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Turkey Letter: 27 December 2016

Foreign Politics

  • Russia and Turkey Offer Assurances on Ties After Killing of Ambassador
  • Turkey Pledges to Work for Syria Cease-Fire in Mediator Role
  • Turkey Moves Arms to Syria Border, Seeks Trump’s Backing in War
  • Russia and Turkey, joined by Iran, announce intention to halt war in Syria
  • Deaths in Syria Spur Unease in Turkey
  • EU a key anchor and Turkey not to lose it: Deputy PM
  • Islamic State Warning to Erdogan Shows Soldiers Burned Alive

Economy & Energy

  • Turkish Central Bank Holds Line on Rates
  • EU offers Turkey deeper trade ties despite political tensions
  • Turkey Said to Mull Electricity Price Caps Amid Natgas Shortage
  • Turkey’s GDP could soar 20 pct if women’s participation in labor force doubled
  • Investors Assessing Turkey in 2017 Must Weigh These Six Things

Domestic Politics

  • Turkey’s Erdogan Is Turning Into a Strongman
  • Violence Bolsters Erdogan’s Plan for More Presidential Power in Turkey
  • Turkey Assassination Suggests Erdogan’s Loyalty Problem Is Lingering
  • Turkey opens first trial related to failed coup with case against police
  • Cafeteria manager jailed for insulting Turkey’s Erdogan, lawyer says
  • Arrest of Doğan Group’s Muratoğlu clashes with ECHR precedents

Foreign Politics

Russia and Turkey Offer Assurances on Ties After Killing of Ambassador

Russia and Turkey said Tuesday that the killing of Moscow’s ambassador in Ankara shouldn’t tarnish recently improved relations, as their top diplomats met to seek progress on the Syria conflict despite deep differences.

Wall Street Journal, Russia and Turkey Offer Assurances on Ties After Killing of Ambassador, December 20, 2016


Turkey Pledges to Work for Syria Cease-Fire in Mediator Role

Turkey said it will facilitate contacts between Syria’s government and opposition groups in preparation for peace talks organized together with Russia and Iran that aim to reach a nationwide cease-fire as the first step to ending an almost six-year civil war.

Bloomberg, Turkey Pledges to Work for Syria Cease-Fire in Mediator Role, December 26, 2016


Turkey Moves Arms to Syria Border, Seeks Trump’s Backing in War

Turkey’s military deployed tanks and guns on the Syrian border as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged joint action with the Trump administration against Islamic State in its de facto capital, Raqqa.

Bloomberg, Turkey Moves Arms to Syria Border, Seeks Trump’s Backing in War, December 24, 2016


Russia and Turkey, joined by Iran, announce intention to halt war in Syria

Turkish and Russian diplomats on Tuesday declared their intention to halt the civil war in Syria, showing no signs of a rift in their warming relationship the day after the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated in Ankara in a brazen shooting.

Washington Post, Russia and Turkey, joined by Iran, announce intention to halt war in Syria, December 20, 2016


Deaths in Syria Spur Unease in Turkey

Turkey sustained its bloodiest week battling Islamic State in Syria, amid worries here that the country will pay a growing price for its involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts.

Wall Street Journal, Deaths in Syria Spur Unease in Turkey, December 23, 2016


EU a key anchor and Turkey not to lose it: Deputy PM

The European Union is a significant anchor for Turkey and the country will not lose it, said a top economy official, adding that if Turkey can maintain its progress on the road to EU integration, it will succeed in overcoming many problems and reducing risks to a minimum.

Hurriyet Daily News, EU a key anchor and Turkey not to lose it: Deputy PM, December 27, 2016


Islamic State Warning to Erdogan Shows Soldiers Burned Alive

Islamic State released a video showing two Turkish soldiers chained and then burned to death by Turkish-speaking jihadists, prompting Turkey’s government to block access to Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

Bloomberg, Islamic State Warning to Erdogan Shows Soldiers Burned Alive, December 23, 2016


 Economy & Energy

Turkish Central Bank Holds Line on Rates

The Turkish central bank Tuesday held interest rates steady, surprising economists who had expected an increase, suggesting that the policymakers refrained from tightening monetary policy as the economy contracted in the third quarter.

