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Turkey Letter: 28 December 2015

Foreign Policy

  • Russia Suggests Turkey Planned Downing of Warplane
  • Turkish PM vows to continue military presence in Iraq until Mosul’s liberation
  • Turkish soldiers injured in second attack at Bashiqa camp in Iraq
  • Pro-Kurdish Turkey Opposition Leader Receives Welcome in Moscow
  • EU calls for ceasefire amid clashes in Turkey’s southeast
  • Fear and few answers as Turkish police round up Syrian refugees
  • Media watchdog urges Turkey to halt press crackdown, free 3

Economy and Energy

  • Turkish Central Bank Defies Expectations, Holds Interest Rates
  • Turkey’s Simsek sees 2016 growth above 4 percent, Russia impact limited
  • Turkey banks face profit pressure in 2016, head of top lender Isbank says
  • Turkey top manufacturing location in Europe: Report
  • Russian grain exporters resume trade with Turkey despite political tensions
  • Gasoline prices in Turkey swell on high taxes despite global oil plunge
  • Turkey Regulator Ready to Help Firms as Russia Extends Sanctions

Domestic Politics

  • Turkey PM: No talks on constitution with pro-Kurdish HDP
  • Kurdish Group Claims Responsibility for Turkey Airport Blast
  • Turkish Internet servers under sustained cyberattack: internet body
  • Turkish civilians stuck in urban war zone in southeast
  • Hürriyet editor-in-chief faces five years in prison for ‘insulting president’

Foreign Policy

Russia Suggests Turkey Planned Downing of Warplane

The Russian military escalated a war of words between Moscow and Ankara on Wednesday, suggesting the downing of a Russian warplane along the Syrian border in November was planned by the U.S. and Turkey.

Wall Street Journal, Russia Suggests Turkey Planned Downing of Warplane, December 23, 2015


Turkey Moves to Clamp Down on Border, Long a Revolving Door

On land and at sea, Turkey’s borders, long a revolving door of refugees, foreign fighters and the smugglers who enable them, are at the center of two separate yet interlinked global crises: the migrant tide convulsing Europe and the Syrian civil war that propels it. Accused by Western leaders of turning a blind eye to these critical borders, Turkey at last seems to be getting serious about shoring them up. Under growing pressure from Europe and the United States, Turkey has in recent weeks taken steps to cut off the flows of refugees and of foreign fighters who have helped destabilize a vast portion of the globe, from the Middle East to Europe.

New York Times, Turkey Moves to Clamp Down on Border, Long a Revolving Door, December 22, 2015


Turkish PM vows to continue military presence in Iraq until Mosul’s liberation

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has reiterated his government’s resolve to maintain a military presence in northern Iraq until Mosul is “liberated.”

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish PM vows to continue military presence in Iraq until Mosul’s liberation, December 28, 2015


Turkish soldiers injured in second attack at Bashiqa camp in Iraq

Five Turkish soldiers sustained injuries on Dec. 27 in the second attack this month on Bashiqa training camp in northern Iraq, Turkish sources have said.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish soldiers injured in second attack at Bashiqa camp in Iraq, December 28, 2015


Pro-Kurdish Turkey Opposition Leader Receives Welcome in Moscow

The leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition party received a high-level welcome in Moscow in a visit criticized by the government in Ankara amid acute tensions over the shooting down of a Russian warplane.

Bloomberg, Pro-Kurdish Turkey Opposition Leader Receives Welcome in Moscow, December 23, 2015


EU calls for ceasefire amid clashes in Turkey’s southeast

A European Union spokesperson has released a statement on the “deteriorating security situation” in Turkey’s southeast amid clashes between the country’s security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), calling on all parties to declare a ceasefire and return to the peace process.

Hurriyet Daily News, EU calls for ceasefire amid clashes in Turkey’s southeast, December 23, 2015


Fear and few answers as Turkish police round up Syrian refugees

Ghada’s five children cried out in terror when police broke into their run-down Istanbul flat at dawn and ordered the 36-year-old Syrian’s family onto a bus, without saying why. The family of seven from the northern Syrian city of Aleppo was among a group of refugees rounded up two weeks ago and sent to a detention center on the Asian side of Istanbul, where they passed several days guarded by police and surrounded by high walls topped with razor wire.

