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Turkey Letter: June 18, 2018

Foreign Policy:

  • Turkish forces enter outskirts of Syria’s Manbij as part of deal with U.S.
  • US ready for Manbij-focused roadmap with Turkey: Mattis
  • Turkish military says destroys 12 targets in northern Iraq
  • Turkey says Iran supports potential Turkish operation in northern Iraq
  • Congress splits over F-35’s sale to Turkey
  • Turkey proposes Russia ‘joint production of S-500 missiles’
  • S. senator introduces bill for sanctions against Turkey
  • Russia, Iran, Turkey to meet on Syrian constitutional committee: UN
  • Turkish military says destroys 12 targets in northern Iraq
  • Turkey hails historic North Korea, US summit
  • 5 million more people may flock to Turkey from Syria’s Idlib: UN

Economy and Energy:

  • Turkey’s industrial output goes up in April
  • Turkey wants to tighten up China textile imports: clothing firms
  • Turkish economy’s financial assets reach nearly $3 trillion
  • Carmakers lead Turkey’s 2017 top exporters list
  • First gas arrives in Turkey through pipeline from Azerbaijan
  • New train line to connect Turkey, Europe: Turkish PM
  • Turkish economy needs ‘deep-rooted’ transformation for sustainable growth: Simsek

Domestic Politics:

  • Jailed presidential candidate of HDP makes landmark pre-recorded election speech from prison
  • Turkey election: Four dead in clash as pre-poll tensions rises
  • Leaked video showing Erdogan calling for ‘tight marking’ of HDP goes viral
  • Relatively low turnout so far in Germany in landmark Turkish snap election
  • Erdogan slams jailed HDP presidential candidate Demirtas
  • Turkey elections: Opposition finally unifies against President Erdogan
  • Istanbul court orders CHP leader Kilicdaroglu to pay 142,000 liras in ‘offshore case’ involving Erdogan
  • Ex-footballers face jail terms in Turkey’s coup probe

 

Foreign Policy:

 

Turkish forces enter outskirts of Syria’s Manbij as part of deal with U.S.

Turkish military forces have entered the outskirts of the northern Syrian town of Manbij as part of a deal agreed with the United States, Turkish media reported on June 18, citing local sources. “We had told that terror organizations will leave Manbij. We had also talked about patrol missions in Manbij. They started,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in the Black Sea province of Samsun on June 18.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish forces enter outskirts of Syria’s Manbij as part of deal with U.S., June 18, 2018


US ready for Manbij-focused roadmap with Turkey: Mattis

“We are prepared to go forward with the collaboration across the forward line of our own troops, which starts with knowing where each of us is at,” Mattis told reporters, referring to Turkish military forces. “Then start patrols on each side, saying ‘I see you, you see me’ and then probably some kind of collaborative patrols inside that pocket,” Mattis said.

Hurriyet Daily News, US ready for Manbij-focused roadmap with Turkey: Mattis, June 12, 2018


Turkish military says destroys 12 targets in northern Iraq

The Turkish military destroyed 12 targets in northern Iraq belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in overnight air strikes, it said on Tuesday, as the army steps up operations against militant targets in the Qandil region.

Reuters, Turkish military says destroys 12 targets in northern Iraq, June 12, 2018


Turkey says Iran supports potential Turkish operation in northern Iraq

Iran has voiced support for a potential Turkish operation against Kurdish militants just over its border in northern Iraq, Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Tuesday. The Turkish military has ramped up air strikes in northern Iraq targeting Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in Qandil, close to the Iraq-Iran border, where high-ranking members of the militant group are thought to be located.

Reuters, Turkey says Iran supports potential Turkish operation in northern Iraq, June 12, 2018


Congress splits over F-35’s sale to Turkey

Senate debate ahead of this week’s vote on annual defense legislation has laid bare deep divisions among lawmakers who broadly agree that Congress should push back against Ankara’s moves to imprison a US pastor and buy Russian weapons. The dispute is fueled in part by competing parochial interests pitting US defense industry jobs against human rights concerns. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has pushbacked against these measures, which he believes will hurt the US defense sector.