Wall Street Journal, Turkish Central Bank Holds Line on Rates, December 20, 2016


EU offers Turkey deeper trade ties despite political tensions

The European Commission proposed on Wednesday, December 21, an expansion of its customs union with Turkey to include services and most agricultural goods despite increased political tensions with Ankara since an attempted military coup in July.

Reuters, EU offers Turkey deeper trade ties despite political tensions, December 21, 2016


Turkey Said to Mull Electricity Price Caps Amid Natgas Shortage

Turkey’s Energy Ministry met with major power producers on Thursday to ask them to voluntarily lower electricity market rates or face price caps, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Bloomberg, Turkey Said to Mull Electricity Price Caps Amid Natgas Shortage, December 23, 2016


Turkey’s GDP could soar 20 pct if women’s participation in labor force doubled

Turkey can increase its GDP 20 percent by 2025 if it can boost the average number of women in the labor force from 30 percent to the OECD average at 63 percent, according to a study by worldwide management consulting firm McKinsey & Company in cooperation with the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD).

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s GDP could soar 20 pct if women’s participation in labor force doubled, December 22, 2016


Investors Assessing Turkey in 2017 Must Weigh These Six Things

At the end of 2015, investors, analysts and company executives said the worst was probably over for Turkey after two tumultuous years. They were wrong. Unforeseen turbulence was unleashed on Turkish markets during 2016 by a failed coup, terror attacks, the loss of an investment-grade rating and record weakness in the lira. Add external shocks from unexpected voting outcomes in the U.K. and the U.S. and it’s clear that money managers and analysts are cautious to avoid the same mistake again in their predictions for 2017.

Bloomberg, Investors Assessing Turkey in 2017 Must Weigh These Six Things, December 22, 2016


Domestic Politics

Turkey’s Erdogan Is Turning Into a Strongman

Country’s president, strongly supported by conservatives, Islamists and nationalists, is accumulating authority, purging thousands accused of involvement in a failed July coup, and ruling by decree.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey’s Erdogan Is Turning Into a Strongman, December 23, 2016


Violence Bolsters Erdogan’s Plan for More Presidential Power in Turkey

Turkey is moving toward a referendum that if approved would give President Recep Tayyip Erdogan near absolute power—and every new terrorist attack is likely to increase his chances of winning the vote.

Wall Street Journal, Violence Bolsters Erdogan’s Plan for More Presidential Power in Turkey, December 22, 2016


Turkey Assassination Suggests Erdogan’s Loyalty Problem Is Lingering

After nearly half a year of purges in Turkey’s security forces after a failed military coup, the assassination of the Russian ambassador by a vetted Turkish police officer suggests that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may face a resilient disloyalty problem.

New York Times, Turkey Assassination Suggests Erdogan’s Loyalty Problem Is Lingering, December 20, 2016


Turkey opens first trial related to failed coup with case against police

The first trial related to Turkey’s failed coup started on Tuesday, with 29 police officers facing charges of disobeying orders on the July night rogue soldiers attempted to overthrow the government and killed some 240 people.

Reuters, Turkey opens first trial related to failed coup with case against police, December 27, 2016


Cafeteria manager jailed for insulting Turkey’s Erdogan, lawyer says

Turkish authorities have arrested the cafeteria manager of the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper for insulting the president after he said he would not serve tea to Tayyip Erdogan, one of the manager’s lawyers told Reuters on Monday, December 26.

Reuters, Cafeteria manager jailed for insulting Turkey’s Erdogan, lawyer says, December 26, 2016


Arrest of Doğan Group’s Muratoğlu clashes with ECHR precedents

The arrest of Doğan Group Ankara Administrative Representative Barbaros Muratoğlu does not accord with the precedents of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) because the reasons are irrelevant and insufficient, Rıza Türmen, a former judge for the court, told Hürriyet.

Hurriyet Daily News, Arrest of Doğan Group’s Muratoğlu clashes with ECHR precedents, December 21, 2016