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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: 5 March 2013

THIS WEEK:
FOREIGN POLICY
•  John Kerry visits Turkey
•  Turkey detains 11 suspected of links to Al Qaeda
•  Turkey to buy 10 locally made Anka drones
•  Iran may import ships from Turkey in exchange for gas
DOMESTIC POLITICS
•  Kurdish leader ‘outlines’ Turkey peace plan
ECONOMY / ENERGY
•  Turkey-Kurdistan oil pact imminent  

FOREIGN POLICY

John Kerry visits Turkey

In his first trip overseas as Secretary of State, John Kerry made a stop in Ankara. The primary focus of the trip was finding common ground on the conflict in Syria. In a March 1 joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Kerry said “Minister Davutoglu and I, along with our partners, believe that there is no legitimacy in a regime that commits atrocities against its own people.” Kerry and Davutoğlu also discussed cooperation on TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

However, discussions of Syria have been overshadowed by reactions to Prime Minister Erdoğan’s remarks likening Zionism to fascism. Kerry stated he found the comment “objectionable,” making peace “more complicated,” but believes the damage can be repaired. Kerry also spoke at a memorial for the Turkish guard killed in the embassy bombing. American officials said they would like to find some way to foster an improvement in Turkish-Israeli relations, which the official on Mr. Kerry’s plane described as “frozen.”

Kerry also met with Turkish President Abdullah Gül. Gül conveyed his thoughts on bilateral relations, his views on a solution to the Cyprus issue, Turkey’s possible participation in a free trade agreement between the U.S. and the European Union, counter-terrorism, Syria, Iraq and the Middle East peace process. Kerry emphasized that Turkey was his country’s closest possible ally in the solution to the problems.
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New York Times, 1 March 2013, Kerry comes to Turkey with rebuke of its leader over Zionism remark 
USA Today, 1 March 2013, Kerry: Turkish comments complicate Mideast process 
Al Jazeera, 1 March 2013, Kerry discusses Syria crisis in Turkey
Hurriyet Daily News, 4 March 2013, Gül gives Kerry old photograph with ‘three most important men’ in U.S. 

Turkey detains 11 suspected of links to Al Qaeda

The Doğan news agency reported on February 28 that Turkish police captured 11 individuals with possible Al Qaeda links and took possession of 55 pounds of plastic explosives. The raids took place in Istanbul and Tekirdağ. Reportedly, police found photos of the U.S. Consulate, a church, and a synagogue in Istanbul during the raid.
~~~
Fox News, 28 February

2013, Turkey detains 11 suspected of links to Al Qaeda

Turkey to buy 10 locally made Anka drones

Turkey is preparing to sign a contract for 10 locally made UAV systems dubbed the Anka, procurement authorities said. Murad Bayar, Turkey’s chief procurement official, told reporters that a final round of talks for the contract involving the 10 UAVs and their ground control stations is underway. He said the contract would be signed in the next couple of months. This will mark Turkey’s first purchase of UAVs designed, developed and manufactured indigenously.
~~~
Defense News, 4 March 2013,

Iran may import ships from Turkey in exchange for gas

Iran’s state-owned news agency Fars reports that Iranian officials have made a request for Turkey to supply ships instead of making conventional payments for its $3 billion credit with Turkey over natural gas.
~~~
Bloomberg, 4 March 2013, Iran may import ships from Turkey in exchange for gas

DOMESTIC POLITICS

Kurdish leader ‘outlines’ Turkey peace plan

Jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan outlined a ceasefire plan in a letter to PKK members and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç quoted the letter, saying “[The PKK] will declare at the very least a ceasefire by Newroz [March 21, the Kurdish New Year] and lay down arms by July-August, after which departure from the country will be discussed.”
~~~
Al Jazeera, 27 February 2013, Kurdish leader ‘outlines’ Turkey peace plan
Reuters, 28 February 2013, Kurdish rebel leader airs frustrations in Turkey peace process
The Guardian, 1 March 2013, Locked in a fateful embrace: Turkey’s PM and his Kurdish prisoner 

ECONOMY / ENERGY

Turkey-Kurdistan oil pact imminent

Tony Hayward, the former chief executive of BP who now leads London-listed Genel Energy, has predicted a formal agreement between Turkey and Kurdistan within months that will lead to full-scale exports from the oil-rich region of Iraq from next year. His forecast of an imminent pact between governments in Ankara and Erbil to approve full-scale exports from the semi-autonomous territory came as Genel committed to further exploration in Kurdistan and North Africa. Hayward is optimistic that a new pipeline will bring 1 million barrels of oil to the Turkish border daily by 2014.
~~~
Financial Times, 28 February 2013, Turkey-Kurdistan oil pact imminent

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”.