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Turkey Letter: March 19, 2018

Foreign Policy:

  • Turkey-linked mosque attacked with Molotov cocktails in Germany
  • Turkey slams EU over migrant deal on eve of key Varna summit
  • Turkey vows to widen offensive to eastern Syria, Iraq
  • Turkey-backed forces capture Syrian Kurdish town of Afrin
  • Turkey won’t leave Afrin until the job is done: Erdoğan to European Parliament
  • Greek appeals court rejects Turkey’s request for extradition of eight soldiers
  • Turkish intelligence agency working to evacuate radical groups in Eastern Ghouta: Sources
  • Turkish Foreign Ministry denies reports that diplomats attempted to kidnap businessman in Switzerland
  • UK ends indefinite visa extensions for Turks
  • Turkey to host Syria summit with Russia, Iran on April 4

 

Economy and Energy:

  • Turkish Lira weakens to record low against euro as economy worries mount
  • Godiva Owner Agrees Debt Plan for $7 Billion Request
  • IMF lifts Turkey growth estimates in 2018, 2019
  • Turkey’s Çanakkale bridge, highway project secures 2.3 bln euro financing
  • Turkey’s industrial output surges as TÜİK changes base year in calculation
  • European Investment Bank approves 932 mln euro loan for TANAP pipeline
  • Turkey posts around $500 million budget deficit in February

 

Domestic Politics:

  • Veteran Turkish Journalist Released From Prison
  • Erdoğan approves much-discussed new Election Law amid opposition concern over fraud
  • Turkey’s top court rules for second time that rights of arrested journalist Şahin Alpay were violated
  • 231 undocumented migrants captured in Turkey’s northwest, east
  • At least 94 people detained ahead of Nevruz celebrations across Turkey
  • Former HDP deputy co-chair Tuğluk sentenced to 10 years in jail over ‘terror organization membership’
  • Ottoman Turkish should be taught in schools, Erdoğan says

Foreign Policy:

 

Turkey-linked mosque attacked with Molotov cocktails in Germany

A mosque in the southern German city of Ulm was attacked with Molotov cocktails early on March 19. State-run Anadolu Agency noted that the attacks came amid threats from groups linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to carry out more violence in Germany.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey-linked mosque attacked with Molotov cocktails in Germany, March 19, 2018  


Turkey slams EU over migrant deal on eve of key Varna summit

Turkey has strongly criticized the European Union for not keeping the promises it made to Turkey through a comprehensive migrant deal brokered in 2016, calling on the bloc to transfer 3 billion euros to be spent on Syrian refugees directly and without any delay.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey slams EU over migrant deal on eve of key Varna summit, March 19, 2018


Turkey vows to widen offensive to eastern Syria, Iraq

Turkey’s president on Monday the 19th vowed to expand military operations across northern Syria and even into neighboring Iraq after his forces drove Syrian Kurdish fighters from the northern Syrian town of Afrin.

Washington Post, Turkey vows to widen offensive to eastern Syria, Iraq, March 19, 2018


Turkey-backed forces capture Syrian Kurdish town of Afrin

Turkish military and allied Syrian forces marched into the center of the northern Syrian town of Afrin Sunday the 18th, raising their flags and shooting in the air in celebration nearly two months after launching their offensive on the Kurdish enclave. The advancing troops faced little resistance from the Kurdish militia that retreated and vowed to turn to guerrilla tactics.

Washington Post, Turkey-backed forces capture Syrian Kurdish town of Afrin, March 18, 2018


Turkey won’t leave Afrin until the job is done: Erdoğan to European Parliament

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed the European Parliament’s motion calling on Turkey to withdraw from Syria’s Afrin district, vowing that Turkish troops will continue the operation until the mission is completed.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey won’t leave Afrin until the job is done: Erdoğan to European Parliament, March 16, 2018


Greek appeals court rejects Turkey’s request for extradition of eight soldiers

A Greek appeals court on March 16 rejected a Turkish demand for the handover of eight Turkish soldiers accused of having a direct role in Turkey’s July 2016 coup attempt.

Hürriyet Daily News, Greek appeals court rejects Turkey’s request for extradition of eight soldiers, March 16, 2018


Turkish intelligence agency working to evacuate radical groups in Eastern Ghouta: Sources

The Turkish intelligence agency is undergoing efforts to remove radical groups from Eastern Ghouta through communication with moderate opposition groups in the field, in order to end the regime’s attacks on civilians in the last rebel stronghold that has been under siege by the Syrian government since 2013, according to sources.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkish intelligence agency working to evacuate radical groups in Eastern Ghouta: Sources, March 16, 2018


Turkish Foreign Ministry denies reports that diplomats attempted to kidnap businessman in Switzerland

The Foreign Ministry has denied allegations that Turkish diplomats planned to drug and kidnap a Swiss-Turkish businessman as part of a crackdown after the July 2016 coup attempt.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkish Foreign Ministry denies reports that diplomats attempted to kidnap businessman in Switzerland, March 16, 2018


UK ends indefinite visa extensions for Turks

Turkish businesspeople and their families in Britain under a popular visa program will no longer be eligible for a class of indefinite visa extensions, but will still be able to apply for multi-year extensions, the U.K. government announced March 16.

