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Turkey Letter:10 August 2015

Foreign Policy

  • Nine Killed in Attacks Across Turkey
  • Gun Battle Breaks Out Outside U.S. Consulate in Istanbul
  • Turkey Says ‘Extensive’ Fight Against IS to Start Soon
  • Three soldiers killed in southeast amid violence outbreak
  • S., Turkey Agree to Keep Syrian Kurds Out of Proposed Border Zone
  • S. drone hits Syria in first lethal strike launched from Turkey
  • The flow of jihadists into Syria dries up as Turkey cracks down on the border
  • Iranian FM set to visit Turkey with loaded agenda after nuclear deal

Economy and Energy

  • Turkey’s troubles deal new blow to stumbling economy
  • Turkey keeps economic ties with Arab League despite condemnation
  • Goldman-Backed Aksa Expands to Africa on Tight Margins in Turkey
  • PKK attacks Turkey’s halted Shah Deniz gas pipeline
  • Turkey to boost security for energy infrastructure as PKK attacks rise
  • Turkey Finishes Longest Undersea Water Pipe to Aid North Cyprus
  • Household spending rose in 2014, report says

Domestic Politics

  • Turkish PM, secular party leader in lengthy coalition talks, but reach no agreement
  • Turkey renews top military brass, appoints Gen. Akar as the top soldier
  • Turkey’s Push Into War Is Seen as Erdogan’s Political Strategy
  • AKP no longer credible on Kurdish peace process: HDP committee
  • Demirtaş points to Ankara for Kurdish peace process solution

 

Foreign Policy

Nine Killed in Attacks Across Turkey

Nine people were killed in separate attacks across Turkey on Monday, adding to worries here that Ankara’s decision to step up military pressure on Kurdish separatists and increase involvement in the U.S.-led campaign against Islamic State will trigger more violence on Turkish soil.

The Wall Street Journal, Nine Killed in Attacks Across Turkey, August 10, 2015


Gun Battle Breaks Out Outside U.S. Consulate in Istanbul

Attackers opened fire outside the American Consulate here Monday morning, setting off a brief gun battle with the police, as violence in Turkey continued to escalate about two weeks after the United States agreed to cooperate more closely with the government against the Islamic State.

The New York Times, Gun Battle Breaks Out Outside U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, August 10, 2015


Turkey Says ‘Extensive’ Fight Against IS to Start Soon

U.S. drones and aircraft have begun arriving at a Turkish air base close to the border with Syria, and an “extensive” fight against Islamic State militants will soon begin, Turkey’s foreign minister said Wednesday.

The New York Times, Turkey Says ‘Extensive’ Fight Against IS to Start Soon, August 5, 2015


Three soldiers killed in southeast amid violence outbreak

Three Turkish soldiers have been killed in attacks by members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeastern province of Şırnak, with the Turkish Air Forces (THK) launching airstrikes in the region, amid an outbreak of violent attacks on security forces in the country.

Hurriyet Daily News, Three soldiers killed in southeast amid violence outbreak, August 4, 2015


U.S., Turkey Agree to Keep Syrian Kurds Out of Proposed Border Zone

The U.S. and Turkey have reached an understanding meant to assure the Ankara government that plans to drive Islamic State militants from a proposed safe zone in northern Syria won’t clear the way for Kurdish fighters to move in.

The Wall Street Journal, U.S., Turkey Agree to Keep Syrian Kurds Out of Proposed Border Zone, August 3, 2015


U.S. drone hits Syria in first lethal strike launched from Turkey

The United States has conducted its first drone strike into northern Syria from a base inTurkey, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, ahead of what Ankara said would soon be a “comprehensive battle” against Islamic State militants there.

Reuters, U.S. drone hits Syria in first lethal strike launched from Turkey, August 5, 2015


The flow of jihadists into Syria dries up as Turkey cracks down on the border

For years, Turkey’s porous border with Syria provided a lifeline for the Islamic State, allowing the group to ferry weapons and fighters to a war zone where it was building its brutal “caliphate”. But that is now changing.

Washington Post, The flow of jihadists into Syria dries up as Turkey cracks down on the border, August 1, 2015


Iranian FM set to visit Turkey with loaded agenda after nuclear deal

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will visit Turkey on Aug. 11 as he embarks on the second round of his tour of regional countries, including Lebanon and Pakistan, after a nuclear agreement was reached betweenIran and world powers.

