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Turkey Letter: 21 December 2015

Foreign Policy

  • Turkey to Continue Withdrawal of Troops From Northern Iraq
  • U.S. defense chief seeks more Turkish help against Islamic State
  • EU Agrees to Quicken Work on Border Proposals
  • NATO agrees Turkey air defense package, seeks ‘predictability’
  • Israel, Turkey Poised to Renew Diplomatic Relations
  • Turkey’s Erdogan meets Hamas leader Meshaal in Istanbul

Economy and Energy

  • In first hint of hike, Turkish central bank lifts rate on dollar reserves
  • Turkish consumer confidence index falls in December
  • Turkish assets hold steady ahead of critical Central Bank meeting
  • Turkey’s More Balanced Growth Gets Little Credit From Markets
  • Expected restoration of Israel-Turkey ties seen paving way for gas import deal
  • Koç Holding’s automotive arm and new model named best in Europe

Domestic Politics

  • Cansen Basaran-Symes: ‘Turkey does not have the luxury of ignoring reform’
  • Turkish military offensive kills 110 Kurdish militants in six days: security sources
  • Erdoğan continues to push shift to presidential system
  • CHP leader: No free society without free media
  • Book outlines steps to fight workplace violence against women

Foreign Policy

Turkey to Continue Withdrawal of Troops From Northern Iraq
Turkey announced on Saturday that it would continue to withdraw its troops from a military base in northern Iraq, saying that there had been miscommunication with Baghdad regarding the deployment of the forces, sent as part of a mission to train Kurdish and Sunni Arab forces in the fight against the Islamic State. The statement came a day after President Obama urged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to take additional steps to reduce tensions with Iraq and move troops from the training camp, according to a statement from the White House.
New York Times, Turkey to Continue Withdrawal of Troops From Northern Iraq, December 19, 2015


U.S. defense chief seeks more Turkish help against Islamic State

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter urged Turkey on Tuesday to do more to help destroy Islamic State militants as he kicked off a tour of the Middle East that aims to drum up regional support for the military campaign.

Reuters, U.S. defense chief seeks more Turkish help against Islamic State, December 15,

2015


EU Agrees to Quicken Work on Border Proposals

EU leaders on Thursday agreed to speed up discussions on sweeping new proposals to reinforce the bloc’s border protection and pressured Turkey to stick to its part of a migrant deal.

Wall Street Journal, EU Agrees to Quicken Work on Border Proposals, December 17, 2015


NATO agrees Turkey air defense package, seeks ‘predictability’

NATO allies agreed on Friday to send aircraft and ships to Turkey to strengthen Ankara’s air defenses on its border with Syria, the alliance’s chief said.

Reuters, NATO agrees Turkey air defense package, seeks ‘predictability’, December 18, 2015


Israel, Turkey Poised to Renew Diplomatic Relations

Israel and Turkey are poised to re-establish diplomatic ties after years of tense relations, officials from both countries said Friday, a move that could renew close cooperation between two of the U.S.’s strongest allies in the region.

Wall Street Journal, Israel, Turkey Poised to Renew Diplomatic Relations, December 21, 2015


Turkey’s Erdogan meets Hamas leader Meshaal in Istanbul

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met with Khaled Meshaal, leader of Palestinian militant group Hamas, on Saturday in Istanbul, Turkish presidential sources said, a day after Israel and Turkey said they were close to patching up five-year political rift.

Reuters, Turkey’s Erdogan meets Hamas leader Meshaal in Istanbul, December 19, 2015


Economy and Energy

In first hint of hike, Turkish central bank lifts rate on dollar reserves

Turkey’s central bank raised the interest rate it pays on U.S. dollar-denominated required reserves on Thursday, taking its first step towards the policy tightening some investors have been hoping for when it meets this week.

Reuters, In first hint of hike, Turkish central bank lifts rate on dollar reserves, December 17, 2015


Turkish consumer confidence index falls in December

Turkey’s consumer confidence index fell in December after a sharp increase in November, the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) said in a report on Dec. 21. The index fell to 73.58 in December from 77.15 in November, according to the report. The index had jumped to a high reading in November from 62.78 in October.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish consumer confidence index falls in December, December 21, 2015


Turkish assets hold steady ahead of critical Central Bank meeting

Turkish stocks firmed on Dec. 21 and the Turkish Lira moved sideways ahead of a crucial interest rate decision that could help the Central Bank shake off fears about interference in monetary policy.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish assets hold steady ahead of critical Central Bank meeting, December 21, 2015


Turkey’s More Balanced Growth Gets Little Credit From Markets

A third month of near-zero deficits, combined with higher-than-expected growth, has vindicated Turkey’s Central Bank Governor Erdem Basci and could give investors a cause for optimism after a tough year.

Bloomberg, Turkey’s More Balanced Growth Gets Little Credit From Markets, December 16, 2015


Expected restoration of Israel-Turkey ties seen paving way for gas import deal

Expectations that Turkey and Israel will restore normal relations after a five-year rift have raised hopes of speedy progress in talks to import Israeli natural gas, potentially a multi-billion-dollar project.

Reuters, Expected restoration of Israel-Turkey ties seen paving way for gas import deal, December 18, 2015


Koç Holding’s automotive arm and new model named best in Europe

Koç Holding Automotive Group has been named the best company in Europe of 2015 and its new Fiat Aegea has been named best car by AUTOBEST, one of the world’s most prestigious international automotive award ceremonies.

Hurriyet Daily News, Koç Holding’s automotive arm and new model named best in Europe, December 16, 2015


Domestic Politics

Cansen Basaran-Symes: ‘Turkey does not have the luxury of ignoring reform’

Elsewhere, a chartered accountant leading the country’s largest business confederation would be a pillar of the establishment. In President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey, however, Cansen Basaran-Symes, president of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (Tusiad), has become a candid voice for change.

Financial Times, Cansen Basaran-Symes: ‘Turkey does not have the luxury of ignoring reform’, December 17, 2015


Turkish military offensive kills 110 Kurdish militants in six days: security sources

Armed clashes persisted on Sunday across Turkey’s southeast, where an operation by Turkish forces intensified on the sixth day of a campaign that security sources said had resulted in the death of 110 Kurdish militants.

Reuters, Turkish military offensive kills 110 Kurdish militants in six days: security sources, December 20, 2015


Erdoğan continues to push shift to presidential system

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has again reiterated the need for a systemic change in Turkey’s governance, underlining that his aspiration for a presidential system had nothing to do with his personal prosperity.

Hurriyet Daily News, Erdoğan continues to push shift to presidential system, December 17, 2015


CHP leader: No free society without free media

Turkey’s main opposition leader has again demanded that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the government show respect for the freedom of the press, warning that no society can be free without a free media. “In a country where the media is not free, society is not free either. If we are talking about democracy in a country, the media is the cornerstone of this,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said Dec. 15, while recalling a visit to Silivri Prison to express solidarity with recently imprisoned journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül.

Hurriyet Daily News, CHP leader: No free society without free media, December 15, 2015


Book outlines steps to fight workplace violence against women

Turkey’s top business organization has outlined the steps which need to be taken by workplaces to fight violence against women in a book. “That is a very good resource on the fight against violence against women,” said Cansen Başaran Symes, the president of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD).

Hurriyet Daily News, Book outlines steps to fight workplace violence against women, December 16, 2015