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Turkey Letter: 21 February 2017

Foreign Politics

  • New US gov’t is ‘sensitive’ over Gülen’s extradition: Turkish PM
  • Turkish PM, U.S. vice president discuss improving ties
  • US pledges more support to Turkey’s Syria operation
  • US must work with Turkey on Syria, says US senator McCain
  • Turkey sets out Raqqa operation plans to U.S.
  • Turkish military says 44 Islamic State militants killed in Syria
  • Iran summons Turkish envoy over comments by president
  • Turkey steps up scrutiny on Muslim migrants from Russia

Economy & Energy

  • Turkey’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Seeks International Investors
  • Sprint by Turkish Stocks Leaves Fund Managers in Starting Blocks
  • Lira Bears Back Off as Turkey Yield Offensive Quells Volatility
  • Turkey’s external assets up in December
  • CEO of Trump’s Turkish Partner Resigns, Replaced by Outsider
  • Türk Eximbank set to provide $40 bln financing in 2017, create own rating system
  • Turkey’s cenbank working on rouble debt repayment for companies

Domestic Politics

  • Turkey strips one jailed opposition leader of MP status, other leader sentenced
  • Turkey Tries 47 Ex-Soldiers in Erdogan Assassination Plot
  • Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition appeals to European court over detentions
  • Even Some Erdogan Diehards Flinch at Giving Him More Powers
  • After decades of debate, Turkey starts building mosque in Istanbul square

Foreign Politics

New US gov’t is ‘sensitive’ over Gülen’s extradition: Turkish PM

The new U.S. administration seems to be more indulgent and sensitive over the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, who is believed to be behind the July 15 coup attempt, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Feb. 21, adding that discussions with U.S. officials were continuing.

Hurriyet Daily News, New US gov’t is ‘sensitive’ over Gülen’s extradition: Turkish PM, February 21, 2017


Turkish PM, U.S. vice president discuss improving ties

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim that Washington was keen for a new start in relations between the two countries, sources in Yildirim’s office said, after ties soured during the Obama administration.

Reuters, Turkish PM, U.S. vice president discuss improving ties, February 19, 2017


US pledges more support to Turkey’s Syria operation

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis issued assurances that the U.S.-led coalition will provide more support to Turkey’s Euphrates Shield Operation during his first meeting with his Turkish counterpart Fikri Işık late on Feb. 15 on the margins of a NATO summit in Brussels, according to Turkish officials.

Hurriyet Daily News, US pledges more support to Turkey’s Syria operation, February 15, 2017


US must work with Turkey on Syria, says US senator McCain

The U.S.-Turkey partnership must be revitalized under the Donald Trump administration, Republican Senator John McCain said on Feb. 20 after meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Hurriyet Daily News, US must work with Turkey on Syria, says US senator McCain, February 20, 2017


Turkey sets out Raqqa operation plans to U.S.

Turkey has presented two proposals to the United States for how to carry out a joint military operation to drive Islamic State from its stronghold in the Syrian city of Raqqa, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported on Saturday.

Reuters, Turkey sets out Raqqa operation plans to U.S., February 18, 2017


Turkish military says 44 Islamic State militants killed in Syria

Forty-four Islamic State militants were killed by Turkey-backed operations around the Syrian town of al-Bab and in U.S.-led coalition air strikes on Monday, the Turkish military said on Tuesday.

Reuters, Turkish military says 44 Islamic State militants killed in Syria, February 21, 2017


Iran summons Turkish envoy over comments by president

Iran summoned the Turkish ambassador in Tehran on Monday over comments made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and President Tayyip Erdogan accusing the Islamic Republic of destabilising the region.

Reuters, Iran summons Turkish envoy over comments by president, February 20, 2017


Turkey steps up scrutiny on Muslim migrants from Russia

Turkey has increased scrutiny of Russian-speaking Muslim communities in the past few months following a series of attacks blamed on Islamic State, a concrete example of the renewed relationship between the two countries.

