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Turkey Letter: 31 May 2016

Foreign Policy

  • US envoy says US soldiers wearing YPG insignia were ‘unauthorized’
  • Turkey says U.S. ‘two-faced’ for not viewing Syrian Kurdish YPG as terrorists
  • Turkey Stalls Offensive on Islamic State by Opposing Kurds
  • Turkish ‘Threats’ Won’t Work on EU Over Visa Offer, Juncker Says
  • Turkey and EU at Odds Over Funding Delivery
  • Cyprus president cuts short Turkey trip after protocol row
  • S. Urges No Bail for Reza Zarrab in Iran Sanctions Case
  • Turkey Links Texas Charter Schools to Dissident

Economy & Energy

  • Turkey’s Central Bank Continuing to Focus on Price Stability
  • Turkish Central Bank Embraces Pro-Growth Stance Amid Leadership Shuffle
  • Erdogan Shakeup Erases $24 Billion as Turkish Stocks Lead Rout
  • The Turkish Lira May Not Get Its Mojo Back
  • Foreign Tourists Stay Away From Turkey in Record Numbers

Domestic Politics

  • Turkey’s New Premier Charts Mission With Cabinet Shuffle
  • Leadership row in Turkey’s nationalist opposition helps Erdogan
  • Turkey counts cost of conflict as Kurdish militant battle rages on
  • Turkey’s appeals court head rejects criticism over joining president’s visit

Foreign Policy

US envoy says US soldiers wearing YPG insignia were ‘unauthorized’

United States’ Ambassador to Ankara John Bass has said that the act of U.S. soldiers, who were pictured wearing insignia badges of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) during an offensive in Syria’s Raqqa against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), was unauthorized and did not reflect the U.S.’ policy.

Hurriyet Daily News, US envoy says US soldiers wearing YPG insignia were ‘unauthorized’, May 31, 2016


Turkey says U.S. ‘two-faced’ for not viewing Syrian Kurdish YPG as terrorists

The United States is “two-faced” for refusing to call the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia terrorists, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday, reflecting Ankara’s growing irritation at Washington’s backing of the group.

Reuters, Turkey says U.S. ‘two-faced’ for not viewing Syrian Kurdish YPG as terrorists, May 27, 2016


Turkey Stalls Offensive on Islamic State by Opposing Kurds

A proposed rebel assault to retake two Islamic State strongholds in northwestern Syria is bumping up against Turkey’s opposition to Kurdish participation in the campaign.

Bloomberg, Turkey Stalls Offensive on Islamic State by Opposing Kurds, May 30, 2016


Turkish ‘Threats’ Won’t Work on EU Over Visa Offer, Juncker Says

One of the European Union’s top officials escalated a spat between the 28-member bloc and Turkey, saying “threats” won’t be effective after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled he would upend a landmark refugee deal if the EU doesn’t offer free travel for Turks.

Bloomberg, Turkish ‘Threats’ Won’t Work on EU Over Visa Offer, Juncker Says, May 26, 2016


Turkey and EU at Odds Over Funding Delivery

A festering spat between Turkey and the European Union about the delivery of €6 billion ($6.7 billion) in refugee aid in Turkey is among growing tensions around their agreement to stop the exodus of migrants to Europe.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey and EU at Odds Over Funding Delivery, May 23, 2016


Cyprus president cuts short Turkey trip after protocol row

Cyprus’s president canceled scheduled peace talks and cut short a visit to Turkey on Tuesday, his spokesman said, after a United Nations summit treated the rival Turkish Cypriot leader as a head of state.

Reuters, Cyprus president cuts short Turkey trip after protocol row, May 24, 2016


U.S. Urges No Bail for Reza Zarrab in Iran Sanctions Case

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan asked a judge on Wednesday to deny bail to Reza Zarrab, a prominent gold trader based in Turkey who has been jailed in New York pending trial on charges that he conspired to violate United States sanctions on Iran.

New York Times, U.S. Urges No Bail for Reza Zarrab in Iran Sanctions Case, May 25, 2016


Turkey Links Texas Charter Schools to Dissident

Lawyers for the government of Turkey filed a complaint with Texas officials that accuses a Houston-based charter school system of discriminatory hiring practices and of having ties to an influential Turkish dissident.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey Links Texas Charter Schools to Dissident, May 24, 2016


Economy & Energy

Turkey’s Central Bank Continuing to Focus on Price Stability

Turkey’s central bank said Tuesday it continues to focus on price stability while maintaining a supportive stance on financial stability. “Macro prudential policies implemented in recent years and the prevailing fiscal discipline have increased the economy’s resilience to global shocks,” the central bank said in its semiannual financial stability report.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey’s Central Bank Continuing to Focus on Price Stability, May 31, 2016


Turkish Central Bank Embraces Pro-Growth Stance Amid Leadership Shuffle

Turkey’s central bank cut a key interest rate for a third consecutive month Tuesday, signaling its willingness to support economic growth even as political turmoil at home and a selloff in emerging markets threaten to pressure the lira, risking efforts to slow inflation.

Wall Street Journal, Turkish Central Bank Embraces Pro-Growth Stance Amid Leadership Shuffle, May 24, 2016


Erdogan Shakeup Erases $24 Billion as Turkish Stocks Lead Rout

Turkish stocks slumped the most in more than two years in May as the political turmoil that prompted the premier to resign sent investors fleeing the country’s assets.

Bloomberg, Erdogan Shakeup Erases $24 Billion as Turkish Stocks Lead Rout, May 31, 2016


The Turkish Lira May Not Get Its Mojo Back

Political turmoil is driving investors out of the Turkish lira. But even without the politics, this currency has problems. Last month, analysts were still touting the lira and the currency hit an eight-month high against the dollar.

Wall Street Journal, The Turkish Lira May Not Get Its Mojo Back, May 23, 2016


Foreign Tourists Stay Away From Turkey in Record Numbers

Turkey experienced its biggest drop in foreign-tourist arrivals on record last month, as tensions with Russia and a series of deadly bombings kept visitors away from the country’s beaches.

Bloomberg, Foreign Tourists Stay Away From Turkey in Record Numbers, May 27, 2016


Domestic Politics

Turkey’s New Premier Charts Mission With Cabinet Shuffle

Turkey’s economy and foreign policy chiefs kept their jobs Tuesday in the cabinet lineup unveiled by the new prime minister, who also vowed to transfer more power to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey’s New Premier Charts Mission With Cabinet Shuffle, May 24, 2016


Leadership row in Turkey’s nationalist opposition helps Erdogan

Turkey’s nationalist opposition on Monday blocked a move by party dissidents to hold a special congress next month to try to oust its veteran leader, dragging out a dispute that is key to President Tayyip Erdogan’s ambitions for greater powers.,

Reuters, Leadership row in Turkey’s nationalist opposition helps Erdogan, May 30, 2016


Turkey counts cost of conflict as Kurdish militant battle rages on

Turkey’s conflict with Kurdish militants, said to have killed more than 5,000 people since July, has also destroyed at least 6,000 buildings that will cost approaching 1 billion lira ($340 million) to rebuild, according to a government estimate.

Reuters, Turkey counts cost of conflict as Kurdish militant battle rages on, May 31, 2016


Turkey’s appeals court head rejects criticism over joining president’s visit

The head of Turkey’s top appeals court has rejected opposition criticism over his accompanying of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during visits outside of the capital Ankara, saying it should be considered “extremely natural.”

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s appeals court head rejects criticism over joining president’s visit, May 30, 2016