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Turkey Letter: 27 February 2017

Foreign Politics

  • Turkish-backed forces seize center of Syria’s al-Bab from IS
  • Turkey sees change in U.S. stance toward operation in Syria’s Raqqa: defense minister
  • Turkey not making enough progress to merit visa-free EU travel
  • Turkey-backed Syrian rebels clash with army in north
  • Turkey doesn’t see NATO compatibility issues with Russian missiles: Erdogan spokesman
  • Greece says expects Turkey to seek extradition of soldiers
  • Cyprus leader: Peace talks will progress after Turkey vote

Economy & Energy

  • Turkish lira hits 6-week high against US dollar
  • Turkish parliament passes law eliminating VAT for foreign property buyers
  • Turkey may become an energy exporter in next 10 years: Minister
  • Three Traders Punished for Havoc on Istanbul Stock Exchange
  • Over 100,000 new jobs created thanks to Turkish gov’t campaign to boost employment: Sources

Domestic Politics

  • Turkish PM seeks backing for ‘strong, stable’ Turkey in April vote
  • Erdogan: Turkey can hold referendum on death penalty
  • Prosecutors probe possible ‘junta’ within Turkey’s military
  • Turkey Allows Women in Military to Wear Hijabs, in Cultural Shift
  • Train driver wounded by railway bomb in southeast Turkey

Foreign Politics

Turkish-backed forces seize center of Syria’s al-Bab from IS

Turkish-backed rebels have seized the center of al-Bab town from Islamic State, Turkish state media and rebels said on Thursday, in a boost to Ankara’s drive to defeat the militant group in northern Syria.

Reuters, Turkish-backed forces seize center of Syria’s al-Bab from IS, February 23, 2017


Turkey sees change in U.S. stance toward operation in Syria’s Raqqa: defense minister

Turkey’s defense minister said on February 22 there had been a slight change in the stance of the United States toward an operation on Syria’s Raqqa and the role of a Syrian Kurdish militia as a result of Turkey’s persistence on the matter.

Reuters, Turkey sees change in U.S. stance toward operation in Syria’s Raqqa: defense minister, February 22, 2017


Turkey not making enough progress to merit visa-free EU travel

Turkey is not delivering sufficiently on reforms to meet the terms of a migration deal that would allow Turks visa-free travel into the European Union, a senior EU official told Reuters on February 23, citing an EU Commission report.

Reuters, Turkey not making enough progress to merit visa-free EU travel, February 23, 2017


Turkey-backed Syrian rebels clash with army in north

Turkey-backed Syrian rebel groups clashed with government forces near a city in northern Syria that the rebels recently captured from Islamic State, sources on both sides said, the second such confrontation in the region this month.

Reuters, Turkey-backed Syrian rebels clash with army in north, February 27, 2017


Turkey doesn’t see NATO compatibility issues with Russian missiles: Erdogan spokesman

NATO-member Turkey does not see a system compatibility problem with using Russian missiles in its planned air defenses, the spokesman for President Tayyip Erdogan said on February 22.

Reuters, Turkey doesn’t see NATO compatibility issues with Russian missiles: Erdogan spokesman, February 22, 2017


Greece says expects Turkey to seek extradition of soldiers

Greece said on February 24 it was expecting an extradition request from Turkey for two Turks who had claimed asylum and were suspected by Turkish authorities of a link to a coup attempt last July.

Reuters, Greece says expects Turkey to seek extradition of soldiers, February 24, 2017


Cyprus leader: Peace talks will progress after Turkey vote                        

Cyprus’ president says he hopes real progress in talks aimed at reunifying the ethnically divided island could happen after the Turkey’s April 16 referendum on expanding presidential powers.

Associated Press, Cyprus leader: Peace talks will progress after Turkey vote, February 24, 2017


Economy & Energy

Turkish lira hits 6-week high against US dollar

The Turkish Lira appreciated against the U.S. dollar early on Feb. 23 amid hints from the Federal Reserve pointing to rate hikes as soon as March. The U.S. dollar/Turkish Lira rate dipped to as low as 3.5756 points, the lowest figure since Jan. 4, when the rate began its move toward its historic high of 3.9423 on Jan. 11.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish lira hits 6-week high against US dollar, February 23, 2017


Turkish parliament passes law eliminating VAT for foreign property buyers

Turkey’s parliament has approved an omnibus law which introduced an exemption of 18 percent of value-added tax (VAT) for foreigners who invest in real estate in Turkey.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish parliament passes law eliminating VAT for foreign property buyers , February 24, 2017


Turkey may become an energy exporter in next 10 years: Minister

Turkey may become an energy exporter in a decade’s time, Turkish Energy Minister Berat Albayrak has said.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey may become an energy exporter in next 10 years: Minister, February 23, 2017


Three Traders Punished for Havoc on Istanbul Stock Exchange

Turkey’s capital markets regulator has slapped punishments on three investors it identified as responsible for irregular price action in two of the country’s biggest companies.

Bloomberg, Three Traders Punished for Havoc on Istanbul Stock Exchange, February 24, 2017


Over 100,000 new jobs created thanks to Turkish gov’t campaign to boost employment: Sources

Some 103,000 new jobs were created in Turkey between Feb. 1 and 20 after the government started a campaign to boost employment, according to sources from the Labor and Social Security Ministry.

Hurriyet Daily News, Over 100,000 new jobs created thanks to Turkish gov’t campaign to boost employment: Sources, February 24, 2017


Domestic Politics

Turkish PM seeks backing for ‘strong, stable’ Turkey in April vote

Turkey’s prime minister called on voters on Saturday to back a change to the constitution in an April referendum that would greatly strengthen President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers, portraying the reform as a vote for stability.

Reuters, Turkish PM seeks backing for ‘strong, stable’ Turkey in April vote, February 25, 2017


Erdogan: Turkey can hold referendum on death penalty

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey could hold a referendum on reinstating the death penalty, if parliament fails to pass such a measure.

Associated Press, Erdogan: Turkey can hold referendum on death penalty , February 24, 2017


Prosecutors probe possible ‘junta’ within Turkey’s military

Turkey’s state-run news agency says a prosecutor has launched an investigation into the possible existence of a clique within the military capable of “obstructing” the government.

Associated Press, Prosecutors probe possible ‘junta’ within Turkey’s military, February 27, 2017


Turkey Allows Women in Military to Wear Hijabs, in Cultural Shift

Women in the Turkish armed forces have been given the right to wear Islamic head scarves in a move that represents a significant cultural shift within an institution seen historically as the guardian of Turkey’s secular identity.

New York Times, Turkey Allows Women in Military to Wear Hijabs, in Cultural Shift, February 22, 2017


Train driver wounded by railway bomb in southeast Turkey

The driver of a freight train was wounded on Sunday when a bomb left on a railway track in southeastern Turkey was detonated as the train came past, security sources said, blaming Kurdish militants for the explosion.

Reuters, Train driver wounded by railway bomb in southeast Turkey, February 27, 2017