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Turkey Letter: 23 January 2017

Foreign Politics

  • Turkey expects improved relations with the Trump administration
  • Turkey eager to talk on Middle East ‘from A to Z’ with Trump
  • Russia’s Syria Peace Effort With Iran, Turkey Hits Obstacles
  • Russians and Turks Conduct Joint Strikes on ISIS in Syria
  • Syria’s war creates myriad problems for Turkey
  • Turkey can no longer insist on Syria settlement without Assad: Turkish deputy PM
  • Turkey seeks to rebuild Syrian cities after clearing of ISIL

Economy & Energy

  • Turkish Central Bank committee to meet for key rate decision
  • Turkey Deputy PM Simsek says no legal constraint on central bank policy
  • Crumbling lira pressures Turkish retailers as economy slows
  • Russian tourists to flock back to Turkey, early bookings show
  • Saudi Telecom Said to Offer Loan to Settle Turkey Debt Issue

Domestic Politics

  • Handcuffs and hair-pulling: Turkey’s parliament debates, then approves new powers for the president
  • Appeals commission established for state of emergency actions
  • Turkish police capture suspects in Istanbul rocket attacks: police sources
  • Turkey dismisses deputy head of TMSF state fund in post-coup decree
  • ‘Conservative, religious, nationalist’ bloc to dominate Turkey’s future

Foreign Politics

Turkey expects improved relations with the Trump administration

Turkey is confident that its relations with the United States will improve significantly under President-elect Donald Trump and expects positive responses to concerns it believes the Obama administration played down, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on January 19.

Washington Post, Turkey expects improved relations with the Trump administration, January 19, 2017


Turkey eager to talk on Middle East ‘from A to Z’ with Trump

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed his eagerness to come together with new U.S. President Donald Trump to talk about the Middle East “from A to Z,” stating that any wrong policy to be adopted by Washington would spark even more problems.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey eager to talk on Middle East ‘from A to Z’ with Trump, January 22, 2017


Russia’s Syria Peace Effort With Iran, Turkey Hits Obstacles

The joint initiative by Russia, Turkey and Iran to end the six-year war in Syria suffered a setback when opposition groups rejected face-to-face meetings with government representatives at peace talks in Kazakhstan.

Bloomberg, Russia’s Syria Peace Effort With Iran, Turkey Hits Obstacles, January 23, 2017


Russians and Turks Conduct Joint Strikes on ISIS in Syria

Russia and Turkey carried out their first joint airstrikes against Islamic State positions in Syria on Wednesday, further expanding their budding military cooperation, the Russian military said.

New York Times, Russians and Turks Conduct Joint Strikes on ISIS in Syria, January 18, 2017


Syria’s war creates myriad problems for Turkey

The attacks in Turkey came in rapid succession: twin bombs at a stadium, a Russian diplomat’s murder and then, just a few days later, a mass shooting at an Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Eve.

Washington Post, Syria’s war creates myriad problems for Turkey, January 18, 2017


Turkey can no longer insist on Syria settlement without Assad: Turkish deputy PM

Turkey has long insisted that Assad must go for sustainable peace to be achieved in Syria. But it has become less insistent on his immediate departure since its recent rapprochement with Russia, which backs the Syrian leader.

Reuters, Turkey can no longer insist on Syria settlement without Assad: Turkish deputy PM, January 20, 2017


Turkey seeks to rebuild Syrian cities after clearing of ISIL

Turkey will start reconstructing infrastructures in the area between Jarablus and al-Rai in northern Syria, which has been cleared of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as part of Turkey’s ongoing Euphrates Shield operation.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey seeks to rebuild Syrian cities after clearing of ISIL, January 23, 2017


Economy & Energy

Turkish Central Bank committee to meet for key rate decision

The Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee is set to meet on Jan. 24 to make a key decision on raising, holding or lowering interest rates, after recent sharp losses in the value of the Turkish Lira. The Bank is likely to increase the upper limit of the interest rates corridor by at least 25 basis points.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish Central Bank committee to meet for key rate decision, January 23, 2017


Turkey Deputy PM Simsek says no legal constraint on central bank policy

Asked if he could reassure investors the central bank was not under pressure from the government to hold off raising rates, Simsek said: “There is nothing holding them back legally.”

Reuters, Turkey Deputy PM Simsek says no legal constraint on central bank policy, January 19, 2017


Crumbling lira pressures Turkish retailers as economy slows

Turkey’s currency has lost around a quarter of its value since the middle of last year, causing havoc for retailers selling imported goods or paying rent pegged to the U.S. dollar. Many were already suffering from a sharp economic slowdown and dwindling tourism numbers after a spate of deadly bombings.

Reuters, Crumbling lira pressures Turkish retailers as economy slows, January 22, 2017


Russian tourists to flock back to Turkey, early bookings show

Half of Russia’s holidaymakers have chosen Turkey as their top travel destination in 2017, a report released by the Association of Tour Operators in Russia (ATOR) stated.

Hurriyet Daily News, Russian tourists to flock back to Turkey, early bookings show, January 19, 2017


Saudi Telecom Said to Offer Loan to Settle Turkey Debt Issue

Saudi Telecom Co. offered a loan of about $160 million to a subsidiary that missed a repayment on $4.75 billion of debt last year, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bloomberg, Saudi Telecom Said to Offer Loan to Settle Turkey Debt Issue, January 19, 2017


Domestic Politics

Handcuffs and hair-pulling: Turkey’s parliament debates, then approves new powers for the president 

After weeks of raucous parliamentary debate that included fisticuffs and chair-throwing, lawmakers in Turkey overwhelmingly passed several constitutional amendments early Saturday, January 21 that, if approved by the public, would grant President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greatly enhanced powers.

Washington Post, Handcuffs and hair-pulling: Turkey’s parliament debates, then approves new powers for the president, January 21, 2017


Appeals commission established for state of emergency actions

The commission will receive applications about removals or dismissals from public service and education institutions, as well as the closure of associations, foundations, trade unions, federations, confederations, health institutions, education institutions, radio and television organizations, newspapers and magazines, news agencies, publishing houses and distribution channels.

Hurriyet Daily News, Appeals commission established for state of emergency actions,  January 23, 2017


Turkish police capture suspects in Istanbul rocket attacks: police sources

Turkish authorities captured two men believed to be among those responsible for rocket attacks on the Istanbul police headquarters and the offices of the ruling AK Party on Jan 20, police sources said.

Reuters, Turkish police capture suspects in Istanbul rocket attacks: police sources,  January 23, 2017


Turkey dismisses deputy head of TMSF state fund in post-coup decree

Turkey has dismissed a deputy head of the state fund which runs seized companies and shut down two local television stations in decrees issued on Monday under the emergency rule imposed in the wake of last July’s failed coup.

Reuters, Turkey dismisses deputy head of TMSF state fund in post-coup decree, January 23, 2017


‘Conservative, religious, nationalist’ bloc to dominate Turkey’s future

A recent poll conducted by Kadir Has University shows that there has been a huge consolidation on the right-wing of Turkish politics, with grassroots support for the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) leadership reaching very high levels.

Hurriyet Daily News, ‘Conservative, religious, nationalist’ bloc to dominate Turkey’s future, January 23, 2017