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Turkey Letter: 8 February 2016

Foreign Policy

  • Militant Group Sidelined as Turkey Unveils Plan to End Kurdish Unrest
  • Erdogan Signals Turkey Prepared to Join Syria War If Asked
  • Russia, Turkey Trade Allegations as More Syrians Flee Fighting
  • Merkel Back in Turkey as Syria Push Triggers More Refugees
  • Turkey must cut migrant flows to Europe, top EU official says
  • Italy drops objections to EU migration fund to Turkey
  • Turkish Cypriot Leader Sees Presence for Turkey on Island

Economy and Energy

  • Turkish Lira Falls Most in Month as Global Risk Appetite Wanes
  • Turkey Inflation Edging Toward Level Basci Wants to Avoid
  • Turkey may double trade with EU with new customs deal: Minister
  • Turkey looks to more than double trade with Latin America, Iran
  • Conflict-hit southeast Turkey dealt fresh blow as power project shelved

Domestic Politics

  • Turkish gov’t reveals much-vaunted ‘action plan’ to resolve Kurdish issue
  • Row between gov’t, HDP over stranded Cizre civilians escalates
  • Intel service could meet jailed PKK leader: Erdoğan
  • New charter talks start with panel’s first meeting
  • Turkey growing increasingly polarized: German Marshall Fund study
 

Foreign Policy

Militant Group Sidelined as Turkey Unveils Plan to End Kurdish Unrest

Turkey all but ruled out direct talks with Kurdish militants to end one of the worst periods of bloodshed in a three-decade insurgency on Friday, saying the government would instead bring what it called civil society groups to the table.

Reuters, Militant Group Sidelined as Turkey Unveils Plan to End Kurdish Unrest, February 5, 2016


Erdogan Signals Turkey Prepared to Join Syria War If Asked

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country shouldn’t repeat in Syria the same mistake it made when it turned down a U.S. request to join the coalition that toppled Saddam Hussein. Erdogan also criticized the U.S. for backing Syrian Kurdish fighters that Turkey classifies as terrorists.

Bloomberg, Erdogan Signals Turkey Prepared to Join Syria War If Asked, February 7, 2016


Russia, Turkey Trade Allegations as More Syrians Flee Fighting

Russia and Turkey escalated a war of words over the Syria crisis on Thursday as more Syrian civilians fled a regime offensive backed by Russian air power. And the two countries traded new accusations on Thursday, after the United Nations suspended efforts to kick-start Syrian peace talks in Geneva. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Russia’s air campaign was effectively destroying the chances of a political transition in Syria, echoing remarks by the U.S. State Department, which said the Geneva talks were halted in part because of Russian airstrikes on anti-Assad forces around the city of Aleppo.

Wall Street Journal, Russia, Turkey Trade Allegations as More Syrians Flee Fighting, February 4, 2016


Merkel Back in Turkey as Syria Push Triggers More Refugees

Chancellor Angela Merkel returns her focus to Turkey this week as a fresh offensive in neighboring Syria spurs another wave of refugees that threatens to force her to back down and close German borders.

Bloomberg, Merkel Back in Turkey as Syria Push Triggers More Refugees, February 7, 2016


Turkey must cut migrant flows to Europe, top EU official says

Europe needs Turkey to dramatically cut the number of migrants reaching Greece within weeks or the pressure for more border closures and fences will grow, the EU’s top official in charge of ties with Ankara warned on Saturday.

Reuters, Turkey must cut migrant flows to Europe, top EU official says, February 6, 2016


Italy drops objections to EU migration fund to Turkey

Italy will contribute to a 3 billion euro European Union fund to help Turkey tackle the European migration crisis, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said on Monday, dropping objections blocking implementation of the plan. Under a deal from last November, Ankara is to stem the flood of refugees and migrants leaving for Europe in exchange for the aid.

Reuters, Italy drops objections to EU migration fund to Turkey, February 1, 2016


Turkish Cypriot Leader Sees Presence for Turkey on Island

Mustafa Akinci, the 68-year-old Turkish Cypriot who leads the northern part of Cyprus, which only Ankara recognizes as a separate country, says current talks could be the last chance for reunification.

