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TUSIAD Turkey Letter: February 21, 2018

Foreign Policy:

  • Turkey warns as Syrian government poised to enter Afrin
  • US, Turkey return from brink, aim to ‘normalize’ ties
  • Turkey and the U.S. agree to move forward, not dwell on past
  • 500,000 expected to go back to Syria after Afrin operation: Turkey’s first lady
  • Full text of joint Turkey-US statement issued after Tillerson-Çavuşoğlu meeting
  • Turkey proposed Turkish, US troops station together in Syria’s Manbij: Report
  • Turkey, Germany vow to improve strained ties following Merkel-Yıldırım meeting
  • Cyprus: no reunification talks while Turkey blocks oil rig

Economy and Energy:

  • IMF warns about overheating in Turkey’s economy
  • Proposed US steel imports tax could affect Turkey
  • Turkey posts $450 million budget surplus in January

Domestic Politics:

  • Legislation on election alliance submitted to parliament
  • AKP, MHP to press button for ‘People’s Alliance’
  • Turkey: 6 journalists sentenced to life in prison
  • Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel released from jail
  • Indictments were produced by FETÖ members: Jailed former HDP co-chair Demirtaş
  • Erdoğan receives Archbishop of Canterbury in Ankara
  • Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition party elects new leaders

Foreign Policy:

Turkey warns as Syrian government poised to enter Afrin

Turkey warned the Syrian government Monday against entering the Kurdish-controlled enclave in northern Syria where a major Turkish military offensive is underway, saying it would hit back at the troops if their goal is to protect the Kurdish fighters.

The Washington Post, Turkey warns as Syrian government poised to enter Afrin, February 19, 2018


US, Turkey return from brink, aim to ‘normalize’ ties

The United States and Turkey pulled back from the brink of a potentially disastrous crisis on Friday, agreeing to normalize badly strained relations over Syria and other issues that had threatened the NATO allies’ longstanding ties

The New York Times, US, Turkey return from brink, aim to ‘normalize’ ties, February 16, 2018


Turkey and the U.S. agree to move forward, not dwell on past

The United States and Turkey agreed Friday to open a formal dialogue to resolve their differences over a Kurdish militia in Syria, averting a near-collapse in relations but without mending any of the deep fissures keeping them apart. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, after marathon talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, said a working group to tackle the differences would meet by mid-March.

The Washington Post, Turkey and the U.S. agree to move forward, not dwell on past, February 16, 2018


500,000 expected to go back to Syria after Afrin operation: Turkey’s first lady

Some 500,000 Syrians are expected to go back to the northwestern Syrian district of Afrin, where Turkey is conducting a military operation to clear People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants from the region, Emine Erdoğan, the wife of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has said.

Hürriyet Daily News, 500,000 expected to go back to Syria after Afrin operation: Turkey’s first lady, February 16, 2018


Full text of joint Turkey-US statement issued after Tillerson-Çavuşoğlu meeting

A joint official statement has been issued by Turkey and the United States after the two countries’ foreign ministers, Rex Tillerson and Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, met on Feb. 15. The full text of the statement reads as follows: “The Republic of Turkey and the United States, as allies and strategic partners, reaffirm their mutual and unequivocal commitment to each other’s security and defense.”

Hürriyet Daily News, Full text of joint Turkey-US statement issued after Tillerson-Çavuşoğlu meeting, February 15, 2018


Turkey proposed Turkish, US troops station together in Syria’s Manbij: Report

Turkey has proposed to the United States that People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants withdraw to east of the Euphrates River in Syria and that Turkish and U.S. troops be stationed together in the country’s Manbij area, Reuters reported on Feb. 16, citing a Turkish official.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey proposed Turkish, US troops station together in Syria’s Manbij: Report, February 16, 2018


Turkey, Germany vow to improve strained ties following Merkel-Yıldırım meeting

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Feb. 15 to improve strained ties between the two countries following months-long tensions between Ankara and Berlin. Speaking at a joint news conference with Merkel in Berlin, Yıldırım called for an intensified dialogue and stronger solidarity in the fight against terrorism.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey, Germany vow to improve strained ties following Merkel-Yıldırım meeting, February 15, 2018


Cyprus: no reunification talks while Turkey blocks oil rig

A Cypriot official says that talks to reunify the ethnically split island cannot resume as long as Turkey obstructs an offshore hydrocarbon search. Turkish warships have been preventing a rig from carrying out exploratory drilling off Cyprus on behalf of Italian company Eni for almost a week, citing military maneuvers.

