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Turkey Letter: July 23, 2018

Foreign Policy

  • U.S. steps up pressure on Turkey to free America pastor
  • Six US senators seek to restrict loans to Turkey over ‘pastor’ ruling
  • Mattis urges Congress not to hit Turkey with Lockheead F-35 Ban
  • Joint Turkey-US training in Syria’s Manbij will start soon: CENTCOM
  • No friends, no enemies? Trans-Atlantic relations after Trump’s Europe trip
  • Turkey denounces Israel’s Jewish nation-state law as racist
  • Turkey, US officials hold talks on Iran sanctions
  • Turkey and Netherlands agree to ‘normalize diplomatic ties’ after sour period
  • Turkish Businessman to face UK extradition hearing

 Economy and Energy

  • Germany drops economic sanctions against Turkey
  • Turkey’s industrial production decreased 1.6% in May
  • Turkey to implement policies to narrow current deficit, industry, and technology; minister says
  • Consumer confidence index goes up in July
  • Turkey’s economic growth trends continues, finance minister

Domestic Politics:

  • Turkey to end state of emergency after two years
  • Iyi Party’s Aksener decides to leave party leadership amid internal criticisms
  • Turkey formally arrests televangelist, scores of followers
  • Anti-terror bill keeps some national emergency provisions for three more years
  • HSK and Erdogan appoint 116 judges to higher judicial bodies

 

Foreign Policy:

 

U.S. steps up pressure on Turkey to free America pastor

The Trump administration has launched an intensive diplomatic effort to try to secure freedom for an American pastor who has been held in Turkey for nearly two years on what the U.S. says are dubious terrorism charges. With full support from President Donald Trump, U.S. officials have been trying to persuade Turkey to quickly release Andrew Brunson, the North Carolina pastor caught up in a nationwide crackdown on dissent following a botched 2016 military coup attempt.

Wall Street Journal, U.S. steps up pressure on Turkey to free America pastor, July 19, 2018 


Six US senators seek to restrict loans to Turkey over ‘pastor’ ruling

Six U.S. senators introduced bipartisan legislation on July 19 to restrict loans from international financial institutions to Turkey “until the Turkish government ends the unjust detention of U.S. citizens”, a senate committee statement said. The move followed a Turkish court decision on Wednesday to keep U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson in jail during his trial on terrorism and spying charges, a case that has deepened a rift with NATO ally Washington.

Hurriyet Daily News, Six US senators seek to restrict loans to Turkey over ‘pastor’ ruling, July 20, 2018


Mattis urges Congress not to hit Turkey with Lockheead F-35 Ban

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has warned Congress against punishing Turkey for its plans to buy a Russian anti-aircraft system by cutting off transfers of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 jet. “At this time, I oppose removal of Turkey from the F-35,” Mattis wrote in a previously undisclosed letter this month to lawmakers negotiating fiscal 2019 defense bills. He said a cutoff risks triggering an international “supply chain disruption” that would drive up costs and delay deliveries of the fighter.

Bloomberg, Mattis urges Congress not to hit Turkey with Lockheead F-35 Ban, July 19, 2018


Joint Turkey-US training in Syria’s Manbij will start soon: CENTCOM

The head of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) on July 19 said training for a joint Turkish-American patrol on the frontlines of the northern Syrian city of Manbij will soon start. “As part of the diplomatic road map, we will soon begin the necessary training to conduct joint combined patrols along portions of the demarcation line in this extremely complex environment,” said Gen. Joseph Votel, referring to the Manbij roadmap reached after months of tensions between the two countries that are also strategic NATO allies.

Hurriyet Daily News, Joint Turkey-US training in Syria’s Manbij will start soon: CENTCOM, July 20, 2018


No friends, no enemies? Trans-Atlantic relations after Trump’s Europe trip

On July 19, the Center on the United States and Europe, in partnership with the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), hosted a panel discussion examining recent developments in Europe and trans-Atlantic relations, including the outcomes of Trump’s July trip to Brussels, London, and Helsinki.

Brookings Institution, No friends, no enemies? Trans-Atlantic relations after Trump’s Europe trip, July 19, 2018


Turkey denounces Israel’s Jewish nation-state law as racist

Turkey accused Israel on Thursday of trying to form “an apartheid state”, and denounced as racist a new law declaring that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country. A spokesman for President Tayyip Erdogan called on the international community “to react to this injustice happening in front of the entire world’s eyes” after the Israeli Knesset passed the “nation-state” law on Thursday, angering members of the country’s Arab minority.

Reuters, Turkey denounces Israel’s Jewish nation-state law as racist, July 19, 2018


Turkey, US officials hold talks on Iran sanctions

U.S. and Turkish officials met on Friday to discuss impending American sanctions on Iran — an issue that has the potential to cause a new flashpoint in relations between the two NATO allies. U.S. Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing Marshall Billingslea, who met with Turkish treasury and foreign ministry officials, said his talks in Ankara were very “positive” and that there was “no hostility” on either side. He also met with a series of Turkish companies.

