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Turkey Letter: June 11, 2018

Foreign Policy:

  • U.S. and Turkey agree on Kurds Withdrawal From Syrian Town
  • Turkey rejects threatening language from U.S. on F-35 purchase
  • Turkey taking closer aim at militants in northern Iraq: minister
  • Greece frees eight Turkish soldiers accused of coup links
  • Turkey halts migrant re-admission deal with Greece
  • Manbij Military Council rejects Turkish military presence in region
  • Turkey halts filling Tigris dam after Iraq complains of water shortages
  • Austria closes 7 mosques and seeks to expel imams paid by Turkey

Economy and Energy:

  • Turkey’s central bank raises rates again, says ready to tighten further
  • Turkey needs ‘big’ change, says opposition leader
  • Turkish Airlines named country’s most valuable brand
  • Turkey to open anti-dumping probes into U.S. companies: minister
  • World bank forecasts 4.5% 2018 growth in Turkey
  • Turkey, Iran help wealthy Qatar thrive, 1 year into blockade
  • Turkish President Erdogan claims foreigners are ‘playing games through currency’

Domestic Politics:

  • Turkey’s Erdogan says state of emergency may be lifted after June 24 elections
  • Turkey snap election: Europe-based Turks begin voting
  • Turkey’s presidential candidate looks to mend relations in region
  • Turkey’s Erdogan faces surprise test in tight vote
  • Turkey’s Ince galvanizes opposition hopes in presidential race
  • Erdoğan to AKP and MHP grassroots: Don’t harm ‘People’s Alliance’

 

Foreign Policy:

 

U.S. and Turkey agree on Kurds Withdrawal From Syrian Town

The U.S. and Turkey agreed on a plan to withdraw Kurdish fighters from Manbij during the June 4th meeting between Turkish FM Cavusoglu and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. American officials would not confirm details of the plan, but two officials said that it called for the eventual withdrawal of the Kurdish militia in Manbij.

New York Times, U.S. and Turkey agree on Kurds Withdrawal From Syrian Town, June 7, 2018


Turkey rejects threatening language from U.S. on F-35 purchase

Following the June 4th meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, FM Cavusoglu announced the delivery of F-35’s are to continue as planned and are to be delivered on June 21st. The threats of not receiving the F-35’s are due to U.S. opposition of Turkey’s decision to by S-400 missile defense systems from Russia, as well as the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey rejects threatening language from U.S. on F-35 purchase, June 5, 2018


Turkey taking closer aim at militants in northern Iraq: minister

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu announced that Turkey will aim to “neutralize” Kurdish militants in Qandil, which is a mountainous region in northern Iraq. Soylu also announced the decision to engage in these operations have nothing to do with the up-coming June 24th elections.

Reuters, Turkey taking closer aim at militants in northern Iraq: minister, June 6, 2018


Greece frees eight Turkish soldiers accused of coup links

Pending a ruling on their applications, eight Turkish servicemen have been freed after seeking asylum in Greece following the July 2016 coup. The lawyer for the soldiers said the last of his clients was released on June 4th, and all of the servicemen are living in a secret location under heavy police protection. Greek courts have rejected Turkish demands for extradition, claiming the servicemen would not receive a fair trial in Turkish courts.

Hurriyet Daily News, Greece frees eight Turkish soldiers accused of coup links, June 5, 2018


Turkey halts migrant re-admission deal with Greece

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced Turkey has suspended its migrant re-admission deal with Greece after Greece released four Turkish soldiers who fled there after the 2016 coup attempt. “We have a bilateral readmission agreement. We have suspended that readmission agreement,” said Cavusoglu.

Reuters, Turkey suspends migrant re-admission deal with Greece, June 7, 2018


Manbij Military Council rejects Turkish military presence in region

The U.S. backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced they will not accept a Turkish military presence in Manbij. The decision comes after the U.S. and Turkey reached an agreement for jointly administering Manbij.

