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Turkey Letter: September 18, 2017

 

Foreign Policy

 

  • Turkey signs Russian missile deal, pivoting from NATO
  • Turkey summons German ambassador as tensions mount
  • Merkel vows to restrict trade with Turkey over arrests
  • Turkey’s bid to join EU ruled out for ‘foreseeable future’
  • Turkey’s president, top soldier to pay separate visits to Iran
  • Turkey mulls response to Kurdish independence vote
  • Erdogan says will discuss case of ex-Turkish minister with Trump during visit
  • Russia, Turkey, Iran agree on Syria de-escalation zones
  • U.S. Demands Iraqi Kurds cancel independence vote

 

Economy and Energy

 

  • Turkey Economy Minister calls on banks to lower interest rates
  • Turkey’s Pegasus plans major base at new Istanbul airport
  • Over 6,500 new companies launched in August
  • Turkey leaves interest rates unchanged
  • Top fifth of Turkish population gets 47.2 percent of national income: Survey
  • Turkey’s current account deficit widens in July

 

Domestic Policy

 

  • Turkey: Ex-newspaper managers, columnists go on trial
  • Turkish army flexes muscle against Iraqi-Kurdish referendum
  • Turkish gov’t to initiate removal of high school entrance exam: PM Yildirim
  • Main opposition CHP appeals to top court to annul parliamentary bylaw amendment
  • Main opposition CHP lawyer detained over alleged Gulen links
  • Turkey releases French journalist detained on terror charges

 

Foreign Policy

 

Turkey signs Russian missile deal, pivoting from NATO

In the clearest sign of his pivot toward Russia and away from NATO and the West, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Tuesday that Turkey had signed a deal to purchase a Russian surface-to-air missile system.

New York Times, Turkey signs Russian missile deal, pivoting from NATO, September 12, 2017


Turkey summons German ambassador as tensions mount

Turkey summoned Germany’s ambassador to its foreign ministry on Monday, Berlin said, amid a mounting row between the two NATO powers.

New York Times, Turkey summons German ambassador as tensions mount, September 18, 2017


Merkel vows to restrict trade with Turkey over arrests

Germany will have no choice but to restrict its economic ties with Turkey to pressure its NATO partner into releasing German citizens it imprisoned on political grounds, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in remarks published on Saturday.

Reuters, Merkel vows to restrict trade with Turkey over arrests, September 15, 2017


Turkey’s bid to join EU ruled out for ‘foreseeable future’

Turkey got a sharp reminder that European Union membership is nowhere in sight as a result of growing EU concerns about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown on political opponents and his bashing of countries in the bloc.

Bloomberg, Turkey’s bid to join EU ruled out for ‘foreseeable future’, September 13, 2017


Turkey’s president, top soldier to pay separate visits to Iran

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar will pay separate visits to Iran in the coming days amid rising tension over the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) bid to hold an independence referendum on Sept. 25 and continued efforts to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria.

Hurriyet, Turkey’s president, top soldier to pay separate visits to Iran, September 17, 2017


Turkey mulls response to Kurdish independence vote

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country will hold a high-level security meeting on Sept. 22 to decide what response to take over a planned Kurdish referendum on independence.

New York Times, Turkey mulls response to Kurdish independence vote, September 15, 2017


Erdogan says will discuss case of ex-Turkish minister with Trump during visit

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday he would discuss with U.S. President Donald Trump next week the case of a former Turkish economy minister indicted in the United States for conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Reuters, Erdogan says will discuss case of ex-Turkish minister with Trump during visit, September 18, 2017


Russia, Turkey, Iran agree on Syria de-escalation zones

Russia, Turkey and Iran have agreed to set up de-escalation zones in Syria for six months, negotiators for the three nations said in a joint statement on Friday after talks in Kazakhstan.

New York Times, Russia, Turkey, Iran agree on Syria de-escalation zones, September 15, 2017


U.S. Demands Iraqi Kurds cancel independence vote

The Trump administration demanded in unusually strong terms Friday that Kurdish leaders in Iraq cancel a referendum on independence set for later this month, saying it was distracting from the military effort against Islamic State terrorists.

