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Turkey Letter 3 April 2016

Foreign Politics

  • Rex Tillerson’s Praise for Turkey Is Met With a List of Complaints
  • Erdogan urged use of ‘legitimate’ actors in Syria in talks with Tillerson: sources
  • Turkey Criticizes US Arrests in Iran Sanctions Case
  • Turkey ends ‘Shield’ military operation in Syria, PM says
  • Turkey will continue efforts in Syria after completion of Euphrates operation: military
  • Turkish FM: 50,000 return to areas Ankara controls in Syria
  • Erdogan says Turks in Europe should defy ‘grandchildren of Nazism’
  • Germany Refuses Turkey’s Request to Spy on Opponents of Erdogan
  • With fiery insults and petty slights, Turkey and Europe reach a moment of reckoning

Economy & Energy

  • Turkish lira weakens amid record inflation
  • Turkey’s annual inflation rises to around 11.3 pct in March, hitting highest since 2008
  • Turkey Private Consumption Boosts GDP Above All Estimates
  • Turkey’s Economic Confidence Index rises in March
  • Turkish tourism association set to warn other websites, including Tripadvisor, upon Booking.com ruling
  • Russia’s Gazprom plans to build Turkish Stream pipeline by end of 2019

Domestic Politics

  • Turkey set for close vote on boosting Erdogan’s powers, polls suggest
  • Seeking Kurdish support, Turkey’s Erdogan calls himself ‘guardian of peace’
  • ‘No’ campaign faces systematic obstacle: CHP official
  • Gov’t slams opposition’s ‘controlled coup’ claim
  • 47,155 people arrested in Gülen probe since coup attempt: Interior minister

Foreign Politics

Rex Tillerson’s Praise for Turkey Is Met With a List of Complaints

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson showered praise on Turkey’s government on March 30 during his visit to Ankara, despite what some international critics see as a slide toward authoritarianism, and in response he got an earful of grievances from Turkish officials.

New York Times, Rex Tillerson’s Praise for Turkey Is Met With a List of Complaints, March 30, 2017


Erdogan urged use of ‘legitimate’ actors in Syria in talks with Tillerson: sources

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on March 30 stressed the importance of working with “right and legitimate” actors in the fight against terrorism during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, sources in Erdogan’s office said. At a meeting in Ankara, Tillerson and Erdogan also discussed potential joint steps against terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, primarily Islamic State, the sources said.

Reuters, Erdogan urged use of ‘legitimate’ actors in Syria in talks with Tillerson: sources, March 30, 2017


Turkey Criticizes US Arrests in Iran Sanctions Case

Turkey’s foreign minister says Reza Zarrab, a Turkish banker and Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a Turkish businessman arrested in the United States for allegedly helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions are the target of a politically motivated case.

Associated Press, Turkey Criticizes US Arrests in Iran Sanctions Case, March 30, 2017


Turkey ends ‘Shield’ military operation in Syria, PM says

Turkey has ended the “Euphrates Shield” military operation it launched in Syria last August, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on March 29, but suggested there might be more cross-border campaigns to come.

Reuters, Turkey ends ‘Shield’ military operation in Syria, PM says, March 29, 2017


Turkey will continue efforts in Syria after completion of Euphrates operation: military

The Turkish military will continue its efforts to prevent any “unwanted formation” in Syria after the completion of its operation in northern Syria, the army said on March 31.

Reuters, Turkey will continue efforts in Syria after completion of Euphrates operation: military, March 31, 2017


Turkish FM: 50,000 return to areas Ankara controls in Syria                    

Tens of thousands of displaced Syrians and refugees have returned to an area controlled by Turkey and Turkish-backed opposition fighters in northern Syria, Turkey’s foreign minister said Saturday, and U.S.-backed Kurdish-led fighters pressed their offensive in the north near a town held by the Islamic State group.

Washington Post, Turkish FM: 50,000 return to areas Ankara controls in Syria, April 1, 2017


Erdogan says Turks in Europe should defy ‘grandchildren of Nazism’

President Tayyip Erdogan on April 3 called on Turkish voters in Europe to defy the “grandchildren of Nazism” and back a referendum this month on changing the constitution, comments likely to cause further ire in Europe.

Reuters, Erdogan says Turks in Europe should defy ‘grandchildren of Nazism’, April 3, 2017


Germany Refuses Turkey’s Request to Spy on Opponents of Erdogan

German officials acknowledged on March 28 that they had rebuffed a request by the Turkish government to spy on its opponents in Germany, the latest strain to relations as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey pursues a referendum next month to expand his powers.

