President Obama speaks with Prime Minister Erdogan
President Obama spoke with Prime Minister Erdogan over the phone late on 19 February. The two discussed a variety of regional issues as well as the importance of Turkey’s domestic stability. The following is the full readout of the call as released by the White House: President Obama spoke by phone today with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey on a range of bilateral and regional issues. The President affirmed the value he places on a strong, mutually respectful bilateral relationship with the Republic of Turkey and expressed his view that Turkey can demonstrate leadership in the world through positive engagement. The President and Prime Minister agreed on the importance of close cooperation between our two countries to address the growing terrorist presence in Syria and on the shared interest in continuing efforts to advance a political solution to the Syria conflict. The President and Prime Minister discussed the importance of encouraging Baghdad and Erbil to find common ground on energy issues and supporting the agreement they achieve. The President thanked the Prime Minister for his constructive role in the effort on Cyprus to renew negotiations for a settlement. The Prime Minister noted the launch ceremony for the Boeing 737 Peace Eagle on Friday. The President and Prime Minister spoke about the importance of quickly concluding the normalization agreement with Israel. The leaders also discussed the need for strong, sustainable, and balanced growth in the global economy, and the President noted the importance of sound policies rooted in the rule of law to reassure the financial markets, nurture a predictable investment environment, strengthen bilateral ties, and benefit the future of Turkey.
TUSIAD President expresses concern with recent developments in Turkey
The President of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD) Muharrem Yilmaz reiterated calls for constitutional reform that would establish universal principles of rule of law, judicial independence and impartiality. Delivering opening remarks at the 44th TUSIAD General Assembly in Istanbul, Yilmaz expressed concern with recent developments in Turkey and problems associated with the rule of law, separation of powers and transparent politics. He warned that the country cannot increase its economic competitiveness if it does not respect the supremacy of law, has a judicial system not in line with EU norms, where the independence of regulatory institutions has been tarnished and companies are pressured with tax fines. In his remarks, Yilmaz outlined ten national priorities highlighting the expectations of the Turkish business world: Returning to the path of high growth by controlling the likely negative economic consequences of current political fluctuations and the 2014 election cycle. Resolving the controversy over judicial independence under the framework of the Copenhagen political criteria. Taking transparent, determined and concrete steps in the “Resolution Process” that seeks to permanently end terrorism and violence in Turkey. Opening negotiations on at least 3 – 4 chapters in the acquis with the European Union, beginning with chapters 23 and 24 – those related to the “judiciary and justice system.” Revising the electoral system by adhering to contemporary standards before the 2015 general elections and decreasing the 10 percent electoral threshold. Meeting the Central Bank’s inflation target of 5 percent. Focusing on increasing competitiveness based on technology and innovation and preparing supportive legislation. Adopting long-term education policies based on contemporary norms that expand the skills required for the 21st century. Expanding rights and liberties such as the freedom of speech and assembly – beginning with internet regulations. Adopting a foreign policy that is reputable, sustainable and mindful of welfare. Yilmaz said that these principles mostly seek to improve Turkey’s democratic standards and that the Turkish business world is calling for a better pluralistic and inclusive democracy.
Erdogan, Syrian Rebels’ Leading Ally, Hesitates
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has long been a leading supporter of the Syrian Rebels, but has recently distanced himself from the movement over concerns that rebel forces are dominated by Islamic radicals. The Turkish military shelled rebel positions this week after a stray artillery round fired by the rebels landed on Turkish soil. To read more click here.
Readout of President Obama’s Call with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey
President Obama spoke by phone on June 24 with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey. The President and Prime Minister discussed developments in Syria, including the regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own people, our shared commitment to pursuing a political solution, the need to provide additional support to the Syrian Coalition and the Supreme Military Council to improve their effectiveness, and the importance of close bilateral cooperation on contingency planning and counterterrorism efforts. The Prime Minister also described the situation in Turkey. The two leaders discussed the importance of nonviolence and of the rights to free expression and assembly and a free press.
The Gezi Park Protests: Time for a New U.S. Approach to Turkey
By: Howard Eissenstat / POMED To read the full version, click here. Amidst ongoing protests in Turkey, the media has focused its attention on both the causes of the crisis and the Turkish government’s response. Despite this focus, there have been noticeably few assessments of potential outcomes, or recommendations for a broader U.S. response. This brief attempts to help fill that gap, with a view towards informing U.S. policy.