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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 12 February 2013

THIS WEEK:
FOREIGN POLICY
•  U.S. Patriot missile battery in Turkey comes under NATO command
•  Turkey, U.S. to step up legal case against terror
•  Syria opposition group says it was target of Turkey bus blast
•  France to assist Turkey in opening EU chapter
•  Egypt, Turkey, Iran discuss ways to end bloodshed in Syria
ECONOMY / ENERGY
•  Turkey stocks rise as Fitch says anti-terror law cuts risk
•  Iraqi Kurds press on with oil pipe to Turkey despite U.S. fears
•  Turkey’s $5 billion smart-grid plan seen boosting ties with U.S.
•  Turkey will not halt gold flow to Iran, demand may fall
DOMESTIC POLITICS
•  Kurdish journalists, media workers released in Turkey

FOREIGN POLICY

U.S. Patriot missile battery in Turkey comes under NATO command

A U.S. Patriot missile battery now up and running near Turkey’s border with Syria came under NATO command on Feb. 5. Currently, five of six Patriot batteries are operating in Turkey as part of an effort to protect Turkish airspace from a potential missile strike from neighboring Syria. The second U.S. Patriot battery is expected to become operational in the coming days as construction at its operational site in Gaziantep nears completion.
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Stars and Stripes, 5 February 2013, US Patriot missile battery in Turkey comes under NATO command
Long War Journal, 11 February 2013, NATO Patriot missiles deployed in Turkey

Turkey, U.S. to step up legal case against terror

Last week’s suicide blast against the U.S. Embassy in Ankara pushed Ankara and Washington to step up their joint anti-terror fight with an emphasis on judicial cooperation; the United States has long been criticizing deficiencies in Turkey’s legal system. The cooperation between two countries could also bring about a court case against the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C).

“I can tell you that we’re in intensive cooperation with the intelligence, law enforcement and more importantly with the ministry of justice to step up what was already excellent cooperation and bring that cooperation to the level the U.S. enjoys with our closest allies and partners around the world,” Francis Ricciardone, U.S. ambassador to Ankara, told reporters.
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Hurriyet Daily News, 5 February 2013, Turkey, US to step up legal case against terror

Syria opposition group says it was target of Turkey bus blast

Turkey said Tuesday that an explosion on its border with Syria that killed 14 people on February 11 was a terrorist attack, while senior Syrian dissidents who had been traveling in the area said they believed they had been the target. The bombing is the latest example of heightened instability along parts of Turkey’s 565-mile-long border with Syria.

Turkey has spent more than $600 million sheltering refugees from the almost two-year-old conflict, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek had stated a few days earlier.
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Reuters, 8 February 2013, Turkey says has spent $600 million on Syria refugees
Voice of America, 11 February 2013, Blast kills 12 at Syria-Turkey border
Reuters, 12 February 2013, Syria opposition group says it was target of Turkey bus blast
Wall Street Journal, 12 February 2013, Syrian group says it was target of Turkey border blast

France to assist Turkey in opening EU chapter

France announced on Feb. 12 that it would assist Turkey in opening one of the five chapters once blocked by Paris for Ankara’s long-stalled EU membership talks. After meeting with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said they would assist Turkey with opening Article 22, entitled “Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments.”
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 12 February 2013, France to assist Turkey in opening EU chapter

Egypt, Turkey, Iran discuss ways to end bloodshed in Syria

The presidents of Egypt, Iran and Turkey have discussed the situation in Syria on February 6 in a three-way summit in Cairo. Meeting on the sidelines of the 12th Summit meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Presidents Mohamed Mursi, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Abdullah Gül agreed on the necessity of empowering Syrians to put an end to bloodshed and the destruction of infrastructure.
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Hurriyet Daily News, 7 February 2013, Turkey, Iran, Egypt working together on framework for Syria: Turkish President Gül
Bloomberg, 6 February 2013, Egypt, Turkey, Iran discuss ways to end bloodshed in Syria

ECONOMY / ENERGY

Turkey stocks rise as Fitch says anti-terror law cuts risk

Turkish stocks rose, led by banks, after Fitch Ratings said the country’s adoption of anti- terrorism financing legislation reduced the risk of market access for entities including the sovereign. Parliament’s Feb. 8 adoption of anti-terrorism financing legislation “reduces the risk of suspension” from the OECD Financial Action Task Force, Fitch said in a statement today. Failure to pass the legislation “could have disrupted access to financial markets” for Turkish entities, it said. One of the “key assumptions” underlying Turkey’s lifting to investment grade was avoiding any potential sanctions, the rating company said.
~~~
Bloomberg, 12 February 2013, Turkey stocks rise as Fitch says anti-terror law cuts risk

Iraqi Kurds press on with oil pipe to Turkey despite U.S. fears

Iraqi Kurdistan will press ahead with building its own oil export pipeline to Turkey, the region’s energy minister said on Thursday, despite U.S. objections due to fears the project could lead to the break-up of Iraq.
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Reuters, 7 February 2013, Iraqi Kurds press on with oil pipe to Turkey despite U.S. fears

Turkey’s $5 billion smart-grid plan seen boosting ties with U.S.

Turkey will spend $5 billion on smart power grids by 2015 to boost network efficiency, allowing North American companies to expand, the U.S. government said.  The U.S. sees “substantial opportunities for closer cooperation between the Turkish government and energy companies and U.S. companies that provide smart-grid technologies,” according to a statement from the consulate in Istanbul, which held a conference on February 12 on grid investments. Turkey is forecasting annual power-demand growth of 6.3 percent in the next two decades.
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Hurriyet Daily News, 5 February 2013, Energy dependence to grow in Turkey
Bloomberg, 11 February 2013, Turkey’s $5 billion smart-grid plan seen boosting ties with U.S.

Turkey will not halt gold flow to Iran, demand may fall

Turkey will not be swayed by U.S. sanctions pressure to halt gold exports to Iran but Tehran’s demand for the metal may fall this year, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said. U.S. officials are concerned that Turkey’s gold sales, which allow Iran to export natural gas, provides a financial lifeline to Tehran, which is largely frozen out of the global banking system by Western sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.
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Reuters, 7 February 2013, UPDATE 1-Turkey will not halt gold flow to Iran, demand may fall

DOMESTIC POLITICS

Kurdish journalists, media workers released in Turkey

The release of at least seven journalists and media workers from pretrial detention is a positive step toward restoring the press freedom climate in Turkey, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on February 11. A court in Istanbul on Friday ordered the release pending trial of the individuals, who were imprisoned in December 2011 on charges of supporting and collaborating with the banned Union of Communities in Kurdistan, or KCK, and Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. The individuals still face prison terms if convicted of their charges and all have been banned from traveling outside Turkey.
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Committee to Protect Journalists, 11 February 2013, Kurdish journalists, media workers released in 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”.