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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 18 February 2014

This week:

Foreign Policy

  • Statement by the Press Secretary on Cyprus
  • World Press Freedom Index 2014

Domestic Politics

  • Turkey’s Gul approves law tightening Internet controls
  • Lawmakers Brawl as Turkey Tightens Grip on Judiciary
  • In Turkey, troubling signs of authoritarianism
  • Erdogan Loses It
  • Turkey elections: On the campaign trail with the man hoping to deliver Erdogan a body blow
  • ‘Instructions rain down on Turkish media every day,’ says prominent editor-in-chief

Economy & Energy

  • Will Froman and De Gucht Talk Turkey?
  • The End of Erdogan-omics
  • Six Markets to Watch: Turkey
  • Turkish unemployment nears double-digit levels
  • Tailspin or Turbulence?

Foreign Policy

Statement by the Press Secretary on Cyprus

President Obama and the United States welcome the meeting of the two Cypriot leaders, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades and Mr. Dervis Eroglu, and the renewal of negotiations on a Cyprus settlement under the auspices of the United Nations.
~~~
White House, 11 February 2014, Statement by the Press Secretary on Cyprus

World Press Freedom Index 2014

Following a continued crackdown on press freedoms Turkey drops to a 154 in the World Press Freedom Index. Going well beyond previous edicts on Turkish cyberspace, the new internet legislation hands the government the authority to block individual URLs without judicial review. It also obliges internet service providers (ISPs) to store users’ personal internet data for up to two years, and creates a single association of ISPs.
~~~
Reporters without Boarders, February, World Press Freedom Index 2014

Domestic Politics

Turkey’s Gul approves law tightening Internet controls

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on 18 February he had approved a new law tightening control of the Internet, in a move bolstering embattled Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan but raising concerns about free speech.
~~~
Reuters, 18 February 2014, Turkey’s Gul approves law tightening Internet controls

Lawmakers Brawl as Turkey Tightens Grip on Judiciary

Turkey’s parliament on Saturday approved a bitterly contested bill to tighten the government’s grip on the judiciary, after a heated debate that degenerated into a fistfight that left one lawmaker with a broken nose and another with a broken finger.

The amended bill—which will give the justice ministry greater sway over the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, or HSYK, an independent body responsible for appointing members of the judiciary—was introduced as the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan grapples with a major graft scandal that has plunged his government into its most severe crisis since it swept to power in 2002.
~~~
Wall Street Journal, 16 February 2014, Lawmakers Brawl as Turkey Tightens Grip on Judiciary

In Turkey, troubling signs of authoritarianism

It turns out the world should have been more concerned with a move toward authoritarianism, which seemed to accelerate last week under a new law through which the government gave itself the authority to block Internet sites and track individual online users without court review.
~~~
L.A. Times, 11 February 2014, In Turkey, troubling signs of authoritarianism

Erdogan Loses It

The Turkish state changed hands a decade ago, when Islamic conservatives (supported by the liberals) prevailed in elections against the country’s old guard, the rightist nationalists known as Kemalists. It may be about to do so again.
~~~
Foreign Affairs, 9 February 2014, Erdogan Loses It

Turkey elections: On the campaign trail with the man hoping to deliver Erdogan a body blow

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not only facing the most serious crisis of his 11-year leadership. His slipping popularity also means he faces the possibility of humiliation in his own back yard – with defeat for his candidate in elections for the mayor of Istanbul
~~~
The Telegraph, 16 February 2014, Turkey elections: On the campaign trail with the man hoping to deliver Erdogan a body blow

‘Instructions rain down on Turkish media every day,’ says prominent editor-in-chief

The editor-in-chief of a widely circulated mainstream Turkish newspaper has publicly claimed to be under constant political pressure, in response to an alleged phone transcript in which the prime minister gave orders to an executive of a broadcaster owned by the same media group.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 11 February 2014, ‘Instructions rain down on Turkish media every day,’ says prominent editor-in-chief

Economy & Energy

Will Froman and De Gucht Talk Turkey?

United States Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht are meeting in Washington this week to take stock of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations to date. They will assess progress made in the first three rounds of negotiations and provide political guidance on how best to move forward. The stocktaking meeting also provides an opportunity for the U.S. and EU to discuss the unique position of Turkey – an important American and European ally that should not be excluded from the transatlantic economy.
~~~
America’s Trade Policy, 17 February 2014, Will Froman and De Gucht Talk Turkey?

The End of Erdogan-omics

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is no fan of high interest rates. He has repeatedly argued that his country’s central bank should keep real lending rates at or near zero.
~~~
Foreign Affairs, 9 February 2014, The End of Erdogan-omics

Six Markets to Watch: Turkey

Turkey, like many other developing countries, has found itself facing skittish markets, volatile exchange rates, political unrest, and an uncertain outlook. The picture of Turkey today is less flattering but more revealing than before, displaying both the promise and the perils of being an $800 billion emerging economy.
~~~
Foreign Affairs, February 2014, Six Markets to Watch: Turkey

Turkish unemployment nears double-digit levels

Turkey’s unemployment rate increased in November 2013 to 9.9 percent, with a 0.5 percentage point rise compared to the same period of the previous year, official data has shown.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 18 February 2014, Turkish unemployment nears double-digit levels

Tailspin or Turbulence?

Since the beginning of the year, a new wave of doubt has engulfed emerging markets, driving down their asset prices. The initial wave struck in the spring of 2013, following the Federal Reserve’s announcement that it would begin “tapering” its monthly purchases of long-term assets, better known as quantitative easing (QE). Now that the taper has arrived, the emerging-market bears are ascendant once again.
~~~
Project Syndicate, 17 February 2014, Tailspin or Turbulence?

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