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Turkey Letter: 22 May 2017

Foreign Policy

  • Trump says ‘honor’ to welcome Turkey’s president
  • S. decries Washington brawl during Turkish president’s visit
  • Turkey ready to retaliate against any threats, Erdogan warns
  • Turkish foreign minister says wants U.S. envoy McGurk changed
  • Germany granted access to journalist imprisoned in Turkey
  • EU’s Juncker, Tusk to meet Erdoğan on May 25 in Brussels
  • US pastor jailed in Turkey accused of special sermons to Kurds, contact with Gülen movement

Economy & Energy

  • Turkey’s Erdogan expected to streamline economic team: sources
  • Russia set to lift barriers on Turkey within week
  • Foreign Investors Give Turkey Another Look Amid Private-Equity Rebound
  • Turkey working on new project to establish real estate stock exchange: Deputy PM

Domestic Politics

  • TÜSİAD President at High Advisory Council calls for reforms
  • State of emergency no hurdle for business in Turkey: Erdoğan
  • Turkey arrests opposition newspaper editor
  • Police stage operation on Turkish daily Sözcü executive, staff members after detention warrant
  • HDP to hold extraordinary congress

Foreign Policy

Trump says ‘honor’ to welcome Turkey’s president

President Donald Trump held his first face-to-face talks with Turkey’s president. Addressing reporters a short time later, Trump said it was a “great honor” to welcome Erdogan. Erdogan congratulated Trump on his “legendary triumph” in last November’s presidential election. He also noted that the U.S. and Turkey work alongside each other at the United Nations, NATO and the Group of 20 developed and developing countries.

Associated Press, The Latest: Trump says ‘honor’ to welcome Turkey’s president, May 16, 2017


U.S. decries Washington brawl during Turkish president’s visit

The United States said on May 17 that it was voicing its “strongest possible” concern to Turkey over a street brawl that erupted between protesters and Turkish security personnel during President Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Washington, D.C.

Reuters, U.S. decries Washington brawl during Turkish president’s visit, May 18, 2017


Turkey ready to retaliate against any threats, Erdogan warns

Turkey is ready to retaliate if it faces a threat from the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and will not shirk from launching a military campaign if need be, President Tayyip Erdogan said on May 18. Erdogan said he told the United States that Ankara would “exercise its rights under the rules of engagement”, without consulting anyone, if it felt it needed to.

Reuters, Turkey ready to retaliate against any threats, Erdogan warns, May 18, 2017


Turkish foreign minister says wants U.S. envoy McGurk changed

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on May 18 he wanted Brett McGurk, the U.S. special envoy to the coalition against Islamic State, removed from his post, saying he supported Kurdish militants.

Reuters, Turkish foreign minister says wants U.S. envoy McGurk changed, May 18, 2017


Germany granted access to journalist imprisoned in Turkey

Germany has been granted consular access to a German-Turkish journalist arrested in Turkey for the second time since his arrest earlier this year, the Foreign Ministry said on May 17. Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said consular officials will visit Deniz Yucel, a reporter for German daily Die Welt, in an Istanbul-area prison on May 18.

Associated Press, Germany granted access to journalist imprisoned in Turkey, May 17, 2017


EU’s Juncker, Tusk to meet Erdoğan on May 25 in Brussels

EU leaders Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk will meet President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Brussels on May 25 the European Commission said, following months of strained relations.

Hurriyet Daily News, EU’s Juncker, Tusk to meet Erdoğan on May 25 in Brussels, May 19, 2017


US pastor jailed in Turkey accused of special sermons to Kurds, contact with Gülen movement

An American pastor who was arrested in Turkey last year and whose release has been demanded by U.S. President Donald Trump is accused of delivering special sermons to the Kurdish people and having links to the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. The White House stated on May 16 that Trump had urged Turkey to release Brunson following the U.S. president’s first face-to-face meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Hurriyet Daily News, US pastor jailed in Turkey accused of special sermons to Kurds, contact with Gülen movement, May 18, 2017


Economy & Energy

Turkey’s Erdogan expected to streamline economic team: sources

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan aims to streamline his economic team after he resumes leadership of the ruling AK Party on May 21 in an effort to speed up decisions and reassure markets that ministers are working to the same plan, sources said.

