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Turkey Letter: 1 May 2017

Foreign Policy

  • Turkey eyes new ties with US under Trump leadership
  • EU says membership talks still open if Turkey wants them
  • Erdogan says Turkey won’t wait at Europe’s door forever
  • Turkey Put on Council of Europe Watchlist Over Rights Record
  • Turkey expands strikes against Kurdish militants in Syria and Iraq

Economy & Energy

  • Turkey’s exports soar in April
  • Turkey’s Central Bank to Keep Tight Monetary Policy Until Inflation Improves
  • Turkey Unexpectedly Raises a Key Rate
  • Turkey Will Keep Pumping Money into Infrastructure
  • Turk Telekom Owner’s Bailout Said to Stumble Over License
  • Bulls Push Turkey Stocks to Record

Domestic Politics

  • The new TUSİAD is about women and technology
  • Turkish police fire tear gas at May Day demonstrators in Istanbul
  • Wikipedia banned in Turkey for refusing to remove contents about links with Syrian civil war
  • Erdogan to return to Turkey’s governing party on May 2
  • Turkey’s electoral board releases final referendum tally
  • Critics in Turkey Question Credibility of Judges Who Oversaw Vote

Foreign Policy

Turkey eyes new ties with US under Trump leadership

Turkey is eyeing new ties with the United States under the administration of President Donald Trump, demanding a strong stance on the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) and the extradition of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said. Erdoğan and Trump are expected to hold their first face-to-face meeting on May 16 in Washington.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey eyes new ties with US under Trump leadership, April 28, 2017


EU says membership talks still open if Turkey wants them

The European Union is keeping the door ajar for Turkey to become a member, but says Ankara must provide clearer signals on whether it intends to meet the entrance criteria in such areas as human rights and rule of law.EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that despite the doubts expressed by some foreign ministers during a meeting Friday, the EU for now favors continuing the protracted accession talks with Turkey.

The Washington Post, EU says membership talks still open if Turkey wants them, April 28, 2017


Erdogan says Turkey won’t wait at Europe’s door forever

Speaking at the presidential palace less than two weeks after winning sweeping new powers in a referendum, a relaxed Erdogan said a decision by a leading European human rights body to put Turkey back on a watch list was “entirely political” and that Ankara did not recognize the move.

Reuters, Erdogan says Turkey won’t wait at Europe’s door forever, April 25, 2017.


Turkey Put on Council of Europe Watchlist Over Rights Record

Turkey’s relations with Western allies frayed further after a Council of Europe agency put the country on its watch list, saying its crackdown on opponents compromised human rights and the rule of law. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the decision by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to reopen the so-called monitoring procedure was politically motivated and would lead to a review of ties.

Bloomberg, Turkey Put on Council of Europe Watchlist Over Rights Record, April 25, 2017


Turkey expands strikes against Kurdish militants in Syria and Iraq

Turkey stepped up its bombing campaign Tuesday against Kurdish militants outside its borders, killing as many as 20 U.S.-backed fighters in Syria and expanding its strikes in Iraq, an escalation that could complicate efforts to combat the Islamic State. The predawn raids drew swift rebukes from the United States and Iraq, which accused Turkey of not properly coordinating the strikes.

The Washington Post, Turkey expands strikes against Kurdish militants in Syria and Iraq, April 25, 2017


Economy & Energy

Turkey’s exports soar in April

Turkish exports advanced four percent year-on-year to reach almost $11.9 billion in April on the back of performances by the steel, automotive, mining and jewelry sectors, the country’s main exporters’ association said on May 1. The Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TİM) said total exports in the first four months of the year also surged by 6.7 percent from the same period last year.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s exports soar in April, 1 May 2017


Turkey’s Central Bank to Keep Tight Monetary Policy Until Inflation Improves

Turkey’s central bank may tighten monetary policy more if necessary to tame inflation, Governor Murat Cetinkaya said Friday. “The central bank will continue to use all available instruments in pursuit of the price stability objective. Factors affecting the inflation outlook will be closely monitored and, if needed, further monetary tightening will be delivered,” Mr. Cetinkaya said during the presentation of quarterly inflation report in Istanbul.

The Wall Street Journal, Turkey’s Central Bank to Keep Tight Monetary Policy Until Inflation Improves, April 28, 2017


Turkey Unexpectedly Raises a Key Rate

Turkey’s central bank unexpectedly increased the interest rate used for about 90 percent of recent funding to commercial lenders, a decision that gives it additional flexibility in case of future pressure on the lira as it highlighted continued risks from inflation.

