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Turkey Letter: 1 February 2016

Foreign Policy

  • Turkey Says Russia Violated Its Airspace Again
  • Saudi Arabia, Turkey Back Syria Opposition in Possible Peace Talks
  • N. Rights Chief Urges Turkey to Investigate Shooting of Civilians
  • EU’s Decade of Flip-Flopping Serves Turkey Badly, Says Roth
  • US ‘very troubled’ over indictment against arrested Turkish journalists
  • More than 3,000 Syrians fled to Turkey in three days as pro-Assad forces advance

Economy and Energy

  • Oil Slump Allows Turkey to Record Smallest Trade Gap Since 2009
  • Basci Says Turkey Two Years From Price Stability as Wages Raised
  • With Latam visit, Turkey’s Erdogan seeks to bolster trade
  • Turkey’s exports drop 14.4 pct in first month of 2016

Domestic Politics

  • Electing both president and PM ‘unsustainable’: Erdoğan
  • Thousands flee southeastern Sur district amid clashes
  • Group said trapped in cellar become focus in Turkey’s Kurdish conflict
  • Turkey tops ECHR list in freedom of expression violations in 2015

Foreign Policy

Turkey Says Russia Violated Its Airspace Again

Turkey said Saturday that a Russian warplane breached its airspace, accusing Moscow of seeking to escalate tensions and warning of consequences two months after Turkish F-16s downed a Russian jet for violating its territory from Syria.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey Says Russia Violated Its Airspace Again, January 30, 2016


Saudi Arabia, Turkey Back Syria Opposition in Possible Peace Talks

Saudi Arabia and Turkey on January 30 came out in support of Syria’s opposition members, in Geneva for possible U.N.-sponsored peace talks with the Syrian regime, but played down their roles in setting the agenda for the negotiations.

Wall Street Journal, Saudi Arabia, Turkey Back Syria Opposition in Possible Peace Talks, February 1, 2016


U.N. Rights Chief Urges Turkey to Investigate Shooting of Civilians

The United Nations’ top human rights official urged Turkey on Monday to investigate the shooting of unarmed civilians by the army in the mainly Kurdish southeast and expressed alarm at a crackdown on journalists and critics of the country’s government.

New York Times, U.N. Rights Chief Urges Turkey to Investigate Shooting of Civilians, February 1, 2016


EU’s Decade of Flip-Flopping Serves Turkey Badly, Says Roth

The European Union is treating Turkey with an inconsistency that’s liable to stoke human rights violations in the aspiring member of the bloc, Human Rights Watch Director Kenneth Roth said in an interview in Istanbul on Tuesday.

Bloomberg, EU’s Decade of Flip-Flopping Serves Turkey Badly, Says Roth, January 27, 2016


US ‘very troubled’ over indictment against arrested Turkish journalists

The United States has voiced its concerns over the indictment completed against the arrested journalists from daily Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, saying the whole process raised “serious concerns” about free speech and democracy in Turkey.

Hurriyet Daily News, US ‘very troubled’ over indictment against arrested Turkish journalists, January 28, 2016


More than 3,000 Syrians fled to Turkey in three days as pro-Assad forces advance

More than 3,000 Turkmens and Arabs fleeing advances by pro-government Syrian forces in the north of Latakia province have crossed into Turkey over the past three days, Turkish disaster agency AFAD said on Monday.

Reuters, More than 3,000 Syrians fled to Turkey in three days as pro-Assad forces advance, February 1, 2016


Economy and Energy

Oil Slump Allows Turkey to Record Smallest Trade Gap Since 2009

The slump in crude oil prices gave Turkey its smallest trade deficit since 2009, reducing the need for foreign currency to plug the gap. The annual shortfall shrank by more than a quarter to $63.3 billion last year, Turkey’s statistics institute said in a statement on its website on January 29. Cheaper energy imports accounted for more than half of the improvement.

Bloomberg, Oil Slump Allows Turkey to Record Smallest Trade Gap Since 2009, January 29, 2016


Basci Says Turkey Two Years From Price Stability as Wages Raised

Turkey’s central bank, on course to miss its inflation target for a sixth year, urged the government to take action to curb price increases after handing the country’s lowest earners a 30 percent raise.

Bloomberg, Basci Says Turkey Two Years From Price Stability as Wages Raised, January 26, 2016


With Latam visit, Turkey’s Erdogan seeks to bolster trade

President Tayyip Erdogan heads to Latin America on January 30 with the aim of boosting trade ties as Turkey seeks to diversify away from its traditional export markets in the troubled economies of Europe and the Middle East.

Reuters, With Latam visit, Turkey’s Erdogan seeks to bolster trade, January 29, 2016


Turkey’s exports drop 14.4 pct in first month of 2016

Turkey’s exports declined 14.4 percent to $9.2 billion in January compared to the same month of 2015, according to data from the Exporters’ Assembly of Turkey (TİM). The loss in the country’s exports from parity was announced at $371 million in January. The 12-month exports declined by 9.8 percent to $140.6 billion in the first month of 2016 compared to the same month of 2015, said TİM in a written statement on Feb. 1.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s exports drop 14.4 pct in first month of 2016, February 1, 2016


Domestic Politics

Electing both president and PM ‘unsustainable’: Erdoğan

The current parliamentary system in Turkey is out of date and the existing situation, in which both the prime minister and president are elected by the people, is unsustainable, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stated, emphasizing his wish to hold a referendum over a new constitution and a transition to a presidential system while calling on civil society organizations and media to launch a grassroots campaign to this aim.

Hurriyet Daily News, Electing both president and PM ‘unsustainable’: Erdoğan, January 28, 2016


Thousands flee southeastern Sur district amid clashes

Thousands of people fled the Sur district of Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakır province on Jan. 27 after authorities fighting outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants there expanded a 24-hour curfew to include five more neighborhoods.

Hurriyet Daily News, Thousands flee southeastern Sur district amid clashes, January 28, 2016


Group said trapped in cellar become focus in Turkey’s Kurdish conflict

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and the pro-Kurdish opposition traded blame on Friday over the fate of more than 20 people it says have been trapped for a week in a cellar in a southeastern town as fighting rages between security forces and Kurdish militants.

Reuters, Group said trapped in cellar become focus in Turkey’s Kurdish conflict, January 29, 2016


Turkey tops ECHR list in freedom of expression violations in 2015

Turkey was the subject of the highest number of judgments regarding violations of freedom of expression in 2015, the European Court of Human Rights’ annual activity report revealed on Jan. 28, with the country second only to Russia in the total number of violations.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey tops ECHR list in freedom of expression violations in 2015, January 28, 2016