Reuters, Turkey’s Erdogan expected to streamline economic team: sources, May 18, 2017


Russia set to lift barriers on Turkey within week

Trade and travel restrictions left over from a diplomatic spat with Turkey over a year ago will be lifted within a week, Russia’s deputy prime minister said May 17, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported. Dvorkovich said the agreements reached earlier this month between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan were put on paper and only formal adjustments remain.

Hurriyet Daily News, Russia set to lift barriers on Turkey within week, May 18, 2017


Foreign Investors Give Turkey Another Look Amid Private-Equity Rebound

Private-equity investments in Turkey are set to increase more than 50 percent this year from a six-year low in 2016 with TPG Capital LP considering acquisitions and Cinven Ltd. predicting renewed interest from foreigners. While local firms will still dominate the market, international companies scared off by unrest are reconsidering their absence following a referendum last month that cemented power under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Bloomberg, Foreign Investors Give Turkey Another Look Amid Private-Equity Rebound, May 16, 2017


Turkey working on new project to establish real estate stock exchange: Deputy PM

Turkey is set to establish an international real estate stock exchange, which will enable the sale of property in the country to be sold abroad, a top official announced. Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said the financing burden of the real estate sector has been weighing on the banking sector, so the government recently launched a “real estate certificate” as an alternative financing instrument.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey working on new project to establish real estate stock exchange: Deputy PM, May 19, 2017


Domestic Politics

TÜSİAD President at High Advisory Council calls for reforms

The President of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) Erol Bilecik delivered opening remarks at the High Advisory Council meeting, which convened this afternoon in Istanbul. The High Advisory Council is a biannual deliberative conference where the business world takes stock of domestic and global political and economic developments, and offers suggestions to policy makers from a business perspective. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and key members of the Cabinet were also in attendance. President Erol Bilecik reiterated the Turkish business world’s calls for reforms, strengthening of democratic standards and the rule of law, and reinvigorating the EU accession process.

TUSIAD, TÜSİAD President at High Advisory Council calls for reforms, May 19, 2017


State of emergency no hurdle for business in Turkey: Erdoğan

The state of emergency that was declared in Turkey in the aftermath of the failed July 2016 coup is no hurdle for business, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said May 18 at the High Advisory Council (YİK) meeting of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) in Istanbul. “We cannot remove the state of emergency unless peace is restored,” he said. Earlier, YİK head Tuncay Özilhan called for an end to the state of emergency for the country’s aspiration to improve its freedom and plurality.

Hurriyet Daily News, State of emergency no hurdle for business in Turkey: Erdoğan, May 18, 2017


Turkey arrests opposition newspaper editor

Oguz Guven, the editor of Cumhuriyet newspaper’s online edition, was formally arrested Monday evening after being detained Friday. The state-run Anadolu news agency said Guven was arrested for his legal responsibility over the newspaper’s tweets, specifically in reference to a tweet on the death of prosecutor Mustafa Alper in a traffic accident last week.

Associated Press, Turkey arrests opposition newspaper editor, May 16, 2017


Police stage operation on Turkish daily Sözcü executive, staff members after detention warrant

Police conducted an operation targeting an executive of critical daily Sözcü and a number of other staff members, the Istanbul Chief Public prosecutor stated on May 19, after detention warrants were issued for four of the newspaper’s staff members in the early hours of the morning.

Hurriyet Daily News, Police stage operation on Turkish daily Sözcü executive, staff members after detention warrant, May 19, 2017


HDP to hold extraordinary congress

The Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will hold an extraordinary congress on May 20 to fulfill its legal procedures and elect a new co-chair to replace the jailed Figen Yüksekdağ, who lost her parliament seat in February and party membership in March after being sentenced to 10 months in jail on terror-related charges.

Hurriyet Daily News, HDP to hold extraordinary congress, May 19, 2017