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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 11 May 2015

Foreign Policy

  • NATO Set to gather in Antalya
  • US: Safe zones in Syria linked to Turkey’s steps
  • Top US commander for NATO due to visit Turkey’s Kırşehir for train-equip program
  • Train-equip program delay due to transfer of US soldiers: Çavuşoğlu
  • Turkey and Saudi Arabia have long been cooperating on Syria: Turkish MFA spokesperson
  • Fertilizer, Also Suited for Bombs, Flows to ISIS Territory From Turkey
  • Libyan military shells Turkish cargo ship, crew member killed


Economy and Energy

  • Turkish economy minister predicts stronger growth, measures to control food prices
  • EU finance ministers to chastise Turkey’s monetary policy – draft
  • Turkey and EU set to sign MoU to upgrade Customs Union
  • Azeri gas to reach Europe by 2020: Minister
  • Russia’s Gazprom launches construction of Turkish Stream gas pipeline


Domestic Politics

  • Turkish President insists on public rallies despite opposition’s criticisms
  • HDP co-chair slams Erdoğan over abusing religion, Quran
  • Public trust in fair elections declining in Turkey
  • CEOs forecast continued AKP rule with fewer votes, HDP to pass election threshold
  • Turkey Plans Low-Key Funeral for Former Coup Leader Evren

 

FOREIGN POLICY
NATO set to gather in Antalya
NATO’s policy towards Russia and the threat posed by extremists from the Alliance’s southern border will be main topics of discussion at the next NATO Foreign Ministers Meeting, which Turkey will host in the southern province of Antalya between May 13 and 14.
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U.S. Department of State, May 11, 2015, Secretary Kerry Travels to Sochi, Russia and Antalya, Turkey
Top US commander for NATO due to visit Turkey’s Kırşehir for train-equip program
NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) and Commander of U.S. European Command Gen. Phil Breedlove will on May 12 visit the Central Anatolian province of Kırşehir, where Turkey and the U.S. are due to start a train-equip program for the moderate Syrian opposition.
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Train-equip program delay due to transfer of US soldiers: Çavuşoğlu
Delays in the program for training and equipping the moderate Syrian opposition are not due to a disagreement between Ankara and Washington, but rather because of “technical reasons,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said.
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US: Safe zones in Syria linked to Turkey’s steps
The U.S. military’s top-ranking officer says contingency plans have been drawn up for a safe zone in consultation with Turkey, while a senior Pentagon official has told Hürriyet that this is conditional on Turkey’s steps on plans to train Syrian rebels, which remains a source of tension between the two countries.
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Hurriyet Daily News, May 8, 2015, US: Safe zones in Syria linked to Turkey’s steps
Turkey and Saudi Arabia have long been cooperating on Syria: Turkish MFA spokesperson
Turkey and Saudi Arabia have long been in cooperation on the issue of Syrian crisis, but there are no new elements regarding that effort, spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry Tanju Bilgiç said May 8, elaborating on recent media reports claiming a new deal between the two countries.
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Fertilizer, Also Suited for Bombs, Flows to ISIS Territory From Turkey
The laborers work all day, piling bags of fertilizer onto carts and wheeling them through the crossing that connects this southern border town to Syria.  The Syrian town next door is firmly controlled by the extremists of the Islamic State, and while the fertilizer, ammonium nitrate, is widely used for agriculture, it has also been used by terrorists around the world to build powerful explosives.
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Libyan military shells Turkish cargo ship, crew member killed
Forces loyal to Libya’s internationally recognized government said on Monday they shelled a Turkish ship off the Libyan coast after it was warned not to approach, and one crew member was killed in what Turkey described as a “contemptible attack”.
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ECONOMY & ENERGY
Turkish economy minister predicts stronger growth, measures to control food prices
Turkey’s economic growth will accelerate to well above 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2015 and a 4 percent growth target this year remains attainable, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci told Reuters in an interview late on May 5.
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EU finance ministers to chastise Turkey’s monetary policy – draft
Turkey’s “conflicting” monetary policy is failing to lower inflation and a tighter stance is needed, European Union finance ministers will tell Turkey on Tuesday in a veiled rebuke of President Tayyip Erdogan’s demands for lower interest rates.
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Turkey and EU set to sign MoU to upgrade Customs Union
Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci and the EU commissioner for trade will sign a memorandum of understanding to draw framework of upgrading the Customs Union, EU Minister Volkan Bozkır has stated, noting that one provision in the accord will automatically make Turkey part of any free trade agreement deal that the EU signs with a third party.
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Azeri gas to reach Europe by 2020: Minister
Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Natiq Aliyev has said Azeri gas will reach Europe by 2020.  Speaking at a panel discussion at the Energy Security Conference in Berlin on May 7, Aliyev said a quarter of the construction on the Southern Gas Corridor had been completed.
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Hurriyet Daily News, May 8, 2015, Azeri gas to reach Europe by 2020: Minister
Russia’s Gazprom launches construction of Turkish Stream gas pipeline
The head of Russian gas producer Gazprom said on May 8 the firm had taken a decision to start building the Turkish Stream pipeline and that preparations to build the undersea stretch of the pipeline were under way.
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DOMESTIC POLITICS
Turkish President insists on public rallies despite opposition’s criticisms
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed to continue to hold public rallies and to urge voters to vote for the sake of Turkey’s future, despite strong criticism from the opposition, calling on all political party leaders to not be disturbed by his political rhetoric.
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HDP co-chair slams Erdoğan over abusing religion
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairman Selahattin Demirtaş has criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for exploiting religion and the Muslims’ holy book, the Quran, while equally slamming the religious directorate for remaining silent on the issue.
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Public trust in fair elections declining in Turkey
Increasing numbers of people in Turkey believe that elections in the country are not held fairly and vote counts are not trustworthy, according to an important new survey, which also reveals a sharp difference on the issue between supporters of the government and opposition parties.
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Hurriyet Daily News, May 7, 2015, Public trust in fair elections declining in Turkey
CEOs forecast continued AKP rule with fewer votes, HDP to pass election threshold
A majority of top executives from Turkey’s largest companies believed the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) would be the winner of the upcoming June elections, but the party’s votes would decrease compared to the previous elections, according to a survey by Turkish economy magazines Capital and Ekonomist.
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Turkey Plans Low-Key Funeral for Former Coup Leader Evren
Kenan Evren, the leader of Turkey’s 1980 military coup and former president who died aged 97, will be given a state funeral but no government official will attend the burial of the man remembered mostly for widespread arrests, torture and deaths during his rule, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Monday.
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