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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 12 May 2014

This week:

Foreign Policy

  • US vice president to visit Nicosia for Cyprus talks
  • European court orders Turkey to compensate Cyprus for 1974 invasion
  • Erdogan Courts Gulf’s Billions After Wrong-Way Bet on Egypt
  • Government decides to better inform foreign media about ‘Turkey’s press freedom’

Domestic Politics

  • Turkish PM Erdogan heckles lawyer’s speech, storms out
  • Turkish PM’s walkout heats up judiciary row in Ankara
  • Turkey’s Erdogan lurches toward authoritarianism
  • Syrian Refugees in Turkey Begin to Wear Out Their Welcome
  • With Conspiracy-Minded Intrigue, Life Imitates Fiction in Turkey

Economy & Energy

  • Fragile? Not Us, Says Turkey, Vying to Win Back Investors
  • Turkey’s Borsa Istanbul dismisses three senior staff

Foreign Policy

US vice president to visit Nicosia for Cyprus talks

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is set to visit Cyprus later this month to participate in the ongoing negotiations for the reunification of the island.

Biden, who is expected to be accompanied by a large delegation of bureaucrats, will hold separate meetings with the Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu, pushing for a solution to the crisis that has gripped the island for half a century. Biden is also expected to tackle the thorny issue of the natural gas reserves found off the island’s east coast.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 12 May 2014, US vice president to visit Nicosia for Cyprus talks

European court orders Turkey to compensate Cyprus 

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered the Turkish government on Monday to pay 90 million euros ($124 million) in compensation to Cyprus over Turkey’s military operation.
~~~
Reuters, 12 May 2014,

Erdogan Courts Gulf’s Billions After Wrong-Way Bet on Egypt

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking to limit the economic costs of picking the losing side in the regional power struggle over Egypt.

Turkey is courting investors from the Arab monarchies that backed Egypt’s new military rulers with billions of dollars in aid. The push shows how Erdogan’s criticism of the Gulf states after the ouster of Islamist ally Mohamed Mursi is balanced by the growing importance of the region for Turkish exporters and companies such as airport operator TAV Havalimanlari Holding AS.
~~~
Bloomberg, 12 May 2014, Erdogan Courts Gulf’s Billions After Wrong-Way Bet on Egypt

Government decides to better inform foreign media about ‘Turkey’s press freedom’

Turkey’s government is taking steps to inform foreign journalists in other countries about the “truth in Turkey,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said, suggesting that recent criticism from international actors about freedom of press in Turkey is driven by misperceptions.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 9 May 2014,

Domestic Politics

Turkish PM Erdogan heckles lawyer’s speech, storms out

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan heckled the head of the country’s bar association on Saturday, accusing him of rudeness for speaking critically of the government at a judicial ceremony before storming out of the hall.
~~~
Reuters, 10 May 2014, Turkish PM Erdogan heckles lawyer’s speech, storms out

Turkish PM’s walkout heats up judiciary row in Ankara

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he will no longer attend the official ceremonies of judicial bodies if the head of the bar association is allowed to deliver a speech, hinting at a legal amendment to change procedures after a heated verbal exchange on May 10.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 11 March 2014, Turkish PM’s walkout heats up judiciary row in Ankara

Turkey’s Erdogan lurches toward authoritarianism

The past 12 months have seen Mr Erdogan’s rule increasingly described as authoritarian, the vulnerability of the economy much commented on, and the rule of law – an issue that affects both the political and economic spheres – often seen as under threat.
~~~
Financial Times, 6 May 2014, Turkey’s Erdogan lurches toward authoritarianism

Syrian Refugees in Turkey Begin to Wear Out Their Welcome

Turkey was home to less than 200,000 Syrian refugees at the start of 2013, but the patience of many Turkish citizens is running thin as that figure hovers around 700,000. With no sign of the conflict in Syria abating, that number is expected to more than double this year.
~~~
Time, 8 May 2014, Syrian Refugees in Turkey Begin to Wear Out Their Welcome

Syrian Refugees in Turkey: Hospitality Under Pressure

Kemal Kirişci, TUSIAD senior fellow and Turkey Project director in the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings, released a report examining the challenges that Turkey faces as close to a million Syrian refugees look more and more likely to stay on for a good while to come.
~~~
Brookings, 12 May 2014, Syrian Refugees in Turkey: Hospitality Under Pressure

With Conspiracy-Minded Intrigue, Life Imitates Fiction in Turkey

Istanbul as an urban tableau of intrigue is well-worn literary and cultural terrain, traveled by Graham Greene and Ian Fleming and by more contemporary spy novelists such as Joseph Kanon and Alex Berenson.

So perhaps, given the events that have been occupying Istanbul’s elite of late, Oscar Wilde was not only correct but also prescient when he wrote, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”
~~~
New York Times, 5 May 2014, With Conspiracy-Minded Intrigue, Life Imitates Fiction in Turkey

Economy & Energy

Fragile? Not Us, Says Turkey, Vying to Win Back Investors

During the past year, Turkey has been walloped by civic unrest, political uncertainty, a massive corruption scandal and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to begin scaling back its program of quantitative easing. Investors don’t like any of this. The benchmark Borsa Istanbul 100 Index began to slide after May 30, 2013, when the violent eviction of environmental campaigners occupying a city park in Istanbul provoked widespread protests against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
~~~
Bloomberg, 6 May 2014, Fragile? Not Us, Says Turkey, Vying to Win Back Investors

Turkey’s Borsa Istanbul dismisses three senior staff

Borsa Istanbul, Turkey’s state-run stock exchange, has dismissed three senior personnel after a restructuring eliminated their jobs, an official at the exchange told Reuters on Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear whether the dismissals were linked to a series of purges at other state institutions in recent weeks after a high-level corruption scandal broke late last year.
~~~
Reuters, 7 May 2014, Turkey’s Borsa Istanbul dismisses three senior staff  

 Koç posts higher profit as Sabancı stumbles

Turkey’s largest company Koç Holding has enjoyed a 24 percent surge in its profit in the first quarter thanks to rally in its refinery and automotive businesses.

On the other hand, Turkey’s second largest Sabancı Holding has suffered a steep profit decline of 27 percent due to losses in its banking subsidiary.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 13 May 2014, Koç posts higher profit as Sabancı stumbles

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