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Turkey Letter: 19 April 2016

Foreign Policy

  • Top business organization underlines importance of close transatlantic ties between Turkey, US
  • Migrant arrivals fall sharply after EU-Turkey deal: EU agency
  • Aid groups urge halt of Turkey returns, Greek detentions under migration deal
  • Turkey Is Accused by EU Parliament of Democratic `Backsliding’
  • Turkey wants coalition help at Syrian border as Islamic State rockets pummel town
  • Turkey urges cooperation with Iran to fight terrorism, sectarian strife
  • Merkel Approves Turkish Request to Investigate German Comedian
  • Turkey stands by Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Davutoglu

Economy & Energy

  • Turkey’s New Central Bank Head Expected to Cut Interest Rate in Inaugural Move
  • Question Is No Longer If Turkey Will Cut Rates, It’s How Much
  • Turkey slaps dumping duties on U.S. cotton imports

Domestic Politics

  • Closures and court cases leave Turkey’s media increasingly muzzled
  • Turkey launches inquiry into leak of 50 million citizens’ data
  • Turkish executives among 100 detained over links to cleric Gulen
  • Turkey submits draft proposal to strip MPs of immunity: AKP officials
  • Four soldiers killed, two wounded in bomb attack in southeast Turkey

Foreign Policy

Top business organization underlines importance of close transatlantic ties between Turkey, US

The head of Turkey’s top business organization has given strong signals about Turkey’s commitment to democratic values in a speech at the Brookings Institute during a three-day visit to the U.S., underlining strong transatlantic ties between the two countries.

Hurriyet Daily News, Top business organization underlines importance of close transatlantic ties between Turkey, US, April 15, 2016


Migrant arrivals fall sharply after EU-Turkey deal: EU agency

The number of migrants entering the European Union from Turkey fell sharply in March, EU border agency Frontex said on Monday, as the bloc’s migrant return deal with Ankara showed its first results.

Reuters, Migrant arrivals fall sharply after EU-Turkey deal: EU agency, April 18, 2016


Aid groups urge halt of Turkey returns, Greek detentions under migration deal

Deportations of refugees and migrants to Turkey and the detention of asylum-seekers on Greek islands must stop, three aid groups said on Friday, citing fears for human rights raised by an EU-Turkey deal to curb an influx of people into Europe.

Reuters, Aid groups urge halt of Turkey returns, Greek detentions under migration deal, April 15, 2016


Turkey Is Accused by EU Parliament of Democratic `Backsliding’

The European Parliament lashed out at Turkey for further eroding civil liberties and heaped praise on the country for stemming the flow of Mideast refugees in a snapshot of the chilly-yet-close state of Europe’s ties with Ankara.

Bloomberg, Turkey Is Accused by EU Parliament of Democratic `Backsliding’, April 14, 2016


Turkey wants coalition help at Syrian border as Islamic State rockets pummel town

Turkey may call on the U.S.-led coalition to take stronger action in its fight against Islamic State along its border with Syria, Turkish officials said on Tuesday, as the border town of Kilis came under rocket fire for a second straight day.

Reuters, Turkey wants coalition help at Syrian border as Islamic State rockets pummel town, April 19, 2016


Turkey urges cooperation with Iran to fight terrorism, sectarian strife

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday his country and neighboring Iran must work together to narrow their differences in order to tackle terrorism and sectarianism in the region. Ankara and Tehran are on different sides of Syria’s civil war, but they are looking to boost bilateral trade and improve banking relations following the lifting of international sanctions on Iran in January.

Reuters, Turkey urges cooperation with Iran to fight terrorism, sectarian strife, April 16, 2016


Merkel Approves Turkish Request to Investigate German Comedian

Germany approved Turkey’s request for a criminal investigation into a German comedian for reciting a crude poem on air about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday, in a rare decision that divided her government and sparked an outcry that she was putting relations with Ankara above press freedom.

Wall Street Journal, Merkel Approves Turkish Request to Investigate German Comedian, April 15, 2016


Turkey stands by Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Davutoglu

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday condemned what he said were Armenian attacks in Azerbaijan’s breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region and said Turkey would continue to stand by Azerbaijan in the conflict.

Reuters, Turkey stands by Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Davutoglu, April 5, 2016


Economy & Energy

Turkey’s New Central Bank Head Expected to Cut Interest Rate in Inaugural Move

Turkey’s new central bank Governor Murat Cetinkaya is expected to start his tenure with an interest-rate cut this week, signaling a willingness to ease policy despite high inflation.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey’s New Central Bank Head Expected to Cut Interest Rate in Inaugural Move, April 18, 2016


Question Is No Longer If Turkey Will Cut Rates, It’s How Much

If Turkey cuts interest rates this week, it’ll be the least surprising central bank decision in more than three years. The big unknown is by how much. All 21 economists surveyed by Bloomberg see a decline in the overnight lending rate on Wednesday, the first unanimous consensus of a cut in the upper band since November 2012. But with the decision scheduled one day after Murat Cetinkaya becomes governor, no one knows if he’ll succumb to calls for steep reductions.

Bloomberg, Question Is No Longer If Turkey Will Cut Rates, It’s How Much, April 18, 2016


Turkey slaps dumping duties on U.S. cotton imports

Turkey has slapped anti-dumping duties on U.S. cotton imports, a U.S. industry trade association said on Monday, fraying relations between one of the world’s top fiber growers and one of its biggest customers amid weak global prices and demand.

Reuters, Turkey slaps dumping duties on U.S. cotton imports, April 19, 2016


Domestic Politics

Closures and court cases leave Turkey’s media increasingly muzzled

Metin Yilmaz, editor-in-chief of the Sozcu newspaper, one of the most outspoken critics of the government in the Turkish media, says he is weighing his words more carefully these days. With the seizure or closure in recent months of several newspapers, broadcasters taken off air and a German TV comedian facing a Turkish legal complaint for insulting Erdogan, journalists like Yilmaz say they are having to think twice about the consequences of their work.

Reuters, Closures and court cases leave Turkey’s media increasingly muzzled, April 13, 2016


Turkey launches inquiry into leak of 50 million citizens’ data

Turkey is investigating how hackers have posted online the identity data of some 50 million Turks, including what they said were details about the president and prime minister, after what is believed to be the biggest data breach seen in the country.

Reuters, Turkey launches inquiry into leak of 50 million citizens’ data, April 6, 2016


Turkish executives among 100 detained over links to cleric Gulen

Executives of a major Turkish company were among 100 people detained by police on Monday over allegations of funding the movement of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a foe of President Tayyip Erdogan, prosecutors and company officials said.

Reuters, Turkish executives among 100 detained over links to cleric Gulen, April 19, 2016


Turkey submits draft proposal to strip MPs of immunity: AKP officials

The Turkish government submitted a draft proposal to parliament on Tuesday that would strip lawmakers of immunity from prosecution, ruling AK Party officials said, a move seen as largely targeting a pro-Kurdish party.

Reuters, Turkey submits draft proposal to strip MPs of immunity: AKP officials, April 12, 2016


Four soldiers killed, two wounded in bomb attack in southeast Turkey

Four soldiers were killed and two wounded when a bomb hit a military vehicle traveling in the southeastern Turkish province of Mardin on Friday, security sources said.

Reuters, Four soldiers killed, two wounded in bomb attack in southeast Turkey, April 15, 2016