Hurriyet Daily News, Iranian FM set to visit Turkey with loaded agenda after nuclear deal, August 10, 2015


Economy and Energy

Turkey’s troubles deal new blow to stumbling economy

The end to a ceasefire with Kurdish militants and political uncertainty after inconclusive June elections are compounding already mounting problems for Turkey’s stuttering economy, analysts say.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s troubles deal new blow to stumbling economy, August 5, 2015


Turkey keeps economic ties with Arab League despite condemnation

As an indication Turkey categorizes ties with the Arab League, Ankara has continued its economic relations with the organization, despite the political strain caused by a recent condemnation of the league and its secretary general, Egyptian Nabil al-Arabi, in particular.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey keeps economic ties with Arab League despite condemnation, August 10, 2015


Goldman-Backed Aksa Expands to Africa on Tight Margins in Turkey

Aksa Enerji Uretim AS, a Turkish power producer in which Goldman Sachs Group Inc. holds a 17 percent stake, clinched its foreign deal as tight domestic margins are causing losses on its dollar-denominated debt.

Bloomberg, Goldman-Backed Aksa Expands to Africa on Tight Margins in Turkey, August 10, 2015


PKK attacks Turkey’s halted Shah Deniz gas pipeline

Kurdish militants attacked Turkey’s Shah Deniz pipeline carrying natural gas from Azerbaijan early on Tuesday, but the blast did not impact supply as flow had already been halted for maintenance, the energy minister said on Tuesday.

Reuters, PKK attacks Turkey’s halted Shah Deniz gas pipeline, August 4, 2015


Turkey to boost security for energy infrastructure as PKK attacks rise

Turkey will deploy thermal cameras and horse-back patrols to heighten security around key oil and gas pipelines as Kurdish militant attacks increase, in a bid to safeguard energy supplies in the import-dependent country, energy officials said.

Reuters, Turkey to boost security for energy infrastructure as PKK attacks rise, August 6, 2015


Turkey Finishes Longest Undersea Water Pipe to Aid North Cyprus

Turkey completed the world’s longest undersea water pipeline, part of a $538 million project to bring fresh water beneath the Mediterranean to northern Cyprus.

Bloomberg, Turkey Finishes Longest Undersea Water Pipe to Aid North Cyprus, August 7, 2015


Household spending rose in 2014, report says

Turkish households spent slightly more on living expenses in 2014 than in 2013, the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) reported on Aug. 5.

Hurriyet Daily News, Household spending rose in 2014, report says, August 5, 2015


Domestic Politics

Turkish PM, secular party leader in lengthy coalition talks, but reach no agreement

Party officials told reporters after the more than four hour-long meeting that the leaders would hold further talks later in the week.

U.S. News/ Associated Press, Turkish PM, secular party leader in lengthy coalition talks, but reach no agreement, August 10, 2015


Turkey renews top military brass, appoints Gen. Akar as the top soldier

Turkey has renewed its top military brass and appointed Land Forces Commander Gen. Hulusi Akar as the new Chief of General Staff, as his predecessor Gen. Necdet Özel has completed his four-year mandate. Gen. Özel is expected to hand over his seat to Gen. Akar on Aug. 14.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey renews top military brass, appoints Gen. Akar as the top soldier, August 5, 2015


Turkey’s Push Into War Is Seen as Erdogan’s Political Strategy

Confronted with widespread protests two summers ago, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered a harsh police crackdown and tarnished the demonstrators as traitors and spies. Faced with a corruption inquiry focused on his inner circle, he responded by purging the police and judiciary.

The New York Times, Turkey’s Push Into War Is Seen as Erdogan’s Political Strategy, August 5, 2015


AKP no longer credible on Kurdish peace process: HDP committee

The İmralı committee, formed by members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to mediate the Kurdish peace talks, says the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has lost its credibility on the Kurdish peace process and no longer gives the committee permission to meet with Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Hurriyet Daily News, AKP no longer credible on Kurdish peace process: HDP committee, August 10, 2015


Demirtaş points to Ankara for Kurdish peace process solution

After meetings with the leaders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) European branch in the Belgian capital, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said the address to solve the Kurdish peace process was the Turkish capital rather than Brussels.

Hurriyet Daily News, Demirtaş points to Ankara for Kurdish peace process solution, August 7, 2015