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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 4 March 2014

This week:

Foreign Policy

  • Turkey Scrambles Jets After Detecting Russian Spy Plane
  • Turkey’s Erdogan tells Putin crisis must be solved by Ukrainians
  • Turkey says aiming to finalize missile defense talks with China in April
  • Turkey likely to order Lockheed F-35 fighters in 2015
  • State Department Report Details Suppression of Human Rights Abroad

Domestic Politics

  • Leaked recording deepens divisions in Turks’ views of Erdogan
  • Turks Are Glued to a Sensational Drama, This One Political
  • Turkey’s Koc calls on Erdogan to address graft charges to lower tensions
  • No suspects left in jail in Turkey’s corruption probe
  • Erdogan’s Media Grab Stymies Expansion by Murdoch, Time Warner
  • How Far Backward is Turkey Sliding?

Economy & Energy

  • Foreign companies in Turkey face squeeze
  • Credit Card Debt Threatens Turkey’s Economy

Foreign Policy

Turkey Scrambles Jets After Detecting Russian Spy Plane

Turkey’s military said Tuesday that it had on Monday scrambled eight F16 jets along its Black Sea coast after detecting a Russian spy plane flying parallel to Turkish airspace.

According to a statement on the website of Turkey’s General Staff, which presides over the country’s armed forces, the jets were scrambled on Monday after a Russian IL-20 spy plane was spotted in international waters close to Turkish territory. “Eight F16 jets have been scrambled for control and prevention as an IL-20 spy plane belonging to the Russian Federation has flown in international airspace parallel to our shores,” the statement said.
~~~
Wall Street Journal, 4 March 2014, Turkey Scrambles Jets After Detecting Russian Spy Plane

Turkey’s Erdogan tells Putin crisis must be solved by Ukrainians

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday that it was largely up to Ukrainians to resolve their country’s crisis, and said instability in the Black Sea nation would have regional repercussions.
~~~
Reuters, 4 March 2014, Turkey’s Erdogan tells Putin crisis must be solved by Ukrainians

Turkey says aiming to finalize missile defense talks with China in April

Turkey is aiming to finalize by April its negotiations with China over the procurement of a missile-defense system, Murad Bayar, undersecretary for the state-run defense industries, told reporters on Thursday.

Turkey announced in September it had chosen China’s FD-2000 missile-defense system over rival offers from Franco-Italian Eurosam SAMP/T and U.S.-listed Raytheon Co. It said China offered the most competitive terms and would allow co-production in Turkey.
~~~
Reuters, 27 February 2014, Turkey says aiming to finalize missile defense talks with China in April

Turkey likely to order Lockheed F-35 fighters in 2015

Turkey is likely to start ordering F-35 fighter jets built by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) from 2015 onwards and it will start with two orders initially, Turkey’s undersecretary for state-run defense industries Murad Bayar said on Thursday.
~~~
Reuters, 27 February 2014,

State Department Report Details Suppression of Human Rights Abroad

The State Department reported Thursday that an increasing number of governments were suppressing political opponents and restricting the freedom of assembly.

Turkey, a NATO member and important American partner in the Syrian crisis and on other issues, was cited in the report for a number of abuses, including against the news media.
~~~
New York Times, 27 February 2014, State Department Report Details Suppression of Human Rights Abroad

Domestic Politics

Leaked recording deepens divisions in Turks’ views of Erdogan

The recordings, which appeared within days of the ruling AK Party’s official launch of a campaign for local elections at the end of March, are the latest and potentially most damaging allegations in a graft scandal that Erdogan has cast as concocted to unseat him.
~~~
Reuters, 26 February 2014, Leaked recording deepens divisions in Turks’ views of Erdogan

Turks Are Glued to a Sensational Drama, This One Political

Currently, though, the show to watch is Turkey’s own political crisis, set off by a corruption scandal that has played out like a serial drama through the steady flow of leaked telephone conversations. The most sensational one was released Monday night, an apparently wiretapped conversation in which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, worried about an investigation closing in, is heard telling his son to get tens of millions of dollars out of the house.
~~~
New York Times, 25 February 2014, Turks Are Glued to a Sensational Drama, This One Political

Turkey’s Koc calls on Erdogan to address graft charges to lower tensions

Mustafa Koc, chairman of Turkey’s biggest company Koc Holding, on Sunday called on the government to calm financial markets worried about a corruption inquiry and denied he has sought to undermine Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.
~~~
Reuters, 2 March 2014, Turkey’s Koc calls on Erdogan to address graft charges to lower tensions

No suspects left in jail in Turkey’s corruption probe

Five suspects, including the sons of two former ministers and an Iranian-born Azeri businessman, who were detained in a 2013 graft probe, were released Feb. 28 by court pending trial.
~~~
Hurriyet Daily News, 28 February 2014, No suspects left in jail in Turkey’s corruption probe

Erdogan’s Media Grab Stymies Expansion by Murdoch, Time Warner

In March 2012, Rupert Murdoch flew to Ankara and spent an hour chatting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan about investing in Turkey.
~~~
Bloomberg, 3 March 2014, Erdogan’s Media Grab Stymies Expansion by Murdoch, Time Warner

How Far Backward is Turkey Sliding?

The Turkish political scene has been rocked by accusations of corruption since December 2013, when a number of people, including government officials and private citizens close to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, were arrested as part of a crackdown on graft. Meanwhile, the Erdoğan-led government is enacting policies that degrade rule of law in the country, with sudden policy shifts in the judiciary and the intelligence service, as well as an ongoing clampdown on media and individual freedoms.
~~~
Carnegie Europe, 3 March 2014, How Far Backward is Turkey Sliding?

Economy & Energy

Foreign companies in Turkey face squeeze

Foreign companies in Turkey are beginning to feel the effects of a sagging currency, rising inflation and a growing political power struggle, adding to fears the country may not be the source of future growth that some companies had hoped.
~~~
Reuters, 25 February 2014, Foreign companies in Turkey face squeeze

Credit Card Debt Threatens Turkey’s Economy

The credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s warned in a report last week that the boom in consumer credit had become a serious risk for Turkish lenders. Slowing economic growth, political turmoil and increasing reluctance by foreign investors to provide financing “are prompting a deterioration in the operating environment for Turkish banks,” S.&P. said.
~~~
New York Times, 27 February 2014, Credit Card Debt Threatens Turkey’s Economy

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 usof[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