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Turkey Letter: 29 August 2016

Foreign Policy

  • With Operation in Syria, Erdogan Shows His New Power Over Turkey’s Military
  • Turkish forces deepen push into Syria, draw U.S. rebuke over targets
  • In Syria, Rebels Threaten Kurdish-Controlled Territory as U.S. Allies Clash
  • Fighting Escalates on Turkey-Syria Border, Endangering U.S. Forces
  • Biden warns Kurds not to seek separate enclave on Turkish-Syrian border
  • Joe Biden Attempts to Smooth Relations With Turkey
  • Turkey’s migrant deal with Europe may collapse under post-coup-attempt crackdown
  • EU Officials Plan to Visit Turkey Amid Strained Ties
  • Russia Sees Turkey Thaw Aiding Syria Deal as Lavrov, Kerry Meet
  • Turkey’s Erdogan, Iraqi Kurdish leader Barzani discuss fight against militants
  • German Incirlik visit depends on stance on ‘genocide’ vote: Turkish minister

Economy & Energy

  • Turkish Central Bank Cuts Interest Rate for Sixth Straight Month
  • Turkish Stocks Fall as Syria Offensive Ratchets Up Country Risk
  • Turkey to start talks with EU to update Customs Union deal by 2017: Minister
  • Mixed signals over Turkey’s economic morale after coup attempt
  • Turkey’s $200 Billion Wealth Fund to Finance Transport Projects
  • Koç Holding’s Otokar submits offer to mass produce Turkish indigenous battle tank Altay

Domestic Politics

  • After Failed Coup, Turkey Enjoys a Rare Period of Unity
  • Turkey Struggles With Wedding Bombing Probe as Threats Mount
  • Turkish main opposition CHP leader survives PKK attack on motorcade
  • Turkey’s Demirtas Offers to Play a Role in Peace Talks With PKK
  • PKK Suicide Attack on Turkish Police Kills 11, Wounds 78
  • Turkish gov’t going too far in post-coup attempt state of emergency measures: CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu
  • In University Purge, Turkey’s Erdogan Hits Secularists and Boosts Conservatives
  • Turkey opens bridge between continents in megaproject drive

Foreign Policy

With Operation in Syria, Erdogan Shows His New Power Over Turkey’s Military

In recent years, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered plans drawn up for a Turkish military incursion into Syria. At every turn, though, military commanders, already fighting a war inside Turkey against Kurdish militants, pushed back.

New York Times, With Operation in Syria, Erdogan Shows His New Power Over Turkey’s Military, August 25, 2016


Turkish forces deepen push into Syria, draw U.S. rebuke over targets

Turkish-backed forces pushed deeper into northern Syria on Monday and drew a rebuke from NATO ally the United States, which said it was concerned the battle for territory had shifted away from targeting Islamic State.

Reuters, Turkish forces deepen push into Syria, draw U.S. rebuke over targets, August 29, 2016


In Syria, Rebels Threaten Kurdish-Controlled Territory as U.S. Allies Clash

In a new escalation that further complicates American involvement in the Syrian war, Syrian rebels pressed deeper into the northern part of the country on Sunday, seizing territory with the aid of Turkish airstrikes.

New York Times, In Syria, Rebels Threaten Kurdish-Controlled Territory as U.S. Allies Clash, August 28, 2016


Fighting Escalates on Turkey-Syria Border, Endangering U.S. Forces

The death of a Turkish soldier in the newest battlefront of the Syrian war is stoking tensions between two U.S. allies, Turkey’s military and Syrian Kurdish rebels, heightening the risk to U.S. forces in the area and their common fight against Islamic State.

Wall Street Journal, Fighting Escalates on Turkey-Syria Border, Endangering U.S. Forces, August 28, 2016


Biden warns Kurds not to seek separate enclave on Turkish-Syrian border

The Obama administration will cut all U.S. support for its Syrian Kurdish allies, considered the most competent rebel force fighting the Islamic State, if they do not comply with Turkish demands that they withdraw to the east of the Euphrates River, Vice President Biden said here Wednesday.

Washington Post, Biden warns Kurds not to seek separate enclave on Turkish-Syrian border, August 24, 2016


Joe Biden Attempts to Smooth Relations With Turkey

Vice President Joe Biden struck a conciliatory tone during a daylong visit to Turkey, as the Obama administration tries to smooth over thorny relations after last month’s failed coup.

Wall Street Journal, Joe Biden Attempts to Smooth Relations With Turkey, August 24, 2016


Turkey’s migrant deal with Europe may collapse under post-coup-attempt crackdown

The landmark agreement that halted a torrent of migrants flowing from Turkey into Europe is nearing collapse in the wake of the Turkish coup attempt and the subsequent nationwide crackdown.

Washington Post, Turkey’s migrant deal with Europe may collapse under post-coup-attempt crackdown, August 23, 2016


EU Officials Plan to Visit Turkey Amid Strained Ties

Several top European Union officials said Friday they are planning to visit Turkey as the bloc tries to strengthen ties that were strained in the aftermath of Turkey’s failed military coup.

Wall Street Journal, EU Officials Plan to Visit Turkey Amid Strained Ties, August 26, 2016


Russia Sees Turkey Thaw Aiding Syria Deal as Lavrov, Kerry Meet

Russia says a warming of its relations with Turkey may boost the search for peace in Syria as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hold talks in Geneva Friday on the conflict that’s killed more than 280,000 people.

