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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 15 January 2013

THIS WEEK:
TOP STORY
• Turkey’s PKK talks
FOREIGN POLICY
• Turkey, U.S. to hold intensified Iraq talks
• Turkey postpones order for its first two F-35 fighters
• Turkey strikes PKK targets in Iraq
ECONOMY / ENERGY
• Economy seen growing 4% or more in 2013
• Turkey beating Norway as biggest regional oil driller
• S&P says no longer has deal with Turkey but will rate it


TOP STORY

Turkey’s PKK talks

Since the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made public on December 28 that National Intelligence Agency (MIT) Chief Hakan Fidan had been holding talks with Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan and later a pair of pro-Kurdish deputies were granted their wish to meet Öcalan, there has been talk of a ceasefire agreement between the government and the PKK. The goal, Prime Minister Erdoğan declared, was to persuade the PKK to disarm; but under exactly what conditions continues to be a matter of frenzied speculation.

According to an article on Radikal daily published last week, the two sides agreed on a four-stage plan to halt the conflict. The “roadmap” would involve releasing from custody thousands of people

accused of PKK links. It would also lead to constitutional reforms removing obstacles to Kurdish language education, strengthening local administrations and an ethnically neutral definition of citizenship, describing people as citizens of Turkey rather than Turkish citizens.

However, the nascent talks were overshadowed last week by the execution-style killings of three Kurdish women activists in Paris, which Erdoğan has suggested could be the result of an internal feud in the PKK or a bid to derail the peace talks. Investigations continue into the details of the killings.
~~~
Reuters, 8 January 2013, Turkey, Ocalan map out steps to end Kurdish conflict
Foreign Policy, 8 January 2013, Turkey’s PKK talks
Reuters, 10 January 2013, UPDATE 6-Founder of Kurdish PKK among three women slain in Paris
BBC News, 11 January 2013, PKK Paris deaths: Turkey PM Erdoğan blames ‘internal feud’
CNN, 11 January 2013, Kurds rally in Turkey over murder of 3 women activists in Paris
ABC News, 12 January 2013, Kurd protest in Paris demands justice in killings

FOREIGN POLICY

Turkey, U.S. to hold intensified Iraq talks

Turkey and the United States are to hold intensified talks on Turkish energy companies’ involvement in northern Iraq, which has drawn Washington’s annoyance and concerns that the rapprochement between Ankara and Erbil could further push Baghdad toward Tehran. Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry Feridun Sinirlioğlu is visiting Washington this week to hold talks with his counterpart, Deputy Secretary William Burns, and other senior diplomats.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 8 January 2013, Turkey, U.S. to hold intensified Iraq talks

Turkey postpones order for its first two F-35 fighters

Turkey announced on January 11 it has postponed an order to purchase its first two US-made F-35 fighter jets due to technical problems and rising costs, but said it still intends to buy 100 more in the long run. “Due to the current state of the JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) and the rising cost it was decided to postpone the order placed on Jan 5, 2012 for the two aircraft,” the Undersecretariat for Defense Industry (SSM) said in a statement.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 11 January 2013,

Turkey strikes PKK targets in Iraq

Turkish jets have struck suspected PKK targets in a cross-border raid in northern Iraq on January 14, Turkish and Kurdish media reported, even as Turkey started peace talks with the rebels’ imprisoned leader.

The Doğan news agency, citing unnamed sources, said four F-16 jets fired at 12 targets of the PKK on Mount Qandil, on the Iraqi-Iranian border. It did not report any casualties. There was no official confirmation of the raid, which was also reported by Fırat news.
~~~
ABC News, 15 January 2013, Report: Turkey strikes Kurd rebel targets in Iraq

ECONOMY / ENERGY

Economy seen growing 4% or more in 2013

Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek told a news conference on Tuesday that economic growth will pick up this year to 4 percent or more and inflation will fall. The World Bank, however, warned that the country was facing a wider current account deficit. In an economic note on Turkey published twice yearly, the World Bank said it expected the Turkish economy to grow 4 percent this year and 4.5 percent in 2014. Turkey’s current account deficit, a measure of a country’s competitiveness and fiscal stability, is expected to widen to 7 percent of national output this year from 6.8 percent in 2012. It is seen narrowing again to 6.8 percent in 2014.
~~~
Reuters, 15 January 2013, UPDATE 1-Turkey economy seen growing 4 percent or more in 2013

Turkey beating Norway as biggest regional oil driller

Turkey is drilling for oil and natural gas with more rigs than any European country and plans new rules in 2013 to speed exploration of energy supplies. The country fielded 26 rigs at Dec. 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and the number has since risen to 34, Energy Ministry officials stated. Turkey has leapfrogged Norway as offshore drilling increased in

the Black and Mediterranean seas. Spending on exploration jumped to $610 million last year from $42 million a decade earlier.
~~~
Bloomberg, 10 January 2013, Turkey beating Norway as biggest regional oil driller: energy

S&P says no longer has deal with Turkey but will rate it

Credit-rating agency Standard & Poor’s said on January 14 that it no longer has a ratings deal with Turkey’s government but it will still offer assessments on the fast-growing economy to meet market interest. “We are converting our issuer credit ratings on Turkey to ‘unsolicited’ as we no longer have a rating agreement with this sovereign,” S&P said in a statement.
~~~
Reuters, 14 January 2013, S&P says no longer has deal with Turkey but will rate it

 

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