Reuters, Manbij Military Council rejects Turkish military presence in region, June 6, 2018


Turkey halts filling Tigris dam after Iraq complains of water shortages

Turkey has temporarily halted filling a huge dam on the Tigris River after complaints of water shortages from Iraq. The filling will continue starting on July 1st, with Turkish political leaders promising that water will still flow into Iraq in accordance with both countries agreement.

Reuters, Turkey halts filling Tigris dam after Iraq complains of water shortages, June 7, 2018


Austria closes 7 mosques and seeks to expel imams paid by Turkey

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of Austria on Friday ordered the closing of seven mosques and the scrutiny of the right of dozens of Turkish imams to remain in the country, citing suspected violations of an Austrian law that bans “political Islam” or foreign financing of Muslim institutions.

New York Times, Austria closes 7 mosques and seeks to expel imams paid by Turkey, June 8, 2018


Economy and Energy:

 

Turkey’s central bank raises rates again, says ready to tighten further

Turkey’s central bank ramped up its benchmark interest rate to 17.75 percent on Thursday. The currency initially rallied some two percent against the dollar after the 125 basis-point increase. Bond yields fell and stocks advanced. The bank has now raised rates by 4.25 percentage points since late May, when it announced a dramatic three percentage-point increase at an emergency meeting to stem the rout in the lira.

Reuters, Turkey’s central bank raises rates again, says ready to tighten further, June 7, 2018


Turkey needs ‘big’ change, says opposition leader

Turkey needs a “big” change, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu said on Tuesday. His remarks came during a meeting with Erol Bilecik, chairman of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD), in Istanbul. Bilecik said they not only discussed the economy, but also exchanged views on current EU membership and Customs Union processes as well as gender inequalities.

Anadolu Agency, Turkey needs ‘big’ change, says opposition leader, June, 5, 2018


 Turkey GDP growth tops forecasts; Q2 slowdown seen

The Turkish economy grew at faster pace than expected in the first quarter, mainly on the back of domestic demand and imports, but analysts expect the economy will slow down in the remainder of the year. Gross domestic product expanded by an annualized 7.4% in the January-to-March period, the state statistics agency said Monday. The figure beat the 7% forecast given by analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal.

Market Watch, Turkey GDP growth tops forecasts; Q2 slowdown seen, June 11, 2018


Turkish Airlines named country’s most valuable brand

A leading London-based firm has named Turkey’s national flag carrier Turkish Airlines as the country’s most valuable brand for 2018. The airlines topped the list of top 100 Turkish brands for this year with a brand value worth more than $2 billion, according to Brand Finance’s survey. The airline was able to pass Turk Telekom, which was the country’s most valuable brand last year, as the most valuable brand.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish Airlines named country’s most valuable brand, June 5, 2018


Turkey to open anti-dumping probes into U.S. companies: minister

Turkey will open anti-dumping investigations into U.S. companies in the wake of new U.S. import tariffs on steel and aluminum, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci was cited as saying by the private Dogan news agency. “However the USA looks at our products, we will look at their products in the same way. We will launch important processes within a few days,” Zeybekci was quoted as telling reporters in the town of Denizli on Thursday.

U.S. News, Turkey to open anti-dumping probes into U.S. companies: minister, June 8, 2018


World bank forecasts 4.5% 2018 growth in Turkey

The World Bank has forecasted that the Turkish economy will grow to 4.5 percent in 2018 in its June 2018 Global Economic Prospects report. Turkey’s economy would grow at 4 percent in 2019 and 2020, according to the World Bank forecasts in the latest report.

Hurriyet Daily News, World bank forecasts 4.5% 2018 growth in Turkey, June 6, 2018


Turkey, Iran help wealthy Qatar thrive, 1 year into blockade

It’s been a year since three of Qatar’s neighbors plus Egypt severed ties with the tiny Gulf state, cut off exports, expelled their citizens and banned Qatari flights from using their airports and airspace. Doha has weathered the storm by drawing from its substantial cash reserves, deepening alliances with Turkey and Iran, and using its strategic location in the Persian Gulf as the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas to continue shipments to major world powers.

