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Turkey Letter: 17 October 2016

Foreign Politics

  • Pentagon says fierce Iraq-Turkey feud won’t hinder key Islamic State battle
  • Turkey purges NATO military envoys after failed coup
  • US, Turkey’s top commanders discuss Iraq, Syria
  • Turkey-backed Syrian rebels attack Islamic State’s Dabiq
  • Clinton speaks like a political apprentice: Erdoğan
  • Europe pressing harder on countries to take back deported migrants

Economy & Energy

  • Turkish unemployment rate rises to 10.7 percent in July
  • Turkey’s current account deficit widens
  • Israel, Turkey deepen energy ties as relations resume after 6-yr rupture
  • Builder-in-Chief: Erdogan’s Real-Estate Dream Drifts to Syria
  • Turk Telekom Owner Said to Miss Payment on $4.8 Billion Loan

Domestic Politics

  • Presidential Rule in Turkey Could Be Fast Tracked, Official Says
  • Turkey raids top courts to arrest alleged coup plotters
  • Turkey imposes curfews on 15 villages in Turkey’s southeast
  • Suicide bomber kills three police in southern Turkey

 

Foreign Politics

Pentagon says fierce Iraq-Turkey feud won’t hinder key Islamic State battle

An ugly public feud between two key U.S. allies in the fight against the Islamic State will not affect plans for recapturing a key city from the group, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday.

Washington Post, Pentagon says fierce Iraq-Turkey feud won’t hinder key Islamic State battle, October 12, 2016


Turkey purges NATO military envoys after failed coup

Turkey has fired hundreds of senior military staff serving at NATO in Europe and the United States following July’s coup attempt, documents show, broadening a purge to include some of the armed forces’ best-trained officials.

Reuters, Turkey purges NATO military envoys after failed coup, October 12, 2016


US, Turkey’s top commanders discuss Iraq, Syria

The United States’ top soldier, Gen. Joseph Dunford, met Turkey’s Chief of General Staff, Gen. Hulusi Akar, at the Turkish Embassy in Washington on Oct. 16 to discuss recent regional developments, including an operation to free Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Hurriyet Daily News, US, Turkey’s top commanders discuss Iraq, Syria, October 17, 2016


Turkey-backed Syrian rebels attack Islamic State’s Dabiq

Turkey-backed Syrian rebels began an attack on Islamic State’s symbolically potent stronghold of Dabiq in northwestern Syria on Saturday, a rebel commander said, taking territory that has all but cut it off according to a war monitor.

Reuters, Turkey-backed Syrian rebels attack Islamic State’s Dabiq, October 15, 2016


Clinton speaks like a political apprentice: Erdoğan

Hillary Clinton must be a political novice for suggesting that she would arm Syrian Kurdish groups in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) if she is elected president next month, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.  “This is a very unfortunate statement,” Erdoğan said. “I regard this as political inexperience.”

Hurriyet Daily News, Clinton speaks like a political apprentice: Erdoğan, October 12, 2016


Europe pressing harder on countries to take back deported migrants

As Europe reels from a historic rush of migrants, leaders are searching for new ways to reverse the flow by stepping up deportations. The quest led to a deal with Afghanistan that envisions a whole new terminal at the Kabul airport to take deportees. It sent German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week on a whistle-stop tour of African capitals, where she promised an influx of euros in exchange for willingness to take back migrants. And it resulted in an agreement with Turkey that critics say means European nations are biting their tongues about Ankara’s human rights abuses to halt refugees from flowing to Greece.

Washington Post, Europe pressing harder on countries to take back deported migrants, October 17, 2016


Economy & Energy

Turkish unemployment rate rises to 10.7 percent in July

Turkey’s quarterly jobless average increased to 10.7 percent in July from the previous 10.2 percent, data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) showed on Oct. 17.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish unemployment rate rises to 10.7 percent in July, October 17, 2016


Turkey’s current account deficit widens

Turkey’s current account deficit has widened, standing at $1.78 billion in August, up almost by $2 billion year-on-year, due to a decline in income from tourism and imports, the Central Bank said in a report on Oct. 12.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s current account deficit widens, October 12, 2016


Israel, Turkey deepen energy ties as relations resume after 6-yr rupture

Israel and Turkey agreed to deepen cooperation in the energy sector on Thursday, taking a further step towards normalizing ties with the first Israeli ministerial visit to Turkey since a breakdown six years ago.

Reuters, Israel, Turkey deepen energy ties as relations resume after 6-yr rupture, October 13, 2016


Russia lifts ban on some Turkish farm imports

Just a day after Turkey and Russia struck a historic pipeline deal on Oct. 10 to carry natural gas beneath the Black Sea before it reaches Europe, the Russian government has lifted a ban on some food imports from Turkey.

Hurriyet Daily News, Russia lifts ban on some Turkish farm imports, October 11, 2016


Builder-in-Chief: Erdogan’s Real-Estate Dream Drifts to Syria

Turkey’s president looks at northern Syria and sees what others don’t: a massive real estate project. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose army is attempting to clear 5,000 square kilometers in northern Syria of Islamic State, talks about building entire cities when his soldiers’ work is done. In regular addresses, he describes a future in which refugees return home to Turkish-built apartment blocks supplemented by Turkish-built schools and social facilities. That may be the only way to get some of the nearly 3 million Syrians in Turkey to return home and begin reconstructing their country, he says.

Bloomberg, Builder-in-Chief: Erdogan’s Real-Estate Dream Drifts to Syria, October 12, 2016


Turk Telekom Owner Said to Miss Payment on $4.8 Billion Loan

The majority owner of Turkey’s biggest telephone company missed a payment in September on a $4.75 billion syndicated loan as the depreciation of the lira against the dollar eroded the dividends it receives in local currency and its parent company struggled in other industries.

Bloomberg, Turk Telekom Owner Said to Miss Payment on $4.8 Billion Loan, October 12, 2016


Domestic Politics

Presidential Rule in Turkey Could Be Fast Tracked, Official Says

Turkey could move to an executive presidency with the swift amendment of only about a dozen articles of the constitution, according to a senior member of the ruling party. AK Party whip Mustafa Elitas said that the shift from a parliamentary system, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long sought, wouldn’t necessarily require a full reworking of the national charter, something opposition parties have in the past rejected.

Bloomberg, Presidential Rule in Turkey Could Be Fast Tracked, Official Says, October 13, 2016


Turkey raids top courts to arrest alleged coup plotters

Police raided Turkey’s top court of appeals on Friday, armed with arrest warrants for 189 judges and prosecutors, and swept on other courthouses as part of a crackdown on state officials following a failed coup, state media reported.

Reuters, Turkey raids top courts to arrest alleged coup plotters, October 14, 2016


Turkey imposes curfews on 15 villages in Turkey’s southeast

Turkey imposed round-the-clock curfews on 15 villages in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Oct. 17 at 5 a.m. as part of operations conducted against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey imposes curfews on 15 villages in Turkey’s southeast, October 17, 2016


Suicide bomber kills three police in southern Turkey

A suicide bomber killed three police officers and wounded at least nine people in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep on Sunday during a police raid on a suspected Islamic State safehouse, a local official and security sources said.

Reuters, Suicide bomber kills three police in southern Turkey, October 16, 2016