Turkish Lira depreciates to record low against US dollar

September 27, 2011
The Turkish Lira depreciated and hit an all-time low against the dollar September 26, marking a loss of 21 percent of its value since the beginning of the year. The lira dropped to a record of 1.865 liras September 26, primarily due, according to experts, to increasing concerns about the European sovereign debt crisis.

Turkey’s Central Bank appears contend with the soft Lira for the present

Source: Hurriyet Daily News

Top Nato commander visits Turkey after talks in Israel

September 27, 2011
A senior NATO commander arrived in Ankara September 26 for a previously unannounced visit, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said. Adm. James Stavridis came to Ankara for a “routine visit,” Foreign Ministry Officials said. Turkish media speculated that Stavridis is expected to discuss the planned deployment of US radar on Turkish soil as part of a NATO-backed missile defense program designed to protect the European members of NATO against missile threats

It is not unusual for Staviridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander, to visit Turkey a key NATO ally. Eight to ten agenda topics easily come to mind, from NATO missile defense, to Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and the eastern Mediterrean.

Source: Today’s Zaman

Gadhafi regime ends as Turkey gives Libya NATO’s vow

August 26, 2011
Turkey will support the new Libyan administration in the strongest sense of the term, stressing the need for reconstruction in the country, and NATO will remain in Libya until security is fully restored, said Turkey’s Foreign Minister, who became the first international leader to visit Benghazi following the defeat of Moammar Gadhafi.

Turkey hosts the next meeting of the Libya Contact Group August 25 in Istanbul.  It wants to hold a leading position for Libyan humanitarian assistance and reconstruction.

Source: Hurriyet Daily

Hama assaults nothing but brutality, Turkish deputy PM Minister says

August 3, 2011
Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc on August 3 condemned the Syrian Government’s continued attacks in the city of Hama, which have so far cost more than 100 civilian lives. Bulent Arinc spoke to the press saying “What happens in Hama is nothing but brutality. Those who commit this brutality cannot be our friends. We can’t comprehend tanks being sent to confront people in these days of holy Ramadan. I am telling Assad: You are oppressing people. Neither Allah nor people like oppressors.”

Although Turkish leaders reportedly remain in close communication with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, their rhetoric is becoming more sharp and critical, approaching a point of breaking with al Assad and calling for his ouster.

Source: Today’s Zaman

US envoy eases senators’ concerns over Turkey military resignations

August 3, 2011
On August 2, the US Ambassador to Turkey, Francis Ricciardone, eased the concerns voiced by US senators over the recent resignation of Turkey’s top four military commanders.  During nomination hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ambassador Ricciardone noted that three of the four generals were to have retired this month in any event and that their early retirements would not be a setback for security relations between Turkey and the US.

Ambassador Ricciardone is a recess appointment as Ambassador to Turkey. Senate confirmation is required if he is to serve in Ankara beyond 2011.   His SFRC hearing proceeded smoothly with nothing emerging that would place his speedy confirmation at risk.

Source: Today’s Zaman

Deputy PM says new seating order at YAS how it should be

August 3, 2011
The seating during the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) meetings has been a topic of contention in Turkey, during which for the first time in its history, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sat alone at the head of the table.  This radical change is interpreted as a strong sign of normalization in civilian-military relations in Turkey and as a sign of civilian authority’s superiority over the military.  Both Deputy Prime Ministers Bülent Arınç and Bekir Bozdağ said that this order is how it should be, showing that civil democracy in Turkey is in play.

The Council’s meetings will conclude on Thursday.  Its decisions are expected to be made public after being presented to President Abdullah Gül for approval.  The sessions have proceeded without the crisis atmosphere that many had feared following the military’s mass resignations on Friday.  The Turkish media, across the board, have referenced the published photographs of Prime Minister Erdogan sitting alone at the head of the Council table as decisive evidence of the shift in political power from the military to civilian authority.

Source: Today’s Zaman

Turkey’s July inflation falls more than expected

August 3, 2011
According to the data released by the Turkish Statistics Institute, Turkish consumer prices fell 0.41 percent month-on-month in July, larger than the forecast drop of 0.07 percent. The index rose 6.31 percent year-on-year. Producer prices fell 0.03 percent on the month, compared with a forecast rise of 0.80 percent. Central Bank Governor Erdem Başçı said further lira depreciation could push up prices, but the bank held its 2011 and 2012 inflation forecasts steady.

All eyes will be on tomorrow’s report from the extraordinary meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (Item 1 above).  Because it is extraordinary and clearly pre-emptive, it is reasonable to expect Committee action that has policy consequences and is intended to minimize negative spill-over effects for the Turkish economy.

Source: Today’s Zaman

Turkish Central Bank to hold extraordinary meeting

August 3, 2011
Turkish Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee will hold an unscheduled meeting on August 4 in an effort to discuss the recent developments on “public debt in certain European countries and the global growth outlook,” according to the Bank’s statement.

Such unscheduled meetings are rare and indicate that the CBRT is moving into a” crisis management mode” with respect to intensifying economic problems being reported in Europe, the US and globaly.  Speculation for Central Bank action focuses on limited easing of domestic economic conditions (e.g. reduction of banks’ reserve requirement or even a small cut in interest rates).  Good inflation numbers released in Ankara earlier today may give the CBRT confidence it can ease the monetary conditions without stimulating inflation.

Source: Hurriyet Daily

CIA’s new director Petraeus in Ankara for talks

July 19, 2011
The CIA’s nominated director, General Petraeus, visited Ankara July 18 immediately following a change of command ceremony in Kabul.

Because Petraeus is not yet confirmed by the Senate as the new CIA director, his contacts in the Turkish capital were limited to the military. He was not permitted to meet with his Turkish intelligence counterpart.

Source: Today’s Zaman

Army opens probe after bloody attack

July 19, 2011
The Turkish military has launched an inquiry into the July 14 terrorist attack near Diyarbakır. Some Turkish press reports assert public concerns that the errors by the Turkish military enabled the attacks to occur.

There is publicly expressed suspicion in Turkey that the attack and casualties did not take place as reported. The Turkish military hopes that its inquiry into the attack will help them to manage this mounting public criticism.

Source: Hurriyet Daily

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