Reuters, Fear and few answers as Turkish police round up Syrian refugees, December 27, 2015


Media watchdog urges Turkey to halt press crackdown, free 3

The Committee to Protect Journalists is urging Turkey to end its crackdown on the press and has called for the release of three journalists working for Kurdish outlets who were arrested this month on terrorism-related charges.

Associated Press, Media watchdog urges Turkey to halt press crackdown, free 3, December 23, 2015


Economy and Energy

Turkish Central Bank Defies Expectations, Holds Interest Rates

Turkey’s central bank left interest rates unchanged for a 10th consecutive month on Tuesday, sending markets tumbling after it defied expectations that it would raise rates in tandem with the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Wall Street Journal, Turkish Central Bank Defies Expectations, Holds Interest Rates, December 22, 2015


Turkey’s Simsek sees 2016 growth above 4 percent, Russia impact limited

Deputy Turkish Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said he expected faster economic growth this year than official forecasts, and an even stronger expansion next year, and he played down tensions with Moscow over Ankara’s downing of a Russian jet.

Reuters, Turkey’s Simsek sees 2016 growth above 4 percent, Russia impact limited, December 24, 2015


Turkey banks face profit pressure in 2016, head of top lender Isbank says

Volatility in markets and stricter regulations are likely to put pressure on profits and capital adequacy ratios across Turkey’s banking sector next year, the head of top listed lender Isbank said on Friday.

Reuters, Turkey banks face profit pressure in 2016, head of top lender Isbank says, December 25, 2015


Turkey top manufacturing location in Europe: Report

Turkey has been named the best place to site manufacturing plants in Europe, ranking eighth in the world in a fresh report from property consultant Cushman & Wakefield.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey top manufacturing location in Europe: Report, December 22, 2015


Russian grain exporters resume trade with Turkey despite political tensions

Russian grain exporters have resumed deals with Turkish buyers after a short break caused by a deterioration in relations between the two countries, traders and analysts said.

Reuters, Russian grain exporters resume trade with Turkey despite political tensions, December 24, 2015


Gasoline prices in Turkey swell on high taxes despite global oil plunge

While global oil prices have plummeted, Turkish gasoline prices continue to increase, as recent official figures show that customers are still paying twice or more in taxes than they are for the fuel itself.

Hurriyet Daily News, Gasoline prices in Turkey swell on high taxes despite global oil plunge, December 22, 2015


Turkey Regulator Ready to Help Firms as Russia Extends Sanctions

Turkey’s banking regulator said it’s prepared to help alleviate the debts of firms doing business with Russia, just as relations between the trading partners were affected by a new set of sanctions.

Bloomberg, Turkey Regulator Ready to Help Firms as Russia Extends Sanctions, December 28, 2015


Domestic Politics

Turkey PM: No talks on constitution with pro-Kurdish HDP

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday it would not be appropriate to have discussions with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) over a new constitution because of its “insulting” comments.

Reuters, Turkey PM: No talks on constitution with pro-Kurdish HDP, December 28, 2015


Kurdish Group Claims Responsibility for Turkey Airport Blast

A small Kurdish militant group claimed responsibility on Saturday for a blast at Istanbul’s second-largest airport that killed one airplane cleaner, raising concerns about expansion of a conflict that has largely been isolated to southeastern Turkey.

Wall Street Journal, Kurdish Group Claims Responsibility for Turkey Airport Blast, December 26, 2015


Turkish Internet servers under sustained cyberattack: internet body

Turkish Internet servers have suffered one of the most intense cyberattacks ever seen in the country over the last week, according to an Internet management body, raising fears Ankara may be a target of political hackers.

Reuters, Turkish Internet servers under sustained cyberattack: internet body, December 23, 2015


Turkish civilians stuck in urban war zone in southeast

Tens of thousands of civilians in southeast Turkey have been caught in the middle as government forces and Kurdish militants battle it out in urban areas — violence that has shattered hopes of reviving peace talks.

Associated Press, Turkish civilians stuck in urban war zone in southeast, December 26, 2015


Hürriyet editor-in-chief faces five years in prison for ‘insulting president’

A lawsuit has been opened against Hürriyet Editor-in-Chief Sedat Ergin with a demand that the journalist serve five years in prison for “insulting president” due to a report in the daily.

Hurriyet Daily News, Hürriyet editor-in-chief faces five years in prison for ‘insulting president’, December 25, 2015