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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 23 February 2015

Foreign Policy

  • Turkish Military Evacuates Soldiers Guarding Tomb in Syria
  • Porous Syria-Turkey Border Poses Challenge in Fight Against Islamic State
  • US-Turkey Trained Rebels will Fight Against both ISIL and Syrian Regime: Turkish FM
  • Turkey Eyes Deal with China on Missile Defense Dispute Despite NATO Concern

Economy and Energy

  • Getting out of the “Middle Income” Trap
  • Turkish Economy Minister to Visit South Korea to Boost Trade
  • Libyan Government to Exclude Turkish Companies from Contracts

Domestic Politics

  • HDP Team goes to Kandil to meet PKK Leadership
  • Former Turkish President Gul Advises Government to Revise Security Bill
  • Large Amount of Explosives Seized in Turkish Town Across From Kobane

Foreign Policy

Turkish Military Evacuates Soldiers Guarding Tomb in Syria
Turkey and the US have reached a tentative agreement to train and arm moderate Syrian opposition forces taking on Islamic State (IS) militants.  The US state department said that a deal had been reached “in principal” and would soon be signed.
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The New York Times, February 22, 2015, Turkish Military Evacuates Soldiers Guarding Tomb in Syria, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/23/world/middleeast/turky-syria-tomb-isis.html?ref=todayspaper

Porous Syria-Turkey Border Poses Challenge in Fight Against Islamic State
Officially, Turkey’s border with the Islamic State-run region of Syria is closed to all traffic. That, however, doesn’t stop some two dozen professional smugglers from accosting prospective clients in full view of a lone Turkish soldier, a few yards from the Karkamis border gate.
~~~
The Wall Street Journal, February 19, 2015, Porous Syria-Turkey Border Poses Challenge in Fight Against Islamic State, http://www.wsj.com/articles/porous-syria-turkey-border-poses-challenge-in-fight-against-islamic-state-1424334057

US-Turkey Trained Rebels will Fight Against both ISIL and Syrian Regime: Turkish FM
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said Syrian opposition groups to be trained and equipped by a joint U.S.-Turkey program will also fight against the Syrian regime. The trained Syrian opposition members are “expected to fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] and elements of the [Syrian] regime,” Çavuşoğlu said Feb. 19 to answer whether the program also aims to struggle against Syrian regime forces.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, February 19, 2015, US-Turkey Trained Rebels will Fight Against both ISIL and Syrian Regime: Turkish FM, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/us-turkey-trained-rebels-will-fight-against-both-isil-and-syrian-regime-turkish-fm-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=78590&NewsCatID=510

Turkey Eyes Deal with China on Missile Defense Despite NATO Concern
Turkey’s defense minister said on Thursday the country does not plan to integrate a new missile defense system with NATO infrastructure and officials said a $3.4 billion deal with China was still under consideration.
~~~
Reuters, February 19, 2015, Turkey Eyes Deal with China on Missile Defense Despite NATO Concern, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/19/us-turkey-china-defence-idUSKBN0LN0W220150219

Economy and Energy

Getting out of the “Middle Income” Trap
Today, Turkey’s economy is no longer growing at the 2010-11 levels of 9.2 and 8.8 percent and instead faces a number of structural problems, appearing to be stuck in the infamous “middle-income trap.”
~~~
Brookings, February 18, 2015, Getting out of the “Middle Income” Trap, http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2015/02/18-getting-out-middle-income-trap-turkey-kirisci

Turkish Economy Minister to Visit South Korea to Boost Trade
Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci will meet South Korea’s Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Yoon Sang-jick on Feb. 25 in Seoul to boost bilateral economic ties. Zeybekci is expected to hold meetings with the CEOs of Samsung, CJ Group, Doosan Group and Hyundai to convince them to invest in Turkey, the Turkish Economy Ministry said in a statement on Feb. 21.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, February 22, 2015, Turkish Economy Minister to Visit South Korea to Boost Trade, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-economy-minister-to-visit-south-korea-to-boost-trade.aspx?pageID=238&nID=78673&NewsCatID=344

Libyan Government to Exclude Turkish Companies from Contracts
Libya’s internationally recognized government plans to exclude Turkish companies from contracts, a cabinet statement has said, effectively banning them from the oil producer, as Reuters reported today.
The government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni gave no reason for the move but has in the past accused Turkey of receiving officials from a rival government controlling western Libya.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, February 23, 2015, Libyan Government to Exclude Turkish Companies from Contracts, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/libyan-govt-to-exclude-turkish-companies-from-contracts-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=78718&NewsCatID=345

Domestic Politics

HDP Team goes to Kandil to meet PKK Leadership
A delegation from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) departed to Kandil in northern Iraq Feb. 23 to review recent developments over the ongoing Kurdish resolution process with senior officials of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the party said in a statement.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, February 23, 2015, HDP Team goes to Kandil to meet PKK Leadership, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/hdp-team-goes-to-kandil-to-meet-pkk-leadership.aspx?pageID=238&nID=78710&NewsCatID=338

Former Turkish President Gul Advises Government to Revise Security Bill
The controversial security bill that has ramped up the tension in Turkish politics in recent weeks should be revised, former President Abdullah Gül has said, advising his former party colleagues to “correct” some of its articles, especially on the extra authorities granted to the police.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, February 20, 2015, Gov’t, Former Turkish President Gul Advises Government to Revise Security Bill, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/former-turkish-president-gul-advises-govt-to-revise-security-bill.aspx?pageID=238&nID=78626&NewsCatID=338

Large Amount of Explosives Seized in Turkish Town Across From Kobane
Security forces have seized two sets of bombing equipment and explosives in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa’s Suruç district across from Kobane in the past two days following a Feb. 13 bomb attack, daily Milliyet quoted sources as saying on Feb. 20.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, February 20, 2015, Large Amount of Explosives Seized in Turkish Town Across From Kobane, http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/large-amount-of-explosives-seized-in-turkish-town-across-from-kobane.aspx?pageID=238&nID=78618&NewsCatID=341