erdogan praises Trump for putting CNN reporter ‘in his place’
  • Russia agrees US should attend Syria talks: Turkey
  • Turkey invites Iraqi top commander to Ankara
  • Erdogan Says Troops Will Be in Cyprus ‘Forever,’ Complicating Hopes of Reuniting

Economy & Energy

  • Erol Bilecik Elected TÜSİAD President
  • Turkey’s top bosses warn of serious economic risks, urge maintenance of key institutions
  • Turkey’s Central Bank Announces New Measures to Boost Lira
  • Turkey Deals Seen Flatlining as State Dominates Big Projects
  • Turkey could face double-digit inflation as lira falls
  • Erdogan calls for Turkish “national mobilisation” to defend lira
  • Deutsche Bank Rejects Claims of ‘Economic Terror’ in Turkey
  • Hyundai, IHI Among Firms Weighing $5 Billion Turkey Project

Domestic Politics

  • Turkey’s parliament votes in favor of constitutional reform in first round
  • Suspect in Istanbul Nightclub Attack Confesses, Officials Say
  • Prosecutor seeks up to 142 years in prison for jailed HDP co-chair
  • Roadside bomb in southeast Turkey kills three police officers
  • In Istanbul, three days of snowfall soothes terror-stricken residents


 
 

Foreign Politics

U.S. increases support for Turkish military operations in Syria

U.S. aircraft have begun regular aerial intelligence surveillance in support of Turkey’s offensive against the Islamic State in northwestern Syria, in anticipation of increased U.S. support for the flailing Turkish military operation around the town of al-Bab.

Washington Post, U.S. increases support for Turkish military operations in Syria, January 9, 2017


Amid Turkey’s media crackdown, Erdogan praises Trump for putting CNN reporter ‘in his place’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is no friend of the media. Since an attempted coup against him in July, he has jailed at least 144 journalists and shuttered or seized control of more than 150 media companies, according to Human Rights Watch. Now he is praising President-elect Donald Trump for his aggressive tone toward American news media.

Washington Post, Amid Turkey’s media crackdown, Erdogan praises Trump for putting CNN reporter ‘in his place’, January 12, 2017


Russia agrees US should attend Syria talks: Turkey

Russia has agreed that the United States should be involved in talks on Syria’s political future slated to take place in the Kazakh capital of Astana later this month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Jan. 12.

Hurriyet Daily News, Russia agrees US should attend Syria talks: Turkey, January 13, 2017


Turkey invites Iraqi top commander to Ankara

Turkey has invited Iraq’s Chief of General Staff Osman al-Ghanimi to Ankara for talks on both anti-terror fight and the status of the Bashiqa camp after Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s key visit to Baghdad over the weekend.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey invites Iraqi top commander to Ankara, January 10, 2017


Erdogan Says Troops Will Be in Cyprus ‘Forever,’ Complicating Hopes of Reuniting

Turkey’s president declared on Friday that Turkish troops would remain in Cyprus “forever,” complicating hopes of reuniting the island nation, which has been effectively partitioned since 1974.

New York Times, Erdogan Says Troops Will Be in Cyprus ‘Forever,’ Complicating Hopes of Reuniting, January 13, 2017


Economy & Energy

Erol Bilecik Elected TÜSİAD President

TÜSİAD held elections for the Board of Directors, High Advisory Council, Auditing Board, and Disciplinary Committee on January 12, 2017 during the 47th General Assembly.

TÜSİAD, Erol Bilecik Elected TÜSİAD President, January 12, 2017


Turkey’s top bosses warn of serious economic risks, urge maintenance of key institutions

Turkey’s top bosses have warned of the serious economic risks facing the country, noting the urgent need for Turkey to strengthen key institutions and decrease political uncertainties. “[The measures taken so far] may lead to a short-term cure, but are not enough to save tomorrow,” said Turkish Industry and Business Association’s (TÜSİAD) high advisory board president, Tuncay Özilhan, on Jan. 12.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s top bosses warn of serious economic risks, urge maintenance of key institutions, January 12, 2017


Turkey’s Central Bank Announces New Measures to Boost Lira

Turkey’s central bank on Friday announced fresh measures on lira liquidity management to prop up the currency, in a move to raise borrowing costs for banks.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey’s Central Bank Announces New Measures to Boost Lira, January 13, 2017


Turkey Deals Seen Flatlining as State Dominates Big Projects

Deals in Turkey’s project-finance market are hitting a wall despite the government’s efforts to invest in roads, energy and hospitals in the face of slowing economic growth and a weakening currency.