Hürriyet Daily News, UK ends indefinite visa extensions for Turks, March 16, 2018


Turkey to host Syria summit with Russia, Iran on April 4

The presidents of Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet for a three-way summit on Syria in Istanbul on April 4, the Turkish foreign ministry said on March 15.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey to host Syria summit with Russia, Iran on April 4, March 15, 2018


Economy and Energy:

 

Turkish Lira weakens to record low against euro as economy worries mount

The Turkish Lira weakened to a record low of nearly 4.84 against the euro on March 19 and hit the lowest level since early December against the dollar following investor concerns over the macroeconomic outlook and the prospect of U.S. interest rate hikes.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkish Lira weakens to record low against euro as economy worries mount, March 19, 2018


Godiva Owner Agrees Debt Plan for $7 Billion Request

Yildiz Holding AS, the global sweets company owned by Turkey’s richest man, reached an agreement to refinance as much as $7 billion of debt, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Bloomberg, Godiva Owner Agrees Debt Plan for $7 Billion Request, March 19, 2018


IMF lifts Turkey growth estimates in 2018, 2019

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised up its growth estimates for Turkey by 0.8 percent for 2018 and 2019. The IMF made the revision in a report to be submitted at the G-20 meetings of finance ministers and central bankers on March 19-20 in Argentina.

Hürriyet Daily News, IMF lifts Turkey growth estimates in 2018, 2019, March 16, 2018


 Turkey’s Çanakkale bridge, highway project secures 2.3 bln euro financing

Turkey’s 1915 Çanakkale Bridge and Highway project, a suspension bridge over the Dardanelles Straits, has secured 2.3 billion euro ($2.83 billion) of financing, Çanakkale Otoyol, the company formed by the consortium handling the project, said on March 16.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey’s Çanakkale bridge, highway project secures 2.3 bln euro financing, March 16, 2018


Turkey’s industrial output surges as TÜİK changes base year in calculation

Turkey’s calendar-adjusted industrial production surged 12 percent in January compared to the same month last year, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) announced on March 16. Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey’s industrial output surges as TÜİK changes base year in calculation, March 16, 2018


European Investment Bank approves 932 mln euro loan for TANAP pipeline

The European Investment Bank approved 932 million euros ($1.15 billion) in financing on March 15 for the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), the largest part of a $40 billion project to bring new gas supplies to Europe.

Hürriyet Daily News, European Investment Bank approves 932 mln euro loan for TANAP pipeline, March 16, 2018


Turkey posts around $500 million budget deficit in February

Turkey’s central government’s budget balance saw a deficit of 1.9 billion Turkish Liras ($502 million) in February, Finance Minister Naci Ağbal announced on March 15.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey posts around $500 million budget deficit in February, March 15, 2018


Domestic Politics:

 

Veteran Turkish Journalist Released From Prison

A prominent journalist accused of supporting Turkey’s failed coup was released from prison Saturday the 17th after a court ruling, according to the country’s official news agency. Sahin Alpay, a 74-year-old journalist who wrote for the now-defunct Zaman newspaper, was released from a prison on the outskirts of Istanbul early Saturday. Anadolu news agency said he has been banned from leaving his house and the country.

New York Times, Veteran Turkish Journalist Released From Prison, March 17, 2018


Erdoğan approves much-discussed new Election Law amid opposition concern over fraud

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has approved a set of controversial set of legal amendments overhauling Turkey’s election and political party laws, with opposition voices warning that the changes will undermine ballot box security ahead of key elections in 2019.

Hürriyet Daily News, Erdoğan approves much-discussed new Election Law amid opposition concern over fraud, March 16, 2018


Turkey’s top court rules for second time that rights of arrested journalist Şahin Alpay were violated

Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled on March 16 for a second time that the rights of arrested journalist Şahin Alpay have been violated, raising the prospect that he may be released from prison.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey’s top court rules for second time that rights of arrested journalist Şahin Alpay were violated, March 16, 2018


231 undocumented migrants captured in Turkey’s northwest, east

At least 231 undocumented migrants have been captured in northwestern and eastern Turkey, a security source said on March 15.

Hürriyet Daily News, 231 undocumented migrants captured in Turkey’s northwest, east, March 16, 2018


At least 94 people detained ahead of Nevruz celebrations across Turkey

At least 94 outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) suspects have been detained across Turkey during operations ahead of the spring festival of Nevruz, a security source said on March 16.

Hürriyet Daily News, At least 94 people detained ahead of Nevruz celebrations across Turkey, March 16, 2018


Former HDP deputy co-chair Tuğluk sentenced to 10 years in jail over ‘terror organization membership’

An Ankara court on March 16 sentenced former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy co-chair Aysel Tuğluk to 10 years in jail in a case in which she stands trial for “being the leader of a terror organization.”

Hürriyet Daily News, Former HDP deputy co-chair Tuğluk sentenced to 10 years in jail over ‘terror organization membership’, March 16, 2018


Ottoman Turkish should be taught in schools, Erdoğan says

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has once again said Ottoman Turkish should be taught in schools, accusing the early Republican period’s “language revolution” of “destroying” the Turkish language.

Hürriyet Daily News, Ottoman Turkish should be taught in schools, Erdoğan says, March 15, 2018