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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 19 August 2013

FOREIGN POLICY

  • As the crackdowns in Egypt grow, Turkey continues to condemn Egypt
  • Relieving news from the abducted pilots in Lebanon

DOMESTIC POLICY

  • Turkey forges ahead with development plans after Gezi protests
  • Turkey introduces warning labels for alcoholic drinks

ECONOMY & ENERGY

  • Babacan said Turkey is prepared for Fed stimulus cuts
  • Turkey’s current account deficit narrows to seven-month low on services
  • Turkey plays big in Kurdistan’s energy game
FOREIGN POLICY
As the crackdowns in Egypt grow, Turkey continues to condemn EgyptAfter more than 600 people died on August 14 in Cairo when riot police smashed two sit-ins where Morsi’s supporters had been camped out for six weeks to demand his reinstatement, Turkey continued to show its discontent with the situation with various statements made by high-level officials. On August 15, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Egyptian leaders should stand trial for the military’s move against the sit-ins. On August 15, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül called the violence in Egypt a “shame for Islam and the Arab world” as he described the situation as “unacceptable”. After Gül’s statement the two countries recalled their ambassadors for consultations. Meanwhile, hundreds of Turks marched to denounce the crackdown on supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. On August 19, Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement warning Turkish citizens to refrain from travelling to Egypt.

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Turkish Press Review, 15 August 2013, President Gül: Crackdown in Egypt ‘completely unacceptable’

Washington Post, 16 August 2013, Turkey, Egypt recall envoys, with Turkish president calling Cairo violence ‘shame for Islam’

Turkish Press Review, 19 August 2013, Foreign Ministry issues warning on Egypt

Relieving news from the abducted pilots in Lebanon

Lebanese authorities notified Ankara on August 13 that the whereabouts of the pilots have been revealed and both are in good health. The abduction of two Turkish pilots in Lebanon amounted to “a clear act of terror,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on August 15 in Gabala, Azerbaijan. Emphasizing that efforts continue to secure the release of the pilots, Davutoğlu told reporters that “The release of our pilots as soon as possible is crucial. I have also told our counterparts that this is a clear act of terror.”

On August 17, Lebanese authorities have arrested three suspects and charged them in connection with the abduction of two Turkish Airlines pilots, according to what a judicial source told AFP.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu spoke on the phone on August 18 with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati about the ongoing investigations into the abduction of two Turkish pilots. According to diplomatic sources, Mikati called Davutoğlu to brief him on the investigation and to assure him that the Lebanese authorities are doing everything possible to secure the release of the two pilots as soon as possible. During their conversation, Davutoğlu condemned the attack on the pilots in Beirut and expressed the Turkish side’s demand for the immediate release of the pilots.

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Turkish Press Review, 13 August 2013, News of relief: Abducted pilots in good health

Turkish Press Review, 16 August 2013, Davutoglu: Abduction of pilots an act of terror

Hürriyet Daily News, 17 August 2013, Lebanon arrests three over abducted Turkish pilots

Today’s Zaman, 19 August 2013, Turkey, Lebanon step up cooperation to rescue Turkish pilots

ECONOMY & ENERGY
Babacan said Turkey is prepared for Fed stimulus cutsSpeaking to the reporters in New York on August 18, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan noted that the Turkish government was prepared to mitigate the adverse affects of a potential Fed move to taper its stimulus. Following the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s statement, Babacan noted that Turkey planned to go through the new period of Fed moves and added: “Markets are in quest to establish a new balance in the global financial system, and we need to be prepared for the outcomes. We should brace ourselves for new ups and downs in the markets.” In his statement following contacts with the representatives of the business and finance sector in USA, Babacan said “We met with the senior representatives of the credit rating institutions. Although it is the holiday season, our meetings were held at a high level of participation.”

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Turkish Press Review, 19 August 2013, Babacan: Turkey prepared for Fed stimulus cuts

Turkey’s current account deficit narrows to seven-month low on services

Turkey’s current account deficit narrowed to a seven-month low in June in part because of increased output in the services industry. The current account gap shrank to $4.45 billion from $7.3 billion in May, the central bank in Ankara said on its website on August 15. It was forecast at $5.1 billion according to the median estimate of five economists surveyed by Bloomberg, and stood at about $4 billion a year ago.

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Bloomberg Businessweek, 15 August 2013, Turkey current account narrows to seven-month low on services

Turkey plays big in Kurdistan’s energy game

Turkey has quietly built up a large presence in Kurdistan’s oil and gas industry, teaming up with U.S. major Exxon Mobil, as Ankara bets on Iraq’s semi-autonomous republic to help wean it off costly Russian and Iranian energy imports. A state-backed Turkish firm was also set up in the second quarter of 2013 to explore for oil and gas in Kurdistan, according to three sources familiar with the company. The strategy will anger Baghdad, which claims sole authority to manage Iraqi oil, and runs counter to calls from Washington for Ankara to avoid backing projects that will help the Kurds gain further autonomy.

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Reuters, 15 August 2013, Turkey plays big in Kurdistan’s energy game

 

DOMESTIC POLITICS
Turkey forges ahead with development plans after Gezi protestsTurkey is going ahead with building projects for Istanbul and beyond that dwarf plans for Gezi Park, the green space at the center of countrywide protests, only weeks after the demonstrations died down. The latest project mooted concerns some of the most visible undeveloped land in the country – military security zones that occupy more than 50,000 acres in Istanbul alone, almost all of it green space and much of it in prized locations beside the waterways of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn.

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Financial Times, 13 August 2013, Turkey forges ahead with development plans after Gezi protests

Turkey introduces warning labels for alcoholic drinks

Bottles and cans of alcohol sold in Turkey must soon bear warnings similar to those on cigarette packages, including the phrase “Alcohol is not your friend.” The new regulations about the labels result from a law passed in May that restricts the sale and advertising of alcohol. The law was one reason a wave of anti-government protests hit Turkey in June. Demonstrators served it up as an example of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan overstepping his authority and imposing his Islamist views on a country with a strong secular history. The labels also must indicate that only people over the age of 18 can consume alcohol and warn pregnant women and drivers not to drink.

Companies have 10 months to comply with the regulations, which were released on August 18.

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Washington Post, 12 August 2013, Turkey introduces warning labels for alcoholic drinks, including ‘Alcohol is not your friend’

 

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