New York Times, Turkey, Iran help wealthy Qatar thrive, 1 year into blockade, June 5, 2018


Turkish President Erdogan claims foreigners are ‘playing games through currency’

President Erdogan has once again claimed that dark foreign powers are trying to “manipulate” the Turkish economy by “playing on currencies,” vowing to “settle the score” with them after the June 24 snap elections.“Turkey’s economy, in all areas, is now far beyond developed countries,” Erdoğan said at a rally in the province of Sakarya on June 5.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish President Erdogan claims foreigners are ‘playing games through currency’, June 5, 2018


Domestic Politics:

 

Turkey’s Erdogan says state of emergency may be lifted after June 24 elections

Turkey may lift a state of emergency, imposed shortly after a failed coup attempt in 2016, after the June 24 elections, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday. Speaking in an interview with CNN Turk, Erdogan said the issue of lifting the emergency rule would be discussed after the snap presidential and parliamentary elections later this month.

Reuters, Turkey’s Erdogan says state of emergency may be lifted after June 24 elections, June 7, 2018


Turkey snap election: Europe-based Turks begin voting

It is estimated that as many as 3.5 million Turks living abroad can participate in the vote for president and a new parliament. The largest Turkish community is located in Germany.

Al-Jazeera, Turkey snap election: Europe-based Turks begin voting, June, 8, 2018 


Turkey’s presidential candidate looks to mend relations in region

Turkey will work to create a “basin of friendship” in the Middle East if presidential candidate Muharrem Ince wins the June 24 election, he has told Al Jazeera. “Under our rule, we will work hard to re-establish brotherhood between all Middle Eastern countries and peoples based on mutual trust and try to create a basin of friendship in the region,” Ince said.

Al-Jazeera, Turkey’s presidential candidate looks to mend relations in region, June 7, 2018


Turkey’s Erdogan faces surprise test in tight vote

The CHP has since named a fiery and increasingly popular presidential candidate; it helped the new nationalist Iyi (Good) Party to run by “lending” the party 15 of its own MPs; the opposition formed a broad alliance for the first time to ensure smaller parties cross the high parliamentary threshold; and the Turkish lira plunged to new depths against the dollar, at one point down 20% compared to the start of the year, shaking confidence further in Erdoganomics. And yet the president remains a formidable political animal. He has won every electoral test over 15 years in power; around 90% of Turkish media is pro-government; his conservative support base adores him; and opinion polls still put him comfortably ahead of his rivals – just perhaps not enough for an outright win in the presidential election and possibly not enough to retain his party’s parliamentary majority.

BBC, Turkey’s Erdogan faces surprise test in tight vote, June 8, 2018


Turkey’s Ince galvanizes opposition hopes in presidential race

Presidential candidate Muharrem Ince has stormed to the Turkish political scene as a strong challenger against President Erdogan. Ince has used various attacks on Erdogan to galvanize his opposition in what should be a close presidential race. He often brings up Erdogan’s alleged corruption; when Erdogan derided him as a “poor fellow,” he said he preferred to be poor than of “dubious wealth.” e has cultivated the support of the Kurds — a risky move in a political climate dominated by nationalist bluster. He went to see the Kurdish challenger, Selahattin Demirtas, in Edirne prison, where he is detained on charges of terrorism. These moves are clearly designed to win the Kurdish vote in a possible runoff.

Al-Monitor, Turkey’s Ince galvanizes opposition hopes in presidential race, June 5, 2018


Erdoğan to AKP and MHP grassroots: Don’t harm ‘People’s Alliance’

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on the grassroots of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to not give any damage to the two parties’ “People’s Alliance,” after the MHPleader also blasted rumblings of discontent in both parties.

Hurriyet Daily News, Erdoğan to AKP and MHP grassroots: Don’t harm ‘People’s Alliance’, June 8, 2018