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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 25 March 2014

This week:

Foreign Policy

  • US compares Turkey Twitter ban to ‘book burning’, White House Deeply Concerned
  • Turkey Downs Warplane From Syria After Warning
  • Turkey stands with EU and NATO on Crimea: Davutoğlu
  • Turkish President Gül to discuss EU bid in Denmark trip

Domestic Politics

  • Turkish Web Watchdog Blocks Twitter
  • Turkish business world slams gov’t for Twitter ban
  • In Turkey, Twitter Roars After Effort to Block It
  • Erdogan defiant over Twitter ban branded illegal by president
  • Turkey’s silenced spring
  • Turkey’s Move to Silence Twitter
  • Jailed Kurdish militant leader calls for legal steps in peace talks

Economy & Energy

  • Political unrest stirs volatility of Turkish economy: Moody’s
  • Turkey ‘to re-negotiate’ Customs Union with EU
  • Turkish assets mixed as local polls loom
  • Turkey ‘earns $12 billion’ from Baku pipeline

Foreign Policy

US compares Turkey Twitter ban to ‘book burning’, White House Deeply Concerned

Turkey doubled down on its decision to block Twitter at the weekend, amid near-unanimous international criticism of the ban, which the US has compared to book burning. Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs Doug Frantz wrote in an official State Department blog, “Every day, governments around the world devote precious resources to Internet censorship. It is 21st Century book burning.”

The White House said on Friday it was “deeply concerned” about a ban on Twitter in Turkey, calling it contrary to democratic governance.

“The United States is deeply concerned that the Turkish government has blocked its citizens access to basic communication tools,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
~~~
Financial Times, 22 March 2014, US compares Turkey Twitter ban to ‘book burning’
Reuters, 21 March 2014, White House: deeply concerned about Turkish Twitter ban
State Department, 21 March 2014, ’21st Century Book Burning’

Turkey Downs Warplane From Syria After Warning

Turkish fighter jets shot down a Syrian warplane on Sunday after it violated Turkish airspace, Turkey’s prime minister said, part of the longstanding hostilities between the two nations over the conflict in Syria.

“If you violate my airspace, our slap will be a hard one,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a televised campaign speech in northwestern Turkey. Mr. Erdogan praised the Turkish military for its response.
~~~
New York Times, 23 March 2014, Turkey Downs Warplane From Syria After Warning

Turkey stands with EU and NATO on Crimea: Davutoğlu

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said his government supports the European Union and NATO’s policies regarding Russia’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula after it declared its independence from Ukraine following a referendum.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 19 March 2014, Turkey stands with EU and NATO on Crimea: Davutoğlu

Turkish President Gül to discuss EU bid in Denmark trip

Turkey’s EU process is a significant dimension of relations between Turkey and Denmark, President Abdullah Gül has said ahead of his visit to the country.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 17 March 2014, Turkish President Gül to discuss EU bid in Denmark trip

Domestic Politics

Turkish Web Watchdog Blocks Twitter

Turkey’s Internet watchdog blocked Twitter Inc. on Thursday, hours after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to shut down the social-media site that has become a vehicle for allegations of government corruption ahead of elections.

The move, confirmed by the telecommunications regulator and the state news agency, sent shock waves across Turkey, which is one of the top 10 users of Twitter world-wide with millions of users.
~~~
Wall Street Journal, 20 March 2014, Turkish Web Watchdog Blocks Twitter

Turkish business world slams gov’t for Twitter ban

The Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD) has said the ban on Twitter, which is disproportionate and against freedoms, reveals ungrounded fears and does not serve democracy.

“Unfortunately, our country has not been able to get rid of the banning instinct with regard to access to information via the Internet, protection of freedom of expression and communication and adopting legal infrastructures for developing technology,” the association said in a written statement on Friday.
~~~
Today’s Zaman, 21 March 2014, Turkish business world slams gov’t for Twitter ban

In Turkey, Twitter Roars After Effort to Block It

Embattled Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan seemed on Friday to have failed in an attempt to block Twitter Inc. in Turkey, as countless Turks—including his longtime ally, President Abdullah Gul —bypassed the ban to criticize the government, just nine days before local elections.

Twitter use in Turkey spiked despite the telecommunications regulator’s steps late Thursday to block access to the microblogging site, with users tapping private servers outside the country to circumvent the blackout.
~~~
New York Times, 21 March 2014, In Turkey, Twitter Roars After Effort to Block It
Wall Street Journal, 21 March 2014, Turkey’s Effort to Block Twitter Falters

Erdogan defiant over Twitter ban branded illegal by president

Turkey’s president has accused the government of acting outside the law after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration banned Twitter, a measure the US has likened to “book burning”.
~~~
Financial Times, 23 March 2014, Erdogan defiant over Twitter ban branded illegal by president

Turkey’s silenced spring

With less than two weeks to go before municipal elections in Turkey, the Turkish telecommunications authority ordered a ban on access to Twitter. The move came just hours after a speech in which Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, promised his government would “root out Twitter and all that.”

This is the latest move in the AKP government’s sustained and insidious campaign against freedom of speech in Turkey. Turkey’s record on civic and press freedom has never been stellar, but under Erdogan’s rule, the persecution of journalists, publishers, NGOs, academics and assorted critics took on the character of a personal vendetta. For a leader who served a prison term for reciting a political poem, these curbs on the freedom of expression are particularly ironic.
~~~
Washington Post, 24 March 2014, Turkey’s silenced spring

Turkey’s Move to Silence Twitter

The Turkish government’s assault on free speech reached a self-defeating low this week with its order to silence Twitter — an authoritarian move that quickly backfired in the tech-savvy world of social media.
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New York Times, 21 March 2014, Turkey’s Move to Silence Twitter

Jailed Kurdish militant leader calls for legal steps in peace talks

Jailed Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan called on the Turkish government on Friday to create a legal framework for their peace talks, whose fate is looking increasingly uncertain a year after he called a ceasefire by his fighters.
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Reuters, 21 March 2014, Jailed Kurdish militant leader calls for legal steps in peace talks

Economy & Energy

Political unrest stirs volatility of Turkish economy: Moody’s

In a report published on March 24, the international ratings agency Moody’s said the Turkish economy had been left fragile by the political tumult shaking the country and the uncertainty in the financial markets.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 25 March 2014, Political unrest stirs volatility of Turkish economy: Moody’s

Turkey ‘to re-negotiate’ Customs Union with EU

Turkey will bring up the Customs Union deal for negotiation with the European Union by June, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi has announced.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 23 March 2014, Turkey ‘to re-negotiate’ Customs Union with EU

Turkish assets mixed as local polls loom

Turkish assets were mixed on Monday after the weekend shooting down of a Syrian warplane that allegedly violated Turkish airspace fanned political tensions in the countdown to high-stakes municipal elections.
~~~
Reuters, 24 March 2014, Turkish assets mixed as local polls loom

Turkey ‘earns $12 billion’ from Baku pipeline

The Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) has earned $12 billion from the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) crude oil pipeline since 2005, when oil from Baku was first pumped, Turkish Minister of Energy Taner Yıldız has said.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 24 March 2014, Turkey ‘earns $12 billion’ from Baku pipeline

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