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Turkey Letter: 16 May 2016

Foreign Policy

  • EU should understand threat of terror to Turkey: TÜSİAD
  • Turkey, EU Fail to Resolve Standoff, Putting Migrant Deal at Risk
  • Islamic State Rocket Attacks Drive Syrian Refugees From Turkish Border Haven
  • Turkish Border Guards Accused of Attacking Syrian Refugees
  • Turkey Threatens Stronger Military Action in Syria
  • Israeli-Turkish reconciliation makes progress, more talks needed: envoy
  • Erdogan says Europe a safe haven for political wings of terrorist groups
  • Turkey’s President Erdogan Fails to Silence German Publisher

Economy & Energy

  • Gov’t vows to maintain fiscal discipline after budget posts surplus in April
  • Turkish Stocks Enter Correction on Renewed Political Concerns
  • Turkey’s jobless rate drops in February amid rise in services, construction hiring
  • Russia to ban more Turkish vegetable imports
  • Turkey Banking Watchdog Working to Ease Energy Companies’ Debt

Domestic Politics

  • Turkey Vote on Erdogan Party Ties Likely This Year, Adviser Says
  • Kurdish militants reportedly shoot down Turkish security forces helicopter
  • Dissidents in Turkey’s nationalist opposition blame AKP for legal limbo
  • President, CHP leader exchange words on ‘blood’ politics
  • HDP delays AKP plans for immunity vote until next week
  • Eight Turkish Soldiers Killed in PKK Clashes Near Iraqi Border
  • Vehicle explodes near Istanbul military base, seven hurt

Foreign Policy

EU should understand threat of terror to Turkey: TÜSİAD

Cansen Başaran-Symes, the head of the Turkish Industry and Business Organization (TÜSİAD), a leading business group, has called on European leaders to understand the terrorism risks that Turkey is facing, while also highlighting the importance of freedom of speech.

Hurriyet Daily News, EU should understand threat of terror to Turkey: TÜSİAD, May 12, 2016


Turkey, EU Fail to Resolve Standoff, Putting Migrant Deal at Risk

Turkey and the European Union failed to overcome differences threatening to derail their migration deal after four days of meetings, officials said, just as new figures showed the agreement has provided significant relief from the crisis.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey, EU Fail to Resolve Standoff, Putting Migrant Deal at Risk, May 13, 2016


Islamic State Rocket Attacks Drive Syrian Refugees From Turkish Border Haven

The number of deadly Islamic State rocket attacks on Kilis has risen dramatically in recent weeks as the extremist group fights to retain control of a 60-mile stretch of the Turkey-Syria border it has used for years as a vital supply route. At least 15 people have been killed by rocket strikes in Kilis since April, of 21 killed since mid-January, when the U.S. and Turkey launched a campaign to push Islamic State away from the border. As frustration and anger in Kilis mount with each new attack, Turkey is struggling to bring the rocket strikes to an end.

Wall Street Journal, Islamic State Rocket Attacks Drive Syrian Refugees From Turkish Border Haven, May 12, 2016


Turkish Border Guards Accused of Attacking Syrian Refugees

Turkish border guards have killed or injured more than a dozen Syrian refugees as they tried to cross into Turkey, Human Rights Watch said in a report issued on Tuesday.

New York Times, Turkish Border Guards Accused of Attacking Syrian Refugees, May 10, 2016


Turkey Threatens Stronger Military Action in Syria

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Thursday to take stronger military action inside Syria to halt relentless Islamic State rocket attacks that have brought life in parts of one Turkish border town to a standstill.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey Threatens Stronger Military Action in Syria, May 12, 2016


Israeli-Turkish reconciliation makes progress, more talks needed: envoy

Long-running efforts to fully restore Israeli-Turkish relations have made good progress but need a few more rounds of negotiations, though a political shift in Turkey should not affect the process, Israel’s top diplomat in the country said.

Reuters, Israeli-Turkish reconciliation makes progress, more talks needed: envoy, May 10, 2016


Erdogan says Europe a safe haven for political wings of terrorist groups

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused European nations on Tuesday of being safe havens for the political wings of terrorist groups and said it was a “black comedy” for the Europe Union to lecture Ankara on changing its anti-terrorism laws.

Reuters, Erdogan says Europe a safe haven for political wings of terrorist groups, May 10, 2016


Turkey’s President Erdogan Fails to Silence German Publisher

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey tried again to silence one of his German critics, but failed this time when a court denied his request on Tuesday to block an open letter by the head of one of Germany’s most powerful media companies expressing support for a comedian who lampooned the Turkish leader.

