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Turkey Letter: May 21, 2018

Foreign Policy: 

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu to meet Pompeo on June 4 
  • CHP presidential candidate warns ‘key US base to close if Gülen not extradited’ 
  • Congress puts US military sales to Turkey in jeopardy 
  • Turkey to respond to US over steel, aluminum tariffs 
  • Turkey’s Erdogan seeks expatriate support for re-election 
  • At OIC, Turkey urges Muslim nations to support Palestinians 
  • Turkey slams US sentencing of Turkish banker on Iran scheme 
  • Turkey expels Israeli ambassador amid international outrage over Gaza killings

Economy and Energy: 

  • Lira Extends Slide to Record as Rising Treasury Yield Fuels Rout 
  • Turkish banking system outlook is negative: Moody’s 
  • Turkey’s leader is helping to crash its currency 
  • Turkish Hotelier Sees Opportunity in Lira Decline for Expansion 
  • Turkey’s unemployment rate fell to 10.6 pct in February 
  • Industrial production rises nearly 10 percent in first quarter 
  • Transition of Doğan’s media assets to Demirören group completed

Domestic Politics: 

  • Parties’ candidate MP lists stir debate 
  • Turkish opposition parties vow to work together to ensure election safety 
  • Erdoğan says ‘prepared’ for hung parliament after snap polls 
  • Thousands of Turks protest Israeli killing of Palestinians 
  • CHP leader slams gov’t’s interest rate policy 
  • Prominent journalist Ahmet Şık to run for MP from HDP
     

Foreign Policy: 

 

Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu to meet Pompeo on June 4 

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu will come together with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a long awaited meeting in Washington on June 4, Turkish diplomatic sources have confirmed, amid bilateral tension over the latter’s relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem. 

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu to meet Pompeo on June 4, May 16, 2018 


CHP presidential candidate warns ‘key US base to close if Gülen not extradited’ 

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate in Turkey’s upcoming presidential elections has threatened to shut down a key American military base by Christmas unless the United States extradites Fethullah Gülen, who is widely believed have orchestrated the coup attempt in 2016. 

Hürriyet Daily News, CHP presidential candidate warns ‘key US base to close if Gülen not extradited’, May 17, 2018 


 Congress puts US military sales to Turkey in jeopardy 

ouse legislators last week attached a provision to a must-pass defense bill that would curtail major arms sales to Turkey over its impending purchase of the S-400 Russian missile defense system. Their Senate counterparts are gearing up to attach an even more severe weapons ban to their version of the bill. 

Al Monitor, Congress puts US military sales to Turkey in jeopardy, May 16, 2018 


Turkey to respond to US over steel, aluminum tariffs 

Ankara will apply counter-measures on Washington through tariffs worth $266.5 million on imports of U.S. coal, paper, walnuts/almonds, tobacco, unprocessed rice, whisky, automobiles, cosmetics, machinery equipment and petrochemical products, the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told state-run Anadolu Agency on May 18. 

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey to respond to US over steel, aluminum tariffs, May 18, 2018  


Turkey’s Erdogan seeks expatriate support for re-election 

Turkey’s president addressed thousands of expatriate Turks in Bosnia’s capital Sunday to shore up support before his country’s snap presidential and parliamentary elections next month. Adapting his domestic campaign speeches to include promises to Turkish citizens living abroad, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on “European Turks to show their strength to the whole world.” 

The Washington Post, Turkey’s Erdogan seeks expatriate support for re-election, May 20, 2018  


At OIC, Turkey urges Muslim nations to support Palestinians 

Turkey urged Muslim nations at an OIC summit on Friday to stand with the Palestinians against Israel, warning that the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would only be the first among many moves against the Islamic world. 

The Washington Post, At OIC, Turkey urges Muslim nations to support Palestinians, May 18, 2018  


Turkey slams US sentencing of Turkish banker on Iran scheme 

Turkey has criticized the sentencing of a Turkish banker in the United States over his role in helping Iran evade U.S. economic sanctions, in a case that has further strained ties between the two countries. 

The Washington Post, Turkey slams US sentencing of Turkish banker on Iran scheme, May 17, 2018  


Turkey expels Israeli ambassador amid international outrage over Gaza killings 

Turkey’s government on Tuesday ordered the Israeli ambassador to leave the country, retaliating for Israel’s killing of dozens of Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip and underscoring the growing international fallout from the bloodshed. 

The Washington Post, Turkey expels Israeli ambassador amid international outrage over Gaza killings, May 15, 2018 


 Economy and Energy: 

 

Lira Extends Slide to Record as Rising Treasury Yield Fuels Rout 

Turkey’s lira tumbled, hitting new all-time lows against both the US dollar and the euro, as increasing US Treasury yields deepened a rout in the currency. 

