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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 12-19 November 2012

THIS WEEK:
FOREIGN POLICY
• Erdoğan calls Israel a “terrorist state;” Davutoğlu to travel to Gaza
• Syria opposition bloc recognized by Ankara
• Top commander pays landmark visit to Saudi Arabia
DOMESTIC POLITICS
• Jailed Kurds in Turkey end hunger strike after 68 days
• Turkey opposes AKP’s presidential plan
• PM invited to testify at Parliament coup panel
ECONOMY / ENERGY
• Turkey’s unemployment falls to 8.8 percent
• Turkey forecasts 2012 asset sales of $3.5 billion, below target

FOREIGN POLICY

Erdoğan calls Israel a “terrorist state;” Davutoğlu to travel to Gaza

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described Israel as a “terrorist state” in carrying out its bombardment of Gaza. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is scheduled to travel to Gaza on November 20 with a group of foreign ministers from the Arab League.

Erdoğan has accused Israel of deliberately striking Gaza ahead of the elections in both 2008 and today, but warned that “the conditions of 2012 are different than they were in 2008.” He called for an immediate cease-fire to be observed at the Turkish-Egyptian Business Forum in Cairo November 18.

Erdoğan reiterated that a cease-fire should be declared immediately. “I’m calling on Israel and Gaza to provide a cease-fire immediately, within 24 hours. Extending the situation won’t bring anything to either side,” he said. Erdoğan also criticized Western powers for wanting to pull the Arab world to pieces. “While Israel is attacking and sabotaging the peace, there will be no security or stability for any country in the region,” he said.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, on the sidelines of his official contacts in Cairo, met with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, his Egyptian counterpart Muhammed Khamil Amr and Prime Minister of Qatar Hamad bin Jassim. Before departing Cairo, Davutoğlu also held a phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. During these bilateral talks and phone conversation, the situation in Gaza was discussed. Davutoğlu has discussed the same issue on the phone with his British, French, German, Italian and Dutch counterparts as well. Davutoğlu is set to travel to Gaza on November 20 along with other foreign ministries of the Arab League.
~~~
Reuters, 19 November 2012, Turkey’s Erdoğan calls Israel a “terrorist state”
Turkish Press Review, 19 November 2012, Davutoğlu completes official talks in Cairo
Turkish Press Review, 19 November 2012, Davutoğlu set to travel to Gaza on Tuesday
Hurriyet Daily News, 19 November 2012, Turkish PM cautions defiant Israel over Gaza raid

Syria opposition bloc recognized by Ankara

Turkey recognizes the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced on November 15, calling on the international community to follow suit. “Turkey wholeheartedly welcomes this important achievement and once again reiterates its recognition of the Syrian National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and calls upon all our brothers in the OIC to do so,” Davutoğlu said.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 16 November 2012, Syria opposition bloc recognized by Ankara

Top commander pays landmark visit to Saudi Arabia

Chief of Turkish General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel departed on November 19 for a formal visit to Saudi Arabia, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). Although no further statement was provided on the TSK’s site, news reports said the three-day visit was the first visit to Saudi Arabia by a Turkish chief of General Staff in the last two decades. During the visit with Hussein al-Kabil, the Saudi military chief of staff, and Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the country’s deputy prime minister and defense minister, who was named as crown prince in June.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 19 November 2012, Top commander pays landmark visit to Saudi Arabia

DOMESTIC POLITICS

Jailed Kurds in Turkey end hunger strike after 68 days

Turkey will hold talks with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said on Nov. 19, fueling hopes of moves to resolve a decades-old conflict after the end of a hunger strike by its members. Hundreds of PKK inmates ended a 68-day hunger strike in jails across Turkey in response to an appeal from their jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan, reportedly following discussions he held with Turkish intelligence agency officials.
~~~
Wall Street Journal, 19 November 2012, Jailed Kurds in Turkey end hunger strike after 68 days
Reuters, 19 November 2012, Turkey says it will hold talks with Kurdish militants

Turkey opposes AKP’s presidential plan

According to a survey conducted by SONAR, support for ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) decreased by 2.5 percent since 2011 elections, dropping to 47.3 percent. The main opposition party maintained its level of popularity with a slight drop from 26 percent to 25.1 percent. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) gained 2.2 percent climbing to 15.2, and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) gained 1.1 percent, climbing to 7.1 percent support.

The survey also found that a majority of Turkish people oppose a presidential system despite the governing party’s desire to establish one.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 16 November 2012, Turkey opposes AKP’s presidential plan: Poll

PM invited to testify at Parliament coup panel

A parliamentary panel established to look into military coups and demarches has invited Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to testify about the 1997 post-modern military coup, the 2007 “e-memorandum” and the much-speculated

Dolmabahçe meeting of 2007. İdris Şahin, the spokesperson of Parliament’s Coups and Military Memorandums Inquiry Commission, said on November 14 that some members of the panel had requested to hear the prime minister even though the body ceased hearing witnesses on Nov. 10. Erdoğan will testify in written form.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 15 November 2012, PM invited to testify at Parliament coup panel
Hurriyet Daily News, 16 November 2012, Erdoğan to testify in written form

ECONOMY / ENERGY

Turkey’s unemployment falls to 8.8 percent

Turkey’s unemployment rate fell to 8.8 percent in the August period, which covers three months starting from July, with a 0.4 percent recovery from the same period a year earlier. The figure stood at 8.4 percent in the July period, according to data revealed by the state-run statistics body TÜİK.

Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said in a note after the data was released that the jobless rate keeps falling despite a soft landing in economy. “In an environment that many countries cannot recover employment losses, Turkey continues to create jobs,” he said.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 15 November 2012, Turkey’s unemployment falls to 8.8 percent

Turkey forecasts 2012 asset sales of $3.5 billion, below target

Turkey will miss its 2012 privatization goal as some sales spill over into next year, Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said. The country has earned 6.3 billion liras ($3.5 billion) from asset sales so far this year, of which 4.5 billion liras came from the sale of a stake in Turkiye Halk Bankası AS (HALKB) last week.

Revenue is likely to rise to 6.8 billion liras by year-end, below the target of 10 billion liras, he said. Postponement of some revenue into 2013 means that year’s goal of 4 billion liras is “achievable” and may be exceeded, Şimşek said. This year’s income will be used to pay down government debt and to reduce borrowing needs.
~~~
Businessweek, 19 November 2012, Turkey forecasts 2012 asset sales of $3.5 billion, below target

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

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