2101 L Street, NW Suite 800 Washington, DC

+1 (202) 776-7770 [email protected]

Turkey Letter: 7 March 2016

Foreign Policy

  • US warns PYD not to support PKK in Turkey
  • US welcomes release of Turkish journalists
  • Turkey offers more help on migrants, makes more demands on EU
  • NATO, Turkey, Greece Reach Agreement on Migrant Monitoring
  • Undercover teams, increased surveillance and hardened borders: Turkey cracks down on foreign fighters
  • Syria divisions aside, Turkish PM eyes closer ties with Iran

Economy and Energy

  • Turkey’s economic growth outlook stronger: Moody’s
  • Turkey to Raise $1.5 Billion With First Dollar Bond in Year
  • Ballooning Bad Loans in Turkey Seen Worsening as Tourists Flee
  • Turkish Inflation Slows More Than Estimates on Food Costs
  • Turkey’s Bonds Rally to Three-Month High on Slowing Inflation

Domestic Politics

  • Turkey Broadens Clampdown Against Erdogan Rivals
  • Turkey Cracks Down on Insults to President Erdogan
  • Turkey Seizes Newspaper, Zaman, as Press Crackdown Continues
  • Erdoğan’s top court remarks point to coup d’état: CHP head
  • Two Killed in Car Bomb in Southeastern Turkey
  • Thirteen killed as Turkish forces clash with Kurdish militants

Foreign Policy

US warns PYD not to support PKK in Turkey

The U.S. on March 2 called on the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria to not support the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey. Addressing Turkish concerns about links between the PYD and its armed wing – the People’s Protection Unit (YPG) – and the PKK, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Turkey’s cooperation was “vital” in Syria.

Hurriyet Daily News, US warns PYD not to support PKK in Turkey, March 3, 2016


US welcomes release of Turkish journalists

The United States has welcomed the recent Turkish Constitutional Court ruling that led to the pre-trial release of journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, who had been under arrest over their report on intelligence trucks allegedly carrying weapons to Syria.“We welcomed, frankly, the court ruling that ended their pre-trial imprisonment of these two,” U.S. State Department Spokesperson Mark Toner said at a press conference on March 2.

Hurriyet Daily News, US welcomes release of Turkish journalists, March 2, 2016


Turkey offers more help on migrants, makes more demands on EU

Turkey offered the European Union greater help on Monday to stem a flood of migrants into Europe but demanded more money, faster accession talks and quicker visa-free travel for its citizens in exchange, diplomats said.

Reuters, Turkey offers more help on migrants, makes more demands on EU, March 7, 2016


NATO, Turkey, Greece Reach Agreement on Migrant Monitoring

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization announced that its military commanders had reached an agreement with Turkey and Greece over the area of operations for the alliance mission to monitor migrants trying to cross the Aegean Sea. NATO decided to begin a mission to monitor and deter migrants crossing the Aegean when defense ministers met in Brussels on Feb. 11. Finalizing the operational details has been challenging, with Turkey raising technical questions and objections, according to organization officials.

Wall Street Journal, NATO, Turkey, Greece Reach Agreement on Migrant Monitoring, March 6, 2016


Undercover teams, increased surveillance and hardened borders: Turkey cracks down on foreign fighters

The back-to-back deportations of would-be militants last year were in some ways a sign of substantial progress in the cooperation between Western governments and Turkey in sharing intelligence and stemming the flow of foreign fighters to Syria.

Washington Post, Undercover teams, increased surveillance and hardened borders: Turkey cracks down on foreign fighters, March 6, 2016


Syria divisions aside, Turkish PM eyes closer ties with Iran

The first visit by a Turkish prime minister to Iran in two years is unlikely to narrow deep divisions over Syria’s war, but it could boost trade ties as the lifting of sanctions on Tehran and political gains by reformists clear the way for a business boom.

Reuters, Syria divisions aside, Turkish PM eyes closer ties with Iran, March 4, 2016


Economy and Energy

Turkey’s economic growth outlook stronger: Moody’s

Turkey’s economic growth outlook is still stronger than that of the largest developing economies, a senior figure from Moody’s ratings agency told Anadolu Agency on March 2. “We affirmed Turkey’s rating at Baa3 with a negative outlook in December [2015],” said Alpona Banerji, Moody’s vice president and senior credit officer.

Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey’s economic growth outlook stronger: Moody’s, March 2, 2016


Turkey to Raise $1.5 Billion With First Dollar Bond in Year

Turkey is selling dollar-denominated bonds for the first time since April as borrowing costs fall to the lowest level this year and investors speculate the U.S. won’t rush to raise interest rates.

Bloomberg, Turkey to Raise $1.5 Billion With First Dollar Bond in Year, March 2, 2016


Ballooning Bad Loans in Turkey Seen Worsening as Tourists Flee

The ailments afflicting Turkey’s economy that have triggered a surge in bad loans look poised to get worse before they get better. Non-performing loans at the nation’s lenders climbed to 3.18 percent of total credit in January, the sixth straight monthly increase and the highest proportion in almost five years, according to data this week from the Ankara-based Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency.

Bloomberg, Ballooning Bad Loans in Turkey Seen Worsening as Tourists Flee, March 3, 2016


Turkish Inflation Slows More Than Estimates on Food Costs

Turkey’s annual consumer inflation slowed more than anticipated in February as increases in food prices lost pace, and Finance Minister Naci Agbal said the government remains determined to maintain the downward trend.

Bloomberg, Turkish Inflation Slows More Than Estimates on Food Costs, March 3, 2016


Turkey’s Bonds Rally to Three-Month High on Slowing Inflation

A steeper-than-expected slowdown in inflation sent Turkey’s local-currency government bonds soaring to the highest level in three months on bets a rise in consumer prices has peaked. The yield on the nation’s 10-year bonds fell 17 basis points to 10.44 percent at 5:10 p.m. in Istanbul, the lowest level since Dec. 9. The yield on two-year debt sank 18 basis points. Turkey’s annual consumer inflation slowed to 8.78 percent in February from an almost two-year high. The median estimate of 21 analysts was 9.4 percent.

Bloomberg, Turkey’s Bonds Rally to Three-Month High on Slowing Inflation, March 3, 2016


Domestic Politics

Turkey Broadens Clampdown Against Erdogan Rivals

Turkey detained the executives of a top conglomerate and appointed a trustee to take over a leading opposition newspaper on Friday, as authorities expand their crackdown on perceived rivals of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Wall Street Journal, Turkey Broadens Clampdown Against Erdogan Rivals, March 4, 2016


Turkey Cracks Down on Insults to President Erdogan

Since August 2014, 1,845 criminal cases have been opened against Turks for insulting their president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a crime that carries a penalty of up to four years in prison. Among the offenders are journalists, authors, politicians, a famous soccer star, even schoolchildren.

New York Times, Turkey Cracks Down on Insults to President Erdogan, March 2, 2016


Turkey Seizes Newspaper, Zaman, as Press Crackdown Continues

Backed by a court order, the Turkish authorities moved on Friday to seize Zaman, the country’s most widely circulated newspaper, in the latest crackdown by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on freedom of the press.

New York Times, Turkey Seizes Newspaper, Zaman, as Press Crackdown Continues, March 4, 2016


Erdoğan’s top court remarks point to coup d’état: CHP head

Critical remarks made by Turkey’s president on a top court ruling that led to the release of two journalists who spent months under arrest over a news report alleging state-owned trucks carrying weapons to Syria show that steps are being taken for a coup d’état, the country’s main opposition leader has said.“If someone who was elected by [laws defined in] the constitution says ‘I do not recognize the constitution,’ that means moves are underway for a coup d’état,” said Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refusal to obey a ruling by Turkey’s Constitutional Court that provided legal ground for the release of daily Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dündar and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gül.

Hurriyet Daily News, Erdoğan’s top court remarks point to coup d’état: CHP head, March 6, 2016


Two Killed in Car Bomb in Southeastern Turkey

Kurdish insurgents attacked a police complex in southeast Turkey March 4, officials said, killing at least two policemen and wounding dozens of people as separatists and state security forces fight a protracted battle stoking violence in restive regions bordering Syria and Iraq.

Wall Street Journal, Two Killed in Car Bomb in Southeastern Turkey, March 4, 2016


Thirteen killed as Turkish forces clash with Kurdish militants

Three Turkish soldiers and 10 Kurdish militants have been killed in two clashes in southeast Turkey, the army said on March 3, the latest casualties in a revived conflict that has killed hundreds since the collapse of a ceasefire last summer.

Reuters, Thirteen killed as Turkish forces clash with Kurdish militants, March 3, 2016