Bloomberg, Turkey Deals Seen Flatlining as State Dominates Big Projects, January 13, 2017


Turkey could face double-digit inflation as lira falls

Turkish inflation could reach double digits in the first quarter for the first time in almost five years after the lira’s falls, two senior economy officials said on Monday, potentially putting more pressure on the central bank to hike interest rates.

Reuters, Turkey could face double-digit inflation as lira falls, January 16, 2017


Erdogan calls for Turkish “national mobilisation” to defend lira

President Tayyip Erdogan accused Turkey’s enemies on Thursday of using currency speculation to try to topple the state and urged the central bank to “thwart these games”, saying it had all the tools it needed after the lira plunged to record lows.

Reuters, Erdogan calls for Turkish “national mobilisation” to defend lira, January 12, 2017


Deutsche Bank Rejects Claims of ‘Economic Terror’ in Turkey

Deutsche Bank AG’s Turkish unit rejected claims by a pro-government newspaper that it’s plotting to undermine the economy, and said it’s “unacceptable” for the lender’s name to be associated with terrorism.

Bloomberg, Deutsche Bank Rejects Claims of ‘Economic Terror’ in Turkey, January 13, 2017


Hyundai, IHI Among Firms Weighing $5 Billion Turkey Project

Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co., Itochu Corp. and Chinese builders are among companies that may bid for a $5 billion contract to build a network of roads and a suspension bridge across Turkey’s Dardanelles waterway, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bloomberg, Hyundai, IHI Among Firms Weighing $5 Billion Turkey Project, January 10, 2017


Domestic Politics

Turkey’s parliament votes in favor of constitutional reform in first round

Turkey’s parliament has voted in favour in a first round ballot on a constitutional bill that will extend President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers, which opposition politicians say could put the country at risk of growing authoritarianism.

Reuters, Turkey’s parliament votes in favor of constitutional reform in first round, January 16, 2017


Suspect in Istanbul Nightclub Attack Confesses, Officials Say

The Uzbek man who was taken into custody on Monday and is believed to be the gunman who carried out an attack at an upscale Istanbul nightclub, killing 39 people early on New Year’s Day, has confessed, the Turkish authorities said on Tuesday.

New York Times, Suspect in Istanbul Nightclub Attack Confesses, Officials Say, January 17, 2017


Prosecutor seeks up to 142 years in prison for jailed HDP co-chair

Indictments regarding the jailed co-leaders of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have been completed, with the prosecutor seeking up to 142 years in jail for Selahattin Demirtaş and up to 83 years in jail for Figen Yüksekdağ.

Hurriyet Daily News, Prosecutor seeks up to 142 years in prison for jailed HDP co-chair, January 17, 2017


Roadside bomb in southeast Turkey kills three police officers

Three Turkish police officers were killed and nine more wounded when a roadside bomb hit a passing police bus in the largely Kurdish southeastern province of Diyarbakir on Monday, security sources said.

Reuters, Roadside bomb in southeast Turkey kills three police officers, January 16, 2017


In Istanbul, three days of snowfall soothes terror-stricken residents 

The new year arrived here in a terrible frenzy of gunfire and death, with 39 people killed as they celebrated at an upscale, waterside club. The massacre had seemed a grim omen, too, signaling that the coming year in Turkey might be as worrying as the last, with rattling, deadly terrorist attacks, a failed coup and mass arrests by a government that increasingly sees itself as surrounded by enemies.

Washington Post, In Istanbul, three days of snowfall soothes terror-stricken residents, January 9, 2017