Bloomberg, Russia Sees Turkey Thaw Aiding Syria Deal as Lavrov, Kerry Meet, August 25, 2016


Turkey’s Erdogan, Iraqi Kurdish leader Barzani discuss fight against militants

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday discussed strategy in fighting Islamic State and Kurdish PKK militants with visiting Iraqi Kurdish regional President Massoud Barzani, sources at Erdogan’s office said.

Reuters, Turkey’s Erdogan, Iraqi Kurdish leader Barzani discuss fight against militants, August 23, 2016


German Incirlik visit depends on stance on ‘genocide’ vote: Turkish minister

Turkish permission for German lawmakers to visit the Incirlik air base will depend on the German government distancing itself from a resolution branding a 1915 massacre of Armenians as “genocide”, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Monday.

Reuters, German Incirlik visit depends on stance on ‘genocide’ vote: Turkish minister, August 29, 2016


Economy & Energy

Turkish Central Bank Cuts Interest Rate for Sixth Straight Month

Turkey’s central bank cut one of its key interest rates as expected Tuesday, tapping a rally in global markets to continue easing its stance for a sixth consecutive month.

Wall Street Journal, Turkish Central Bank Cuts Interest Rate for Sixth Straight Month, August 23, 2016


Turkish Stocks Fall as Syria Offensive Ratchets Up Country Risk

Turkish stocks slumped the most in three weeks as the country launched its biggest military operation in Syria to keep the Islamic State group away from its border.

Bloomberg, Turkish Stocks Fall as Syria Offensive Ratchets Up Country Risk, August 24, 2016


Turkey to start talks with EU to update Customs Union deal by 2017: Minister

Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci has said the country will start official talks with the European Union to update the existing Customs Union by the end of 2016 or early 2017 at the latest, Anadolu Agency reported on Aug. 29.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey to start talks with EU to update Customs Union deal by 2017: Minister, August 29, 2016


Mixed signals over Turkey’s economic morale after coup attempt

Turkey’s economic morale has given some mixed signals in the uncertain aftermath of July’s attempted military coup, with the economic confidence index dropping by 24.1 percent in August compared to the previous month but the consumer confidence index rising.

Hurriyet Daily News, Mixed signals over Turkey’s economic morale after coup attempt, August 29, 2016


Turkey’s $200 Billion Wealth Fund to Finance Transport Projects

Turkey’s proposed national wealth fund, which could total as much as $200 billion, will finance projects including airports, seaports, roads and railroads across the country, according to a government minister.

Bloomberg, Turkey’s $200 Billion Wealth Fund to Finance Transport Projects, August 23, 2016


Koç Holding’s Otokar submits offer to mass produce Turkish indigenous battle tank Altay

Koç Holding’s defense company, Otokar, which developed the Altay main battle tank, announced it submitted its final offer to the Undersecretary of the Defense Industry (SSM) to start mass production of the vehicle, in a written statement on Aug. 29.

Hurriyet Daily News, Koç Holding’s Otokar submits offer to mass produce Turkish indigenous battle tank Altay, August 29, 2016


Domestic Politics

After Failed Coup, Turkey Enjoys a Rare Period of Unity

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is normally a divisive figure, loved by his base of religious conservatives and loathed by the rest of society. But there he was recently, sipping tea and making easy chitchat with his political rivals, just before joining them in a rally this month on Istanbul’s waterfront to celebrate the failure of an attempted military coup.

New York Times, After Failed Coup, Turkey Enjoys a Rare Period of Unity, August 23, 2016


Turkey Struggles With Wedding Bombing Probe as Threats Mount

Investigators are struggling to identify those behind the weekend wedding bombing, the nation’s deadliest terror attack this year, amid questions about possible intelligence failures as its deepening entanglement in the Syrian conflict stokes security threats at home.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey Struggles With Wedding Bombing Probe as Threats Mount, August 23, 2016


Turkish main opposition CHP leader survives PKK attack on motorcade

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu escaped two separate armed attacks staged by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, targeting his party’s motorcade in the Şavşat district of the Black Sea province of Artvin on Aug. 25.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish main opposition CHP leader survives PKK attack on motorcade, August 25, 2016


Turkey’s Demirtas Offers to Play a Role in Peace Talks With PKK

The leader of Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish political party offered to help bring the government and separatist militants back to the negotiating table as the military presses an offensive against the fighters’ allies in neighboring Syria.

Bloomberg, Turkey’s Demirtas Offers to Play a Role in Peace Talks With PKK, August 25, 2016


PKK Suicide Attack on Turkish Police Kills 11, Wounds 78

The separatist Kurdish militant group PKK killed 11 police officers in southeast Turkey on Friday, the latest in a string of attacks against security forces that have intensified in the past year.

Bloomberg, PKK Suicide Attack on Turkish Police Kills 11, Wounds 78, August 26, 2016


Turkish gov’t going too far in post-coup attempt state of emergency measures: CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu

The leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has criticized the government for “going too far” in the implementation of authorities granted by Turkey’s ongoing state of emergency.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish gov’t going too far in post-coup attempt state of emergency measures: CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu, August 28, 2016


In University Purge, Turkey’s Erdogan Hits Secularists and Boosts Conservatives

Crackdown, which has snagged associates of imam Fethullah Gulen and others, is designed to remake country’s higher education in president’s image.

Wall Street Journal, In University Purge, Turkey’s Erdogan Hits Secularists and Boosts Conservative, August 24, 2016


Turkey opens bridge between continents in megaproject drive

Turkey opened one of the world’s biggest suspension bridges on Friday, the latest megaproject in a $200 billion building spree that President Tayyip Erdogan hopes will secure his place in history.

Reuters, Turkey opens bridge between continents in megaproject drive, August 26, 2016