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Turkey Letter: 20 March 2017

Foreign Politics

  • U.S. Secretary of State to visit Turkey on March 30, says Turkish minister
  • German state bans foreign campaigning as EU-Turkey row deepens
  • Germany’s Merkel Renews Demand That Turkey Drop Nazi Swipes
  • ‘You Are the Future of Europe,’ Erdogan Tells Turks
  • Turkey may cancel migrant readmission deal with EU, says foreign minister
  • Turkey says blocking of some NATO projects only aimed at Austria
  • Turkey wants diplomatic solution on Syria’s Manbij, defence minister says
  • Turkey criticizes official use of Iraqi Kurdish flag in Kirkuk

Economy & Energy

  • Turkish central bank carefully tightens policy as political heat rises, lira firms
  • Turkey CDS rise to two-week high after Moody’s cuts outlook
  • Turkey will pay all of seized Bank Asya’s foreign debt, deputy PM says
  • Merkel says does not intend to trade provocations with Turkey
  • Turkey reassures investors, says Dutch business not at risk
  • Merkel says does not intend to trade provocations with Turkey

Domestic Politics

  • Turkey detains more than 2,000 people over militant, coup links: interior ministry
  • Turkish PM Yıldırım meets former ministers in absence of Gül and Davutoğlu
  • Turkey’s referendum campaign unfair, Erdogan opponents say
  • Turkey’s president campaigns for referendum at war memorial
  • Turkey’s Erdogan says jailed journalist a terrorist agent

Foreign Politics

U.S. Secretary of State to visit Turkey on March 30, says Turkish minister

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit Turkey on March 30, Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on March 16, in what is likely to be the most high-level meeting with Ankara since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January.

Reuters, U.S. Secretary of State to visit Turkey on March 30, says Turkish minister, March 16, 2017


German state bans foreign campaigning as EU-Turkey row deepens

The small western German state of Saarland said on March 14 it is banning political campaigning by foreign politicians as a row between Ankara and European countries escalates.

Reuters, German state bans foreign campaigning as EU-Turkey row deepens, March 14, 2017


Germany’s Merkel Renews Demand That Turkey Drop Nazi Swipes

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on March 20 that her demand that Turkey cease drawing Nazi comparisons with Germany and its allies applies “without ifs or buts,” and pointed to a government threat last week that it could prevent Turkish politicians entering the country. Merkel’s comments came after President Erdogan accused her personally of “committing Nazi practices.”

Associated Press, Germany’s Merkel Renews Demand That Turkey Drop Nazi Swipes, March 20, 2017


‘You Are the Future of Europe,’ Erdogan Tells Turks

Calling Turks the “future of Europe,” Turkey’s president on March 17 implored his compatriots living on the Continent to have multiple children as an act of revenge against the West’s “injustices.”

New York Times, ‘You Are the Future of Europe,’ Erdogan Tells Turks, March 17, 2017


Turkey may cancel migrant readmission deal with EU, says foreign minister

Turkey may cancel a migrant readmission agreement with the European Union, and is also re-evaluating a $6 billion refugee deal with the bloc, foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a televised interview on March 15.

Reuters, Turkey may cancel migrant readmission deal with EU, says foreign minister, March 15, 2017


Turkey says blocking of some NATO projects only aimed at Austria     

Turkey’s withdrawal of some NATO cooperation with partner countries is only aimed at Austria, a spokeswoman for Ankara’s mission to the military alliance said on March 16. Diplomatic tensions between Austria and Turkey predate a current escalation with other European countries. A spokesman for Austria’s Defense Ministry said the blockade has been going on for months.

Reuters, Turkey says blocking of some NATO projects only aimed at Austria, March 16, 2017


Turkey wants diplomatic solution on Syria’s Manbij, defence minister says

Finding a diplomatic solution with the United States and Russia on northern Syria’s Manbij has become a necessity, and a military approach would only be considered if diplomacy failed, Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik said on March 16.

