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Turkey Letter: 27 August 2018

Foreign Policy:

  • Washington to Ankara: Give up S-400s and get the F-35s
  • Turkey Says Wants to Take Relations With EU to a New Phase
  • Turkey’s Erdogan to Visit Iran on September 7
  • Congress dangles Turkey trade deal as carrot to Trump’s stick
  • France Says Structural Reforms a Must for Turkish Economy
  • German journalist facing terror trial in Turkey returns home
  • No Immediate Need for Aid to Turkey, Merkel Ally Altmaier Says
  • Turkey Says Military Solution for Syria’s Idlib Would Be a Disaster
  • N. Invites Iran, Russia, Turkey to Talks on Syria Next Month
  • Turkey Accuses U.S. of Waging ‘Economic War’ in Pastor Dispute

Economy and Energy

  • Turkish Lira Tumbles as Volatility Returns After Holiday Week
  • After Grim 2016, Turkish Tourism Makes a Comeback
  • Business Groups Urge Trump, Erdogan to Meet as Dispute Hits Investments
  • Turkish Banks’ European Deposits Get Regulators’ Scrutiny

Domestic Politics:

  • Turkish government, opposition in a row over Saturday Mothers demonstrations
  • Turkey’s main opposition CHP cautious on MHP’s amnesty bill
  • Turkey’s MHP rule out early local polls

Foreign Policy:

Washington to Ankara: Give up S-400s and get the F-35s

The members of a delegation from the United States Congress, who visited Turkey and met with their Turkish parliament counterparts on Aug. 27, have urged Ankara to give up purchasing S-400 missile systems from Russia to receive the F-35 fighter jets.

Hürriyet Daily News, Washington to Ankara: Give up S-400s and get the F-35s, August 27, 2018


Turkey Says Wants to Take Relations With EU to a New Phase

Turkey wants to take it relations with the European Union to a new phase in a period when its trade with the bloc is more important, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Monday. Speaking at a news conference with his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire in Paris, Albayrak said recent unilateral steps taken by the United States had shown that relations between Turkey and the EU, namely France, were more important than ever.

New York Times, Turkey Says Wants to Take Relations With EU to a New Phase, August 27, 2018


Turkey’s Erdogan to Visit Iran on September 7

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will visit Iran on Sept 7, his office said on Monday, on a trip expected to include a three-way summit with Russian and Iranian leaders.

New York Times, Turkey’s Erdogan to Visit Iran on September 7, August 27, 2018


Congress dangles Turkey trade deal as carrot to Trump’s stick

The Donald Trump administration’s heavy-handed approach with Turkey in its bid to secure the release of a detained US pastor has prompted Congress to recalibrate its approach to the wayward NATO ally. While lawmakers in both parties have steadily ratcheted up the pressure on Ankara in recent months, the president’s brash decision to target Turkey’s economy for its detention of Andrew Brunson appears to have rattled some of them. Even Republicans who favor the president’s retaliatory tariffs are now floating the possibility of a free trade agreement with Ankara as a carrot to offset Trump’s big stick.

Al Monitor, Congress dangles Turkey trade deal as carrot to Trump’s stick, August 26, 2018


France Says Structural Reforms a Must for Turkish Economy

France on Monday encouraged Turkey to use all available economic policy tools to ensure sustainable growth, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said after meeting with his Turkish counterpart Berat Albayrak.

New York Times, France Says Structural Reforms a Must for Turkish Economy, August 27, 2018


German journalist facing terror trial in Turkey returns home

A German journalist who is on trial in Turkey on terror-related charges returned to Germany on Sunday after a Turkish court ruled that she could leave the country. Mesale Tolu flew to Stuttgart days after the court decision became public, a ruling that German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has called “a step toward improving our relations with Turkey.”

Washington Post, German journalist facing terror trial in Turkey returns home, August 26, 2018


No Immediate Need for Aid to Turkey, Merkel Ally Altmaier Says

Germany Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said there’s no immediate need for a financial backstop for Turkey, suggesting the country should focus instead on boosting economic growth. Altmaier, a confidant and party ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, said the German government’s goal is to see economic ties with Turkey flourish.

