Turkey Letter: May 30 2017
- Germany gains access to journalist detained in Turkey
- Turkey, EU agree on 12-month calendar in accession bid
- Putin, Erdoğan confirm mutual desire for deepening strategic partnership in phone call
- Haley Tries to Thread a Needle in Survey of Refugee Camps
- Turkey and EU Pull Relations Back From Brink, but Tensions Remain
- Turkey’s leader confronted by France, Germany at NATO summit
- Turkey Summons U.S. Ambassador Over Security During Erdogan Visit
Economy & Energy
- Turkey’s banks remain resilient against risks
- Tourists Are Finally Coming Back to Turkey
- Turkey collects 21 bln liras through debt restructuring plan
- Turkey Files $8 Billion Debt Prospectus With U.S. Regulator
- Turkey’s Richest Families Sell Almost $600 Million in Shares
- Turkey Sticks New Curbs on Russia Wheat Imports
- AKP suffering from fatigue, needs regeneration, says Erdoğan
- Turkey is governed by an ‘illegitimate constitution,’ says CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu
- Army didn’t think Gülen would dare to stage coup
- Court issues arrest warrant for HDP deputy Baydemir
- Turkey’s Opposition Seeks Way to Win Against Erdogan
- No Protests After Dark in Ankara as Erdogan’s Crackdown Deepens
Germany gains access to journalist detained in Turkey
Germany’s Foreign Ministry says Turkish authorities have agreed to grant consular officials access for the first time to a German journalist detained about a month ago in Turkey. Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said Monday that German officials have received verbal approval for a visit to Mesale Tolu, a 33-year-old German citizen with Turkish roots. Schaefer said he expects the visit to take place on Friday.
The Associated Press, Germany gains access to journalist detained in Turkey, May 29, 2017
Turkey, EU agree on 12-month calendar in accession bid
Turkey and the European Union have agreed on a 12-month calendar on the future of Turkey’s accession bid, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on May 25 while returning to Turkey from meetings with the bloc’s top executives and leaders of the European powerhouses. The EU conducted some studies before the meetings, Erdoğan told journalists. “We got a 12-month calendar from them about the studies they made. We will make a study on this calendar with the Foreign Ministry and the EU Ministry,” the president said.
Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey, EU agree on 12-month calendar in accession bid, May 27, 2017
Putin, Erdoğan confirm mutual desire for deepening strategic partnership in phone call
Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed in a phone call their mutual desire for a deepening of the strategic partnership between their two countries, the Kremlin said on May 27. The Kremlin said the two leaders discussed agreements previously made about removing economic restrictions between Russia and Turkey, as well as questions relating to the Turkish Stream and Akkuyu energy projects.
Hurriyet Daily News, Putin, Erdoğan confirm mutual desire for deepening strategic partnership in phone call, May 27, 2017
Haley Tries to Thread a Needle in Survey of Refugee Camps
In the shadow of President Donald Trump’s first international trip, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley toured camps housing refugees from Syria’s civil war this week as she broadcasts her own vision of “America first,” one that emphasizes the traditional U.S. role as a humanitarian leader.
The Wall Street Journal, Haley Tries to Thread a Needle in Survey of Refugee Camps, May 26, 2017
Turkey and EU Pull Relations Back From Brink, but Tensions Remain
Top European Union leaders and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meeting for the first time in almost two years, stepped back from what had appeared to be imminent confrontation and agreed to reset relations. Mr. Erdogan, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday agreed to less political finger-pointing, while boosting cooperation in areas such as economic integration and the refugee crisis, Turkish and EU officials said.
The Wall Street Journal, Turkey and EU Pull Relations Back From Brink, but Tensions Remain, May 26, 2017
Turkey’s leader confronted by France, Germany at NATO summit
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was confronted by key allies France and Germany with diplomatic complaints despite him traveling to Brussels to celebrate the unity of the NATO alliance. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both raised the issue of nationals from their countries currently held in custody in Turkey. It was the latest example of steadily decreasing relations between Erdogan and several of his European allies in the wake of last year’s coup attempt.
The Washington Post, Turkey’s leader confronted by France, Germany at NATO summit, May 25, 2017
Turkey Summons U.S. Ambassador Over Security During Erdogan Visit
Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest what it called “aggressive and unprofessional actions” by U.S. security toward Turkish bodyguards during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Washington last week. Clashes involving Turkish security personnel, supporters of Mr. Erdogan, protesters, and District of Columbia police sent nine people to the hospital.
The Wall Street Journal, Turkey Summons U.S. Ambassador Over Security During Erdogan Visit, May 22, 2017
Economy & Energy
Turkey’s banks remain resilient against risks
Turkey’s banking sector is resilient against interest and exchange rate risks and its equity is above the level required to cover possible trouble, the Central Bank stated in its latest financial stability report on May 30. Geopolitical developments and uncertainties about economic policies are perceived as the main risk factors undermining global financial stability in the upcoming period, the report said.
Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s banks remain resilient against risks, May 30, 2017
Tourists Are Finally Coming Back to Turkey
The number of foreign visitors to Turkey rose for the first time since a row with Russia deepened a crisis in the nation’s tourism industry. Tourist arrivals rose 18 percent from a year ago to just over 2 million in April, ending a losing streak that began in August 2015 and worsened after Turkey shot down a Russian jet near its border with Syria — bringing ties with Moscow to a near-collapse. Russia, then the second-biggest source of visitors, responded by banning travel to Turkey for tourism.
Bloomberg, Tourists Are Finally Coming Back to Turkey, May 30, 2017
Turkey collects 21 bln liras through debt restructuring plan
The Turkish government has collected 21 billion Turkish Liras ($5.9 billion) in line with the latest debt and tax restructuring plan, a top official has said, adding that a fresh system would slash the need for another restructuring plan. Speaking at a press meeting in the capital Ankara on May 29, Finance Minister Naci Ağbal said nearly 8.5 million applications were made to benefit from the plan and 6 million people benefited from it.
Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey collects 21 bln liras through debt restructuring plan, May 29, 2017
Turkey Files $8 Billion Debt Prospectus With U.S. Regulator
Turkey filed an application in the U.S. to sell as much as $8 billion in debt, according to a prospectus posted on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s website. The new prospectus is a technical update to the U.S. regulator and doesn’t indicate a target for sales, the Ankara-based Treasury said by email. Turkey had filed a prospectus to offer as much as $8 billion in debt securities in November, according to a previous filing on the SEC website.
Bloomberg, Turkey Files $8 Billion Debt Prospectus With U.S. Regulator, May 29, 2017
Turkey’s Richest Families Sell Almost $600 Million in Shares
Members of the families that own Turkey’s two biggest groups of companies sold a combined total of about $575 million in shares in their respective groups, as the benchmark Turkish stock index closed at a record high on Wednesday. The Koc family, which runs the most valuable company on the Borsa Istanbul, sold 107 million shares for about $475 million in Koc Holding AS, according to a term sheet seen by Bloomberg News. In a separate deal, some members of the Sabanci family sold about $100 million in shares in Sabanci Holding, bookrunner Unlu & Co. told Bloomberg.
Bloomberg, Turkey’s Richest Families Sell Almost $600 Million in Shares, May 24, 2017
Turkey Sticks New Curbs on Russia Wheat Imports
Turkey limited wheat imports from Russia for the second time this year, according to traders and Turkey’s grain association. Turkish trade authorities curbed the amount of Russian wheat in recent cargoes to under a third of the total shipment, said traders at AgriPro Ltd. and GTCS Trading DMCC. The restrictions were added about a week ago and reduced Russian wheat to 20 to 25 percent, according to Gulfem Eren, chairwoman of Turkey’s Grain Suppliers Association.
Bloomberg, Turkey Sticks New Curbs on Russia Wheat Imports, May 24, 2017
AKP suffering from fatigue, needs regeneration, says Erdoğan
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, recently returning to become chair of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has vowed to oversee substantial changes in the party’s central organization and its provincial branches, saying it is suffering from “fatigue.” “We will review and update all our provincial organizations in cities, districts and villages. There is a metal fatigue that we need to avoid. We have to get ready for the 2019 elections with more dynamic and hardworking teams,” Erdoğan told AKP lawmakers on May 30 in his first address since returning party chairman.
Hurriyet Daily News, AKP suffering from fatigue, needs regeneration, says Erdoğan, May 30, 2017
Turkey is governed by an ‘illegitimate constitution,’ says CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu
Turkey is being governed by an “illegitimate constitution,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, blasting the draft report of the parliamentary commission to investigate July 2016 coup attempt for being penned by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to “cover up the political leg of the coup.” “The infrastructure of a counter-coup was established after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. We are going through a coup era with ongoing state of emergency regulations. Democracy and the constitution have been completely suspended. Turkey is currently being government by an illegitimate constitution,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in a parliamentary group meeting of his party on May 30.
Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey is governed by an ‘illegitimate constitution,’ says CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu, May 30, 2017
Army didn’t think Gülen would dare to stage coup
The Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) was regarded as a grave threat to Turkey, but no state institution could foresee that it would dare stage a coup and topple the Republic of Turkey, the country’s top soldier has said, contending that the army took all necessary measures to foil the attempt immediately after it learned of a plot. “The fact that this organization dared to take Turkey and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) under its control by toppling the government in a coup after slowly and systematically infiltrating the state’s civilian, military and police institutions over the years was an unexpected situation for many, including the state’s other institutions,” Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar said May 30 in a reply to questions posed by a parliamentary panel tasked with probing the July 2016 coup attempt.
Hurriyet Daily News, Army didn’t think Gülen would dare to stage coup, May 30, 2017
Court issues arrest warrant for HDP deputy Baydemir
A court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır issued an arrest warrant on May 30 for Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Şanlıurfa deputy and spokesperson Osman Baydemir on charges of “insulting public servants on account of their position,” according to Doğan News Agency. The Diyarbakır Fourth Penal Court of First Instance took the decision after Baydemir failed to attend a hearing despite a court order. The HDP deputy’s lawyer, Serdar Çelebi, told the court that Baydemir had a busy schedule as the party’s spokesman and was currently in Ankara to deliver a speech at the party’s parliamentary group meeting.
Hurriyet Daily News, Court issues arrest warrant for HDP deputy Baydemir, May 30, 2017
Turkey’s Opposition Seeks Way to Win Against Erdogan
After narrowly losing last month’s bitterly contested constitutional referendum, Turkey’s main opposition party is struggling over how to keep battling a newly empowered President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Some leaders of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, say the party should recast itself as a defender of democracy to enhance its appeal. Doing so, they say, would win over “Yes” voters who support Mr. Erdogan but oppose the vastly enhanced presidential powers delivered by his referendum.
The Wall Street Journal, Turkey’s Opposition Seeks Way to Win Against Erdogan, May 26, 2017
No Protests After Dark in Ankara as Erdogan’s Crackdown Deepens
Turkey’s capital banned “all acts of protest” after dark, including press events and group singing, deepening a crackdown on dissent triggered by last year’s coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The governor’s office in Ankara said on its website Friday that it was exercising powers granted under Turkey’s state of emergency to eliminate risks to “public order,” including events that create targets for terrorists by attracting large numbers of people. Shouting and chanting slogans are also proscribed after sunset.
Bloomberg, No Protests After Dark in Ankara as Erdogan’s Crackdown Deepens, May 26, 2017