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Ties That Bind: Turkey, TTIP and Transatlantic Partnership

by Baris Ornarli & Audrey Stevens Late last month, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström met with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman for nearly five hours in an effort to provide momentum to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. Negotiations are progressing slowly, however both sides are reportedly looking to accelerate the process in order to finalize TTIP before President Barack Obama leaves office in January 2017. During this critical phase of negotiations, it is important to reiterate the true potential of TTIP and lay the ground work for its eventual expansion. It is therefore important to recognize Turkey, among other third countries, as an indispensable part of an effective transatlantic economic area.


US Ambassador John Bass indirectly joins presidential system debate in Turkey

The American administrative system, composed of three separate but co-equal branches of government, is the result of 238 years of experimentation and refinement, with a rigorous set of checks and balances so power is distributed across all three branches, the U.S. envoy to Ankara has said, indirectly joining an intense local debate launched by the ruling party over how the Turkish presidential system should be. “Our president is our head of state and our head of government, but he does not exercise full power to do anything, anywhere, at any time. He is bound by a set of laws, he has to live within the budget that is approved by Congress and his actions are subject to oversight and scrutiny by Congress,” the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, told NTV in an interview Feb. 6. “So, for us, we have found that to be a very effective system, and, obviously, if others see value in our structures for their societies, that is a matter for them to decide.” Read more here. Full text (in Turkish) here.


US Senate confirms John Bass as ambassador to Turkey

Hurriyet Daily News The U.S. Senate has finally confirmed John Bass as the ambassador to Ankara. Bass, who was nominated in June but had his nomination held up by the Senate until after the August recess, was approved Sept. 17 by a vote of 98 – 0. Read more from Hurriyet Daily News here.


Turkey, US pledge joint struggle against terror

US Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the Çankaya Presidential Palace in Ankara, Sept. 12. (AA Photo) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held talks in Ankara on Sept. 12 to shape the strategy in the fight against jihadists in Iraq and Syria, as Turkey reiterated its readiness for “merely humanitarian assistance” in the region, instead of getting involved in combat operations. Read more coverage from Hurriyet Daily News here.


U.S. Secretary of Defense in Turkey, meeting on ISIL

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, met Monday with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, to gauge Turkey’s willingness to participate in an American-led coalition against the militant group ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. (Reuters) The Obama administration on Monday began the work of trying to determine exactly what roles the members of its fledgling coalition of countries to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria will play, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel huddled with the leaders of the one country the administration has called “absolutely indispensable” to the fight: Turkey. More coverage from the New York Times here.