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Turkey Letter: July 2, 2018

Foreign Policy:

  • Trump and Erdogan talk on phone after Turkey elections
  • S. senators meet Erdogan, demand pastor’s release
  • S. official warns Turkey on F-35 deal over Russia system
  • Trump promises Ankara to take necessary steps for F-35s: Turkish FM
  • Iraqi Kurdish PM congratulates Erdogan on election win
  • Turkey’s EU accession talks at ‘standstill’: European ministers
  • Jordan, Palestine and Saudi Arabia warn Israel against Turkey

Economy and Energy:

  • Moody’s: Turkey downgrade review hinges on new government’s policies
  • Turkey’s foreign trade gap regresses to $5.5 bln in June: Ministry
  • Energy companies top Fortune 500 Turkey list
  • Turkey’s exports exceed $12 billion in June
  • Turkey’s external debt stock reaches $466.7 billion in first quarter
  • Turk Eximbank secures $550 million loan from abroad
  • Turkey says it won’t honor U.S. demand to stop buying Iran’s oil
  • Nearly 11.5 million foreigners visited Turkey in first five months

Domestic Politics:

  • Erdogan and his ally Bahceli agree to end emergency rule: Report
  • I will not run against Kilicdaroglu for leadership: CHP candidate Ince
  • Turkey seeks arrests of 138 for links to US-based cleric
  • After election boost, Turkey’s Erdogan may reward Nationalists with cabinet jobs
  • CHP spokesperson calls on Interior Minister to resign
  • Turkish court hears appeal of Wall Street Journal reporter sentenced to prison

 

Foreign Policy:

 

Trump and Erdogan talk on phone after Turkey elections

The Turkish presidency says President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke on the phone to U.S. President Donald Trump following Sunday’s elections. The statement on Tuesday said Trump congratulated Erdogan for his election victory and wished him success. The statement said they also stressed the Turkish-American “strategic partnership,” especially in defense and military relations. That included an emphasis on a “joint road map” recently struck for a key northern Syrian town.

Washington Post, Trump and Erdogan talk on phone after Turkey elections, June 26, 2018


U.S. senators meet Erdogan, demand pastor’s release

Two senior members of the United States’ Senate, Lindsey Graham and Jeanee Shaheen, have paid a previously undisclosed trip to the Turkish capital to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a direct appeal for the release of U.S. national Pastor Andrew Brunson who has been in prison for more than 20 months on terror charges.

Hurriyet Daily News, U.S. senators meet Erdogan, demand pastor’s release, June 30, 2018


U.S. official warns Turkey on F-35 deal over Russia system

A top U.S. State Department official warned Turkey on Tuesday that its purchase of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets would be jeopardized if it does not drop a plan to buy S-400 missile defense systems from Russia. If it buys the system, Turkey would also be subject to sanctions under a bill President Donald Trump signed into law last summer, Wess Mitchell, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, testified in the Senate.

Reuters, U.S. official warns Turkey on F-35 deal over Russia system, June 26, 2018


Trump promises Ankara to take necessary steps for F-35s: Turkish FM

U.S. President Donald Trump has promised Turkey that he would take necessary steps regarding F-35 fighter jets, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said. Speaking at a televised interview on June 29, Çavuşoğlu said there were no problems with the procurement of F-35 warplanes from the United Stated so far, and he did not think there would be any problems in the future. Çavuşoğlu said Turkey had conveyed discomfort about the issue to Trump, who said necessary steps would be taken.

Hurriyet Daily News, Trump promises Ankara to take necessary steps for F-35s: Turkish FM, June 29, 2018


Iraqi Kurdish PM congratulates Erdogan on election win

Prime Minister of Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Nechirvan Barzani on June 26 congratulated Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on his election win, expressing the desire to improve ties. “We congratulate you, your party…,” Barzani said, in a message he sent to Erdoğan, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.“We in the region emphasize on this occasion, our permanent desire to keep improving these relations,” he added.

