TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 18 March 2013

•  U.S., Turkey talk Israel on eve of Obama visit
•  Öcalan to make historic speech
•  Iran sends arms to Syria via Turkey, say diplomats
•  Turkey emerges as true Iraq war victor
•  Turkey’s current account deficit shrinks slightly 


U.S., Turkey talk Israel on eve of Obama visit

Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu held a phone conversation on March 13, ahead of President Barack Obama’s trip to Israel.  Kerry conveyed his thoughts to Davutoğlu on his recent tour in the Middle East. The two officials discussed the latest developments in the region.
Anadolu Agency, 13 March 2013, Kerry and Davutoğlu discussed latest developments in Mideast
Hurriyet Daily News, 16 March 2013, U.S., Turkey talk Israel on eve of Obama visit

Öcalan to make historic speech

Jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan said he would make a “historic” appeal on March 21, raising expectations of ceasefire in a 28-year-old conflict which has riven Turkey and battered its economy. Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) leader Selahattin Demirtaş, a member of parliament, conveyed Öcalan’s statement on his return to Istanbul on Monday from a visit to his prison on the island of Imrali.

Further giving hope for a ceasefire, PKK militants freed a group of Turkish soldiers and officials they had held captive in northern Iraq for more than a year, marking the most concrete result to emerge from new peace talks aimed at ending a three-decade insurgency. The eight Turkish hostages were released on March 13 and handed to a

group of Turkish lawmakers and officials from the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq, Turkish officials confirmed.
Wall Street Journal, 13 March 2013, Kurdish militants free Turks
Voice of America, 15 March 2013, Hopes grow in Turkey for peace with Kurdish rebels
Wall Street Journal, 15 March 2013, Kurd locked in solitary cell holds key to Turkish peace
Wall Street Journal, 17 March 2013, Making peace in Turkey’s Southeast
Reuters, 18 March 2013, Jailed Kurdish rebel to make “historic call” in Turkey peace process

Iran sends arms to Syria via Turkey, say diplomats

Iran has significantly stepped up military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in recent months by sending arms to the regime via Turkey, solidifying its position alongside Russia, Western diplomats said. Iranian weapons continue to pour into Syria from Iraq but also increasingly along other routes, including Turkey and Lebanon, in violation of a U.N. arms embargo on Iran. Iraqi and Turkish officials denied the allegations.
Hurriyet Daily News, 14 March 2013, Iran sends arms to Syria via Turkey, say diplomats

Turkey emerges as true Iraq war victor

In 2012, Turkish exports to Iraq rose to $10.8 billion, making Iraq Turkey’s second largest export market. Özgür Altuğ, an economist at BGC Partners in Istanbul, predicts that as Iraq grows richer because of its oil reserves, demand for Turkish goods will keep climbing — by more than $2bn a year. In contrast, Ercüment Aksoy, chairman of the Turkish-Iraqi Business Council, argues that there will be fewer exports in coming years as Iraq stabilizes and other countries trade more with Iraq. Most of Turkey’s exports go to the Kurdish North of Iraq. Tensions between Ankara and Baghdad continue to rise as Turkey trades more with Iraqi Kurdistan.
CNN, 13 March 2013, Turkey emerges as true Iraq war victor


Turkey’s current account deficit shrinks slightly

Turkey’s current account deficit narrowed by 2 percent in January compared to same month in the previous year, falling to the lowest level in 26 months, according to recently revealed data by Turkey’s Central Bank. Turkey’s current account deficit narrowed to $5.63 billion in January from $5.73 billion a year ago. “The main reason behind the good current account deficit performance in January is an increase in our goods and service exports,” Turkey’s Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan said.

Meanwhile, foreign direct investment to Turkey decreased in 2012, which was not expected.
Hurriyet Daily News, 12 March 2013, Turkey’s current account deficit shrinks slightly
Financial Times, 12 March 2013, Turkey current account: a little lacking in the FDI department


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 usoffice@tusiad.org. 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”.

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