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Turkey Letter: 4 January 2016

Foreign Policy

  • US denies spying on Turkish authorities
  • Iraqi PM says Turkey not respecting agreement to withdraw troops
  • Turkey and Israel need each other, says President Erdoğan
  • Biden to visit Turkey in January
  • Russia Expands Sanctions Against Turkey After Downing of Jet
  • Turkey’s Erdogan Meets King in Saudi Arabia for Syria Talks

Economy and Energy

  • Turkish Lira Drops Amid Global Selloff as Inflation Accelerates
  • Turkey Year-End Inflation Highest Since 2011 on Food Prices
  • Turkey: Exports decline by 8.6 percent in 2015
  • Russia excludes 10 Turkish brands from sanctions list: Report
  • Turkey hikes taxes on cigarettes, alcohol; electricity prices rise

Domestic Politics

  • Turkish presidency says Erdogan’s Hitler comments misconstrued
  • Erdogan backs criminal probe into Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition
  • Two Civilians, Two Security Forces Killed in Turkish Army Action Against Kurd Rebels
  • Turkey’s Campaign Against Kurdish Militants Takes Toll on Civilians
  • 500 journalists fired, 70 others attacked in 2015: TGC

Foreign Policy

US denies it spies on Turkish authorities

U.S. State Department has rejected reports that the U.S. was continuing to eavesdrop on Turkish authorities even after the Snowden leaks in 2013.

Hurriyet Daily News, US denies spying on Turkish authorities, December 30, 2015


Iraqi PM says Turkey not respecting agreement to withdraw troops

Iraq’s prime minister accused Turkey on Wednesday of failing to respect an agreement to withdraw its troops from the country’s north and its foreign minister said if forced, Iraq could resort to military action to defend its sovereignty.

Reuters, Iraqi PM says Turkey not respecting agreement to withdraw troops, December 30, 2015


Turkey and Israel need each other, says President Erdoğan

Turkey and Israel are two countries in the Middle East that need each other, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.  “Israel is in need of a country like Turkey in the region. We have to admit that we also need Israel,” Erdoğan said on his return from an official trip to Saudi Arabia.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey and Israel need each other, says President Erdoğan, January 2, 2016


Biden to visit Turkey in January

Vice President Biden will travel next month to Turkey, a U.S. partner in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The vice president will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and other officials.

The Hill, Biden to visit Turkey in January, December 30, 2015


Russia Expands Sanctions Against Turkey After Downing of Jet

Russia broadened its sanctions against Turkey on Wednesday to bar new Turkish construction and curb tourism activities in Russia, an expansion of measures put in place last month after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane under disputed circumstances.

New York Times, Russia Expands Sanctions Against Turkey After Downing of Jet, December 30, 2015


Turkey’s Erdogan Meets King in Saudi Arabia for Syria Talks

Hours before he arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Syria’s president of “mercilessly” killing hundreds of thousands of people and criticized Russia for backing him. Erdogan was speaking to reporters before departing for Saudi Arabia, where he met King Salman for talks focused on the Syrian civil war and energy cooperation.

Associated Press, Turkey’s Erdogan Meets King in Saudi Arabia for Syria Talks, December 29, 2015


Economy and Energy

Turkish Lira Drops Amid Global Selloff as Inflation Accelerates

The lira headed for a three-week low as inflation accelerated more than estimated, adding to pressure on Turkish assets caught in a broader rout across emerging markets.

Bloomberg, Turkish Lira Drops Amid Global Selloff as Inflation Accelerates, January 4, 2016


Turkey Year-End Inflation Highest Since 2011 on Food Prices

Turkey’s consumer price inflation accelerated more than estimated in December and reached the highest year-end level since 2011, as the central bank missed its inflation target for a fifth year.

Bloomberg, Turkey Year-End Inflation Highest Since 2011 on Food Prices, January 4, 2016


Turkey: Exports decline by 8.6 percent in 2015

Turkey’s exports reached $143.9 billion in 2015, an 8.6 percent decline from $157.6 billion in 2014, Turkish Economy Minister Mustafa Elitas told the press on January 4.

Anadolu Agency, Turkey: Exports decline by 8.6 percent in 2015, January 4, 2016


Russia excludes 10 Turkish brands from sanctions list: Report

Russia has excluded a total of 10 Turkish brands, including Colin’s, LC Waikiki and Anadolu Efes, from a list of sanctioned Turkish companies, daily Habertürk has reported.

Hurriyet Daily News, Russia excludes 10 Turkish brands from sanctions list: Report, December 29, 2015


Turkey hikes taxes on cigarettes, alcohol; electricity prices rise

Turkey has hiked taxes on tobacco and alcohol for the new year, while its energy market regulator has also increased electricity prices as of Jan. 1 to fund investment and production.

Reuters, Turkey hikes taxes on cigarettes, alcohol; electricity prices rise, January 2, 2016


Domestic Politics

Turkish presidency says Erdogan’s Hitler comments misconstrued

The Turkish presidency said on Friday comments by President Tayyip Erdogan about the system of governance in Hitler’s Germany had been misinterpreted and that he had not suggested it was an example of an effective presidential system.

Reuters, Turkish presidency says Erdogan’s Hitler comments misconstrued, January 1, 2016


Erdogan backs criminal probe into Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said he backs a criminal investigation into leaders of the pro-Kurdish opposition over comments about Kurdish self-rule, saying those who committed constitutional crimes must pay the price.

Reuters, Erdogan backs criminal probe into Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition, January 3, 2016


Two civilians, three security officers killed in Turkish action against Kurd rebels

Two civilians, two soldiers and a police officer have been killed in southeastern Turkey as military operations to root out armed fighters focused on urban centers across the mainly Kurdish region, security sources said.

Reuters, Two civilians, three security officers killed in Turkish action against Kurd rebels, January 4, 2016


Turkey’s Campaign Against Kurdish Militants Takes Toll on Civilians

A major Turkish military operation to eradicate Kurdish militants in Turkey’s restive southeast has turned dozens of urban districts into bloody battlefields, displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians and shattering hopes of reviving peace as an old war reaches its deadliest level in two decades.

New York Times, Turkey’s Campaign Against Kurdish Militants Takes Toll on Civilians, December 30, 2015


500 journalists fired, 70 others attacked in 2015: TGC

Around 500 journalists were fired and 70 others were subjected to physical violence in 2015, the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) has said. “The greatest threats against journalists have been lawsuits filed against them and facing imprisonment,” the TGC said in a report which depicted the state of journalism in 2015.

Hurriyet Daily News, 500 journalists fired, 70 others attacked in 2015: TGC, January 4, 2016