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Turkey Letter: July 9, 2018

Foreign Policy:

  • In northwest Syria, Turkey extends aid and casts big shadow
  • US expects release of Pastor Brunson for further progress in ties with Turkey
  • Ankara angry as Israel charges Turkish tourist with aiding Hamas
  • Russia is trying to ‘flip’ Turkey from NATO, Trump’s envoy says
  • Ankara to have minimum dialogue with new EU president Austria
  • Greece grants asylum to one more ex-Turkish soldier
  • Erdogan told US senators that imposing embargo on Iran is wrong: Turkish FM

Economy and Energy:

  • Stronger Turkey ties can give EU a trump card against US
  • Turkish inflation hits 14-year high, lira slides
  • Turkey removes clause on 5-year term for central bank governor
  • Turkey’s steel product exports up in June as US tariffs’ impact ‘limited’
  • Turkey’s defense industry exports hit $900 million in 2018
  • Turkey to sell four corvette ships to Pakistan: defense minister

Domestic Politics:

  • President Erdogan announces ministers of Turkey’s new cabinet
  • Turkey’s Erdogan sworn in with new presidential powers
  • Turkey State of Emergency Era is Coming to an End, Premier Says
  • Turkey purges more workers ahead of Erdogan swearing-in
  • Ince challenges CHP chair to step down from post
  • Turkey seeks to detain 271 military for alleged coup ties
  • Erdogan: Alliance with Turkey’s far-right party to continue

 

Foreign Policy:

 

In northwest Syria, Turkey extends aid and casts big shadow

The flags that fly over Afrin are both Syrian opposition and Turkish, but there is little doubt who is in control of this battle-scarred city. Nearly four months after Turkey-backed forces captured the northern Syrian enclave from a Kurdish militia, signs of Turkey’s influence are everywhere: from the soft drinks sold in dusty shops to the heavy presence of its security forces on the streets.

Reuters, In northwest Syria, Turkey extends aid and casts big shadow, July 2, 2018


US expects release of Pastor Brunson for further progress in ties with Turkey

The United States has set its sights on the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson and other detained American citizens in Turkey, along with jailed U.S. consulate personnel, in order to make further progress in other areas of cooperation between Ankara and Washington. U.S. Embassy Charge D’affaires Philip Kosnett said there is a “strong sense of unity in Congress between Republicans and Democrats” on the release of Brunson, who has been in prison for more than 20 months on terror charges.

Hurriyet Daily News, US expects release of Pastor Brunson for further progress in ties with Turkey, July 3, 2018


Ankara angry as Israel charges Turkish tourist with aiding Hamas

Israel charged a detained Turkish tourist on Sunday with helping smuggle money and packages to Palestinian militant group Hamas, in a case that has angered Ankara, which has vowed to retaliate. Ebru Ozkan, 27, has been held since last month when she was detained trying to board a flight in Tel Aviv. One of the charges she faces is for smuggling five bottles of perfume, which her lawyer ridiculed as trivial, saying she should be released.

Reuters, Ankara angry as Israel charges Turkish tourist with aiding Hamas, July 8, 2018


Russia is trying to ‘flip’ Turkey from NATO, Trump’s envoy says

United States Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said July 8 that Russia appeared to be trying to “flip” Turkey, a key member of the alliance, in a bid to undermine and destabilize NATO. “I do think Russia is trying to flip Turkey. They are trying to flip many of our allies,” Hutchison said on Fox News Sunday.

Hurriyet Daily News, Russia is trying to ‘flip’ Turkey from NATO, Trump’s envoy says, July 9, 2018


Ankara to have minimum dialogue with new EU president Austria

As Austria has taken over the rotating six-month presidency of the European Union in July, Ankara does not expect a considerable agenda with the new term president, even at refugee issue, given tensions between Ankara and Vienna. Ankara will likely to have “minimum dialogue” with the new term president Austria, a Turkish official told Hurriyet Daily News.

Hurriyet Daily News, Ankara to have minimum dialogue with new EU president Austria, July 3, 2018


Greece grants asylum to one more ex-Turkish soldier

Defying Turkey’s expectations of its neighbor, Greece has granted asylum to yet another ex-Turkish soldier suspected of involvement in the July 2016 coup attempt. A Greek asylum committee on July 5 decided to grant asylum to Ugur Uçan, one of eight former Turkish servicemen who fled to Greece just after coup attempt. Ucan became the third ex-soldier to have been provided asylum after the Greek Council of State also granted asylum to former soldiers Suleyman Ozkaynakçı and Ahmet Guzel in May.

Hurriyet Daily News, Greece grants asylum to one more ex-Turkish soldier, July 5, 2018


Erdogan told US senators that imposing embargo on Iran is wrong: Turkish FM

Turkey has warned the United States that the embargo imposed on Iran is a “mistake” and Washington “does not have the right” to force other countries to implement its unilateral decision, Turkish Foreign Minister has said. “The United States may take a decision, but it’s not right to impose this decision on other countries. We will continue our principled attitude,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told state-run Anadolu Agency on July 6.

Hurriyet Daily News, Erdogan told US senators that imposing embargo on Iran is wrong: Turkish FM, July 6, 2018


Economy and Energy:

 

Stronger Turkey ties can give EU a trump card against US

Improving trade ties with Turkey would make the European Union countries’ hands stronger against the U.S. amid a heating up trade war, according to Zümrüt İmamoğlu, the chief economist at Turkey’s leading business group, the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD).