Politico, U.S. Demands Iraqi Kurds cancel independence vote, September 15, 2017


Economy and Energy

 

Turkey Economy Minister calls on banks to lower interest rates

Turkey needs lower interest rates to sustain the rapid growth it posted in the first half of the year, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said, calling on commercial banks to do their part to keep borrowing costs down.

Bloomberg, Turkey Economy Minister calls on banks to lower interest rates, September 12, 2017


Turkey’s Pegasus plans major base at new Istanbul airport

Turkey’s Pegasus Airlines plans to establish a major base at the new Istanbul airport scheduled to open late next year, helping the discount specialist to attract passengers from the European side of the city where state-owned rival Turkish Airlines currently dominates.

Bloomberg, Turkey’s Pegasus plans major base at new Istanbul airport, September 12, 2017


Turkey leaves interest rates unchanged

Turkey’s central bank kept its main interest rates unchanged as expected on Thursday, citing the level of inflation as a reason for caution.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey leaves interest rates unchanged, September 14, 2017


 

Over 6,500 new companies launched in August

The number of newly established companies in Turkey soared by 47.46 percent year-on-year to reach 6,593 in August, the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) said in a report released on Sept. 18.

Hurriyet, Over 6,500 new companies launched in August, September 18, 2017


Turkey’s current account deficit widens in July

Turkey’s current account deficit reached $5.1 billion in July 2017, up almost $2.7 billion year-on-year, official data showed on Sept. 15.The current account deficit recorded $5.1 billion, marking an increase of $2.7 billion compared to July of the previous year, bringing the 12-month rolling deficit to $37.1 billion, the Central Bank stated.

Hurriyet, Turkey’s current account deficit widens in July, September 15, 2017


Top fifth of Turkish population gets 47.2 percent of national income: Survey

The richest top 20 percent of society in Turkey received 47.2 percent of total income in 2016, marking a slight increase from the previous year, according to Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) figures.

Hurriyet, Top fifth of Turkish population gets 47.2 percent of national income: Survey, September 18, 2017


Domestic Policy

 

Turkey: Ex-newspaper managers, columnists go on trial

Former managers and columnists of a newspaper in Turkey linked to a U.S.-based cleric have gone on trial, accused of supporting last year’s failed coup.

Washington Post, Turkey: Ex-newspaper managers, columnists go on trial, September 18, 2017


Turkish army flexes muscle against Iraqi-Kurdish referendum

The Turkish army kicked off a military drill near the border with Iraq’s Kurdish region, underscoring Turkey’s threat to do whatever it deems necessary against an Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum scheduled for next week.

Bloomberg, Turkish army flexes muscle against Iraq-Kurdish referendum, September 18, 2017


Turkish gov’t to initiate removal of high school entrance exam: PM Yildirim

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Sept. 18 the government will undertake in the necessary process to remove the Turkish high school entrance exam and replace it. He stated the current system was very “stressful” for students, while the main opposition criticized the government for acting too hastily on the issue.

Hurriyet, Turkish gov’t to initiate removal of high school entrance exam: PM Yildirim, September 18, 2017


Main opposition CHP appeals to top court to annul parliamentary bylaw amendment

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has appealed to the Constitutional Court, demanding the stay of execution and the annulment of parliamentary bylaw changes approved in July.

Hurriyet, Main opposition CHP appeals to top court to annul parliamentary bylaw amendment, September 15, 2017


Main opposition CHP lawyer detained over alleged Gulen links

Celal Çelik, the official lawyer of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, was detained in Ankara as a part of an investigation into the Gülen network.

Hurriyet, Main opposition CHP lawyer detained over alleged Gulen links, September 15, 2017


Turkey releases French journalist detained on terror charges

Turkish authorities have released a French freelance journalist who was detained on charges of aiding a terror group, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported.

New York Times, Turkey releases French journalist detained on terror charges, September 15, 2017