AP News, Turkey, US officials hold talks on Iran sanctions, July 20, 2018


Turkey and Netherlands agree to ‘normalize diplomatic ties’ after sour period

Turkey and the Netherlands have agreed to normalize ties, Turkey’s foreign ministry said on July 20. The decision was reached in a phone call between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu and his Dutch counterpart Stef Blok, it said.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey and Netherlands agree to ‘normalize diplomatic ties’ after sour period, July 20, 2018


Turkish Businessman to face UK extradition hearing

Exiled Turkish businessman Akin Ipek will face an extradition hearing in Britain in September, the British interior ministry said on Saturday, following his arrest in relation to a Turkish request to extradite him. Ipek built a multi-billion-dollar fortune in Turkey based on gold mining but left the country in 2015 after relations between the government and followers of U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen soured.

Reuters, Turkish Businessman to face UK extradition hearing, July 21, 2018


Economic and Energy:

 

Germany drops economic sanctions against Turkey

Germany has lifted economic sanctions on Turkey and relaxed its travel advice to the country, German officials said, after Ankara ended its two-year state of emergency. A 1.5 billion-euro ($1.7bn) limit on export guarantees to Turkey would not be renewed this year, Germany’s economy ministry told the AFP news agency, confirming an earlier report by the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Al Jazeera, Germany drops economic sanctions against Turkey, July 22, 2018 


Turkey’s industrial production decreased 1.6% in May

Turkey’s industrial output contracted 1.6 percent in May compared with the previous month, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) announced on July 17. When the sub sectors of the industrial sector were examined, mining and quarrying index decreased by 1.6 percent, manufacturing index decreased by 1.7 percent, and electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply index decreased by 0.1 percent in May, compared with the previous month.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s industrial production decreased 1.6% in May, July 17, 2018


Turkey to implement policies to narrow current deficit, industry, and technology; minister says

Turkey’s Industry and Technology Ministry will support research and development (R & D) and investments, the minister has said. Turkey will also implement policies to reduce the country’s current deficit, has said Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey to implement policies to narrow current deficit, industry, and technology; minister says, July 17, 2018


Consumer confidence index goes up in July

Turkish consumers’ confidence in the country’s economy has gone up in July, rising 4 percent month-on-month, according to Turkey’s statistical authority TÜİK’s statement on July 23. The consumer confidence index stands at 73.1 this month, while it was 70.3 in June. The index value is figured out in cooperation with the TÜİK and the Central Bank by measuring tendencies of consumers.

Hurriyet Daily News, Consumer confidence index goes up in July, July 23, 2018


Turkey’s economic growth trends continues, finance minister

Turkey is continuing its strong economic growth trend and the foundations of its economy are strong, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law new Finance Minister Berat Albayrak was quoted as saying by state media on July 22.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s economic growth trends continues, finance minister, July 22, 2018


Domestic Politics:

 

Turkey to end state of emergency after two years

The Turkish government has ended the nationwide state of emergency that was imposed two years ago after a failed coup attempt, state media say. Under the state of emergency, tens of thousands of people were arrested or dismissed from their jobs. However the government has decided against extending it again after seven three-month renewals.

BBC, Turkey to end state of emergency after two years, July 18, 2018


Iyi Party’s Aksener decides to leave party leadership amid internal criticisms

İYİ (Good) Party Chairwoman Meral Akşener has decided not to run for the party leadership in the upcoming party convention after serious criticisms over her performance during the presidential elections, a month after twin elections whose results created frustration at her party.

Hurriyet Daily News, Iyi Party’s Aksener decides to leave party leadership amid internal criticisms, July 22, 2018


Turkey formally arrests televangelist, scores of followers

Turkish authorities on Thursday formally arrested a controversial Islamic televangelist and cult leader on charges that include forming a criminal gang, blackmail and sexual abuse of minors, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported. At least 168 of Adnan Oktar’s followers were also formally arrested on the same charges and taken to separate prisons in Istanbul pending trial.

ABC, Turkey formally arrests televangelist, scores of followers, July 19, 2018


Anti-terror bill keeps some national emergency provisions for three more years

A new “anti-terror” bill will bolster the powers of Turkish authorities in detaining suspects and imposing public order even after the current two-year state of emergency ends. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) submitted an amendment to existing laws to parliament on July 16 to deal with the “fight against terror” after the state of emergency is lifted.

Hurriyet Daily News, Anti-terror bill keeps some national emergency provisions for three more years, July 17, 2018


HSK and Erdogan appoint 116 judges to higher judicial bodies

In total, 116 judges have been appointed to Turkey’s Court of Cassation and the Council of State, according to the Official Gazette published on July 17. The Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) appointed 100 members to the Court of Cassation (Yargıtay) and 12 members to the Council of State (Danıştay).

Hurriyet Daily News, HSK and Erdogan appoint 116 judges to higher judicial bodies, July 17, 2018