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Turkey Letter: 20 June 2016

Foreign Policy

  • Turkey may soften stance on Assad exit as Kurdish gains force shift
  • Despite Brexit noise and migrant woes, Turkey committed to EU ties
  • Turkey Blocks Expansion of NATO’s Aegean Mission
  • Erdoğan calls Obama, Yıldırım calls Biden, extend condolences for Orlando hate crime
  • No Visa-Free Travel for Turkey by Month-End, Says EU Executive
  • Guards Kill Syrians at Border, Groups Say; Turkey Denies Charge
  • Judge Denies Reza Zarrab’s Bail Request for Self-Financed House Arrest

Economy & Energy

  • Turkey Plans New Law to Ease Loan Access for Top Employers
  • Turkish finance minister elaborates new package to improve investment climate
  • Turkey aims to triple trade with Iran: customs minister
  • How gas could warm relations between Israel and Turkey

Domestic Politics

  • Turkey’s bosses want urgent revision of ‘risky’ draft law on company boards
  • Rebels in Turkish nationalist party move closer to ousting leader
  • Ataturk’s Ideology Seen Deleted as Turkey Drafts New Charter
  • Turkish vote on stronger presidency may come late this year
  • Turkey’s Erdogan revives plans to redevelop Istanbul park
  • Istanbul riot police disperse ‘Trans Pride’ march

Foreign Policy

Turkey may soften stance on Assad exit as Kurdish gains force shift

Turkey’s determination to prevent an autonomous Kurdish region emerging in northern Syria could see it ease up on demands for President Bashar al-Assad’s immediate exit, as it overhauls a foreign policy that has left it more isolated than influential.

Reuters, Turkey may soften stance on Assad exit as Kurdish gains force shift, June 14, 2016


Despite Brexit noise and migrant woes, Turkey committed to EU ties

Turkey remains committed to closer ties with the European Union despite strains in the relationship, and wants to deepen a customs union to become the bloc’s third largest trade partner, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said in an interview.

Reuters, Despite Brexit noise and migrant woes, Turkey committed to EU ties, June 16, 2016


Turkey Blocks Expansion of NATO’s Aegean Mission

The U.S., U.K. and Germany are pushing to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s naval mission to combat human smuggling in the Aegean Sea but face objections from Turkey, which is seeking to end the operation.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey Blocks Expansion of NATO’s Aegean Mission, June 15, 2016


Erdoğan calls Obama, Yıldırım calls Biden, extend condolences for Orlando hate crime

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım have separately called their U.S. counterparts in order to extend condolences on the June 12 shooting attack on an LGBT nightclub in Orlando.

Hurriyet Daily News, Erdoğan calls Obama, Yıldırım calls Biden, extend condolences for Orlando hate crime, June 16, 2016


No Visa-Free Travel for Turkey by Month-End, Says EU Executive

The European Union’s executive confirmed Wednesday that Turkey hadn’t met the outstanding conditions for the bloc to approve visa-free travel by the end of June.

Wall Street Journal, No Visa-Free Travel for Turkey by Month-End, Says EU Executive, June 15, 2016


Guards Kill Syrians at Border, Groups Say; Turkey Denies Charge

Three Syrian antigovernment monitoring groups said Turkish border guards shot and killed as many as 11 Syrian civilians on Sunday, and Turkey denied the charge.

Wall Street Journal, Guards Kill Syrians at Border, Groups Say; Turkey Denies Charge, June 19, 2016


Judge Denies Reza Zarrab’s Bail Request for Self-Financed House Arrest

A federal judge in Manhattan on Thursday rejected a request that a gold trader from Turkey be granted an unusual form of release pending trial that would have allowed him to sign a $50 million bond, secured by $10 million in cash, and to live in a kind of self-financed gilded cage.

New York Times, Judge Denies Reza Zarrab’s Bail Request for Self-Financed House Arrest, June 16, 2016


Economy & Energy

Turkey Plans New Law to Ease Loan Access for Top Employers

Turkey’s government is working on a new law that will ease access to credit for small-to-medium sized companies, the nation’s top provider of jobs and source of exports.

Bloomberg, Turkey Plans New Law to Ease Loan Access for Top Employers, June 16, 2016


Turkish finance minister elaborates new package to improve investment climate

Finance Minister Naci Ağbal has given details of a comprehensive package to improve the investment climate in Turkey, promising a raft of new legal amendments to eliminate obstacles faced by foreign direct investors and ease employment conditions for foreigners.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish finance minister elaborates new package to improve investment climate, June 17, 2016


Turkey aims to triple trade with Iran: customs minister

Turkey aims to triple trade with Iran to $30 billion as quickly as possible after the lifting of economic sanctions made banking transactions with the country easier, Turkish Customs and Trade Minister Bulent Tufenkci said in an interview.

Reuters, Turkey aims to triple trade with Iran: customs minister, June 16, 2016


How gas could warm relations between Israel and Turkey

On the sidelines of a nuclear security summit in Washington in March, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a private meeting with Israel’s energy minister, Yuval Steinitz. It was the highest level contact between Israel and Turkey since diplomatic relations broke down six years ago after Israeli forces raided a Turkish ship bound for Gaza, killing 10 Turkish activists.

Reuters, How gas could warm relations between Israel and Turkey, June 20, 2016


Domestic Politics

Turkey’s bosses want urgent revision of ‘risky’ draft law on company boards

Turkish Business and Industry Association (TÜSİAD) has requested an urgent revision of a draft law broadening the government’s authority to appoint boards of trustees to companies, which it said was prepared without taking the views of all stakeholders, creating risks for companies’ reputation and private ownership rights.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s bosses want urgent revision of ‘risky’ draft law on company boards, June 17, 2016


Rebels in Turkish nationalist party move closer to ousting leader

Dissidents in Turkey’s nationalist MHP opposition party took a step closer on Sunday to ousting their veteran leader, a move which could potentially derail President Tayyip Erdogan’s drive for greater powers under a new constitution.

Reuters, Rebels in Turkish nationalist party move closer to ousting leader, June 19, 2016


Ataturk’s Ideology Seen Deleted as Turkey Drafts New Charter

Turkey’s leaders plan to remove references in the constitution binding public servants to the ideology of the nation’s secular founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the state, its principles and institutions under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Bloomberg, Ataturk’s Ideology Seen Deleted as Turkey Drafts New Charter, June 14, 2016


Turkish vote on stronger presidency may come late this year

Turkey will not hold a referendum on the powerful presidency sought by Tayyip Erdogan at least until the end of the year and could wait until 2019 if there is not enough support in parliament, the official overseeing the plans said.

Reuters, Turkish vote on stronger presidency may come late this year, June 17, 2016


Turkey’s Erdogan revives plans to redevelop Istanbul park

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he would revive plans to redevelop a park in central Istanbul, three years after they triggered large-scale anti-government protests.

Reuters, Turkey’s Erdogan revives plans to redevelop Istanbul park, June 18, 2016


Istanbul riot police disperse ‘Trans Pride’ march

Istanbul riot police fired tear gas and rubber pellets on Sunday to disperse a march for transgender people banned after ultra-nationalists said that “degenerates” could not demonstrate.

Reuters, Istanbul riot police disperse ‘Trans Pride’ march, June 19, 2016