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Turkey Letter: March 26, 2018

Foreign Policy:

  • EU-Turkey Summit Underscores Deteriorating State of Relations
  • Turkish Embassy in Belgium comes under paint attack
  • Turkish military continues to clear landmines and IEDs in Syria’s Afrin
  • Turkey to intervene in Sinjar if Iraq doesn’t: Erdoğan
  • Erdoğan: Tal Rifaat to be taken soon
  • Turkish army discovers secret tunnel leading to underground hospital wing in Afrin
  • Turkish Army and Allies in ‘Total Control’ of Syria’s Afrin
  • S. Steel Tariffs Meet Barrage of Criticism at WTO
  • EU Leaders Condemn Turkish Actions in Mediterranean Gas Standoff
  • US Pastor Faces 35 Years in Jail in Turkey for Terror Links

 

Economy and Energy:

  • Investment in first indigenous car amounts to $3 billion: Minister Özlü
  • Pro-Erdogan Group Agrees to Buy Owner of Hurriyet Newspaper, CNN Turk
  • Serbia Negotiating $400 Million Infrastructure Loan From Turkey
  • Turkey: Ship to Drill Soon for Gas in Sea Near Cyprus

 

Domestic Politics:

  • Prosecutor demands arrest of Soma Holding chair
  • Child protection councils to be set up across Turkey: Family minister
  • Turkish police detain students after Erdoğan’s ‘terrorist’ rebuke
  • 24 PKK militants ‘neutralized’ across Turkey last week: Ministry
  • Turkey Targets 155 Suspected Gulenists in New Operations, Police, Media Say
  • Turkey Moves to Supervise Online Content, Tightens Grip on Media

Foreign Policy:

 

EU-Turkey Summit Underscores Deteriorating State of Relations

A group of 10 to 12 people suspected to be linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (European Union and Turkish leaders held a tense summit Monday the 16th, as friction over the Turkish president’s human-rights record eroded remaining hopes of the country’s accession to the EU and Western powers express concern over new military intervention by Ankara in the Syrian conflict.

Wall Street Journal, EU-Turkey Summit Underscores Deteriorating State of Relations, March 26, 2018


Turkish Embassy in Belgium comes under paint attack

A group of 10 to 12 people suspected to be linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attacked the Turkish Embassy and consulate general buildings with paint in Brussels on March 25.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkish Embassy in Belgium comes under paint attack, March 26, 2018


Turkish military continues to clear landmines and IEDs in Syria’s Afrin

The Turkish military has been continuing to clear landmines and improvised explosive devices (IED) in the northwestern Syrian district of Afrin after Turkish forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) took control of the enclave on March 18 as part of “Operation Olive Branch.”

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkish military continues to clear landmines and IEDs in Syria’s Afrin, March 26, 2018


Turkey to intervene in Sinjar if Iraq doesn’t: Erdoğan

Turkey will launch an operation into Iraq’s northern Sinjar region if Iraqi forces do not fully carry out an operation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed, while an Iraqi military spokesperson said their army was deployed in the region controlled by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey to intervene in Sinjar if Iraq doesn’t: Erdoğan, March 26, 2018


Erdoğan: Tal Rifaat to be taken soon

Syria’s Tal Rifaat will be the next target in Turkey’s military operation into Afrin, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

Hürriyet Daily News, Erdoğan: Tal Rifaat to be taken soon, March 25, 2018


Turkish army discovers secret tunnel leading to underground hospital wing in Afrin

The Turkish military have discovered a hidden, 50-meter-long tunnel leading to an underground hospital wing during security sweeps in the town center of the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on March 25.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkish army discovers secret tunnel leading to underground hospital wing in Afrin, March 25, 2018


Turkish Army and Allies in ‘Total Control’ of Syria’s Afrin

The Turkish army and Syrian opposition fighters it backs have “total control” of the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria, according to the country’s official news agency on Saturday the 24th, nearly a week after they captured the main town that carries the same name.

New York Times, Turkish Army and Allies in ‘Total Control’ of Syria’s Afrin, March 24, 2018


U.S. Steel Tariffs Meet Barrage of Criticism at WTO

U.S. President Donald Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs met a barrage of criticism at a World Trade Organization meeting on Friday the 23rd, as the European Union, Japan, Australia and others joined a debate started by China and Russia.

New York Times, U.S. Steel Tariffs Meet Barrage of Criticism at WTO, March 23, 2018


EU Leaders Condemn Turkish Actions in Mediterranean Gas Standoff

European Union leaders will condemn what they see as Turkey’s illegal actions in a standoff over eastern Mediterranean gas reserves with bloc members Greece and Cyprus, in a joint statement to be issued on the 22nd.