Bloomberg, Turkey Unexpectedly Raises a Key Rate, April 26, 2017


Turkey Will Keep Pumping Money into Infrastructure

Turkey will boost economic growth by finding creative ways to reduce financing costs and redirect resources to large infrastructure projects, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in an interview in Ankara on Monday. The interview was Yildirim’s first since an April 16 referendum, which was preceded by massive government-backed stimulus for lending after the nation’s slowest growth rate since a contraction in 2009.

Bloomberg, Turkey Will Keep Pumping Money Into Infrastructure, April 25, 2017


Turk Telekom Owner’s Bailout Said to Stumble Over License

A plan to bailout the majority owner of Turkey’s biggest phone operator is being hindered because theoperator’s license doesn’t leave enough time for potential buyers to recoup their investments, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bloomberg, Turk Telekom Owner’s Bailout Said to Stumble Over License, April 25, 2017


Bulls Push Turkey Stocks to Record

Turkish stocks climbed to an all-time high on Monday, boosted by renewed risk appetite in global markets, a relief rally following the country’s recent referendum and expectations for a strong earnings season. The Borsa Istanbul 100 Index rose 1.5 percent to 93,802.81 points at the close in Istanbul, as the appeal for riskier assets grew following the first round of voting France’s presidential elections.

Bloomberg, Bulls Push Turkey Stocks to Record, April 24, 2017


Domestic Politics

The new TUSİAD is about women and technology

Ever since Erol Bilecik became president of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), the institution has concentrated more on women’s issues and technology. TÜSİAD has always been the leading institution when it comes to empowering women in the workforce. But with Bilecik, who comes from a technology background as the founder and CEO of Turkey’s largest technology distributor, TÜSAİD now has a new perspective on how to empower women with technology.

Hurriyet Daily News, The new TUSİAD is about women and technology, April 27, 2017


Turkish police fire tear gas at May Day demonstrators in Istanbul

Police in Istanbul fired tear gas and rubber bullets to break up a group of May Day demonstrators on Monday, a Reuters witness said, as authorities detained more than 200 people at protests around the city. Protests for May Day, the international workers’ holiday, are an annual occurrence in Turkey and have in the past been characterized by widespread police actions against demonstrators.

Reuters, Turkish police fire tear gas at May Day demonstrators in Istanbul, 1 May 2017


Wikipedia banned in Turkey for refusing to remove contents about links with Syrian civil war

An Ankara court ordered to ban Wikipedia in Turkey after the site’s administration refused to remove two English language pages which claimed that Turkey channeled support to jihadists in Syria, daily Habertürk reported on May 1. The court’s justified decision to ban Wikipedia, the world’s largest online encyclopedia, was published on April 30. Wikipedia will become accessible only if the administration agrees to remove the content, according to the decision.

Hurriyet Daily News, Wikipedia banned in Turkey for refusing to remove contents about links with Syrian civil war, May 1, 2017


Erdogan to return to Turkey’s governing party on May 2

Turkey’s prime minister says the governing party will be inviting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to rejoin its ranks on May 2. Speaking to reporters after Friday prayers in Antalya, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, “we will restart the membership of the president, our founding chairman and our leader” at a meeting of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP.

The Washington Post, Erdogan to return to Turkey’s governing party on May 2, April 28, 2017


Turkey’s electoral board releases final referendum tally

Turkey’s electoral authority on Thursday released the official tally of the country’s referendum, saying President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “yes” camp won narrowly in the vote that will greatly boost the powers of his office.

The Washington Post, Turkey’s electoral board releases final referendum tally, April 27, 2017


Critics in Turkey Question Credibility of Judges Who Oversaw Vote

The credibility of the judges who oversaw Turkey’s referendum last week is being called into question because most of them were hastily appointed when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan purged the judiciary after last summer’s failed coup. But the legitimacy of Mr. Erdogan’s victory has been tainted by accusations of voter fraud at polling stations across the country — and by an odd series of erratic decisions on the day of the vote by the judges who head the electoral commission. Eight of the 11 judges on the panel had been recently replaced.

The New York Times, Critics in Turkey Question Credibility of Judges Who Oversaw Vote, April 25, 2017