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Turkey Letter: 13 May 2019 

Foreign Policy: 

  • Turkey weighing fresh U.S. call to delay buying Russian missiles  
  • Turkish defense minister says Syrian forces must halt attacks in northwest Syria  
  • No delay in delivery of S-400s: Cavusoglu  
  • Turkey asks Russia to halt airstrikes in Syria’s Idlib 

Economy & Energy: 

  • Turkey plans to tap 40 billion lira from central bank reserves – sources 
  • Turkey presses banks to agree high-stakes bailout of bad energy loans 
  • Turkey’s central bank steps in after the lira nosedives to an eight-month low 
  • Turkey assets sink as Istanbul vote re-run raises political risk 

Domestic Politics:  

  • Turkish electoral body rejects opposition demand in Istanbul  
  • Electoral irregularities benefited Turkey’s ruling party, not the opposition  
  • Cars, contracts and debt: What Istanbul’s mayor found in 17 days  
  • Turkey’s opposition seeks cancellation of 2018 elections  
  • Erdogan praises order to rerun Istanbul’s mayoral election  
  • In Istanbul election do-over, Erdogan’s opponents unify  

 

Foreign Policy 

Turkey weighing fresh U.S. call to delay buying Russian missiles  

Turkey is considering a U.S. request to delay the purchase of a Russian missile defense system into 2020, a move that could ease tensions between the NATO allies, according to two people familiar with the proposal. 

Bloomberg, Turkey weighing fresh U.S. call to delay buying Russian missiles, 13 May 2019 


Turkish defense minister says Syrian forces must halt attacks in northwest Syria  

Turkey’s defense minister said Syrian government forces need to halt attacks in northwestern Syria, state-owned Anadolu Agency reported on Friday. 

Reuters, Turkish defense minister says Syrian forces must halt attacks in northwest Syria, 10 May 2019 


No delay in delivery of S-400s: Cavusoglu  

Turkey on May 9 denied announcing a delay in the delivery of Russian S-400 air defense systems, an issue which has sparked tensions with the U.S. “We have not made a statement regarding the delay of S-400s to Turkey,” Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said after a meeting at the presidential complex in capital Ankara.        

Hurriyet, No delay in delivery of S-400s: Cavusoglu, 10 May 2019 


 Turkey asks Russia to halt airstrikes in Syria’s Idlib 

Turkey called on Russia on May 9 to halt airstrikes in Syria’s Idlib province, according to diplomatic sources. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu asked his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, to stop the bombardments, which have killed more than 100 civilians in the past two weeks, the sources told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.        

Hurriyet, Turkey asks Russia to halt airstrikes in Syria’s Idlib, 10 May 2019 


Economy & Energy  

Turkey plans to tap 40 billion lira from central bank reserves – sources 

Turkey’s Treasury ministry is working on legislation to transfer the central bank’s 40 billion lira ($6.6 billion) in legal reserves to the government’s budget to shore it up, three economic officials told Reuters. 

Reuters, Turkey plans to tap 40 billion lira from central bank reserves – sources, 13 May 2019


  Turkey presses banks to agree high-stakes bailout of bad energy loans 

Turkey’s plan to clean up some $13 billion in bad energy loans, one of the worst hangovers from last year’s currency crisis, is taking shape even as some banks hold out for the government to agree to safeguards and higher electricity prices. 

Reuters, Turkey presses banks to agree high-stakes bailout of bad energy loans, 13 May 2019   


Turkey’s central bank steps in after the lira nosedives to an eight-month low 

Turkey’s beleaguered currency breached 6.24 against the dollar in Thursday trade, its lowest level in eight months amid deep market uncertainty worsened by the recent announcement of new elections for the city of Istanbul. 

CNBC, Turkey’s central bank steps in after the lira nosedives to an eight-month low, 9 May 2019 


 Turkey assets sink as Istanbul vote re-run raises political risk 

The Turkish lira tumbled the most in emerging markets and stocks erased this year’s gains after investors interpreted the decision to redo Istanbul’s municipal vote as another manifestation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s influence over independent institutions. 

Bloomberg, Turkey assets sink as Istanbul vote re-run raises political risk, 7 May 2019   


Domestic Politics 

Turkish electoral body rejects opposition demand in Istanbul  

Turkey’s electoral board has rejected a demand by opposition parties to annul local election results in Istanbul’s 39 districts, following the board’s decision to strip the opposition of its victory in the mayoral race. 

AP, Turkish electoral body rejects opposition demand in Istanbul, 13 May 2019 


Electoral irregularities benefited Turkey’s ruling party, not the opposition  

On Monday, Turkey’s Higher Electoral Commission (YSK) finally made its long-anticipated decision about the Istanbul metropolitan mayoral election of March 31. The YSK accepted the electoral irregularity claims made by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and required that the election be rerun on June 23. 

Washington Post, Electoral irregularities benefited Turkey’s ruling party, not the opposition, 10 May 2019  


Turkey’s opposition seeks cancellation of 2018 elections  

Turkey’s main opposition party on Wednesday appealed to the country’s top electoral body to annul local election results in Istanbul’s 39 districts, as well as last year’s presidential and parliamentary results, after the authority annulled the opposition’s victory in Istanbul’s mayoral race and ordered a new vote. 

AP, Turkey’s opposition seeks cancellation of 2018 elections, 8 May 2019 


Erdogan praises order to rerun Istanbul’s mayoral election  

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised a decision to repeat Istanbul’s mayoral election, which his party narrowly lost, saying a rerun would remove the pall cast over the March vote by allegations of “organised corruption”. 

Financial Times, Erdogan praises order to rerun Istanbul’s mayoral election, 7 May 2019 


 In Istanbul election do-over, Erdogan’s opponents unify  

The decision by Turkish authorities to wipe away a stinging defeat for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and rerun the election for mayor of Istanbul left the opposition angered but determined on Tuesday to win the race a second time. 

New York Times, In Istanbul election do-over, Erdogan’s opponents unify, 7 May 2019