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Turkey Letter: 3 January 2017

Foreign Politics

  • ISIS Claims Responsibility for Istanbul Nightclub Attack
  • World condemns Istanbul attack, voice solidarity
  • Police Struggle in Hunt for Gunman in Istanbul Slayings
  • New Cease-Fire Begins in Syria, but Violations Are Reported Within Hours
  • Wall Street Journal Reporter Dion Nissenbaum Returns to U.S. After Being Detained in Turkey

Economy & Energy

  • Turkish Lira Plunges Most Worldwide to Record Low Per Dollar
  • Turkey Inflation Accelerates More Than Expected on Food, Alcohol
  • Turkish manufacturing contracts further in December: PMI
  • Turkey to raise minimum wage by 8 percent to 1,400 liras
  • Turkey’s Regulator Says Banks Can Withstand a Fitch Junk Verdict
  • Turkish trade deficit shrinks 11.7 percent in 2016

Domestic Politics

  • Turkish Lawmakers Back Bill Giving Erdogan Executive Powers
  • Turkey to extend state of emergency for another three months
  • Turkish journalist held, accused of spreading propaganda
  • How a Top International Judge Was Trampled by Turkey’s Purge

Foreign Politics

ISIS Claims Responsibility for Istanbul Nightclub Attack

The Islamic State on Monday issued a rare claim of responsibility for an attack in Turkey after a New Year’s Day shooting at an Istanbul nightclub that killed at least 39 people, describing the gunman who carried out the assault — and who has not been identified or captured — as “a hero soldier of the caliphate.”

New York Times, ISIS Claims Responsibility for Istanbul Nightclub Attack, January 2, 2017


World condemns Istanbul attack, voice solidarity

Leaders from around the world condemned a terror attack at an Istanbul nightclub early on Jan. 1 that killed at least 39 people and injured 69 others. White House spokesman Eric Schulz said President Barack Obama “expressed condolences for the innocent lives lost, directed his team to offer inappropriate assistance to the Turkish authorities, as necessary and keep him updated as warranted.”

Hurriyet Daily News, World condemns Istanbul attack, voice solidarity, January 1, 2017


Police Struggle in Hunt for Gunman in Istanbul Slayings

Turkish police struggled Monday to track down a gunman who attacked New Year’s Eve revelers at a popular Istanbul nightclub, killing at least 39 people, most of them foreigners. Close to 70 more were wounded.

Bloomberg, Police Struggle in Hunt for Gunman in Istanbul Slayings, January 1, 2017


New Cease-Fire Begins in Syria, but Violations Are Reported Within Hours

The Syrian government, backed by Russia, announced on Thursday that a cease-fire agreement with Syrian rebels and Turkey would begin Friday. Syrians have mixed feelings about the truce.

New York Times, New Cease-Fire Begins in Syria, but Violations Are Reported Within Hours, December 29, 2016


Wall Street Journal Reporter Dion Nissenbaum Returns to U.S. After Being Detained in Turkey

A Wall Street Journal staff reporter detained by Turkish authorities earlier this week has returned safely to the U.S.

Wall Street Journal, Wall Street Journal Reporter Dion Nissenbaum Returns to U.S. After Being Detained in Turkey, December 31, 2016


Economy & Energy

Turkish Lira Plunges Most Worldwide to Record Low Per Dollar

Turkey’s lira weakened the most among major world currencies on Tuesday, falling as much as 1.7 percent to a new record, as the killer of 39 people at an Istanbul nightclub remained at large and inflation accelerated more than estimates in December.

Bloomberg, Turkish Lira Plunges Most Worldwide to Record Low Per Dollar, January 3, 2017


Turkey Inflation Accelerates More Than Expected on Food, Alcohol

Turkey’s consumer price inflation climbed more than estimated in December, led by a surge in food, alcohol and tobacco prices. The annual inflation rate was 8.53 percent last month, compared with 7 percent in November, Turkey’s statistics institute said on Tuesday, January 3. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists was an increase to 7.6 percent, with 8.5 percent the highest prediction.

Bloomberg, Turkey Inflation Accelerates More Than Expected on Food, Alcohol, January 3, 2017


Turkish manufacturing contracts further in December: PMI

Turkey’s manufacturing, which represents around a third of the country’s economy, slipped further into contraction in December, falling to its lowest level in four months, a survey showed.

Reuters, Turkish manufacturing contracts further in December: PMI, January 2, 2017


Turkey to raise minimum wage by 8 percent to 1,400 liras

Turkey will raise the monthly minimum wage by 8 percent to 1,404 Turkish liras ($397), Labor Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu said at a press conference on Dec. 29 in Ankara, a level that trade unions did not welcome.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey to raise minimum wage by 8 percent to 1,400 liras, December 29, 2016


Turkey’s Regulator Says Banks Can Withstand a Fitch Junk Verdict

Turkey’s banking regulator said lenders are sufficiently well capitalized to withstand a potential downgrade of the country’s sovereign rating by Fitch Ratings Ltd. next month.

Bloomberg, Turkey’s Regulator Says Banks Can Withstand a Fitch Junk Verdict, December 27,

2016


Turkish trade deficit shrinks 11.7 percent in 2016

Turkey’s trade deficit narrowed by 11.7 percent to $55.97 billion over the course of 2016, with exports down 0.84 percent and imports down 4.17 percent, preliminary data from the Customs and Trade Ministry showed on Jan. 2.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish trade deficit shrinks 11.7 percent in 2016, January 2, 2017


Domestic Politics

Turkish Lawmakers Back Bill Giving Erdogan Executive Powers

A Turkish parliamentary committee approved a proposed government bill that would grant sweeping executive powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.The bill, which must be debated and voted on in the full parliament, empowers the president to issue decrees, as well as appoint and discharge vice presidents, ministers and top government officials, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported Friday. Under the proposal, the president would for the first time be allowed to have ties to a political party, it said.

Bloomberg, Turkish Lawmakers Back Bill Giving Erdogan Executive Powers, December 30, 2016


Turkey to extend state of emergency for another three months

The Turkish Parliament will vote this week to prolong the implementation of the state of emergency for another three months, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has announced.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey to extend state of emergency for another three months, January 3, 2017


Turkish journalist held, accused of spreading propaganda

A Turkish court remanded journalist Ahmet Sik in custody pending trial on Friday after he was accused of spreading the propaganda of various groups, an opposition lawmaker and a lawyer said.

Reuters, Turkish journalist held, accused of spreading propaganda, December 30, 2016


How a Top International Judge Was Trampled by Turkey’s Purge

Aydin Akay retired as a renowned defense attorney. He is now in an Ankara prison for downloading a chat app.

Wall Street Journal, How a Top International Judge Was Trampled by Turkey’s Purge, December 29, 2016