New York Times, Germany Refuses Turkey’s Request to Spy on Opponents of Erdogan, March 28, 2017


With fiery insults and petty slights, Turkey and Europe reach a moment of reckoning

Beyond the heated rhetoric, both parties have much to lose from their fight, which threatens to further isolate Europe and Turkey, analysts say. The breakup would leave the European Union bereft of a Muslim-majority partner that might have served as a hopeful sign of inclusion and diversity, including for millions of Muslim immigrants living in Europe, and a counterbalance to right-wing, anti-immigrant parties that are gaining in prominence.

Washington Post, With fiery insults and petty slights, Turkey and Europe reach a moment of reckoning,

April 1, 2017


Economy & Energy

Turkish lira weakens amid record inflation

The lira weakened 0.4 percent against the dollar after Turkish annual inflation hit its highest in more than eight years in March, surging 11.29 percent.

Reuters, EMERGING MARKETS, April 3, 2017


Turkey’s annual inflation rises to around 11.3 pct in March, hitting highest since 2008

Turkey’s annual inflation hit its highest in more than nine years in March, surging 11.29 percent, as the prices of food, transportation and alcohol all showed double-digit increases, official data showed on April 3.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s annual inflation rises to around 11.3 pct in March, hitting highest since 2008, April 3, 2017


Turkey Private Consumption Boosts GDP Above All Estimates

Turkey’s economy grew at a faster pace than anticipated last quarter as households boosted spending, supporting activity following the failed military coup. Gross domestic product expanded 3.5 percent in the October-to-December period, faster than all estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists, which saw an expansion of 1.9 percent.

Bloomberg, Turkey Private Consumption Boosts GDP Above All Estimates, March 31, 2017


Turkey’s Economic Confidence Index rises in March

Turkey’s Economic Confidence Index improved for the second straight month in March, rising 5 percent to 96.1, data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) showed on March 30. The increase in economic confidence index stemmed from the increase in construction, services, consumer and real sector confidence indices, according to TÜİK data.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s Economic Confidence Index rises in March, April 3, 2017


Turkish tourism association set to warn other websites, including Tripadvisor, upon Booking.com ruling

A leading Turkish tourism association is set to send a court decision against Booking.com to similar foreign online reservation portals, including Tripadvisor.com, to ask them to comply with the required competition rules or face legal action, daily Dünya reported on March 31. An Istanbul court on March 29 ordered the suspension of the activities of Booking.com in Turkey, citing accusations of unfair competition.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish tourism association set to warn other websites, including Tripadvisor, upon Booking.com ruling, March 31, 2017


Russia’s Gazprom plans to build Turkish Stream pipeline by end of 2019

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said in a statement on March 29 that the company aims to finish construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline by the end of 2019, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency and Russia’s TASS have reported.

Hurriyet Daily News, Russia’s Gazprom plans to build Turkish Stream pipeline by end of 2019, March 29, 2017 


Domestic Politics

Turkey set for close vote on boosting Erdogan’s powers, polls suggest

Less than three weeks before Turkey votes on sweeping new powers sought by President Tayyip Erdogan, opinion polls suggest a tight race in a referendum that could bring the biggest change to the system of governance in the country’s modern history.

Reuters, Turkey set for close vote on boosting Erdogan’s powers, polls suggest, March 30, 2017


Seeking Kurdish support, Turkey’s Erdogan calls himself ‘guardian of peace’

President Tayyip Erdogan described himself as a “guardian of peace” on April 1 as he called on Kurds in conflict-torn southeast Turkey to vote ‘yes’ in a referendum in two weeks time on reforms that would grant him sweeping new powers.

Reuters, Seeking Kurdish support, Turkey’s Erdogan calls himself ‘guardian of peace’, April 1, 2017


‘No’ campaign faces systematic obstacle: CHP official

The referendum campaign activities of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is facing obstacles, the party’s campaigning official has said, stressing that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been using state resources for the “yes” campaigns.

Hurriyet Daily News, ‘No’ campaign faces systematic obstacle: CHP official, April 3, 2017


Gov’t slams opposition’s ‘controlled coup’ claim

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım have strongly reacted to the main opposition leader’s claims that the July 15, 2016, coup attempt occurred within the knowledge of the government and was therefore a “controlled coup,” accusing the opposition leader of insulting the Turkish people after 250 were killed on the night of the putsch.

Hurriyet Daily News, Gov’t slams opposition’s ‘controlled coup’ claim, April 3, 2017


47,155 people arrested in Gülen probe since coup attempt: Interior minister

Turkey has arrested a total of 47,155 people accused of having links to the Gülen movement, widely believed to have been behind the July 2016 failed coup attempt, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said April 2.

Hurriyet Daily News, 47,155 people arrested in Gülen probe since coup attempt: Interior minister, April 3, 2017