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Turkey Letter: 11 January 2016

Foreign Policy

  • Erdogan says attempted Islamic State attack vindicates Iraq deployment
  • EU Far From Satisfied With Turkish Migrant Cooperation
  • Turkey warns US over ‘Kurdish corridor’ in Syria
  • Turkey, Which Sought Middle Ground, Enters Saudi-Iranian Dispute
  • Turkey plans to introduce work permits for Syrian refugees, minister says

Economy and Energy

  • Turkey Lifts Economic Growth Forecasts
  • Turkish lira slips for fourth consecutive day on China worries
  • Turkish central bank says may begin simplifying rate policy this month
  • Turkey Regulator Sees IPO Interest Surge as Companies Seek Funds
  • Turkish gov’t expects $1.2 billion of income from recent tax, price hikes

Domestic Politics

  • Turkish forces kill 32 Kurdish militants as conflict escalates: sources
  • Turkey’s Erdogan widens call for legal action against pro-Kurdish opposition
  • Presidential system likely to dominate AKP gathering despite Turkey’s hectic foreign agenda
  • Progress in corruption fight but more needed: Deputy PM
  • Turkish speaker says hopes Kurdish opposition will join work on new constitution
  • Turkey Tries Erdogan Rival Gulen In Absentia

Foreign Policy

Erdogan says attempted Islamic State attack vindicates Iraq deployment

An attempted attack by Islamic State on a military base in northern Iraq shows Turkey’s decision to deploy troops there was justified, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, suggesting Russia was stirring up a row over the issue.

Reuters, Erdogan says attempted Islamic State attack vindicates Iraq deployment, January 8, 2016


EU Far From Satisfied With Turkish Migrant Cooperation

The European Union is increasing pressure on Turkey to reduce the number of migrants crossing into Greece, as the Netherlands takes over the bloc’s rotating presidency.

Wall Street Journal, EU Far From Satisfied With Turkish Migrant Cooperation, January 7, 2016


Turkey warns US over ‘Kurdish corridor’ in Syria

The Turkish army has expressed concerns to the United States’ top military figure over Syrian Kurdish groups’ attempts to create a “Kurdish corridor” in northern Syria and change the demographic structure of the region to the advantage of Kurds. The messages were delivered to Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who held talks with Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Jan 6.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey warns US over ‘Kurdish corridor’ in Syria, January 7, 2016


Turkey, Which Sought Middle Ground, Enters Saudi-Iranian Dispute

As the Middle East has descended into bitter sectarian conflict in recent years, Turkey has tried to remain above the fray, posing as an honest broker and peacemaker. Increasingly, though, it is being drawn into the conflict, and its preferred status as disinterested mediator is slowly becoming untenable.

New York Times, Turkey, Which Sought Middle Ground, Enters Saudi-Iranian Dispute, January 8, 2016


Turkey plans to introduce work permits for Syrian refugees, minister says

Turkey plans to offer Syrian refugees work permits in order to encourage fewer of them to migrate, Volkan Bozkir, Turkey’s minister for European Affairs, said on Monday, amid EU pressure to reduce the flow of migrants.

Reuters, Turkey plans to introduce work permits for Syrian refugees, minister says, January 11, 2016


Economy and Energy

Turkey Lifts Economic Growth Forecasts

Turkey’s government boosted its economic growth forecast and pledged reforms to cut stubbornly high inflation on Monday, citing domestic political stability as the driving force for its revisions.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey Lifts Economic Growth Forecasts, January 11, 2016


Turkish lira slips for fourth consecutive day on China worries

Turkey’s lira slipped to a new three-month low on Thursday, after Beijing guided the yuan lower, prompting concerns about the state of the Chinese economy and triggering an emerging market sell-off.

Reuters, Turkish lira slips for fourth consecutive day on China worries, January 7, 2016


Turkish central bank says may begin simplifying rate policy this month

Turkey’s central bank may begin steps to “simplify” monetary policy at its meeting this month if an easing of market volatility endures, the text of a presentation by Governor Erdem Basci said on Thursday.

Reuters, Turkish central bank says may begin simplifying rate policy this month, January 7, 2016


Turkey Regulator Sees IPO Interest Surge as Companies Seek Funds

Turkish companies are again considering initial public offerings as a means to raise funds as debt financing becomes more expensive after the U.S. Federal Reserve started raising interest rates, according to the head of the country’s capital markets authority.

Bloomberg, Turkey Regulator Sees IPO Interest Surge as Companies Seek Funds, January 5, 2016


Turkish gov’t expects $1.2 billion of income from recent tax, price hikes

Turkish government expects to gain around 3.6 billion Turkish Liras ($1.2 billion) of income from recent tax hikes in alcohol, cigarettes and mobile phones, and hikes in bridge and highway tolls, a senior economy official told Reuters on Jan. 5.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish gov’t expects $1.2 billion of income from recent tax, price hikes, January 5, 2016


Domestic Politics

Turkish forces kill 32 Kurdish militants as conflict escalates: sources

Security forces killed 32 Kurdish militants in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast at the weekend, army and security sources said on Sunday, escalating the conflict in the region. It was one of the bloodiest weekends since the three-decades-old Kurdish insurgency resumed last July, wrecking a peace process launched by Ankara with the jailed leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in late 2012.

Reuters, Turkish forces kill 32 Kurdish militants as conflict escalates: sources, January 10, 2016


Turkey’s Erdogan widens call for legal action against pro-Kurdish opposition

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday some lawmakers and local mayors from the pro-Kurdish opposition were behaving like members of a terrorist organisation and renewed his call for legal action against them.

Reuters, Turkey’s Erdogan widens call for legal action against pro-Kurdish opposition, January 6, 2016


Presidential system likely to dominate AKP gathering despite Turkey’s hectic foreign agenda

Major complications in Turkey’s foreign policy, particularly due to escalated tension with its neighbors Iran, Iraq and Russia stemming from the Syrian conflict, will be on the agenda of a regular convention of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Still, plans for a transition from the current parliamentary system to a presidential system, as strongly favored by their founding leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will likely cover the majority of the talks during the two-day convention, which kicks off on Jan. 9.

Hurriyet Daily News, Presidential system likely to dominate AKP gathering despite Turkey’s hectic foreign agenda, January 8, 2016


Progress in corruption fight but more needed: Deputy PM

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said Turkey has shown remarkable progress in the fight against corruption and improving perceptions across the globe, noting however more progress was needed in a speech at a conference held by the Washington branch of the Foundation for Political Social and Economic Research Association (SETA) in the U.S. capital on Jan 7.

Hurriyet Daily News, Progress in corruption fight but more needed: Deputy PM, January 8, 2016


Turkish speaker says hopes Kurdish opposition will join work on new constitution

Turkey’s parliament speaker said on Friday he hoped all parties, including the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), would take part in a parliamentary commission charged with drafting a new constitution.

Reuters, Turkish speaker says hopes Kurdish opposition will join work on new constitution, January 8, 2016


Turkey Tries Erdogan Rival Gulen In Absentia

A U.S.-based Muslim cleric, who has become Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief foe, is being tried in absentia, accused of attempting to overthrow the government by masterminding corruption probes in 2013 that targeted people close to the Turkish leader.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey Tries Erdogan Rival Gulen In Absentia, January 6, 2016