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Turkey Letter: 13 October 2015

Domestic Politics

  • Explosions During Peace Rally in Ankara, Turkey’s Capital, Kill Scores
  • Turkish PM blames Ankara bombing on Islamic State
  • Turkish government complicit in Ankara blast, Demirtaş tells CNN
  • TUSIAD Press Release: We condemn all forms of terrorism and violence
  • PKK to Keep to Ceasefire as Conflict Drags On in Turkey’s Southeast
  • Political ambitions put Turkey’s future at risk: Top boss
  • Turkey to Investigate Images of Dead Kurdish Man Being Dragged
  • Security, media freedom not ideal for Turkey’s elections: OSCE
  • Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Foreign Policy

  • Turkey welcomes NATO’s support pledge on Syria issue
  • Russia should give up harassment of Turkish border: Deputy PM
  • Turkey Warns U.S., Russia Against Backing Kurdish Militia in Syria
  • EU Ready to Step Up Financial Aid to Help Turkey Manage Refugees

Economy and Energy

  • IMF again cuts growth forecasts for 2015, 2016
  • World Bank revises Turkey’s GDP growth forecast up on high 2nd quarter data, warns of deceleration in second half
  • Turkish Lira Slides as Blasts Risk Deepening Political Tension
  • Putin Bets on Germany as Gas Ties With Turkey Sour on Syria
  • Turkey needs to further enhance performance of energy efficiency programs: World Bank
  • Limak says it will sign 4.5 bln euro loan package with six banks for Istanbul’s new airport

 Domestic Politics

Explosions During Peace Rally in Ankara, Turkey’s Capital, Kill Scores

Two devastating explosions struck Saturday morning in the heart of Ankara, the Turkish capital, killing at least 95 people who had gathered for a peace rally and heightening tensions just three weeks before snap parliamentary elections.

New York Times, Explosions During Peace Rally in Ankara, Turkey’s Capital, Kill Scores, October 10, 2015


Turkish PM blames Ankara bombing on Islamic State

The Islamic State (IS) group is the prime suspect in the Ankara bombings that killed nearly 100 on Saturday, Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu has said.

No group has said it carried out the attack, but the government believes that two male suicide bombers caused the explosions, hitting a peace rally

BBC, Turkish PM blames Ankara bombing on Islamic State, October 12, 2015


Turkish government complicit in Ankara blast, Demirtaş tells CNN

Turkish government is complicit in the Ankara blast for turning a blind eye to ISIL and failing to put appropriate security in place, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş told Fred Pleitgen on CNN International Oct. 12.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish government complicit in Ankara blast, Demirtaş tells CNN, 13 October 2015


TUSIAD Press Release: We condemn all forms of terrorism and violence

We are deeply saddened by the loss of life as a result of the explosions in Ankara today.  We condemn all forms of terrorism and violence. We would like to express our condolences to the families who lost loved ones in this inhumane attack and wish a quick recovery to those who were injured.

Turkish Industry and Business Association Press Release, October 10, 2015


PKK to Keep to Ceasefire as Conflict Drags On in Turkey’s Southeast

A top Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) commander was quoted on Monday as saying the group would stick to a unilateral ceasefire announced at the weekend despite Turkish air strikes against its positions in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq.

Reuters, PKK to Keep to Ceasefire as Conflict Drags On in Turkey’s Southeast, October 12, 2015


Political ambitions put Turkey’s future at risk: Top boss

“Political ambitions should not put Turkey’s future at risk. As businesspeople, we have seen this very clearly. Turkey saw various examples of political irresponsibility in the past, but the economy was a closed economy then. Now Turkey’s economy is quite integrated into the world economy, so any political irresponsibility will cause heavier costs to the country than it did before,” said the chair of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), Cansen Başaran-Symes.

Hurriyet Daily News, Political ambitions put Turkey’s future at risk: Top boss, October 8, 2015


Turkey to Investigate Images of Dead Kurdish Man Being Dragged

Responding to outrage on social networks, Turkey’s prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, ordered an investigation into images that appeared to show the body of a Kurdish activist being dragged along the streets of a town in the country’s southeast, where Turkish security forces battled Kurdish militants late last week.

New York Times, Turkey to Investigate Images of Dead Kurdish Man Being Dragged, October 5, 2015


Security, media freedom not ideal for Turkey’s elections: OSCE

Deteriorated security conditions, especially in Turkey’s southeast, as well as attacks on political parties and on media freedom “do not make for an ideal situation” before the upcoming general election, the head of the OSCE’s election observer mission has said, following the deadliest terror attack in Turkey’s history.