Al- Monitor, Congress splits over F-35’s sale to Turkey, June 12, 2018


Turkey proposes Russia ‘joint production of S-500 missiles

Turkey has proposed Russia the joint production of S-500 anti-ballistic missile systems, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has revealed, reiterating his government’s determination in deploying the S-400 missile systems on Turkish soil, despite opposition from the United States.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey proposes Russia ‘joint production of S-500 missiles, June 14, 2018


U.S. senator introduces bill for sanctions against Turkey

U.S Senator and Helsinki Commission Chairman Roger Wicker introduced a bipartisan resolution on June 12 urging President Donald Trump to take action against seven countries, including Turkey, for what it described as violations of religious freedom.

Hurriyet Daily News, U.S. senator introduces bill for sanctions against Turkey, June 13, 2018


Russia, Iran, Turkey to meet on Syrian constitutional committee: UN

Senior officials from Iran, Russia and Turkey will meet in Geneva on June 18-19 for consultations with the United Nations about setting up a constitutional committee for Syria, according to U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura.

Reuters, Russia, Iran, Turkey to meet on Syrian constitutional committee: UN, June 13, 2018


Turkey hails historic North Korea, US summit

Turkey has hailed the historic summit between the United States and North Korean leaders as a “turning point” in diplomatic efforts on the Korean peninsula. The summit is a “consequential opportunity” of great importance for the region and world peace, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on June 12.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey hails historic North Korea, US summit, June 13, 2018


2.5 million more people may flock to Turkey from Syria’s Idlib: UN

The U.N. humanitarian agency’s top official for Syria has expressed concerns about recent airstrikes in rebel-held Idlib province, warning that “we may have not seen the worst of the crisis” in Syria even after seven years of war. “With this escalation, with this deterioration, we worry about seeing really two and a half million people becoming displaced more and more toward the border of Turkey if this is to continue,” Panos Moumtzis of U.N. OCHA said on June 11.

Hurriyet Daily News, 2.5 million more people may flock to Turkey from Syria’s Idlib: UN, June 12, 2018


Economy and Energy:

 

Turkey’s industrial output goes up in April

Turkey’s calendar-adjusted industrial production rose by 6.2 percent year-on-year in April, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) announced on June 13. Among three main sub-indices, the mining and quarrying index saw the highest annual increase in the month, up 10.1 percent from the same month last year.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s industrial output goes up in April, June 13, 2018


Turkey wants to tighten up China textile imports: clothing firms

Turkey wants to impose new requirements on textile firms importing material from China, alarming leaders of one of the country’s biggest export industries, three clothing company executives told Reuters.

Reuters, Turkey wants to tighten up China textile imports: clothing firms, June 13, 2018


Turkish economy’s financial assets reach nearly $3 trillion

The Turkish economy’s total financial assets were 11.29 trillion Turkish Liras ($2.97 trillion) as of the fourth quarter of 2017, its central bank announced on June 14. The Central Bank’s “Financial Accounts Report” showed the economy’s liabilities were 12.97 trillion liras ($3.41 trillion). This figure created a net liability of 1.68 trillion liras ($441.8 billion) to the rest of the world, according to the report.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish economy’s financial assets reach nearly $3 trillion, June 14, 2018


Carmakers lead Turkey’s 2017 top exporters list

Carmakers were ranked as one of Turkey’s largest three exporters in 2017, with Ford Otosan, a joint venture between Ford Motor and Turkey’s Koç Holding, topping the list with an export volume of $4.79 billion. According to the “Top 1,000 Exporters in 2017” list by a sector association, Ford Otosan was followed by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Turkey with $4.44 billion and Tofas, another joint venture of Koç with Fiat, by making an around $3.2 billion worth of exports last year.

Hurriyet Daily News, Carmakers lead Turkey’s 2017 top exporters list, June 12, 2018


First gas arrives in Turkey through pipeline from Azerbaijan

The Turkish and Azerbaijani presidents on Tuesday inaugurated a key pipeline carrying natural gas from Azerbaijan’s gas fields to Turkish markets and eventually to Europe, part of a wider Southern Gas Corridor project that aims to diversify gas supplies and reduce countries’ dependence on Russia.

CNBC, First gas arrives in Turkey through pipeline from Azerbaijan, June 13, 2018


New train line to connect Turkey, Europe: Turkish PM

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said June 12 Turkey will begin building its part of a new high speed train project that will be part of the Trans-European transportation corridor. Speaking at a joint news conference with his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov in the western İzmir province, Yıldırım said: “We are starting the new high speed train project in a few months, which is Turkey’s part of the Trans-European transportation corridor.”

