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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 16 March 2015

Foreign Policy

  • Turkey furious over US stance on Assad, Syria
  • NATO official sees vital need for rebuilding of trust between Turkey, allies
  • Turkey to support Mosul operation from sidelines
  • Qatar Emir Meets Erdogan in Surprise Turkey Visit
  • Turks Stop Three British Teenagers at Istanbul Airport, Deport Them to UK
  • Turkey’s Drift From NATO

Economy and Energy

  • EU Eyes Creation of Energy Partnership with Turkey
  • Ankara seen stalling Russian hopes on ‘Turkish Stream’ gas plan
  • Greece’s NBG to Sell Stake in Finansbank in April
  • Turkish President Erdoğan meets Central Bank governor to keep up ‘trust’ in economy

Domestic Politics

  • What more do Kurds want, Erdoğan asks
  • Structural reforms to play big role in reaching functioning democracy: Babacan
  • Islamist Websites in Turkey Manage to Evade Strict Internet Censorship
  • President Erdoğan describes MİT head Fidan’s reappointment as ‘felicitous’

Foreign Policy

Turkey furious over US stance on Assad, Syria
Recent remarks by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry regarding possible negotiations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have prompted strong reactions from Ankara.
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Hurriyet Daily News, March 16, 2015, Turkey furious over US stance on Assad, Syria, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-furious-over-us-stance-on-assad-syria.aspx?pageID=238&nID=79733&NewsCatID=510

NATO official sees vital need for rebuilding of trust between Turkey, allies
Veteran French politician Pierre Lellouche left no room for doubt in expressing his view that there is a strong need for a rebuilding of trust between Turkey and its allies in the fight against jihadists in Syria and Iraq.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, March 14, 2015, NATO official sees vital need for rebuilding of trust between Turkey, allies, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/nato-official-sees-vital-need-for-rebuilding-of-trust-between-turkey-allies.aspx?pageID=238&nID=79670&NewsCatID=510

Turkey to support Mosul operation from sidelines
The recent visit to Ankara by US CENTCOM Cmdr. Lloyd Austin shifted focus to Turkey’s role in the upcoming operation to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State (IS). Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had previously gone on record as saying, “Turkey will not be a direct party to the heated conflict in Iraq or Syria. We will provide support for Mosul but will not become a party to clashes.”
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Al Monitor, March 13, 2015, Turkey to support Mosul operation from sidelines, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/03/turkey-iraq-syria-mosul-isis.html

Qatar Emir Meets Erdogan in Surprise Turkey Visit
The emir of Qatar on March 12 met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for surprise talks in the capital Ankara, a Turkish presidential official said.
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Hurriyet Daily News, March 12, 2015, Qatar Emir Meets Erdogan in Surprise Turkey Visit, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/qatar-emir-meets-erdogan-in-surprise-turkey-visit-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=79570&NewsCatID=510

Turks Stop Three British Teenagers at Istanbul Airport, Deport Them to UK
Three British teenagers suspected by British police to be en route to join militants fighting in Syria were stopped by Turkish authorities at an Istanbul airport and deported.
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Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2015, Turks Stop Three British Teenagers at Istanbul Airport, Deport Them to UK, http://www.wsj.com/articles/three-british-teenagers-stopped-at-istanbul-airport-deported-back-to-u-k-1426454429

Turkey’s Drift From NATO
The website of Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledges that NATO has played a “central role” in the country’s security and insists that Turkey, which became a member in 1952, “attaches utmost importance” to it. Yet Turkey’s commitment to the alliance has never seemed more ambivalent than it does now.
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New York Times, March 13, 2015, Turkey’s Drift From NATO, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/14/opinion/turkeys-drift-from-nato.html

 

