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Turkey Letter: 4 March 2019

Foreign Policy:

  • China’s envoy says Turkish Uighur criticism could hit economic ties
  • Turkey conducts largest naval exercise
  • Turkey-US joint task force meeting kicks off in Ankara
  • Trump adviser Kushner meets with Turkish president for talks on regional issues
  • Turkey to buy S-400s, but also ‘open to’ US Patriot offer: Erdogan
  • US lacks strategy on Syria: Turkish FM

Economy & Energy:

  • TUSIAD views on Turkey’s European Union integration process
  • Erdogan tries to ease the pain of Turkey’s bad economy. It’s still hurting.
  • Turkey to seek funding to bolster state-owned banks, sources say
  • Updating customs union with EU is priority: Turkish finance minister

Domestic Politics:

  • Turkish court accepts indictment against 16 over Gezi protests: lawyer
  • AKP, MHP to hold joint election rallies for March 31 elections
  • Turkish government should be held ‘responsible for economic crisis,’ CHP leader says


Foreign Policy

 

China’s envoy says Turkish Uighur criticism could hit economic ties
Turkey risks jeopardizing economic ties with China if it keeps criticizing Beijing’s treatment of Uighur Muslims, China’s envoy to Ankara warned, just as Chinese firms are looking to invest in Turkish energy and infrastructure mega-projects.
Reuters, China’s envoy says Turkish Uighur criticism could hit economic ties, 1 March 2019


 Turkey conducts largest naval exercise
Turkey’s military conducted the second day of its largest naval exercise in its history on Thursday, carrying out drills with frigates, corvettes and submarines in the Black Sea, Aegean and eastern Mediterranean. The nine-day exercise is aimed at testing the readiness of command bases and operation centers throughout Turkey’s territorial waters, the defense ministry said.
Reuters, Turkey conducts largest naval exercise, 28 February 2019


Turkey-US joint task force meeting kicks off in Ankara
Two-day meeting of the Turkey-U.S. Joint Task Force, tasked to coordinate the American troops withdrawal from Syria, started in Ankara on Feb. 28. This is the second meeting of its kind after the initial one held in Washington on Feb. 6. “This task force only focuses on the withdrawal,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Feb. 6 elaborating on the mission of the task force.
Hurriyet, Turkey-US joint task force meeting kicks off in Ankara, 28 February 2019


Trump adviser Kushner meets with Turkish president for talks on regional issues
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with U S. President Donald Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner on Feb. 27 for talks expected to focus on a U.S. peace plan for the Middle East and economic issues. Erdoğan, in an interview late on Feb. 26, said Kushner was due in Turkey to discuss “economic and regional issues.”
Hurriyet, Trump adviser Kushner meets with Turkish president for talks on regional issues, 27 February 2019


Turkey to buy S-400s, but also ‘open to’ US Patriot offer: Erdogan
Turkey will not change course on buying the S-400 missile defense system from Russia, but the country could also accept a “good offer” on U.S. Patriot missiles, Turkish president said on Feb. 26. Changing course on Turkey’s deal to purchase the S-400s is “definitely” out of the question, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a private broadcaster.
Hurriyet, Turkey to buy S-400s, but also ‘open to’ US Patriot offer: Erdogan, 27 February 2019


US lacks strategy on Syria: Turkish FM
The United States lacks strategy on the withdrawal of its soldiers from Syria, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said, referring to Washington’s recent decision to keep 400 troops on the ground as peacekeeping forces. Speaking to journalists after an election meeting in the capital Ankara yesterday, Çavuşoğlu recalled a meeting of the Turkey-U.S. Joint Working Group in Washington on Feb. 6, in which a decision to form a joint task force was made.
Hurriyet, US lacks strategy on Syria: Turkish FM, 26 February 2019



Economy & Energy

 

TUSIAD views on Turkey’s European Union integration process
TÜSİAD President Simone Kaslowski attended the EU – Turkey High Level Economic Dialogue meeting in Istanbul today with Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak and Jyrki Katainen, Vice President of the European Commission. TÜSİAD President Simone Kaslowski underlined the importance of a better functioning rules-based market economy, rule of law and robust democracy. To this end, Kaslowski reiterated that the business community actively supports Turkey’s Accession Partnership with the EU.
TUSIAD US, TUSIAD views on Turkey’s European Union integration process, 1 March 2019


Erdogan tries to ease the pain of Turkey’s bad economy. It’s still hurting.
After long unbroken growth, Turkey is entering a recession amid falling investor confidence and a credit crisis. Bankruptcies have increased. Unemployment and inflation have hit double digits. Rising prices, especially at the vegetable markets, have become a national obsession.
New York Times, Erdogan tries to ease the pain of Turkey’s bad economy. It’s still hurting., 4 March 2019


Turkey to seek funding to bolster state-owned banks, sources say
Turkey is working on a plan to bolster the capital levels of state-owned banks to keep fueling cheap credit and stoke an economy heading for recession. The finance ministry is trying find a source of funding to inject into the lenders, according to people familiar with the deliberations, who asked not to be named because the talks are internal.
Bloomberg, Turkey to seek funding to bolster state-owned banks, sources say, 1 March 2019


Updating customs union with EU is priority: Turkish finance minister
Turkey and the European Union have agreed in high-level talks held in Istanbul that the existing customs union needs to be upgraded. “Bilateral trade volume between the bloc and Turkey has almost quadrupled over the past 15 years to around $165 billion. This is a well-balanced trade relationship. The issue of upgrading the customs union, which would be beneficial to both parties, should be addressed urgently,” Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Feb. 28 following the third High Level Economic Dialogue meeting with Jyrki Katainen, Vice President of the European Commission.
Hurriyet, Updating customs union with EU is priority: Turkish finance minister, 28 February 2019



Domestic Politics

 

Turkish court accepts indictment against 16 over Gezi protests: lawyer
A Turkish court accepted an indictment seeking life sentences against businessman and rights activist Osman Kavala and 15 others over the 2013 Gezi protests, Kavala’s lawyer said on Monday.
Reuters, Turkish court accepts indictment against 16 over Gezi protests: lawyer, 4 March 2019


 AKP, MHP to hold joint election rallies for March 31
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will hold joint rallies as part of their “People’s Alliance” in three metropolises of Turkey for the upcoming local elections. The alliance’s electoral campaign will kick off in the Aegean province of İzmir on March 17.
Hurriyet, AKP, MHP to hold joint election rallies for March 31, 27 February 2019


Turkish government should be held ‘responsible for economic crisis,’ CHP leader says
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader has accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of running unsuccessful economic policies, adding that the country possesses a potential to overcome problems.
Hurriyet, Turkish government should be held ‘responsible for economic crisis,’ CHP leader says, 25 February 2019