• Kerry pushes for improved Turkey-Israel relations
• Obama to host Erdoğan in May
• Turkey adopts migration and asylum law
• Turkey says Cyprus crisis is chance to end division
ECONOMY / ENERGY
• Turkey denies any decision on second nuclear plant
• Iraqi Kurdistan sells first crude, defies Baghdad
• Kurdish peace process
• Turkey ‘coup’ trial delayed amid angry protests
• U.S. Foreign Policy towards the Middle East during the second term of President Obama
Kerry pushes for improved Turkey-Israel relations
Secretary of State John Kerry further urged a normalization of Turkish-Israeli relations during an April 7 meeting with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in Istanbul. “We would like to see the relationship get back on track in its full measure,” Kerry said after meeting with Davutoğlu.
Kerry said it was imperative for Israel to honor its commitment to pay compensation to the families of those who were killed by Israeli marines aboard a Turkish vessel trying to break a naval blockade on Gaza in 2010, and for both countries to return their ambassadors.
Reuters, 7 April 2013, Kerry urges Turkey, Israel to take steps to normalizing ties
New York Times, 7 April 2013, Kerry asks Turkey to act on relations with Israel
Obama to host Erdoğan in May
The White House announced that President Obama will welcome Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for talks on May 16. Topics of discussion will include Syria, trade and economic cooperation, and countering terrorism.
White House Press Briefing, 5 April 2013, Statement by the Press Secretary on the visit of Prime Minister Erdoğan of Turkey
Voice of America, 5 April 2013, Obama to host leaders from Turkey, Jordan, Gulf States
Turkey adopts migration and asylum law
A law adopted on April 4 will protect refugees from Syria and other non-European nations as “conditional refugees” instead of the previous description of “guests.” “They will be allowed to remain in Turkey until they are placed in a third country,” read the law, which reserves full refugee status for Europeans only.
European Union Commissioner Stefan Fule said in a statement that the move indicated Turkey’s “clear commitment to build an effective migration management system in line with EU and international standards.” The law also introduces permanent residency for foreigners who remain in the country for eight years on residency permits and the right of individuals to challenge deportation orders in Turkish courts.
Hurriyet Daily News, 5 April 2013, Eyeing EU, Turkey adopts migration and asylum law
Turkey says Cyprus crisis is chance to end division
Turkish President Abdullah Gül said on April 3 the financial crisis in Cyprus presented an “important opportunity” to end the division of the island. During an official visit to Lithuania, Gül stated “there is at the moment significant economic crisis on the island. This should be seen as important opportunity … because if the island was to unite, there would be a greater economic potential.” He continued: “There are some restrictions, embargoes on the island. Our suggestion is to lift any and all kinds of restriction or embargo simultaneously so that we can create a new climate for moving forward.”
Reuters, 3 April 2013, Turkey says Cyprus crisis is chance to end division
ECONOMY / ENERGY
Turkey denies any decision on second nuclear plant
Turkey’s energy minister said on Thursday talks were continuing with Japan and China on the construction of a second nuclear power station, and denied a media report saying a decision had been made on who would build the plant.
The Nikkei business daily had reported Japan-based Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd and Areva SA, the world’s biggest builder of nuclear reactors, had won an order to build the plant, a project expected to cost around $22 billion.
Turkish energy sources have not confirmed that the Japanese consortium had won the contract.
Reuters, 4 April 2013, Turkey denies any decision on second nuclear plant
Iraqi Kurdistan sells first crude, defies Baghdad
The first cargo of Iraqi Kurdistan’s crude oil has been sold on the international market, industry sources said, as the autonomous northern region ramps up trade the central government views as illegal.
The crude pumped from Genel Energy’s Taq Taq oilfield was trucked over Iraq’s northern border with Turkey and sold via tender for loading in April. One trader said the cargo sold was 30,000 tonnes, which at Friday’s market prices was worth around $22 million.
Reuters India, 5 April 2013, Iraqi Kurdistan sells first crude, defies Baghdad
Kurdish peace process
The Kurdish peace process has seen both progress and stumbling points in the past week. There is some disagreement about the logistics of the PKK’s withdrawal. While Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suggests that the PKK disarm prior to withdrawing from Turkey, the PKK leadership does not accept this, fearing for the protection of withdrawing members.
The government has made public a 63-man “wise men” commission explain the “farewell to arms” talks to the entire country; it has laid out a proposal to shape a parliamentary commission to oversee the process; sent a new Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) delegation to the island of İmralı to iron out complications in order to give a go-ahead for the withdrawal of all PKK units from Turkey.
An AKP proposal to format an “internal” parliamentary, cross-party commission (expected to consist of 17 deputies, with an AKP majority within), may also yield results. This commission meets Abdullah Öcalan’s demands, who additionally requests the development of something akin to a Truth and Reconciliation Council.
Huffington Post, 4 April 2013, Turkey’s PKK talks signals progress: doors open for a pull-out of rebels
Wall Street Journal, 8 April 2013, Turkey’s peace process with Kurds hits bumps
Turkey ‘coup’ trial delayed amid angry protests
A crowd of protestors met outside the Silivri prison-court complex on April 8 to take a stand against what they view as a politically motivated trial against the alleged Ergenekon members. Police responded to the protestors with tear gas and water canons. Some of the tear gas entered the court room, which was already in suspension due to questions of who would sit where.
BBC, 8 April 2013, Turkey’s ‘coup’ trial delayed amid angry protests
U.S. Foreign Policy towards the Middle East during the second term of President Obama
Boğaziçi University-TUSIAD Foreign Policy Forum will organize a conference entitled “U.S. Foreign Policy towards the Middle East during the second term of President Obama” on April 16 at TUSIAD headquarters in Istanbul.
The discussion will feature Ret. Amb. Matthew Bryza, Director of International Center for Defense Studies and former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Prof. Dr. Henri Barkey, Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University and former policy planning staff member in the U.S. State Department, and Ret. Amb. Volkan Vural, member of TUSIAD Executive Board and former Turkish Ambassador to Tehran, Moscow, Berlin, Madrid, and UN. Prof. Dr. Hakan Yılmaz, Director of the BU-TUSIAD Foreign Policy Forum will moderate.
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