New York Times, EU Leaders Condemn Turkish Actions in Mediterranean Gas Standoff, March 22, 2018


US Pastor Faces 35 Years in Jail in Turkey for Terror Links

An American pastor has been charged in Turkey with engaging in espionage and having links to terror groups, crimes that carry a potential sentence of up to 35 years in prison, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported the 20th.

New York Times, US Pastor Faces 35 Years in Jail in Turkey for Terror Links, March 20, 2018


 

Economy and Energy:

 

Turkish airline Pegasus receives $5.5 billion gov’t incentive to invest in planes

Turkish budget airline Pegasus has received an incentive certificate worth more than 22 billion Turkish Liras ($5.55 billion) to invest in 167 planes, Turkey’s official gazette said on March 26.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkish airline Pegasus receives $5.5 billion gov’t incentive to invest in planes, March 26, 2018


Investment in first indigenous car amounts to $3 billion: Minister Özlü

The launch of Turkey’s first indigenous car, which will amount to a total investment of $3 billion, may take place at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt in September 2019, according to a statement by Science, Industry and Technology Minister Faruk Özlü on March 25. Hürriyet Daily News, Investment in first indigenous car amounts to $3 billion: Minister Özlü, March 26, 2018


Pro-Erdogan Group Agrees to Buy Owner of Hurriyet Newspaper, CNN Turk

Turkey’s Demiroren Holding, an unlisted firm seen as backing President Tayyip Erdogan, has agreed to buy the respected Hurriyet newspaper and broadcaster CNN Turk, an official said, a deal that could further cement media support for the government.

New York Times, Pro-Erdogan Group Agrees to Buy Owner of Hurriyet Newspaper, CNN Turk, March 21, 2018


Serbia Negotiating $400 Million Infrastructure Loan From Turkey

Serbia is negotiating a $400 million (£285.66 million) loan from Turkey’s Exim Bank to develop infrastructure it needs to spur investments and growth, Serbia’s trade minister said on the 20th.

New York Times, Serbia Negotiating $400 Million Infrastructure Loan From Turkey, March 20, 2018


Turkey: Ship to Drill Soon for Gas in Sea Near Cyprus

Turkey’s president says the country’s new drillship will “very soon” begin exploratory drilling in the eastern Mediterranean Sea in response to an offshore gas search by the government of ethnically divided Cyprus.

New York Times, Turkey: Ship to Drill Soon for Gas in Sea Near Cyprus, March 20, 2018


Domestic Politics:

 

Prosecutor demands arrest of Soma Holding chair

A prosecutor demanded the arrest of Soma Holding’s chairman Alp Gürkan on March 26 over the 2014 disaster that claimed the lives of 301 miners in the Soma district of the Aegean province of Manisa.

Hürriyet Daily News, Prosecutor demands arrest of Soma Holding chair, March 26, 2018


Child protection councils to be set up across Turkey: Family minister

Child protection councils against child abuse will be set up in all of Turkey’s 81 provinces, Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya has said.

Hürriyet Daily News, Child protection councils to be set up across Turkey: Family minister, March 26, 2018


 Turkish police detain students after Erdoğan’s ‘terrorist’ rebuke

Police on March 25 were holding seven students from Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused them of behaving like “terrorists” for staging a protest opposing Turkey’s military campaign in Syria.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkish police detain students after Erdoğan’s ‘terrorist’ rebuke, March 26, 2018


24 PKK militants ‘neutralized’ across Turkey last week: Ministry

Turkey “neutralized” 24 outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in counter-terror operations between March 19 and 26, the Interior Ministry announced on March 26.

Hürriyet Daily News, 24 PKK militants ‘neutralized’ across Turkey last week: Ministry, March 26, 2018


Turkey Targets 155 Suspected Gulenists in New Operations, Police, Media Say

Turkish authorities began rounding up 155 suspected followers of the cleric Fethullah Gulen on Friday the 23rd, police and media said.

New York Times, Turkey Targets 155 Suspected Gulenists in New Operations, Police, Media Say, March 23, 2018


 Turkey Moves to Supervise Online Content, Tightens Grip on Media

Turkey’s parliament has approved a bill granting the radio and television watchdog authority to regulate online content, fuelling concerns about further restrictions on the media.

New York Times, Turkey Moves to Supervise Online Content, Tightens Grip on Media, March 22, 2018