Bloomberg, Lira Extends Slide to Record as Rising Treasury Yield Fuels Rout, May 21, 2018  


Turkish banking system outlook is negative: Moody’s 

The outlook for the Turkish banking system is negative due to downside risks related to funding and asset quality, credit rating agency Moody’s has stated. The operating environment for Turkish banks will also remain challenging due to a combination of factors including slowing economic growth, ineffective monetary policy, currency depreciation and high unemployment, Moody’s said in a report published on May 15. 

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkish banking system outlook is negative: Moody’s, May 16, 2018  


Turkey’s leader is helping to crash its currency 

Which is to say that while Turkey’s lira has been the second-worst performing currency this year, it might have a lot further to fall if Erdogan follows through on his promise to take even more control of the country’s economic policymaking. Bad fundamentals and worse governance are not, it turns out, a good combination. 

The Washington Post, Turkey’s leader is helping to crash its currency, May 16, 2018  


Turkish Hotelier Sees Opportunity in Lira Decline for Expansion 

The currency’s 15 percent depreciation this year against the dollar and the euro spells good news for the country’s flagging tourism industry, which is showing the first signs of an upturn since a wave of deadly terror attacks and a mid-summer coup attempt two years ago drove holidaymakers to beaches in Greece and Spain. 

Bloomberg, Turkish Hotelier Sees Opportunity in Lira Decline for Expansion, May 18, 2018  


Turkey’s unemployment rate fell to 10.6 pct in February 

Turkey’s unemployment rate stood at 10.6 percent in February, falling 2 percentage points on a yearly basis, the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) said on May 15. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 9.8 percent, not changing, official data also showed. 

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey’s unemployment rate fell to 10.6 pct in February, May 15, 2018  


Industrial production rises nearly 10 percent in first quarter 

Turkey’s calendar-adjusted industrial production rose 9.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period last year, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) announced on May 16. 

Hürriyet Daily News, Industrial production rises nearly 10 percent in first quarter, May 16, 2018  


Transition of Doğan’s media assets to Demirören group completed 

In accordance with the share sales agreement signed by the Doğan and Demirören groups on April 6, the cash total of $893 million has been transferred to the bank accounts of Doğan companies as of May 16, according to the statement made by Doğan Holding to the Public Disclosure Platform (KAP) on May 16. 

Hürriyet Daily News, Transition of Doğan’s media assets to Demirören group completed, May 17, 2018  


Domestic Politics: 

 

Parties’ candidate MP lists stir debate 

All political parties eligible to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections have submitted their lists of nominees to the Supreme Election Board (YSK), prompting in-house debates as many sitting members are excluded from running for the 600-seat parliament. 

Hürriyet Daily News, Parties’ candidate MP lists stir debate, May 21, 2018  


Turkish opposition parties vow to work together to ensure election safety 

Representatives of opposition parties, part of the People’s Alliance, have vowed to work together to ensure safety in the upcoming June 24 early elections, after a controversial legislative package on poll safety passed in parliament. 

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkish opposition parties vow to work together to ensure election safety, May 21, 2018  


Erdoğan says ‘prepared’ for hung parliament after snap polls 

Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg on May 14, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he will be ready with “different plans” for the result of the June 24 snap presidential and parliamentary elections. Asked what would happen if he wins the presidential election but the poll produces a hung parliament as it did in 2015, Erdoğan said “we will certainly have preparations for a result in the way you described.” 

Hürriyet Daily News, Erdoğan says ‘prepared’ for hung parliament after snap polls, May 15, 2018  


Thousands of Turks protest Israeli killing of Palestinians 

Hundreds of people gathered in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district on May 14 at around 7 p.m. for the protest named “Give voice to the invasion” at Tunnel Square, located on the southern end of the famous İstiklal Avenue. Among the people protesting were representatives of Turkey’s largest labor movement Memur-Sen, Anadolu Youth Association (AGD), the İHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, and the Turkish Association of Municipal and City Administration (Bem-Bir-Sen). 

Hürriyet Daily News, Thousands of Turks protest Israeli killing of Palestinians, May 15, 2018  


CHP leader slams gov’t’s interest rate policy 

The Turkish government has failed to decrease interest rates since it came to power in 2002 and giving new promises that it will do so after the June 24 elections is not realistic, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, criticizing the deteriorating state of the economy especially after last year’s controversial constitutional amendments. 

Hürriyet Daily News, CHP leader slams gov’t’s interest rate policy, May 15, 2018  


Prominent journalist Ahmet Şık to run for MP from HDP 

Prominent Turkish journalist Ahmet Şık, who has been imprisoned several times, has announced he is running for a seat in parliament with the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for Istanbul.  “I am running to help break this silence and to enlighten our country with the light of the truth,” Şık, a correspondent for the daily Cumhuriyet, said in a written statement on Twitter on May 17. 

Hürriyet Daily News, Prominent journalist Ahmet Şık to run for MP from HDP, May 17, 2018