Hurriyet Daily News, Stronger Turkey ties can give EU a trump card against US, July 9, 2018 


Turkish inflation hits 14-year high, lira slides

Turkish consumer price inflation jumped to a 14-year high in June, official data showed on Tuesday, driving the lira down and putting pressure on the central bank to raise interest rates further this month. Inflation rose to 15.39 percent year-on-year, the highest annual rate since 2004 after a new method of calculating price rises was introduced, and month-on-month CPI inflation leapt to 2.61 percent – nearly double the forecast in a Reuters poll.

Reuters, Turkish inflation hits 14-year high, lira slides, July 3, 2018


Turkey removes clause on 5-year term for central bank governor

Turkey on Monday removed a clause that stipulated a five-year term for the central bank governor, making the changes in an emergency decree published shortly before President Tayyip Erdogan took oath for his new presidential term. The decree, published in the government’s Official Gazette, removed a clause that had stated: “The governor is appointed by a cabinet decision for a term of five years. (The governor) can be re-appointed at the end of this period”.

Reuters, Turkey removes clause on 5-year term for central bank governor, July 9, 2018


Turkey’s steel product exports up in June as US tariffs’ impact ‘limited’

Turkey’s exports of steel products climbed 34 percent to $1.2 billion year-on-year in June on a value basis, according to the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TİM). In the first half of 2018, the country’s steel product exports also rose 22 percent from the same period last year, reaching $7.1 billion, indicated TİM data compiled by state-run Anadolu Agency on July 5. While the highest steel exports in January-June were made to Italy and Spain, the U.S. – last year’s top destination for Turkish steel – tumbled to third.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s steel product exports up in June as US tariffs’ impact ‘limited’, July 6, 2018


Turkey’s defense industry exports hit $900 million in 2018

Turkey’s aviation and defense industry exports saw an increase of nearly 14 percent compared to the same period last year, reaching over $900 million in the first half of 2018. The country’s aviation and defense industry exports also reached $1.85 billion in the most recent 12-month period, according to Turkish Exporters’ Assembly data compiled by state-run Anadolu Agency on July 2. Turkey’s exports in the first six months were $81.9 billion and in the last 12 months they were $161.5 billion. Over 1 percent of all exports came from the aviation and defense sectors.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s defense industry exports hit $900 million in 2018, July 3, 2018


Turkey to sell four corvette ships to Pakistan: defense minister

Turkey will sell four corvette ships to Pakistan’s navy, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli was quoted as saying by state-run Anadolu agency on Thursday. Turkey said last year it signed a memorandum of understanding for the sale, and Canikli said the tender was now finalized, describing it as Turkey’s biggest single military export deal and “a very important day” for the defense industry.

Reuters, Turkey to sell four corvette ships to Pakistan: defense minister, July 5, 2018


Domestic Politics:

 

President Erdogan announces ministers of Turkey’s new cabinet

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced the new ministers of his cabinet as Turkey officially switched to an executive presidency. Erdogan appointed Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar as the new defense minister and his son-in-law Berat Albayrak as the Treasury and Finance Minister in a 16-seat surprise cabinet with not much known bureaucratic figures, hours after he was sworn into office on July 9.

Hurriyet Daily News, President Erdogan announces ministers of Turkey’s new cabinet, July 9, 2018 


Turkey’s Erdogan sworn in with new presidential powers

Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in again as Turkey’s president on Monday, assuming sweeping powers he won in a referendum last year and sealed in a hard-fought re-election victory two weeks ago. “As president, I swear upon my honor and integrity, before the great Turkish nation and history, to work with all my power to protect and exalt the glory and honor of the Republic of Turkey,” Erdogan told parliament as he took the oath of office.

Reuters, Turkey’s Erdogan sworn in with new presidential powers, July 8, 2018 


Turkey State of Emergency Era is Coming to an End, Premier Says

Emergency rule won’t be extended after July 18, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Thursday in an interview on state-run TRT television. It first went into effect days after a failed coup in 2016 that the government blamed on followers of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric. Officials said Gulen’s supporters had spent some 40 years infiltrating state institutions and the measures were needed to remove them.

Bloomberg, Turkey State of Emergency Era is Coming to an End, Premier Says, July 5, 2018


Turkey purges more workers ahead of Erdogan swearing-in

Turkey has sacked another 18,000 state workers, in the latest purge triggered by a failed coup two years ago. Those dismissed include soldiers, police and academics. A TV channel and three newspapers have also been closed.

BBC, Turkey purges more workers ahead of Erdogan swearing-in, July 7, 2018


Ince challenges CHP chair to step down from post

Muharrem İnce, the defeated presidential candidate of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has said he has urged CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to step down and instead become “honorary leader” of the party in a snap convention that would elect İnce as party leader. “I proposed to him [Kılıçdaroğlu] that we hold an extraordinary convention. I told him he could become the honorary chairman and I could be the chair of the party,” İnce told reporters on July 3.

Hurriyet Daily News, Ince challenges CHP chair to step down from post, July 3, 2018


Turkey seeks to detain 271 military for alleged coup ties

Turkey’s state-run news agency says authorities have issued detention warrants for 271 soldiers over their suspected links to U.S.-based cleric who is blamed by Ankara for a failed coup attempt in 2016. The Anadolu Agency said police Friday launched operations in Istanbul and in 47 provinces across Turkey to detain the suspects who are believed to have been in secret contact with key operatives of cleric Fethullah Gulen’s network.

AP News, Turkey seeks to detain 271 military for alleged coup ties, July 6, 2018


Erdogan: Alliance with Turkey’s far-right party to continue

Turkey’s president says a pre-election alliance between his ruling party and the country’s nationalist party will continue. Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the comment Friday, days before he is scheduled to be sworn into a new five-year term in office with vastly expanded powers, after winning last month’s presidential race.

Washington Post, Erdogan: Alliance with Turkey’s far-right party to continue, July 6, 2018