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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 10 March 2014

This week:

Foreign Policy

  • Turkish PM’s account of Obama’s Gülen response ‘not accurate,’ White House says
  • President Gül warns against new Cold War over Ukraine crisis
  • Turkey scrambles jets after Russian plane again flies near coast

Domestic Politics

  • Turkish coup trial convicts freed amid political turmoil
  • Turkish Leader’s Woes Hurt Presidential Run
  • Turkey’s Prime Minister Takes Aim at YouTube and Facebook
  • Top business group chair voices concern over Turkey’s EU accession

Economy & Energy

  • Why the Worst Is Still Ahead For Turkey’s Bubble Economy
  • Turkey’s joblessness soars above gov’t target in 2013
  • Turkey’s Turmoil Puts Property Market at Risk
  • Iran rejects gas price drop but willing to export more to Turkey

Foreign Policy

Turkish PM’s account of Obama’s Gülen response ‘not accurate,’ White House says

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks regarding a phone conversation with President Barack Obama last month are “not accurate,” a senior White House official told daily Hürriyet in a written statement on March 7.
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Hurriyet Daily News, 8 March 2014, Turkish PM’s account of Obama’s Gülen response ‘not accurate,’ White House says

President Gül warns against new Cold War over Ukraine crisis

Starting a new cold war is in nobody’s interest and would be dangerous for everyone, President Abdullah Gül warned March 5, referring to tension between Western and Russia over Ukraine, especially Crimea.
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Hurriyet Daily News, 6 March 2014, President Gül warns against new Cold War over Ukraine crisis

Turkey scrambles jets after Russian plane again flies near coast

The Turkish Air Force scrambled six F-16 fighter jets after a Russian surveillance plane flew parallel along its Black Sea coast, the military said on Friday, amid increased tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine.
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Reuters, 7 March 2014, Turkey scrambles jets after Russian plane again flies near coast

Domestic Politics

Turkish coup trial convicts freed amid political turmoil

Turkey ordered the release of 19 men convicted of plotting a coup, days after an ex-military chief was freed in a case now entwined in a power struggle between Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and a U.S.-based Muslim cleric.

The 19 people, including prominent journalists, lawyers, retired military officers, a convicted gang leader and the killer of a top court judge, were among hundreds convicted in the “Ergenekon” case, which lay at the heart of Erdogan’s drive to break the political power of Turkey’s military.
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Reuters, 10 March 2014, Turkish coup trial convicts freed amid political turmoil
Reuters, 7 March 2014, Turkey’s former army chief freed from prison

Turkish Leader’s Woes Hurt Presidential Run

For more than a year, Turkey’s most open political secret has been Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ambition to extend his tenure by winning the nation’s first direct presidential vote this summer.

But faced with a widening corruption probe, a darkening economic outlook and his falling popularity after 11 years in power, more ruling-party officials and observers now say he may abandon that plan. Instead, they say, Mr. Erdogan seems to be paving the way to stay in power another way: by scrapping his party’s three-term limit.
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Wall Street Journal, 6 March 2014, Turkish Leader’s Woes Hurt Presidential Run

Turkey’s Prime Minister Takes Aim at YouTube and Facebook

Beset by a sprawling corruption scandal that has implicated dozens of his inner circle and presented the gravest threat to his decadelong rule, Turkey’s prime minister is taking aim at two new adversaries he accuses of being tools of his political enemies: YouTube and Facebook.
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Wall Street Journal, 7 March 2014, Turkey’s Prime Minister Takes Aim at YouTube and Facebook

Top business group chair voices concern over Turkey’s EU accession

Ankara’s EU accession process, which started in 2005, is currently at a highly “unsuccessful” juncture with regards to both Turkey and the European Union, Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) head Muharrem Yılmaz has said at a ceremony in Istanbul.
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Hurriyet Daily News, 7 March 2014, Top business group chair voices concern over Turkey’s EU accession

Economy & Energy

Why The Worst Is Still Ahead For Turkey’s Bubble Economy

The explosive rise of Turkey’s economy in the past decade is one of the most fascinating growth stories of all time. Since 2002, Turkey’s economy nearly quadrupled in size on the back of an epic boom in consumption and construction that led to the building of countless malls, skyscrapers, and ambitious infrastructure projects. Like many emerging economies in the past decade, Turkey’s economy continued to grow virtually unabated through the Global Financial Crisis, while most Western economies stagnated.
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Forbers, 5 March 2014, Why The Worst Is Still Ahead For Turkey’s Bubble Economy

Turkey’s joblessness soars above gov’t target in 2013

The unemployment rate in Turkey rose by 0.5 points to 9.7 percent in 2013, as the expansion of labor force outstripped the rise in employment, official data has shown.
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Hurriyet Daily News, 7 March 2014, Turkey’s joblessness soars above gov’t target in 2013

Turkey’s Turmoil Puts Property Market at Risk

Political and financial turmoil in Turkey is threatening to snap a critical pillar of the government’s economic policy: real-estate development.

For the past decade, developers have been building homes, malls and office buildings at a record pace. The real-estate industry has anchored a 5% average growth rate in the $800 billion economy since 2002, accounting for 30% of gross domestic product over that period, according to Intes, Turkey’s union of construction-industry companies.
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Wall Street Journal, 4 March 2014, Turkey’s Turmoil Puts Property Market at Risk

Iran rejects gas price drop but willing to export more to Turkey

Iran would not drop price of gas exports to Turkey but could sell more natural gas to its energy-hungry neighbour if a new agreement was signed between the two countries, the Iranian Oil Ministry’s website SHANA quoted a senior energy official as saying on Friday.
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Reuters, 7 March 2014, Iran rejects gas price drop but willing to export more to Turkey

These news items are compiled by TUSIAD Washington Representative Office (TUSIAD-US) from major news publications. They do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of TUSIAD. To subscribe or unsubscribe from this electronic publication, please send an e-mail to [email protected] These materials may be reproduced and/or distributed, in whole or in part, provided that its source is properly indicated as “TUSIAD-US Web site: www.tusiad.us