Hurriyet Daily News, New train line to connect Turkey, Europe: Turkish PM, June 12, 2018


Turkish economy needs ‘deep-rooted’ transformation for sustainable growth: Simsek

Turkey needs “deep-rooted, sectoral transformation” in the economy for sustainable growth, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said on June 12. His remarks came a day after the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) revealed that the country’s economy expanded by 7.4 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish economy needs ‘deep-rooted’ transformation for sustainable growth: Simsek, June 12, 2018


Domestic Politics:

 

Jailed presidential candidate of HDP makes landmark pre-recorded election speech from prison

Selahattin Demirtas the jailed presidential candidate of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), made his campaign speech on the state broadcaster TRT on June 17 from prison, marking a first in Turkey and the world’s political history. Wearing a dark suit, Demirtaş appeared for the first time in front of the cameras after nearly 20 months, denouncing what he called the government’s “repressive regime” ahead of the very early presidential election set to be held on June 24.

Hurriyet Daily News, Jailed presidential candidate of HDP makes landmark pre-recorded election speech from prison, June 18, 2018


Turkey election: Four dead in clash as pre-poll tensions rises

The clash broke out in the mainly Kurdish town of Suruc, when an MP from the ruling AKP, Ibrahim Halil Yildiz, was touring some shops. Pro-government and pro-Kurdish accounts of the incident differ significantly.

BBC, Turkey election: Four dead in clash as pre-poll tensions rises, June 15, 2018


Leaked video showing Erdogan calling for ‘tight marking’ of HDP goes viral

A leaked video showing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan instructing his party’s local organizations to put “tight marking” on voters in order to bring the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) below the 10 percent threshold has gone viral on social media.

Hurriyet Daily News, Leaked video showing Erdogan calling for ‘tight marking’ of HDP goes viral, June 14, 2018


Relatively low turnout so far in Germany in landmark Turkish snap election

The turnout among Turkish voters in Germany for Turkey’s snap presidential and parliamentary elections has so far been relatively low, German news agency DPA has reported, citing official data. The data shows that only a quarter of registered voters living in Germany have cast their votes in the snap elections since the ballot boxes were placed in various locations on June 7.

Hurriyet Daily News, Relatively low turnout so far in Germany in landmark Turkish snap election, June 15, 2018


Erdogan slams jailed HDP presidential candidate Demirtas

President Erdogan has blasted Selahattin Demirtas the jailed presidential nominee of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), saying his nomination should be “corrected.” He suggested that the HDP candidate is being tried for “serious crimes that necessitate the dismissal of his nomination.”

Hurriyet Daily News, Erdogan slams jailed HDP presidential candidate Demirtas, June 13, 2018


Turkey elections: Opposition finally unifies against President Erdogan

Sensing an opening, Turkey’s often divided opposition parties have started to come together. Four parties, including the CHP, the nationalist Good Party and the Islamist Felicity Party formed a coalition to compete in the parliamentary elections, broadening their ideological appeal. The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, did not join the coalition. But Ince, the CHP candidate, visited Demirtas in prison and has recently reached out to Turkey’s Kurds, a critical voting bloc, during his campaign rallies.

Washington Post, Turkey elections: Opposition finally unifies against President Erdogan, June 15, 2018


Istanbul court orders CHP leader Kilicdaroglu to pay 142,000 liras in ‘offshore case’ involving Erdogan

An Istanbul court has ordered main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu to pay immaterial compensation of 142,000 Turkish Liras in a criminal complaint case filed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Doğan News Agency has reported. The complaint filed by Erdogan was the second in a row over offshore accounts that Kılıçdaroğlu alleged the president and his relatives hold in the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland.

Hurriyet Daily News, Istanbul court orders CHP leader Kilicdaroglu to pay 142,000 liras in ‘offshore case’ involving Erdogan, June 13, 2018


Ex-footballers face jail terms in Turkey’s coup probe

Six former Turkish footballers, most of them ex-national team players, face up to 15 years in jail on charges of membership of the group blamed for the July 2016 military coup attempt, the indictment in the case showed on June 13.

Hurriyet Daily News, Ex-footballers face jail terms in Turkey’s coup probe, June 13, 2018