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Turkey Letter: 7 December 2015

Foreign Policy

  • Turkey defends ground troops in Iraq as war escalates
  • Oil-Smuggling Allegations Dominate Turkey-Russia Rift
  • EU makes fresh commitment for opening of five chapters
  • Clashes between Syrian fighters pose challenge for Turkey, U.S
  • Turkey, Iran in war of words over Syria
  • European court says Turkey’s blocking of YouTube was illegal

Economy and Energy

  • Russian Jet Downing May Cost Turkey $9 Billion in `Worst Case’
  • Russian sanctions on Turkey to have limited effect: EBRD
  • Turkey needs “more orthodox” monetary policy, new economy chief says
  • Investors Keep Pulling Cash Out of Turkey
  • Turkey seeks to diversify gas supplies amid dispute with Russia
  • Turkey has shelved Turkish Stream gas pipeline project, says President Erdoğan

Domestic Politics

  • Top business organization urges for reforms to secure judicial independence, media freedom
  • Erdoğan urges debate on ‘French-like’ presidential system
  • Three jailed for murdering young woman in case that shocked Turkey
  • Pipe bomb explodes on overpass near Istanbul metro, five hurt: local mayor

Foreign Policy

Turkey defends ground troops in Iraq as war escalates

Turkey said on Monday it had a duty to protect its soldiers around the Islamic State-controlled city of Mosul in Iraq and that they were there simply on a training mission, after Baghdad ordered the immediate withdrawal of its latest deployment.

Reuters, Turkey says has duty to protect soldiers in Iraq after Baghdad ultimatum, December 7, 2015


Oil-Smuggling Allegations Dominate Turkey-Russia Rift

Moscow has resurrected accusations by rivals of Turkey’s most powerful leaders that Ankara has covertly fueled the rise of Islamic State, deepening the diplomatic rift over last week’s shootdown of a Russian bomber.

Wall Street Journal, Oil-Smuggling Allegations Dominate Turkey-Russia Rift, December 4, 2015


EU makes fresh commitment for opening of five chapters

The European Union has provided a commitment to Ankara to launch necessary procedures on five accession chapters whose opening is currently under veto by Greek Cyprus, in a bid to deliver on promises recently given to Turkey, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

Hurriyet Daily News, EU makes fresh commitment for opening of five chapters, December 7, 2015


Clashes between Syrian fighters pose challenge for Turkey, U.S

Groups that have received support from the United States or its allies have turned their guns on each other in a northern corner of Syria, highlighting the difficulties of mobilizing forces on the ground against Islamic State.

Reuters, Clashes between Syrian fighters pose challenge for Turkey, U.S, December 6, 2015


Turkey, Iran in war of words over Syria

Senior Turkish and Iranian officials have engaged in a war of words over Syria, with each accusing each other of lending support to terrorist organizations in a row that parallels Ankara’s ongoing tension with Moscow.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey, Iran in war of words over Syria, December 6, 2015


European court says Turkey’s blocking of YouTube was illegal

Turkey violated freedom of expression rights by blocking video platform YouTube for two and a half years, the European Court of Human Rights said on Tuesday.

Reuters, European court says Turkey’s blocking of YouTube was illegal, December 1, 2015


Economy and Energy

Russian Jet Downing May Cost Turkey $9 Billion in `Worst Case’

Sanctions imposed after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane last month may cost the Turkish economy as much as $9 billion a year in a “worst case” scenario, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said.

Bloomberg, Russian Jet Downing May Cost Turkey $9 Billion in `Worst Case’, December 7, 2015


Russian sanctions on Turkey to have limited effect: EBRD

The effect of sanctions imposed on Turkey by Russia will be limited, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Dec. 7.

Hurriyet Daily News, Russian sanctions on Turkey to have limited effect: EBRD, December 7, 2015


Turkey needs “more orthodox” monetary policy, new economy chief says

Turkey needs a “more orthodox” and predictable monetary policy, the country’s newly appointed economy czar said on Monday, throwing his weight behind a central bank drive to simplify its intricate system of multiple rates.

Reuters, Turkey needs “more orthodox” monetary policy, new economy chief says, December 7, 2015


Investors Keep Pulling Cash Out of Turkey

Foreign investors look set to keep pulling their money out of Turkey after dumping a record amount of stocks and bonds this year.

Bloomberg, Investors Keep Pulling Cash Out of Turkey, December 7, 2015


Turkey seeks to diversify gas supplies amid dispute with Russia

Turkey’s leaders have mounted a charm offensive among regional energy producers in an effort to diversify supplies as relations with major natural gas provider Russia crumble following the downing of a Russian warplane by the Turkish airforce.

Reuters, Turkey seeks to diversify gas supplies amid dispute with Russia, December 3, 2015


Turkey has shelved Turkish Stream gas pipeline project, says President Erdoğan

A planned gas pipeline project to link Russia and Turkey, dubbed the “Turkish Stream,” has been shelved by Turkey because its demands were not met, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Dec. 5.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey has shelved Turkish Stream gas pipeline project, says President Erdoğan, December 5, 2015 


Domestic Politics

Top business organization urges for reforms to secure judicial independence, media freedom

Turkey’s top business organization has urged the country’s new cabinet to address and solve the problems plaguing judicial independence and media freedom immediately with a series of “required reforms,” adding normalization was “crucial.”

Hurriyet Daily News, Top business organization urges for reforms to secure judicial independence, media freedom, December 3, 2015


Erdoğan urges debate on ‘French-like’ presidential system

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has again said Turkey’s parliamentary system should be changed to a presidential one, referring to France’s semi-presidential system as a good example for the country.

Hurriyet Daily News, Erdoğan urges debate on ‘French-like’ presidential system, December 4, 2015


Three jailed for murdering young woman in case that shocked Turkey

Three men convicted of murdering a young Turkish woman after she resisted an attempt to rape her on a minibus were sentenced to life imprisonment on Thursday, with no chance of parole.

Reuters, Three jailed for murdering young woman in case that shocked Turkey, December 3, 2015


Pipe bomb explodes on overpass near Istanbul metro, five hurt: local mayor

Five people were injured when a pipe bomb exploded on an overpass near an Istanbul metro station on Tuesday, the district mayor said, halting some train operations and heightening security fears in Europe’s biggest city.

Reuters, Pipe bomb explodes on overpass near Istanbul metro, five hurt: local mayor, December 1, 2015