Bloomberg, No Immediate Need for Aid to Turkey, Merkel Ally Altmaier Says, August 26, 2018


Turkey Says Military Solution for Syria’s Idlib Would Be a Disaster

Turkey’s foreign minister said on Friday it would be disastrous to seek a military solution in the northern Syrian region of Idlib, a rebel-held enclave which the Syrian government says it aims to recapture.

New York Times, Turkey Says Military Solution for Syria’s Idlib Would Be a Disaster, August 24, 2018


U.N. Invites Iran, Russia, Turkey to Talks on Syria Next Month

U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura has invited Iran, Russia and Turkey to talks on Syria’s Constitutional Committee, to be held in Geneva on Sept. 11-12, a U.N. spokeswoman said on Friday.

New York Times, U.N. Invites Iran, Russia, Turkey to Talks on Syria Next Month, August 24, 2018


Turkey Accuses U.S. of Waging ‘Economic War’ in Pastor Dispute

Turkey accused Washington on Wednesday of waging “economic war” and failing to respect its legal system over the fate of an evangelical Christian pastor whose 21-month-long detention on terrorism charges has roiled relations between the NATO allies.

New York Times, Turkey Accuses U.S. of Waging ‘Economic War’ in Pastor Dispute, August 22, 2018


Economy and Energy:

Turkish Lira Tumbles as Volatility Returns After Holiday Week

The lira slid on Monday with volatility rebounding, ending a week of relative calm as Turkey’s markets opened after public holidays. The dollar surged as much as 4.9 percent against the lira to 6.2974, with the Turkish currency extending losses as the U.S. trading day got underway. One-month implied lira volatility, a gauge of expected swings in the currency, jumped to exceed 40 percent after dropping during holidays last week.

Bloomberg, Turkish Lira Tumbles as Volatility Returns After Holiday Week, August 27, 2018


After Grim 2016, Turkish Tourism Makes a Comeback

Tourists have returned in droves to Turkey, helped this summer by the sharp fall in the value of the Turkish lira following economic uncertainty and a rift with the United States.

New York Times, After Grim 2016, Turkish Tourism Makes a Comeback, August 23, 2018


Business Groups Urge Trump, Erdogan to Meet as Dispute Hits Investments

U.S.-Turkey business groups on Tuesday warned that a political dispute between the NATO allies was affecting investor confidence and had forced some firms to suspend investment plans.

New York Times, Business Groups Urge Trump, Erdogan to Meet as Dispute Hits Investments, August 21, 2018


Turkish Banks’ European Deposits Get Regulators’ Scrutiny

Austria’s banking supervisor has tightened its monitoring of Turkish banks’ local subsidiaries amid the slump in Turkey’s currency. The regulator, known as Finanzmarktaufsicht, or FMA, is receiving daily updates about the liquidity situation at the Austrian units of DenizBank AS and Turkiye Vakiflar Bankasi TAO, a spokesman for the FMA said Monday. There have been no “extraordinary developments” so far, the spokesman said.

Bloomberg, Turkish Banks’ European Deposits Get Regulators’ Scrutiny, August 21, 2018


 

Domestic Politics

Turkish government, opposition in a row over Saturday Mothers demonstrations

The police intervention to the Saturday Mothers’ 700th week of sit-in protests to mark forced disappearances attracted criticism from opposition as Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu defended the ban on the gathering stating that the group has been “exploited by terrorist organizations.”

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkish government, opposition in a row over Saturday Mothers demonstrations, August 27, 2018


Turkey’s main opposition CHP cautious on MHP’s amnesty bill

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) defends a cautious approach to the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) proposal for amnesty to certain convicts, party’s spokesperson has said, stating that the issue is too important to comment beforehand.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey’s main opposition CHP cautious on MHP’s amnesty bill, August 27, 2018


Turkey’s MHP rule out early local polls

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has echoed its main political ally, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in opposing to bring local elections forward from their original date in late March 2019, also ruling out election alliances with other political parties for municipal alliances.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey’s MHP rule out early local polls, August 21, 2018