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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 12 November 2013

THIS WEEK
FOREIGN POLICY
• Turkey, EU revive membership talks delayed by concern over unrest
• Turkey and its neighbors: A reset?
DOMESTIC POLITICS
• TUSIAD President Muharrem Yılmaz says co-ed housing row inopportune and waste of time
ECONOMY & ENERGY
• Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan clinch major energy pipeline deal 

 
FOREIGN POLICY

Turkey, EU revive membership talks delayed by concern over unrest

A new round of talks between Turkey and the European Union began on November 5. The start of the talks on regional policy was delayed in June after Germany and several other EU governments blocked them due to concerns about Ankara’s forceful handling of Gezi protests. Turkey has provisionally closed just one of 35 chapters it has to negotiate with the EU to bring its laws into line with the 28-nation bloc’s standards. It has now opened 13 other chapters.

The delays have fuelled frustration in Turkey, where public support for EU membership has slumped. Turkey’s chief EU negotiator Egemen Bagış said he is very happy about the opening of the new chapter and said they are looking forward to cooperation with EU but also criticized the EU for its recent stances on Middle East issues, notably its response to the brutality in Syria and overthrow of Morsi in Egypt.
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Reuters, 5 November 2013, Turkey, EU revive membership talks delayed by concern over unrest

Turkey and its neighbors: A reset?

There is speculation that Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is reviving Turkey’s much-vaunted “zero problems with neighbors” policy. This policy comes at a point where Turkey seems to have many problems with almost every neighbor. There have been some reconciliatory gestures, but in spite of these twists and about-turns, talk of a Turkish foreign policy “reset” looks premature.
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Economist, 9 November 2013, Turkey and its neighbors: A reset?

DOMESTIC POLITICS

TUSIAD President Muharrem Yılmaz says co-ed housing row inopportune and waste of time

President of TUSIAD Muharrem Yılmaz has criticized the over-politicization of the debate on mixed-student housing during an interview with Hürriyet, describing it as inopportune and a waste of time. “This inopportune row, which we consider as occupying too much space on [Turkey’s political] agenda, carries marks of the 1980 Constitution’s features promoting centralization and standardization of the individual,” Yılmaz said.

The debate was triggered after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed his opposition against female and male students living under the same roof, subsequently leading to a public uproar. He also announced that the government was ready to take the necessary legal steps to prevent such accommodation arrangements. Yılmaz said in response that such debates were harming the country’s stability by further polarizing society, adding that an individual’s right to privacy was constitutionally protected.
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Hürriyet Daily News, 8 November 2013, Co-ed housing row inopportune and waste of time, says Turkish business group chair

ECONOMY & ENERGY

Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan clinch major energy pipeline deal

Iraqi Kurdistan has finalized a comprehensive package of deals with Turkey to build multi-billion dollar oil and gas pipelines to ship the autonomous region’s rich hydrocarbon reserves to world markets, sources involved in talks said on November 6. When completed it would allow for 2 billion barrels of oil per day to be shipped to the markets and 10 billion cubic meters per year of gas to Turkey.

However this deal has raised ire in Baghdad, with Iraq’s central government claiming that the deal undercuts their authority. Under Iraq’s constitution, all oil export revenue goes through Baghdad. The autonomous Kurdish region is entitled to 17 percent of the total, and has used the revenues to build up their region. Iraq fears a prosperous and autonomous Kurdistan will eventually seek independence.
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Chicago Tribune, 6 November 2013, Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan clinch major energy pipeline deal

 

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