Reuters, Turkey wants diplomatic solution on Syria’s Manbij, defence minister says, March 16, 2017


Turkey criticizes official use of Iraqi Kurdish flag in Kirkuk                          

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has criticized the Kirkuk governorate’s decision to fly the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) flag on state buildings on official state days.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey criticizes official use of Iraqi Kurdish flag in Kirkuk, March 20, 2017


Economy & Energy

Turkish central bank carefully tightens policy as political heat rises, lira firms

Turkey’s central bank took another unorthodox tightening step on March 16, hiking the cost of funds from its “late liquidity window” by 75 basis points while leaving conventional policy rates on hold ahead of April’s landmark political referendum. The lira firmed following the central bank’s move. It was at 3.6390 at 1254 GMT, some 1 percent firmer on the day.

Reuters, Turkish central bank carefully tightens policy as political heat rises, March 16, 2017


Turkey CDS rise to two-week high after Moody’s cuts outlook

The cost of insuring exposure to Turkish debt rose on Monday to the highest level in two weeks after ratings agency Moody’s cut the sovereign’s outlook to negative from stable after markets closed on Friday.

Reuters, Turkey CDS rise to two-week high after Moody’s cuts outlook, March 20, 2017


Turkey will pay all of seized Bank Asya’s foreign debt, deputy PM says

Turkey will repay all the foreign loan obligations of seized Islamic lender Bank Asya, including a coupon payment on a $250 million sukuk that was due in September, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli told the state-run Anadolu agency on March 16.

Reuters, Turkey will pay all of seized Bank Asya’s foreign debt, deputy PM says, March 16, 2017


Merkel says does not intend to trade provocations with Turkey

German Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out trading provocations with Turkey on March 16 after President Tayyip Erdogan sharply criticized bans on planned rallies by Turkish ministers in Germany and the Netherlands.

Reuters, Merkel says does not intend to trade provocations with Turkey, March 16, 2017


Turkey reassures investors, says Dutch business not at risk

Dutch investment in Turkey is not threatened by the diplomatic row between the two countries, as Ankara’s ire is focused on the Dutch government, not its people or businesses, Turkey’s minister for EU affairs told Reuters.

Reuters, Turkey reassures investors, says Dutch business not at risk, March 15, 2017


Merkel says does not intend to trade provocations with Turkey

German Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out trading provocations with Turkey on March 16 after President Tayyip Erdogan sharply criticized bans on planned rallies by Turkish ministers in Germany and the Netherlands.

Reuters, Merkel says does not intend to trade provocations with Turkey, March 16, 2017


Domestic Politics

Turkey detains more than 2,000 people over militant, coup links: interior ministry

Turkish authorities detained more than 2,000 people over the last week for suspected links to militant groups or last year’s failed coup attempt, the interior ministry said on March 20.

Reuters, Turkey detains more than 2,000 people over militant, coup links: interior ministry, March 20, 2017


Turkish PM Yıldırım meets former ministers in absence of Gül and Davutoğlu

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) brought together prominent party figures, past and present, in a bid to mobilize them ahead of the April 16 referendum on shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system, though former President Abdullah Gül and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu were not present at the meeting.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish PM Yıldırım meets former ministers in absence of Gül and Davutoğlu, March 20, 2017


Turkey’s referendum campaign unfair, Erdogan opponents say

Opposition figures in Turkey say they have faced threats, violence, arbitrary detentions, a lack of TV airtime and even sabotage in the campaign for a referendum on expanding the president’s powers.

Washington Post, Turkey’s referendum campaign unfair, Erdogan opponents say, March 19, 2017


Turkey’s president campaigns for referendum at war memorial

Cheered by flag-waving supporters, Turkey’s president turned a commemoration of a World War I campaign into a political rally on March 18, slamming Europe and declaring that a constitutional referendum next month on whether to expand his powers will enhance Turkey’s place in the world.

Washington Post, Turkey’s president campaigns for referendum at war memorial, March 18, 2017


Turkey’s Erdogan says jailed journalist a terrorist agent

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on March 19 accused a jailed Turkish-German journalist of being a terrorist agent in comments likely to cause further unease in Berlin over the incident. Erdogan, said the reporter, Deniz Yucel of Germany’s Die Welt newspaper, would be tried by Turkey’s independent judiciary.

Reuters, Turkey’s Erdogan says jailed journalist a terrorist agent, March 19, 2017