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Turkey Letter: 21 September 2015

Foreign Policy

  • Turkish jets hit Kurdish militant camps in Iraq, at least 55 killed: sources
  • Turkey spent $7.6 billion hosting 2.2 million refugees
  • Kerry discusses Syria with Turkish FM after talks with Russia
  • US Ambassador John Bass underlines importance of press freedom while visiting Hürriyet
  • Two of 18 Kidnapped Turkish Workers are Released

Economy and Energy

  • Leading boss warns of potential loss in Turkey’s employment
  • Turkey Retains Investment Grade Rating at Fitch; Outlook Stable
  • Consumer confidence index at lowest since global crisis
  • Despite Fed Delay, Morgan Stanley Has Turkey Banks on Notice

Domestic Politics

  • Top bosses want election security, democracy
  • Court releases all detained in Gülen-linked operation in central Turkey
  • Turkey’s president, masses condemn terrorist attacks
  • Tens of thousands protest in Turkey against Kurdish violence
  • AKP officially launches election campaign with candidate presentation
  • Opposition Journalists Under Assault in Turkey

Foreign Policy

Turkish jets hit Kurdish militant camps in Iraq, at least 55 killed: sources

At least 55 militants were killed when Turkish warplanes hit Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) camps in northern Iraq overnight, security sources said on Saturday, as Ankara shows no sign of easing up strikes on insurgents ahead of a Nov. 1 election.

Reuters, Turkish jets hit Kurdish militant camps in Iraq, at least 55 killed: sources, September 19, 2015


Turkey spent $7.6 billion hosting 2.2 million refugees

Turkey, which hosts the world’s largest refugee population, has so far spent $7.6 billion caring for 2.2 million Syrians who have fled strife there, a Turkish deputy prime minister said on Friday.

Reuters, Turkey spent $7.6 billion hosting 2.2 million refugees, September 18, 2015


Kerry discusses Syria with Turkish FM after talks with Russia

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu held a phone conversation on late Sept. 18, following the latter’s talks in Russia on the Syrian crisis. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also will pay visit to Moscow this week, as the international community accelerates efforts to find a settlement in Syria with Moscow’s cooperation.

Hurriyet Daily News, Kerry discusses Syria with Turkish FM after talks with Russia, September 20, 2015


US Ambassador John Bass underlines importance of press freedom while visiting Hürriyet

U.S. Ambassador to Ankara John Bass underlined the importance of press freedom in democratic societies during a visit to daily Hürriyet headquarters in Istanbul on Sept. 16. The visit came after the Hürriyet’s headquarters was physically attacked by protesters twice in two days.

Hurriyet Daily News, US Ambassador John Bass underlines importance of press freedom while visiting Hürriyet, September 16, 2015


Two of 18 Kidnapped Turkish Workers are Released

Iraqi militants released on Wednesday two of the 18 Turkish workers they had kidnapped in Baghdad, two weeks after the unknown group took the men hostage in an attempt to pressure Ankara into changing its regional policies.

Wall Street Journal, Two of 18 Kidnapped Turkish Workers are Released, September 16, 2015


Economy and Energy

Leading boss warns of potential loss in Turkey’s employment

If Turkey’s economy turns in on itself, employment in the country will decrease, according to former head of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) and Boyner Holding board member Ümit Boyner.

Hurriyet Daily News, Leading boss warns of potential loss in Turkey’s employment, September 21, 2015


Turkey Retains Investment Grade Rating at Fitch; Outlook Stable

Turkey retained its investment grade ranking at Fitch Ratings with a stable outlook as the rating company said the country’s government balance sheet remains “strong” amid a deteriorating political environment.

Bloomberg, Turkey Retains Investment Grade Rating at Fitch; Outlook Stable, September 18, 2015


Consumer confidence index at lowest since global crisis

The consumer confidence index in Turkey dropped to 58.52 in September, its lowest value since January 2009, the period when the global financial crisis had the greatest impact, amid political uncertainties, market fluctuations and security concerns.

Hurriyet Daily News, Consumer confidence index at lowest since global crisis, September 21, 2015


Despite Fed Delay, Morgan Stanley Has Turkey Banks on Notice

When the Federal Reserve finally gets around to raising interest rates, Morgan Stanley says that Turkey’s private banks are among the most exposed institutions in a country that’s already unusually vulnerable.

Bloomberg, Despite Fed Delay, Morgan Stanley Has Turkey Banks on Notice, September 18, 2015


Domestic Politics

Top bosses want election security, democracy

Turkey’s top business organization has called for the maintenance of election security and reforms to ensure a more developed democracy just ahead of another election on Nov. 1 amid political uncertainties, market fluctuations and escalating security risks.

Hurriyet Daily News, Top bosses want election security, democracy, September 17, 2015


Court releases all detained in Gülen-linked operation in central Turkey

Four of the seven people detained earlier this week in a police operation against a purported Gülen-linked “terrorist organization” were released early on Sept. 18. The three other high-profile suspects were released on Sept. 17, including Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) Executive Board Member and Boydak Holding CEO Memduh Boydak.

Hurriyet Daily News, Court releases all detained in Gülen-linked operation in central Turkey, September 18, 2015


Turkey’s president, masses condemn terrorist attacks

Hundreds of thousands of people protested recent terrorism incidents, with Turkish prime minister calling on people to vote for his party and the president demanding 550 seats for one party in a rally in Istanbul’s Yenikapı Square on Sept. 20.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s president, masses condemn terrorist attacks, September 20, 2015


Tens of thousands protest in Turkey against Kurdish violence

Tens of thousands of flag-waving demonstrators rallied in central Istanbul on Sunday to denounce violence by Kurdish rebels as the country’s prime minister pledged damnation for the separatists.

Washington Post, Tens of thousands protest in Turkey against Kurdish violence, September 20, 2015


AKP officially launches election campaign with candidate presentation

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), which failed to form a single-party government in the June 7 election for the first time after winning three consecutive elections since November 2002, has presented its candidates for the Nov. 1 snap elections with a mass gathering in Ankara.

Hurriyet Daily News, AKP officially launches election campaign with candidate presentation, September 21, 2015


Opposition Journalists Under Assault in Turkey

Hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out against a prominent newspaper here, an angry mob of his supporters descended on the publication’s headquarters, smashing windows, chanting profanities and trying to storm the building.

New York Times, Opposition Journalists Under Assault in Turkey, September 17, 2015