Hurriyet Daily News, Iraqi Kurdish PM congratulates Erdogan on election win, June 27, 2018


Turkey’s EU accession talks at ‘standstill’: European ministers

Turkey’s EU accession talks have come to a “standstill” as the country moves further away from the bloc, with little prospect of change in the near future, EU ministers said on June 26, however at the same time praised Turkey for its “constructive cooperation” in addressing the migrant crisis. “The council [of ministers] notes that Turkey has been moving further away from the European Union,” EU affairs ministers meeting in Luxembourg said in a statement. “Turkey’s accession negotiations have therefore effectively come to a standstill and no further chapters can be considered for opening or closing and no further work towards the modernization of the EU-Turkey Customs Union is foreseen,” it said.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s EU accession talks at ‘standstill’: European ministers, June 27, 2018


Jordan, Palestine and Saudi Arabia warn Israel against Turkey

Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Palestine have warned Israel on separate occasions about Turkey’s creeping influence in occupied East Jerusalem, according to a report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz. The report notes that senior officials from the three Arab countries told Israel that Turkey was “extending its influence in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem” which they said was “part of an attempt by Turkish President Erdogan to “claim ownership over the Jerusalem issue”.

Al Jazeera, Jordan, Palestine and Saudi Arabia warn Israel against Turkey, June 29, 2018


Economy and Energy:

 

Moody’s: Turkey downgrade review hinges on new government’s policies

Credit rating agency Moody’s said on Tuesday that a review on a possible downgrade of Turkey’s sovereign credit rating will hinge on what policies the country’s government pursues following President Tayyip Erdogan’s election victory this week. “Turkey’s rating review announced earlier in June will focus on the incoming government’s capacity and intention to implement policies that would promote sustainable growth and protect the government’s fiscal strength,” Moody’s said in a statement.

Reuters, Moody’s: Turkey downgrade review hinges on new government’s policies, June 26, 2018


Turkey’s foreign trade gap regresses to $5.5 bln in June: Ministry

Turkey’s foreign trade deficit declined to $5.5 billion in June with a nearly 8.9 percent year-on-year decrease, preliminary data from the Customs and Trade Ministry has shown. While Turkey’s exports were nearly $13 billion in June with a 1.2 percent decline compared to the same month of 2017, its imports stood at $18.5 billion with a 3.6 percent year-on-year decline, according to the ministry data, as reported by Reuters on July 2.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s foreign trade gap regresses to $5.5 bln in June: Ministry, July 02, 2018


Energy companies top Fortune 500 Turkey list

Energy giants topped Turkey’s Fortune 500 list with oil refinery Tüpraş, owned by Koc Holding, being the champion with a net sales revenue of 53.9 billion Turkish Liras ($14.8 billion) in 2017. According to the list, which was released on July 2, EPİAŞ, also known as the Energy Exchange Istanbul (EXIST), came in second place with a net sales revenue of 41.2 billion liras ($11.3 billion). It was followed by fuel oil distribution and lubricants company Petrol Ofisi with 40.8 billion liras ($11.2 billion) in net sales.

Hurriyet Daily News, Energy companies top Fortune 500 Turkey list, July 02, 2018 


Turkey’s exports exceed $12 billion in June

Turkey’s exports in June surged 5 percent year-on-year, the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TİM) announced on July 1, with the European Union being the top market for the country again. Last month, the country’s exports totaled $12.6 billion while, for the January-June period, they amounted to nearly $82 billion—a 7.4 percent annual hike. In June, the EU was the main export market for Turkish products with 52 percent of total monthly exports. The automotive sector tops exports with $2.5 billion, followed by chemical products ($1.42 billion) and clothing ($1.36 billion).

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s exports exceed $12 billion in June, July 01, 2018


 Turkey’s external debt stock reaches $466.7 billion in first quarter

Turkey’s gross external debt stock stood at $466.67 billion, more than half of its gross domestic product (GDP) – 52.9 percent – at the end of March 2018, the Treasury announced on June 29.

