2101 L Street, NW Suite 800 Washington, DC

+1 (202) 776-7770 [email protected]

Turkey Letter: 19 September 2016

Foreign Policy

  • Erdogan Plans ‘Safe Zone’ in Syria as Military Campaign Expands
  • S. Special Operations Forces Arrive in Syria to Advise Turks in ISIS Fight
  • Turkey Formally Asks U.S. to Arrest Fethullah Gulen
  • Refugees Pour Out of Turkey Once More as Deal With Europe Falters
  • Eastern Aleppo aid stuck in Turkey as Syria truce ends
  • Turkey detains four for suspected plot against British, German embassies
  • Cyprus leaders say committed to a peace deal this year

Economy & Energy

  • Turkey runs $1.64-bln budget surplus
  • Turkey’s unemployment rate rises to 10.2 pct
  • Russia’s Gazprom expects agreement on Turkish Stream pipeline in October
  • Turkey ‘to restructure development bank in bid to escape middle-income trap’

Domestic Politics

  • Turks See Purge as Witch Hunt of ‘Medieval’ Darkness
  • Turkey plans to build dozens of new jails after post-coup crackdown
  • Kurdish militants claim car bombing in southeast Turkey
  • Turkish soldiers, Kurdish militants killed in violence in Turkey’s southeast

Foreign Policy

Erdogan Plans ‘Safe Zone’ in Syria as Military Campaign Expands

Turkey announced plans to create a safe zone in Syria the size of the Grand Canyon, a campaign that could be one of the biggest foreign military interventions in its modern history.

Bloomberg, Erdogan Plans ‘Safe Zone’ in Syria as Military Campaign Expands, September 19, 2016


U.S. Special Operations Forces Arrive in Syria to Advise Turks in ISIS Fight

American Special Operations forces have arrived in northern Syria to work alongside Turkish troops fighting the Islamic State, the Pentagon said on Friday, stressing that the approximately three dozen Americans would serve in an “advise and assist” capacity.

New York Times, U.S. Special Operations Forces Arrive in Syria to Advise Turks in ISIS Fight, September 16, 2016


Turkey Formally Asks U.S. to Arrest Fethullah Gulen

Turkey has requested that U.S. authorities detain the Turkish Muslim cleric living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania whom President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses of masterminding a  failed coup  that killed at least 271 people in July, according to the state Anadolu news agency.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey Formally Asks U.S. to Arrest Fethullah Gulen, September 13, 2016


Refugees Pour Out of Turkey Once More as Deal With Europe Falters

The number of Syrians and others fleeing Turkey for Greece is growing rapidly once again as an agreement reached months ago to curb the flood of refugees into Europe seems to be on the verge of collapse.

New York Times, Refugees Pour Out of Turkey Once More as Deal With Europe Falters, September 14, 2016


Eastern Aleppo aid stuck in Turkey as Syria truce ends

Two 20-truck aid convoys destined for eastern Aleppo with enough supplies to feed 185,000 people for a month are still stuck in Turkey, a U.N. spokesman said on Monday, hours after a ceasefire in Syria expired.

Reuters, Eastern Aleppo aid stuck in Turkey as Syria truce ends, September 19, 2016


Turkey detains four for suspected plot against British, German embassies

Turkish authorities detained four people in an investigation into a potential threat against British and German diplomatic missions but found no links to any terrorist groups, a Turkish official said on Friday.

Reuters, Turkey detains four for suspected plot against British, German embassies, September 16, 2016


Cyprus leaders say committed to a peace deal this year

A United Nations envoy said on Wednesday “significant progress” had been made in peace talks to end Cyprus’s long-running division, with the sides committed to a deal this year.

Reuters, Cyprus leaders say committed to a peace deal this year, September 14, 2016


Economy & Energy

Turkey runs $1.64-bln budget surplus

Turkey’s government ran a budget surplus of 3.6 billion Turkish Liras ($1.2 billion) in August and 4.9 billion liras ($1.64 billion) in January-August, said Finance Minister Naci Ağbal on Sept. 19.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey runs $1.64-bln budget surplus, September 19, 2016


Turkey’s unemployment rate rises to 10.2 pct

Turkey’s unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent in June with a 0.6 percentage point year-on-year increase, data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) has showed. In the same period, the non-agricultural unemployment rate was 12.2 percent with a 0.5 percentage point increase.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s unemployment rate rises to 10.2 pct, September 19, 2016


Russia’s Gazprom expects agreement on Turkish Stream pipeline in October

Russia’s Gazprom expects Russia and Turkey to sign an agreement next month that will allow construction of the offshore section of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline to start in late 2017, Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said.

Reuters, Russia’s Gazprom expects agreement on Turkish Stream pipeline in October, September 19, 2016


Turkey ‘to restructure development bank in bid to escape middle-income trap’

The Turkish government has prepared to restructure the Development Bank in a bid to enable the country to escape from the middle-income trap and raise its financing to less developed regions, Deputy Prime Mehmet Şimşek told Anadolu Agency on Sept. 18.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey ‘to restructure development bank in bid to escape middle-income trap’, September 19, 2016


 

Domestic Politics

Turks See Purge as Witch Hunt of ‘Medieval’ Darkness

Two months after a failed military coup, for which officials have blamed the disciples of Mr. Gulen, a wide-scale purge led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reached witch-hunt proportions, according to a growing chorus of critics. More than 100,000 people — teachers, military officers, judges, functionaries, airline employees, even baklava salesmen — have been arrested or fired from their jobs, all on accusations of connections to Mr. Gulen, who steadfastly denies any involvement.

New York Times, Turks See Purge as Witch Hunt of ‘Medieval’ Darkness, September 16, 2016


Turkey plans to build dozens of new jails after post-coup crackdown

Authorities in Turkey plan to construct 174 prisons over the next five years to “meet the unanticipated increase in the number of convicts,” according to a Justice Ministry statement. Though not explicitly stated, the move is most probably linked to the strain placed on Turkey’s penal system amid a nationwide purge launched in response to a coup attempt on July 15.

In the weeks since, authorities have rounded up and jailed tens of thousands of people suspected to be connected to a movement led by Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in exile in the United States who Ankara claims was behind the coup plot.

Washington Post, Turkey plans to build dozens of new jails after post-coup crackdown, September 15, 2016


Kurdish militants claim car bombing in southeast Turkey

Kurdish militants claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a car bombing in Turkey’s southeastern city of Van a day earlier and said it was partly a response to the removal from office of two dozen mayors from Kurdish-run municipalities.

Reuters, Kurdish militants claim car bombing in southeast Turkey, September 13, 2016


Turkish soldiers, Kurdish militants killed in violence in Turkey’s southeast

Three Turkish soldiers and four Kurdish militants were killed on Saturday in clashes in the southeastern Hakkari province while Turkish gendarmerie launched helicopter-backed security operations elsewhere in the region, security sources said.

Reuters, Turkish soldiers, Kurdish militants killed in violence in Turkey’s southeast, September 17, 2016