Reuters, Turkey steps up scrutiny on Muslim migrants from Russia, February 17, 2017


Economy & Energy

Turkey’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Seeks International Investors

Turkey’s newly created sovereign-wealth fund is conducting a valuation process of its blue-chip state enterprises as part of a planned drive to attract more overseas investment, the fund’s director Mehmet Bostan said on Friday, February 17.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Seeks International Investors, February 17, 2017


Sprint by Turkish Stocks Leaves Fund Managers in Starting Blocks

An unforeseen early 2017 rally in Turkish equities wrong-footed local fund managers, producing their worst start for at least five years.

Bloomberg, Sprint by Turkish Stocks Leaves Fund Managers in Starting Blocks, February 17, 2017


Lira Bears Back Off as Turkey Yield Offensive Quells Volatility

The worst-performing emerging-market currency in the past year has climbed 6.4 percent from January’s record low against the dollar amid policy measures that boosted its yield appeal. Morgan Stanley and Societe Generale SA now recommend buying the lira against the euro, citing a responsive central bank and light positioning that leaves the Turkish currency poised for a rebound.

Bloomberg, Lira Bears Back Off as Turkey Yield Offensive Quells Volatility, February 14, 2017


Turkey’s external assets up in December

Turkey’s foreign assets rose 2.1 percent year-on-year in December to reach $214.8 billion, the Turkish Central Bank said on Feb. 20.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s external assets up in December, February 20, 2017


CEO of Trump’s Turkish Partner Resigns, Replaced by Outsider

Turkey’s Dogan Holding, owner of the Trump Towers in Istanbul, said it appointed an outsider as board member and acting chief executive after the resignation of Soner Gedik, who served for just over a year.

Bloomberg, CEO of Trump’s Turkish Partner Resigns, Replaced by Outsider, February 21, 2017


Türk Eximbank set to provide $40 bln financing in 2017, create own rating system

Turkey’s Eximbank is set to pour $40 billion in loans and insurance into more than 100,000 companies in 2017 and to launch its own rating system to measure companies’ eligibility for loans, the head of the organization has said.

Hurriyet Daily News, Türk Eximbank set to provide $40 bln financing in 2017, create own rating system, February 16, 2017


Turkey’s cenbank working on rouble debt repayment for companies

Turkey’s central bank is finalising plans to allow companies to repay some loans from the state-owned development bank in roubles, a person familiar with central bank policy said, a move that would help exporters and tourism firms targeting Russia.

Reuters, Turkey’s cenbank working on rouble debt repayment for companies, February 21, 2017


Domestic Politics

Turkey strips one jailed opposition leader of MP status, other leader sentenced

Turkey’s parliament on Tuesday stripped one of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) two leaders of her status as a member of parliament and jailed the other, weeks ahead of a referendum on extending the president’s powers.

Reuters, Turkey strips one jailed opposition leader of MP status, other leader sentenced, February 21, 2017


Turkey Tries 47 Ex-Soldiers in Erdogan Assassination Plot

Dozens of former Turkish soldiers were brought to trial on Monday on charges of trying to kill President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a coup attempt in July, the latest in a series of trials in the plot.

New York Times, Turkey Tries 47 Ex-Soldiers in Erdogan Assassination Plot, February 20, 2017


Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition appeals to European court over detentions

Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish opposition party said on Monday it had appealed to the European Court of Human Rights over what it said was the unlawful imprisonment of its two leaders on terrorism-related charges.

Reuters, Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition appeals to European court over detentions, February 20, 2017


Even Some Erdogan Diehards Flinch at Giving Him More Powers

Ibrahim Cat, a supporter of the ruling AK Party, had never hesitated to vote for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Until now. As Turks prepare to vote on a proposal to give Erdogan sweeping powers, people like Cat are signaling to the man who has never lost a major election that victory is not assured. Two months before the referendum, surveys show the ‘no’ side with a narrow lead. At least 10 percent of the electorate hasn’t made up its mind.

Bloomberg, Even Some Erdogan Diehards Flinch at Giving Him More Powers, February 19, 2017


After decades of debate, Turkey starts building mosque in Istanbul square

Construction began on Friday of a mosque in Istanbul’s central Taksim square, a controversial project championed by Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan but mired in years of court battles and public debate.

Reuters, After decades of debate, Turkey starts building mosque in Istanbul square, February 21, 2017