New York Times, Turkey’s President Erdogan Fails to Silence German Publisher, May 10, 2016


Economy & Energy

Gov’t vows to maintain fiscal discipline after budget posts surplus in April

The Turkish government will maintain fiscal discipline for the rest of the year, Finance Minister Naci Ağbal vowed on May 16, adding that positive budget data for the first four months of the year was a result of that discipline.

Hurriyet Daily News, Gov’t vows to maintain fiscal discipline after budget posts surplus in April, May 16, 2016


Turkish Stocks Enter Correction on Renewed Political Concerns

Turkish stocks entered a correction and the lira headed for the longest losing streak in almost a year after a power struggle involving President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shattered investor confidence.

Bloomberg, Turkish Stocks Enter Correction on Renewed Political Concerns, May 16, 2016


Turkey’s jobless rate drops in February amid rise in services, construction hiring

Turkey’s unemployment rate fell to 10.9 percent in February from 11.2 percent in the same month last year, data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) showed on May 16. Unemployment was down by 0.3 percentage points year-on-year, hitting 10.9 percent, in the February period between January and March, according to data.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s jobless rate drops in February amid rise in services, construction hiring, May 16, 2016


Russia to ban more Turkish vegetable imports

Russia’s Rosselkhoznadzor agriculture watchdog said on Monday it would impose a temporary ban on Turkish imports of marrows and pumpkins from May 19 on health reasons, Interfax reported.

Reuters, Russia to ban more Turkish vegetable imports, May 16, 2016


Turkey Banking Watchdog Working to Ease Energy Companies’ Debt

Turkey’s banking regulator is working with energy companies and their lenders to help ease a debt burden estimated by some industry experts at $60 billion.

Bloomberg, Turkey Banking Watchdog Working to Ease Energy Companies’ Debt, May 10, 2016


Domestic Politics

Turkey Vote on Erdogan Party Ties Likely This Year, Adviser Says

Turkey will probably hold a referendum this year on whether to allow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to have party ties, a step toward granting him an executive presidency, according to one of his advisers.

Bloomberg, Turkey Vote on Erdogan Party Ties Likely This Year, Adviser Says, May 11, 2016


Kurdish militants reportedly shoot down Turkish security forces helicopter

They were used to stalk Russian helicopters in Afghanistan, and the United States has worked hard to keep them out of chaotic Syria. But now Kurdish guerrillas battling Turkey’s security forces may now have shoulder-fired missiles — an acquisition analysts say will seriously challenge Turkish air power and potentially intensify fighting in the region.

Washington Post, Kurdish militants reportedly shoot down Turkish security forces helicopter, May 14, 2016


Dissidents in Turkey’s nationalist opposition blame AKP for legal limbo

Dissidents in Turkey’s nationalist opposition accused the government on Saturday of interfering in an internal party dispute that could end up jeopardizing President Tayyip Erdogan’s plans for more power.

Reuters, Dissidents in Turkey’s nationalist opposition blame AKP for legal limbo, May 14, 2016


President, CHP leader exchange words on ‘blood’ politics

The exchange of words between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on “blood” in politics has continued, with the head of state responding to the latter’s accusations.

Hurriyet Daily News, President, CHP leader exchange words on ‘blood’ politics, May 15, 2016


HDP delays AKP plans for immunity vote until next week

The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) plans to hold a constitutional amendment vote on the removal of immunities on May 16 and 18 have been disrupted by Pervin Buldan, the acting parliament speaker from the ranks of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who announced that parliament would not reconvene until May 17.

Hurriyet Daily News, HDP delays AKP plans for immunity vote until next week, May 13, 2016


Eight Turkish Soldiers Killed in PKK Clashes Near Iraqi Border

A clash between Turkish troops and the autonomy-seeking Kurdistan Workers’ Party, also known as the PKK, left eight soldiers dead, including two pilots who died when their attack helicopter crashed in a mountainous area close to the Iraqi border on Friday, the military said in a statement.

Bloomberg, Eight Turkish Soldiers Killed in PKK Clashes Near Iraqi Border, May 13, 2016


Vehicle explodes near Istanbul military base, seven hurt

Six soldiers and a civilian were wounded when an explosives-laden car blew up near a military base in Turkey’s biggest city Istanbul on Thursday, authorities said, the latest in a spate of bombings this year.

Reuters, Vehicle explodes near Istanbul military base, seven hurt, May 12, 2016