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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 19 February 2013

THIS WEEK:
FOREIGN POLICY
•  US, NATO would help Turkey on border protection if asked, says spokesperson
•  Turkey to present action plan to EU for opening of new chapter
•  Israel, Turkey in first defense deal since ties frozen
•  Secretary Kerry to travel to Turkey
ECONOMY / ENERGY
•  Turkey to Iran gold trade wiped out by new U.S. sanction
•  Turkey’s second nuke plant to cost $25 billion
•  Turkey’s shale gas hopes draw growing interest
DOMESTIC POLITICS
•  Turkey moves to boost freedom of expression
•  Turkey detains four ex-generals over 1997 “post-modern coup”   

FOREIGN POLICY

US, NATO would help Turkey on border protection if asked, says spokesperson

State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland addressed the press in a February 12th meeting. She stated that the U.S. would be willing to give Turkey “the best we can bilaterally, or through NATO,” if Turkey requested the support. Nuland noted that the information she has received from Turkey about the bombing at the Cilvegözü border gate in Hatay focused on casualties.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 13 February 2013, US, NATO would help Turkey on border protection if asked, says spokesperson
Department of State, 12 February 2013, Daily Press Briefing Transcript

Turkey to present action plan to EU for opening of new chapter

Turkey has fulfilled the benchmarks for the opening of an EU membership negotiation chapter “Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments” and will present a draft action plan to the EU Commission Feb. 19, EU Minister Egemen Bağış has said.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 18 February 2013, Turkey to present action plan to EU for opening of new chapter

Israel, Turkey in first defense deal since ties frozen

An Israeli firm has supplied Turkey with military equipment in the first such reported deal since the two nations froze ties over the 2010 killing of nine Turks aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship, Turkish government sources said on Monday. Israeli defense firm Elta delivered to Turkey $100 million of electronic equipment last week for four Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, the sources said, but rebuffed suggestions the deal was a sign of improving ties with the Jewish state. “Turkey bought the equipment from Boeing and the Israeli company is just a sub-contractor of Boeing, which means we are in direct relationship only with Boeing and not with Israel,” a foreign ministry official told Reuters.
~~~
Reuters, 19 February 2013, Israel, Turkey in first defense deal since ties frozen: sources

Secretary Kerry to travel to Turkey

Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to stop in Turkey during his first overseas trip to Europe and the Middle East. State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said “Secretary Kerry will travel to Ankara, Turkey, where he will meet with Turkish officials to discuss our strategic priorities – from ending the crisis in Syria to promoting regional stability, peace, and security – as well as explore areas to deepen U.S.-Turkey bilateral cooperation, including counterterrorism cooperation.”
~~~
Department of State, 19 February 2013, Press release: Secretary of State John Kerry’s travel to Europe and the Middle East

ECONOMY / ENERGY

Turkey to Iran gold trade wiped out by new U.S. sanction

A new round of U.S. sanctions, which prevent Turkish banks from paying for Iranian oil with exported gold, came into effect on February 6. Tighter U.S. sanctions are killing off Turkey’s gold-for-gas trade with Iran and have stopped state-owned lender Halkbank from processing other nations’ energy payments to the OPEC oil producer, bankers said on Friday. Iranians now must show that they are purchasing only Turkish “food, medicine and industrial products” with the money from Turkey’s gas purchases.

Meanwhile, Turkey imported 29 percent less Iranian crude oil in December than November, as the country followed a pledge to cut purchases as part of the trade sanctions.
~~~
Reuters, 14 February 2013,
Reuters, 15 February 2013, Turkey to Iran gold trade wiped out by new U.S. sanction

Turkey’s second nuke plant to cost $25 billion

Due to the high costs of importing oil and gas, Turkey is developing a second nuclear power plant in Sinop, and expanding the search for oil inside the country. Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yıldız announced that the cost of the plant should be between “$22 billion and $25 billion.” Groups from different countries are beginning to make bids to build the plant. Domestic oil exploration continues in the Southeast, and will include a wider area soon.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 14 February 2013, Turkey’s second nuke plant to cost $25 billion

Turkey’s shale gas hopes draw growing interest

Turkey is hoping to find shale gas reserves big enough to help reduce its energy import dependency and is in talks with foreign firms about widening exploration after encouraging early signs, industry officials said on February 18.

The government is hoping that major shale gas reserves

lie in basins in its southeast, east and western Thrace regions and officials say several firms, including smaller players already looking for conventional oil and gas, are keen to explore.

“We are keen to exploit this method and we must make economic use of shale gas,” Energy Minister Taner Yıldız told Reuters, saying it would be a priority for the near future.
~~~
Reuters, 18 February 2013, Turkey’s shale gas hopes draw growing interest

DOMESTIC POLITICS

Turkey moves to boost freedom of expression

Turkey is editing its penal code to not only bring the code closer to European standards, but also to potentially support the progression of negotiations with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. The revision narrows the definition of punishable writings to those that specifically incite activity. A lawmaker remarked, “When a person shares an idea and writes it down, if it does not contain, inspire, incite or try to legitimize violence, how can somebody be convicted?” So far, the basic tenets of the revision have been approved, and the revisions could go to the Grand National Assembly within one month.
~~~
Reuters, 13 February 2013, Turkey moves to boost freedom of expression

Turkey detains four ex-generals over 1997 “post-modern coup”

Four generals are being held for questioning prior to a trial in regards to the planning and implementation of a 1997 “post-modern coup.” The phrase “post-modern coup” refers to the use of internal pressure, as opposed to military takeover, in former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan’s resignation. The detentions follow with the overall trend of the AK Party attempting to curtail the influence of the military; however, Prime Minister Erdoğan has recently hinted at his desire to improve relations with the military.
~~~
Reuters, 14 February 2013, Turkey detains four ex-generals over 1997 “post-modern coup” 

 

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”.