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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 23 December 2013

This week:

Domestic Politics

  • Turkish Police Detain High-Profile Figures in Corruption Probe
  • Turkey’s business community issue warning as government widens police purge
  • Raids and Graft Inquiry in Turkey Are Seen by Some as Muslim Cleric’s Plot
  • Turkey removes another 25 police chiefs over graft inquiry
  • Thousands in anti-corruption protests

Foreign Affairs

  • US warns Ankara not to poison Turkish-American relations
  • Turkish Premier Blames Foreign Envoys for Turmoil
  • Turkey flirts with Asian arms suppliers

Economy/Energy

  • IMF Warns Turkey: Economic Imbalance May Hamper Growth

Domestic Politics

Turkish Police Detain High-Profile Figures in Corruption Probe

Sixteen people were arrested in Turkey on Saturday, including the sons of two cabinet ministers and the general manager of state-owned Halkbank, during a corruption investigation, CNN Turk and other media reported.

Scores of others have already been detained in the inquiry, which poses the biggest challenge to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s decade-long rule.
~~~
Reuters, 21 December 2013, Turkey arrests 16 people in graft probe; including ministers’ sons

Turkey’s business community issue warning as government widens police purge

Turkey’s largest business organization has urged the government to avoid any acts that may impact the independence of the judicial process in an ongoing graft investigation as the government continues to press for the purge of the police command.

“With regard to these [corruption and bribery] claims, all actions and remarks that may cast a shadow on the process should be avoided and the principles of judicial independence and the state of the rule of law should be maintained,” the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TÜSİAD) said in a written statement on Dec. 20, stressing that the fraud claims presented a “worrying” picture.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 20 December 2013, Turkey’s bosses issue probe warning as government widens police purge

Raids and Graft Inquiry in Turkey Are Seen by Some as Muslim Cleric’s Plot

Mr. Arinc, whose party has been shaken by a widening corruption investigation, said the case amounted to a plot within the state — widely perceived to be led by followers of Fethullah Gulen, an influential Muslim cleric who lives in Pennsylvania — and suggested that the government would purge those responsible for the investigation. He denied that he was specifically referring to Gulen followers, but over the years, many are said to have taken up influential positions within the judiciary and police force. “Our opinion is that this is a planned operation, and the purpose of the investigation is to launch psychological warfare, to tarnish our government,” Mr. Arinc said.
~~~
New York Times, 18 December 2013, Raids and Graft Inquiry in Turkey Are Seen by Some as Muslim Cleric’s Plot

Turkey removes another 25 police chiefs over graft inquiry

Turkish authorities have removed another 25 police chiefs from their posts, media reported, widening a crackdown on the force since it launched a corruption investigation that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has called a “dirty operation” against his rule.
~~~
Reuters, 22 December 2013, Turkey removes another 25 police chiefs over graft inquiry

Thousands in anti-corruption protests

Thousands took to the streets of Istanbul on Sunday to protest against the government over a corruption scandal that has led to multiple arrests and exposed a rift between Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and an influential U.S.-based Muslim cleric.
~~~
Reuters, 22 December 2013, Thousands in anti-corruption protests

Foreign Affairs

US warns Ankara not to poison Turkish-American relations

US President Barack Obama’s administration has warned Ankara not to use bilateral relations as a tool in Turkey’s domestic politics and stated that Turkish officials will not benefit from statements that might poison those relations.
~~~
Today’s Zaman, 22 December 2013, US warns Ankara not to poison Turkish-American relations

Turkish Premier Blames Foreign Envoys for Turmoil

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday continued his embrace of what has traditionally been the strategy of Turkish politicians facing a crisis: Blame foreign powers, in this case the United States.

On Saturday morning, four pro-government newspapers featured the American ambassador on their front pages, suggesting that the United States, a strong ally of Turkey, was behind an escalating corruption investigation that has ensnared several businessmen and others in the prime minister’s inner circle. One headline said, “Get out of this country.” Other media reports also suggested a plot by Israel.
~~~
New York Times, 21 December 2013, Turkish Premier Blames Foreign Envoys for Turmoil

Turkey flirts with Asian arms suppliers

When fighter aircraft from NATO-member Turkish and Chinese air forces conducted their first joint air exercises in Turkish airspace in September 2010, few people guessed that could be the beginning of a broader defense and security relationship. Four years later, the big three in Asia are on a determined course to replace some of Turkey’s traditional ties with NATO allies.
~~~
Al-Monitor, 22 December 2013, Turkey flirts with Asian arms suppliers

Economy/Energy

IMF Warns Turkey: Economic Imbalance May Hamper Growth

Turkey remains vulnerable to a sudden slowdown or stop in capital inflows, and failure to address its imbalances could lead to ‘systemic distress,’ slowing the country’s growth, IMF staff warned in a report.
~~~
Reuters, 20 December 2013, IMF Warns Turkey: Economic Imbalance May Hamper Growth

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