Wall Street Journal, Turkish Cypriot Leader Sees Presence for Turkey on Island, February 2, 2016


Economy and Energy

Turkish Lira Falls Most in Month as Global Risk Appetite Wanes

The Turkish lira headed for the biggest decline in a month while the cost of insuring the nation’s debt rose to a four-month high amid speculation rate increases by the Federal Reserve will sap demand for riskier assets.

Bloomberg, Turkish Lira Falls Most in Month as Global Risk Appetite Wanes, February 8, 2016


Turkey Inflation Edging Toward Level Basci Wants to Avoid

Turkey’s consumer price inflation climbed more than estimated in January, edging toward the 10 percent level central bank Governor Erdem Basci doesn’t want to exceed.

Bloomberg, Turkey Inflation Edging Toward Level Basci Wants to Avoid, February 3, 2016


Turkey may double trade with EU with new customs deal: Minister

The mutual trade between the European Union and Turkey may double to $300 billion thanks to coming updates to the Customs Union deal, Turkey’s EU Minister and the chief negotiator with the bloc has said. “We have a Customs Union relation [with the EU],” Minister Volkan Bozkır told journalists on the sidelines of official meetings in Paris on Feb. 3.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey may double trade with EU with new customs deal: Minister, February 4, 2016


Conflict-hit southeast Turkey dealt fresh blow as power project shelved

Traumatized by months of fighting between security forces and Kurdish militants which has killed hundreds, Turkey’s southeast suffered an economic blow on Thursday as a major hydropower project in the region was suspended due to security concerns.

Reuters, Conflict-hit southeast Turkey dealt fresh blow as power project shelved, February 4, 2016


Turkey looks to more than double trade with Latin America, Iran

Turkey aims to boost trade with Latin America more than two-fold by 2023, in a bid to diversify away from its traditional export markets in the troubled economies of Europe and the Middle East, Economy Minister Mustafa Elitas said on Monday.

Reuters, Turkey looks to more than double trade with Latin America, Iran, February 1, 2016


Domestic Politics

Turkish gov’t reveals much-vaunted ‘action plan’ to resolve Kurdish issue

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has unveiled a much-touted “action plan” aimed at “repairing” eastern and southeastern Turkey, which has been traumatized by months of ongoing conflict between security forces and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish gov’t reveals much-vaunted ‘action plan’ to resolve Kurdish issue, February 5, 2016


Row between gov’t, HDP over stranded Cizre civilians escalates

The ongoing dispute between the Turkish government and the Kurdish-problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has shown no sign of slowing down, with the former categorically dismissing the latter’s charges over lack of medical services provided to 28 civilians stranded in the basement of a building in the Cizre district of southeastern Şırnak province as “speculation.”

Hurriyet Daily News, Row between gov’t, HDP over stranded Cizre civilians escalates, February 2, 2016


Intel service could meet jailed PKK leader: Erdoğan

The country’s intelligence service could begin meetings with Abdullah Öcalan of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), but the government should not accept the jailed leader as a counterpart in steps to revive the stalled “resolution” process aiming to end Turkey’s three-decade long PKK conflict, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

Hurriyet Daily News, Intel service could meet jailed PKK leader: Erdoğan, February 7, 2016


New charter talks start with panel’s first meeting

The Turkish Parliament is set to launch a fresh initiative as an inter-party commission will meet for the first time on Feb. 4 with the task of writing a new charter, nearly two years after failing to do so.

Hurriyet Daily News, New charter talks start with panel’s first meeting, February 3, 2016


Turkey growing increasingly polarized: German Marshall Fund study

Turkey has grown increasingly polarized as party preferences have begun to determine the fate of relationships between people with different political backgrounds and opinions, according to a new study. A study of societal polarization in the country revealed that more than three-quarters of Turks do not wish to have neighbors whose political stance widely diverges from their own.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey growing increasingly polarized: German Marshall Fund study, February 2, 2016