According to the Treasury, the private sector’s share in the country’s gross external debt stock was 69.7 percent. Nearly 75 percent of the total gross external debt of the country consisted of long-term debts — with a maturity of more than one year.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s external debt stock reaches $466.7 billion in first quarter, June 29, 2018


Turk Eximbank secures $550 million loan from abroad

Turk Eximbank has secured a 10-year-term $550 million credit from a foreign banks consortium, the bank announced on June 29. The consortium—Standard Chartered Bank, BNP Paribas, ING Bank, Societe Generale, Citibank N.A. and Mitsubishi UFJ Bank—is under guarantee of the World Bank’s member, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), according to a press release.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turk Eximbank secures $550 million loan from abroad, June 29, 2018 


Turkey says it won’t honor U.S. demand to stop buying Iran’s oil

Turkey has said that it does not plan to honor a U.S. call for countries to stop importing oil from Iran, calling the demand “not binding” on Ankara. “We will follow if there are decisions, sanctions by the United Nations on this issue. Other than this, we will only follow our own interests,” Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said.

Radio Free Europe/Liberty, Turkey says it won’t honor U.S. demand to stop buying Iran’s oil, June 28, 2018


Nearly 11.5 million foreigners visited Turkey in first five months

Nearly 11.5 million foreigners visited Turkey in the first five months of the year, the Culture and Tourism Ministry announced on June 29. The ministry said the figure rose by 30.8 percent on a yearly basis, up from 8.8 million in January-May last year. Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city by population and one of its top tourist spots, saw the highest number of visitors, with nearly 4.9 million in the five-month period.

Hurriyet Daily News, Nearly 11.5 million foreigners visited Turkey in first five months, June 29, 2018


Domestic Politics:

 

Erdogan and his ally Bahceli agree to end emergency rule: Report

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli agreed not to extend the state of emergency, local media reported. Erdoğan and Bahçeli discussed the emergency rule issue on June 27 during their first in-person meeting after the June 24 polls in which the “People’s Alliance,” formed by Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), and the MHP won a parliamentary majority.

Hurriyet Daily News, Erdogan and his ally Bahceli agree to end emergency rule: Report, June 28, 2018


I will not run against Kilicdaroglu for leadership: CHP candidate Ince

Main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem Ince responded to inner-party debates and said he would not step up against CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu for the leadership, adding that he would continue his mission to be “the president of 81 million people.”

Hurriyet Daily News, I will not run against Kilicdaroglu for leadership: CHP candidate Ince, July 02, 2018


Turkey seeks arrests of 138 for links to US-based cleric

Turkey’s state-run news agency says authorities have issued initial detention warrants for 138 people, including military personnel, for suspected links to a network led by a U.S.-based cleric who Turkey accuses of orchestrating a 2016 failed coup attempt. The suspects include former police chiefs and police, ex-cadets, and some officers in the Coast Guard, the Navy and the Gendarmerie, Anadolu said in separate reports, and now await charges or dismissal.

The Washington Post, Turkey seeks arrests of 138 for links to US-based cleric, June 26, 2018


After election boost, Turkey’s Erdogan may reward Nationalists with cabinet jobs

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan could give his nationalist allies cabinet posts, sources said, rewarding their support for his AK Party in parliament and signaling a tough line against U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters in Syria and militants at home. “It is possible for there to be some names close to the MHP that the president deems appropriate in the cabinet,” an MHP official said, adding: “In the end, Erdogan will decide.”

Reuters, After election boost, Turkey’s Erdogan may reward Nationalists with cabinet jobs, June 27, 2018


CHP spokesperson calls on Interior Minister to resign

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) spokesperson Bulent Tezcan has called on Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu to resign after the former announced he instructed local governors to hinder CHP officials from attending the funerals of martyred Turkish Army members. His comments came after Soylu announced he had instructed his undersecretaries to order governors to ban CHP provincial heads from attending the funerals of martyrs of the Turkish Army.

Hurriyet Daily News, CHP spokesperson calls on Interior Minister to resign, June 28, 2018


Turkish court hears appeal of Wall Street Journal reporter sentenced to prison

A Turkish court heard an appeal Tuesday in the case of Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak, who was convicted last year of engaging in terrorist propaganda for an article she wrote about violence in southeastern Turkey. The Gaziantep appeals court requested additional information and set a new hearing date of Oct. 2.

Wall Street Journal, Turkish court hears appeal of Wall Street Journal reporter sentenced to prison, June 26, 2018