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Turkey Letter: 2 May 2016

Foreign Policy

  • Heavy shelling on ISIL in Syria from Turkey
  • S., Turkey Step Up Border Campaign Against Islamic State
  • US defense chief admits links among PYD, YPG, PKK
  • EU set to drive forward visas for Turks in migrant deal
  • Around 20 Syrians readmitted to Turkey under EU migrant deal: Turkish PM
  • Turkish Businessman Reza Zarrab Pleads Not Guilty to U.S. Charges Over Iran Sanctions
  • Seeing shared threats, Turkey sets up military base in Qatar

Economy & Energy

  • Turkey Debt Lures Most Foreign Money Since 2013 in Market Bounce
  • Turkish Exports Rise for Second Month in Row; Trade Gap Shrinks
  • World Bank: Turkey growth to slow to 3.5 pct in 2016
  • S., EU officials say they will not settle for limited trade deal

Domestic Politics

  • Bombing Injures 10 in Turkish City
  • Kurdish militants claim suicide bombing in Turkey’s Bursa: website
  • Car Bombs Target Police, Soldiers in Southeastern Turkey
  • Police fire tear gas, detain 200, in Istanbul May Day scuffles
  • Turkish PM says secularism will be in new constitution
  • Brawls in Turkish parliament delay legislation on EU migrant deal
  • Two Turkish Journalists Jailed for Charlie Hebdo Reprints

Foreign Policy

Heavy shelling on ISIL in Syria from Turkey

The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) continued to fire on ISIL targets in Syria’s north on May 2 as Turkish artillery also hit jihadist targets.

Hurriyet Daily News, Heavy shelling on ISIL in Syria from Turkey, May 2, 2016


U.S., Turkey Step Up Border Campaign Against Islamic State

The U.S. and Turkey are stepping up their campaign to choke off Islamic State’s main route out of Syria by deploying advanced rockets and more Turkish forces to the Syrian border, U.S. and Turkish officials said on April 26.

Wall Street Journal, U.S., Turkey Step Up Border Campaign Against Islamic State, April 26, 2016


US defense chief admits links among PYD, YPG, PKK

The U.S. defense chief admitted on April 28 that the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its militia force, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), were linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Hurriyet Daily News, US defense chief admits links among PYD, YPG, PKK, April 29, 2016


EU set to drive forward visas for Turks in migrant deal

Despite deep public misgivings in some countries, the European Union will this week drive forward a plan to grant Turks visa-free travel to Europe as a reward for having reduced a flood of refugees and migrants into Europe to a trickle.

Reuters, EU set to drive forward visas for Turks in migrant deal, May 1, 2016


Around 20 Syrians readmitted to Turkey under EU migrant deal: Turkish PM

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Saturday around 20 Syrians had been readmitted to Turkey under an EU migrant deal designed to help stem migration to Europe across the Aegean Sea.

Reuters, Around 20 Syrians readmitted to Turkey under EU migrant deal: Turkish PM, April 30, 2016


Turkish Businessman Reza Zarrab Pleads Not Guilty to U.S. Charges Over Iran Sanctions

Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab on Wednesday pleaded not guilty in New York to allegations he plotted to hide financial transactions from U.S. banks in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Wall Street Journal, Turkish Businessman Reza Zarrab Pleads Not Guilty to U.S. Charges Over Iran Sanctions, April 27, 2016


Seeing shared threats, Turkey sets up military base in Qatar

Turkey deployed soldiers to a new military base in Qatar on Thursday as part of a security agreement which visiting Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said would help counter threats to both countries.

Reuters, Seeing shared threats, Turkey sets up military base in Qatar, April 28, 2016


Economy & Energy

Turkey Debt Lures Most Foreign Money Since 2013 in Market Bounce

Foreign investors are buying up Turkish lira bonds at the fastest pace in three years as a shift in mood among money managers in favor of emerging markets gathers pace.

Bloomberg, Turkey Debt Lures Most Foreign Money Since 2013 in Market Bounce, April 29, 2016


Turkish Exports Rise for Second Month in Row; Trade Gap Shrinks

Turkey’s trade gap narrowed in March from a year earlier as exports rose for the second straight month and the cost of energy imports declined.

Bloomberg, Turkish Exports Rise for Second Month in Row; Trade Gap Shrinks, April 29, 2016


World Bank: Turkey growth to slow to 3.5 pct in 2016

Growth in Turkey increased to 4 percent in 2015, reflecting stronger private and public consumption, but is expected to slow down to 3.5 percent in 2016 because of a more negative contribution from net exports compared to 2015, according to the April edition of the World Bank’s Turkey Regular Economic Brief.

Hurriyet Daily News, World Bank: Turkey growth to slow to 3.5 pct in 2016, April 29, 2016


U.S., EU officials say they will not settle for limited trade deal

U.S. and European Union trade officials said on Thursday they would not settle for a limited trans-Atlantic free trade deal that ignores deep divisions on agricultural products, services, public procurement and dispute resolution.

Reuters, U.S., EU officials say they will not settle for limited trade deal, April 28, 2016


Domestic Politics

Bombing Injures 10 in Turkish City

A woman blew herself up Wednesday near the Grand Mosque in Turkey’s major manufacturing hub of Bursa, officials said, injuring at least 10 people in the latest attack to hit Turkey as it grapples with dual threats from Islamic State and Kurdish separatists.

Wall Street Journal, Bombing Injures 10 in Turkish City, April 27, 2016


Kurdish militants claim suicide bombing in Turkey’s Bursa: website

The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group, said on Sunday it carried out a suicide bombing in the northwestern Turkish city of Bursa last week.

Reuters, Kurdish militants claim suicide bombing in Turkey’s Bursa: website, May 1, 2016


Car Bombs Target Police, Soldiers in Southeastern Turkey

Two car bombs targeted security forces in southeastern Turkey on Sunday, killing two policemen and a soldier and leaving more than 40 people wounded in deepening violence along the Syria border.

Bloomberg, Car Bombs Target Police, Soldiers in Southeastern Turkey, May 1, 2016


Police fire tear gas, detain 200, in Istanbul May Day scuffles

Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon and detained more than 200 people after scuffles broke out at May Day celebrations in Istanbul and some anti-government protesters tried to breach a ban on access to the main Taksim square.

Reuters, Police fire tear gas, detain 200, in Istanbul May Day scuffles, May 1, 2016


Turkish PM says secularism will be in new constitution

Turkey’s new constitution will retain secularism as a principle, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday, playing down comments from the parliamentary speaker who triggered a public uproar by calling for a religious national charter.

Reuters, Turkish PM says secularism will be in new constitution, April 27, 2016


Brawls in Turkish parliament delay legislation on EU migrant deal

Brawls between lawmakers from Turkey’s ruling AK Party and the pro-Kurdish opposition have delayed efforts to pass legislation on a migration deal with the European Union, but the country’s EU minister said a deadline next week would still be met. Deputies threw punches, pushed and tried to restrain each other in the assembly late on Wednesday in a row over military operations targeting Kurdish militants in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast.

Reuters, Brawls in Turkish parliament delay legislation on EU migrant deal, April 28, 2016


Two Turkish Journalists Jailed for Charlie Hebdo Reprints

Two prominent columnists at Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper were each sentenced to two years in jail for reprinting cartoons from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in a case pressed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and several members of his family.

Bloomberg, Two Turkish Journalists Jailed for Charlie Hebdo Reprints, April 28, 2016