Hurriyet Daily News, Security, media freedom not ideal for Turkey’s elections: OSCE, October 12, 2015


Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Turkey heading to a November election, a comprehensive public opinion survey indicates the country’s population feels isolated and preoccupied with a deteriorating economy.  The survey also suggests public opinion could be reorienting toward increasingly Western viewpoints.

Voice of America, Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West, October 7, 2015

Foreign Policy

Turkey welcomes NATO’s support pledge on Syria issue

Turkey welcomes a fresh support pledge by NATO to lend it military backing amid repeated Russian violations of Turkish airspace, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said on Oct. 9, while stressing that Turkey has yet to place such a demand.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey welcomes NATO’s support pledge on Syria issue, October 9, 2015


Russia should give up harassment of Turkish border: Deputy PM

Russia should “immediately give up harassing” the Turkish border and step back if violations of airspace were mistakes, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said on Oct. 9.

Hurriyet Daily News, Russia should give up harassment of Turkish border: Deputy PM, October 9, 2015


Turkey Warns U.S., Russia Against Backing Kurdish Militia in Syria

Turkey has warned the United States and Russia it will not tolerate Kurdish territorial gains by Kurdish militia close to its frontiers in north-western Syria, two senior officials said.

Reuters, Turkey Warns U.S., Russia Against Backing Kurdish Militia in Syria, October 13, 2015


EU Ready to Step Up Financial Aid to Help Turkey Manage Refugees

European Union leaders will press for more cooperation with nations such as Turkey to stem the flood of refugees from the Middle East and Africa, according to draft conclusions for this week’s summit.

Bloomberg, EU Ready to Step Up Financial Aid to Help Turkey Manage Refugees, October 12, 2015

Economy and Energy

IMF again cuts growth forecasts for 2015, 2016

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has trimmed its expected global growth forecasts for 2015 and 2016 again, warning that downside risks to the global economy would appear due to the weaker prospects for emerging market economies and oil-exporting countries. The IMF also slashed its GDP forecast for Turkey from 3.1 to 3 percent for 2015 and from 3.6 percent to 2.9 percent for 2016.

Hurriyet Daily News, IMF again cuts growth forecasts for 2015, 2016, October 7, 2015


World Bank revises Turkey’s GDP growth forecast up on high 2nd quarter data, warns of deceleration in second half

Despite the expected slowdown in the second half of the year, the faster GDP growth in the second quarter has led to revising growth forecasts to 3.2 percent for 2015, according to the World Bank’s “Turkey Regular Economic Brief for October,” issued October 13 in Ankara.

Hurriyet Daily News, World Bank revises Turkey’s GDP growth forecast up on high 2nd quarter data, warns of deceleration in second half, October 13, 2015


Turkish Lira Slides as Blasts Risk Deepening Political Tension

Turkey’s lira declined for a second day and bonds fell as bombings in Ankara threatened to ratchet up political tension before elections next month. The currency weakened as much as 1.8 percent, trading 0.4 percent lower at 2.9218 against the dollar at 6:45 p.m. in Istanbul, after blasts killed at least 97 people at a peace rally on Saturday. The yield on two-year notes rose the most in two weeks.

Bloomberg, Turkish Lira Slides as Blasts Risk Deepening Political Tension, October 12, 2015


Putin Bets on Germany as Gas Ties With Turkey Sour on Syria

It’s taken less than a year for Russian President Vladimir Putin to go from hailing Turkey as a potential linchpin in natural gas supplies to Europe to shunning it. As the nations fall out over the conflict in Syria, Moscow-based Gazprom PJSC, the world’s largest gas producer, said last week it would cut the capacity of a planned link to Turkey and on to Europe by 50 percent. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Russia last week that energy cooperation could suffer because of the former Soviet nation’s violation of his country’s airspace and military buildup in the region.

Bloomberg, Putin Bets on Germany as Gas Ties With Turkey Sour on Syria, October 13, 2015


Turkey needs to further enhance performance of energy efficiency programs: World Bank

Though the Turkish government has placed energy efficiency as a key component of both its energy strategy, critical institutional and functional gaps remain that prevent Turkey from realizing its stated energy efficiency goals, said a new World Bank report.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey needs to further enhance performance of energy efficiency programs: World Bank, October 8, 2015


Limak says it will sign 4.5 bln euro loan package with six banks for Istanbul’s new airport

Limak Holding Chairman Nihat Özdemir has said a loan package worth 4.5 billion euros will be signed with six banks to finance the first stage consortium works of Istanbul’s new airport on Oct. 19.

Hurriyet Daily News, Limak says it will sign 4.5 bln euro loan package with six banks for Istanbul’s new airport, October 7, 2015