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Turkey Letter: 3 June 2019 

Foreign Policy:  

  • Turkey, Russia face conflicts over Syria’s push into Idlib  
  • Concern deepens in Turkey over U.S. sanctions for Russia missile system 
  • Turkey frees American NASA scientist imprisoned for 2 years  
  • Trump, Turkey’s Erdogan set to meet at G20 in June: Turkish official  
  • U.S. may suspend training of Turkish pilots for F-35 jets over Russia missile deal 

Economy & Energy:  

  • Turkish inflation slows again as food prices bring relief  
  • Annual inflation eases to 18.71 percent in May 
  • Turkey’s road to recovery looks long even as recession ends 
  • Turkey asks local banks to buy its bonds; lenders want 10-year paper – sources  
  • Turkey Central Bank raises foreign-currency reserve requirements  

Domestic Politics: 

  • AKP’s Istanbul candidate OKs joint TV interview with CHP candidate  
  • Prominent columnist in Turkey is released from prison 
  • CHP leader calls on Istanbul electorate to “correct injustice” against Imamoglu 

 

Foreign Policy  

Turkey, Russia face conflicts over Syria’s push into Idlib  

Ankara and Moscow are again facing an escalation of violence in Syria’s last rebel-held territory, a development that puts their cooperation to the test even as they support opposing sides in the eight-year war that has devastated Syria. An all-out offensive by Syrian government forces to capture Idlib in northwestern Syria from insurgents could unleash an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, for the area is home to 3 million people. 

AP, Turkey, Russia face conflicts over Syria’s push into Idlib, 1 June 2019  


Concern deepens in Turkey over U.S. sanctions for Russia missile system 

The looming threat of U.S. sanctions and a wider rupture with Western allies over Turkey’s purchase of Russian air defenses is raising concern in Ankara, two Turkish officials said, despite public insistence the deal will go ahead as planned. 

Reuters, Concern deepens in Turkey over U.S. sanctions for Russia missile system, 31 May 2019 


Turkey frees American NASA scientist imprisoned for 2 years  

An American former NASA scientist sentenced in Turkey to over seven years in prison on terrorism charges was suddenly freed Wednesday evening, without explanation, hours after a phone call between the presidents of Turkey and the United States. 

The New York Times, Turkey frees American NASA scientist imprisoned for 2 years, 29 May 2019  


Trump, Turkey’s Erdogan set to meet at G20 in June: Turkish official  

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed during a phone call on Wednesday to meet on the sidelines of a G20 meeting set for June 28-29 in Japan, the Turkish Presidency’s communications director said in posts on Twitter. 

Reuters, Trump, Turkey’s Erdogan set to meet at G20 in June: Turkish official, 29 May 2019  


U.S. may suspend training of Turkish pilots for F-35 jets over Russia missile deal 

The United States is seriously considering suspending training for Turkish pilots on advanced F-35 fighter jets as Ankara moves ahead with plans to purchase a Russian missile defense system despite objections from Washington, sources told Reuters on Tuesday. 

Reuters, U.S. may suspend training of Turkish pilots for F-35 jets over Russia missile deal, 28 May 2019 


Economy & Energy 

Turkish inflation slows again as food prices bring relief  

Turkey’s inflation slowed for a second month thanks to a moderation in food costs as weak domestic demand continues to weigh on prices. Consumer prices rose 18.7% in May from a year earlier, compared with an increase of 19.5% in April, Turkstat said on Monday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 18 economists was 19.3%. Prices grew 1% in the month. 

Bloomberg, Turkish inflation slows again as food prices bring relief, 3 June 2019  


Annual inflation eases to 18.71 percent in May 

Turkey saw an annual hike of 18.71 percent in consumer prices in May, the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK), reported on June 3. Last month, the annual inflation went down 0.79 percentage points from 19.5 percent in April. 

Hurriyet, Annual inflation eases to 18.71 percent in May, 3 June 2019  


Turkey’s road to recovery looks long even as recession ends 

Turkey exited recession in the first quarter on the back of increased lending by state banks, a temporary boost that’s since been overshadowed by the lira’s slump. Gross-domestic product expanded 1.3% from the previous three months when adjusted for seasonal impact, marking a recovery from the end of last year and matching economists’ estimates. 

Bloomberg, Turkey’s road to recovery looks long even as recession ends, 31 May 2019 


Turkey asks local banks to buy its bonds; lenders want 10-year paper – sources  

Turkey’s Treasury has told the country’s top banks it expects them to buy more lira-denominated bonds, prompting bankers to ask the government to issue more longer-term debt, two bankers told Reuters on Tuesday. 

Reuters, Turkey asks local banks to buy its bonds; lenders want 10-year paper – sources, 28 May 2019  


Turkey Central Bank raises foreign-currency reserve requirements 

Turkey’s central bank took another step to boost its coffers by raising the amount of foreign currency lenders are required to park at the regulator as reserves.  

Bloomberg, Turkey Central Bank raises foreign-currency reserve requirements, 27 May 2019  


Domestic Politics  

AKP’s Istanbul candidate Oks joint TV interview with CHP candidate  

Binali Yıldırım, Istanbul mayoral candidate for the Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), says he is amenable to a joint TV interview with the main opposition candidate, Ekrem İmamoğlu. 

Hurriyet, AKP’s Istanbul candidate Oks joint TV interview with CHP candidate, 3 June 2019  


 Prominent columnist in Turkey is released from prison 

A prominent Turkish journalist sent back to prison Wednesday in connection with convictions for terror charges handed last year to an opposition newspaper was released hours later. Kadri Gursel tweeted Wednesday evening that he was released from an Istanbul prison. He had turned himself in earlier that day to serve out his 30-month prison sentence for “knowingly and willingly aiding a terror group without being a member.” 

AP, Prominent columnist in Turkey is released from prison, 29 May 2019 


CHP leader calls on Istanbul electorate to “correct injustice” against Imamoglu 

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu appealed to voters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), stressing that the president of the country does not remain impartial despite his constitutional obligations. 

Hurriyet, CHP leader calls on Istanbul electorate to “correct injustice” against Imamoglu, 28 May 2019