Economy and Energy

EU Eyes Creation of Energy Partnership with Turkey
The European Commission said on March 11 it intends to establish an energy policy partnership with Turkey. “The Commission intends to strengthen EU/Turkey energy relations by establishing a strategic energy partnership,” a statement released by the European Commission to The Anadolu Agency said.
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Hurriyet Daily News, March 11, 2015, EU Eyes Creation of Energy Partnership with Turkey, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/eu-eyes-creation-of-energy-partnership-with-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=79517&NewsCatID=348

Ankara seen stalling Russian hopes on ‘Turkish Stream’ gas plan
Turkish concern about too much dependence on Russian energy and an upcoming election mean Russia’s plans for a new gas pipeline to southeastern Europe are unlikely to advance as quickly as Moscow might like, Turkish energy officials said on Wednesday.
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Reuters, March 11, 2015, Ankara seen stalling Russian hopes on ‘Turkish Stream’ gas plan, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/11/turkey-russia-gas-idUSL5N0WD2BV20150311

Greece’s NBG to Sell Stake in Finansbank in April
Finansbank, 99.8 percent of which is owned by National Bank of Greece (NBG), has announced its intention to launch an offering of its ordinary shares listed on Turkey’s main stock exchange, Borsa Istanbul.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, March 11, 2015, Greece’s NBG to Sell Stake in Finansbank in April, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/greeces-nbg-to-sell-stake-in-finansbank-in-april.aspx?pageID=238&nID=79521&NewsCatID=346

Turkish President Erdoğan meets Central Bank governor to keep up ‘trust’ in economy
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on late March 11 met with the country’s economy czar and Central Bank head, agreeing on a strong need to build trust in the economy as well as to ease markets after a plunge in the value of the Turkish Lira against the U.S. dollar.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, March 12, 2015, Turkish President Erdoğan meets Central Bank governor to keep up ‘trust’ in economy, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-president-erdogan-meets-central-bank-governor-to-keep-up-trust-in-economy-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=79555&NewsCatID=344

 

Domestic Politics

What more do Kurds want, Erdoğan asks
Anticipation is growing about a breakthrough on the Kurdish issue this Nevruz amid intense talks between the government and militants, but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan turned back the clock several years on March 15 to claim that Turkey does not have any “Kurdish problem,” arguing that Kurds have equal rights with the rest of the country.
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Hurriyet Daily News, March 15, 2015, What more do Kurds want, Erdoğan asks, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/what-more-do-kurds-want-erdogan-asks.aspx?pageID=238&nID=79720&NewsCatID=338

Structural reforms to play big role in reaching functioning democracy: Babacan
Turkey needs to continue to make reforms to achieve a functioning democracy at internationally high standards while maintaining sustainable economic growth, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said March 13 at the Uludağ Economy Summit.
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Hurriyet Daily News, March 13, 2015, Structural reforms to play big role in reaching functioning democracy: Babacan, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/structural-reforms-to-play-big-role-in-reaching-functioning-democracy-babacan-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=79624&NewsCatID=344

Islamist Websites in Turkey Manage to Evade Strict Internet Censorship
The websites of an atheist association, the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a Kurdish separatist organization are blocked to Turkish Internet users. But many sites that promote extreme Islamist messages escape Turkey’s censors.
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New York Times, March 13, 2015, Islamist Websites in Turkey Manage to Evade Strict Internet Censorship, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/14/world/europe/islamist-websites-in-turkey-manage-to-evade-strict-internet-censorship.html?ref=todayspaper

President Erdoğan describes MİT head Fidan’s reappointment as ‘felicitous’
Hakan Fidan’s decision to return to his former position as head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) is “felicitous,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.  Erdoğan also strictly refuted opposition claims that the reappointment of Fidan, after he had resigned to stand for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the upcoming June elections, was unlawful.
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Hurriyet Daily News, March 13, 2015, President Erdoğan describes MİT head Fidan’s reappointment as ‘felicitous’, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/president-erdogan-describes-mit-head-fidans-reappointment-as-felicitous.aspx?pageID=238&nID=79649&NewsCatID=338