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Turkey Letter: 19 January 2016

Foreign Policy

  • Istanbul Explosion Kills 10 Tourists, and ISIS Is Blamed
  • Turkey Strikes Islamic State Targets in Retaliation for Istanbul Bombing
  • EU Fails to Reach Final Deal on Financial Support for Turkey to Stem Migration
  • Turkey Hails Iran Nuclear Deal
  • UN committee warns Turkey over discrimination and human rights violations

Economy and Energy

  • Turkey’s Central Bank Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged
  • World Bank estimates Turkey’s growth to accelerate to 4.2 percent in 2015 despite uncertainties
  • Turkey to fight inflation, has “strong base” for reforms – PM Davutoglu
  • Turkey’s budget deficit at $7.4 billion for 2015
  • Unemployment continues to stand at double digits in Turkey

Domestic Politics

  • Turkey’s Kurdish Rebels Attack Police Complex, Leaving At Least Six Dead
  • Turkish operations against Kurdish militants near end: P.M.
  • Turkey Releases Detained Academics Who Signed Petition Defending Kurds
  • Erdogan sues Turkey’s main opposition leader over dictator remark

Foreign Policy

Istanbul Explosion Kills 10 Tourists, and ISIS Is Blamed

The attack left 10 tourists dead, all foreigners, and like other terrorist strikes in recent months in Paris; Beirut, Lebanon; Mali; Egypt; and Baghdad, it resonated far beyond Turkey as civilians were again cut down while going about their daily lives.

New York Times, Istanbul Explosion Kills 10 Tourists, and ISIS Is Blamed, January 12, 2016


Turkey Strikes Islamic State Targets in Retaliation for Istanbul Bombing

Turkish ground forces have launched a major offensive against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for a suicide bombing that killed 10 German tourists in Istanbul this week, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday.

New York Times, Turkey Strikes Islamic State Targets in Retaliation for Istanbul Bombing,

January 14, 2016


EU Fails to Reach Final Deal on Financial Support for Turkey to Stem Migration

Objections from Italy on Friday held up a final agreement by European Union finance ministers on how to come up with €3 billion ($3.3 billion) the bloc has promised to Turkey to help stem the flow of refugees into the EU.

Wall Street Journal, EU Fails to Reach Final Deal on Financial Support for Turkey to Stem Migration, January 15, 2016


Turkey Hails Iran Nuclear Deal

Turkey welcomed the implementation of the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, calling for all parties to bolster security and stability in the Middle East as regional conflicts destabilize the country and stoke tensions between Ankara and Tehran.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey Hails Iran Nuclear Deal, January 17, 2016


UN committee warns Turkey over discrimination and human rights violations

A United Nations committee has voiced concern over widespread violations of human rights in Turkey, particularly focusing on racial profiling of Kurdish citizens during the campaign against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Hurriyet Daily News, UN committee warns Turkey over discrimination and human rights violations, January 19, 2016


Economy and Energy

Turkey’s Central Bank Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged

Turkey’s central bank kept interest rates steady on Tuesday, delaying a long-promised policy shift for a second consecutive month as the lira flirts with record lows and runaway inflation expectations cloud the economic outlook.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey’s Central Bank Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged, January 19, 2016


World Bank estimates Turkey’s growth to accelerate to 4.2 percent in 2015 despite uncertainties

The World Bank has said despite election uncertainty, Turkey’s economy posted strong growth in the third quarter of 2015, and with the much stronger outcome, growth in Turkey is estimated to have accelerated to 4.2 percent in 2015 as a whole, in its regular economic brief.

Hurriyet Daily News, World Bank estimates Turkey’s growth to accelerate to 4.2 percent in 2015 despite uncertainties, January 19, 2016


Turkey to fight inflation, has “strong base” for reforms – PM Davutoglu

Turkey is being impacted by the current financial market volatility and slowdown in emerging market economies, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday, adding that it would continue to fight high inflation.

Reuters, Turkey to fight inflation, has “strong base” for reforms – PM Davutoglu, January 18, 2016


Turkey’s budget deficit at $7.4 billion for 2015

Turkey’s government ran a 22.6 billion Turkish Liras ($7.4 billion) budget deficit last year, Turkey’s finance minister announced in a press conference Jan. 15.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s budget deficit at $7.4 billion for 2015, January 19, 2016


Unemployment continues to stand at double digits in Turkey

The unemployment rate in Turkey rose to 10.5 percent in October 2015 from 10.3 percent in September 2015, according to data from the Turkish Statistics Agency (TÜİK).

Hurriyet Daily News, Unemployment continues to stand at double digits in Turkey, January 19, 2016


Domestic Politics

Turkey’s Kurdish Rebels Attack Police Complex, Leaving At Least Six Dead

Kurdish separatists attacked a police complex in southeastern Turkey overnight, killing at least six people and wounding dozens in the most sophisticated attack since violence flared up between insurgents and the Turkish state in July, officials said.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey’s Kurdish Rebels Attack Police Complex, Leaving At Least Six Dead, January 14, 2016


Turkish operations against Kurdish militants near end: P.M.

A Turkish security force campaign against Kurdish militants in the southeast has been largely completed, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was reported as saying on Tuesday, as he outlined plans to maintain tighter control in parts of the region.

Reuters, Turkish operations against Kurdish militants near end: P.M., January 19, 2016


Turkey Releases Detained Academics Who Signed Petition Defending Kurds

The Turkish authorities briefly detained 27 scholars on Friday, accusing them of spreading “terrorism propaganda” and of insulting the state after they signed a petition denouncing the military’s campaign against Kurdish militants in southeastern Turkey.

New York Times, Turkey Releases Detained Academics Who Signed Petition Defending Kurds, January 15, 2016


Erdogan sues Turkey’s main opposition leader over dictator remark

Lawyers for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan filed a lawsuit against the main opposition leader on Monday for implying that Erdogan was a dictator, presidential sources and the opposition party said.

Reuters, Erdogan sues Turkey’s main opposition leader over dictator remark, January 18, 2016