The Washington Post, Cyprus: no reunification talks while Turkey blocks oil rig, February 15, 2018


Economy and Energy:

IMF warns about overheating in Turkey’s economy

The concluding statement of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission in Turkey has warned of the danger of overheating in the country’s economy following a rapid recent recovery, asking for further monetary and fiscal tightening.

Hürriyet Daily News, IMF warns about overheating in Turkey’s economy, February 20, 2018


Proposed US steel imports tax could affect Turkey

The U.S. Department of Commerce is considering imposing customs taxes or quotas for steel and aluminum imports. The department’s primary recommendation is imposing a 24-percent tariff on steel imports. The second alternative is a tariff of 53 percent for 12 steel producing countries, including Turkey.

Hürriyet Daily News, Proposed US steel imports tax could affect Turkey, February 20, 2018


Turkey posts $450 million budget surplus in January

Turkey’s central government’s budget balance saw a surplus of 1.7 billion Turkish liras ($450 million) in January, the Finance Ministry announced on Feb. 15. It stated that Turkey’s budget revenues fell by 1 percent to 58.2 billion Turkish Liras ($15.4 billion) last month compared to the same month of 2017. Budget expenses, meanwhile, stood at 56.5 billion liras ($14.9 billion), marking a 19.4 percent annual rise.

Hürriyet Daily News,Turkey posts $450 million budget surplus in January, February 20, 2018


Domestic Politics:

Legislation on election alliance submitted to parliament

The legislative proposal, which paves the way for a pre-election alliance, has been submitted to the parliament by joint commission members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). “The 26-article proposal makes amendments in different laws on electorates, local elections and political parties. Not all of the articles are about election alliances. There are changes about local elections. Some changes are about previous experiences and election security.”

Hürriyet Daily News,Legislation on election alliance submitted to parliament, February 21, 2018


AKP, MHP to press button for ‘People’s Alliance’

The pre-election alliance to be formed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will be called the “People’s Alliance,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, one day before a legislative proposal on the issue is submitted to parliament.

Hürriyet Daily News, AKP, MHP to press button for ‘People’s Alliance’, February 20, 2018


Turkey: 6 journalists sentenced to life in prison

A Turkish court on Friday sentenced six journalists and media employees accused of involvement in Turkey’s 2016 failed coup attempt to life in prison without parole, the state-run news agency reported.

The Washington Post, Turkey: 6 journalists sentenced to life in prison, February 16, 2018


Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel released from jail

German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel, who was jailed in Turkey a year ago, has been indicted for alleged security offences but a court has decided to release him pending trial on Feb. 16.

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel released from jail, February 16, 2018


Indictments were produced by FETÖ members: Jailed former HDP co-chair Demirtaş

Selahattin Demirtaş, the imprisoned former co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has said the indictments in the case in which he is being tried were prepared by now-imprisoned Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) suspects in the judiciary. Speaking in his defense in the hearing at Ankara’s Sincan Prison Courthouse on Feb. 15, Demirtaş blasted the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for instrumentalizing “unlawful” indictments.

Hürriyet Daily News, Indictments were produced by FETÖ members: Jailed former HDP co-chair Demirtaş, February 16, 2018


Erdoğan receives Archbishop of Canterbury in Ankara

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan received Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual leader of the Church of England, on Feb. 15 at the Presidential Palace in the capital Ankara. The meeting, which took closed to the press, was a first between Erdoğan and Welby.

Hürriyet Daily News, Erdoğan receives Archbishop of Canterbury in Ankara, February 16, 2018


Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition party elects new leaders

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition elected new co-presidents Sunday, following a crackdown on the party for alleged terror links that led to the jailing of its former co-leaders and hundreds of arrests.The Peoples’ Democratic Party or HDP – the second-largest opposition party represented in the Turkish parliament – unanimously elected lawmaker Pervin Buldan and deputy co-chair Sezai Temelli amid heavy security in Ankara.

The Washington Post, Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition party elects new leaders, February 11, 2018