Turkey

‘Silk road’ diplomacy to be initiated in economy – July 17th 2013

“The government is getting ready for economy diplomacy with super powers of Asia, from China to Japan and Russia to Korea. A delegation of businesspeople to be chaired by Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan will travel to Japan and China on July 28 – August 3. The visit is to be paid by businesspeople from various sectors such as agriculture, food, jewelry, automotive, informatics and energy. Following the Ramadan, meetings with Korea will be initiated. Turkish-Korean Cooperation Forum is planned to be held on August 26 in Turkey. The meeting will be attended by large-scaled companies from Korea, as well as government officials from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Furthermore, a meeting of the Turkish-Kyrgyz Joint Economic Commission will be held in August.”

Babacan: “We are ready for all scenarios” – July 18th 2013

“Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said that the government was ready for all scenarios. Speaking on a live program broadcast on NTV and CNBC-e, Babacan said, “We have carried out studies related with eight to ten different scenarios. What will our institutions do, how will they respond? These were all put in writing, just like national security documents. These written documents were put in everybody’s drawers just to determine which institution will do what in case anything occurs with regard to world’s economy. Accordingly, none of them is a surprise for us.” In response to a question about the issues discussed during the economy summit over at the weekend, Babacan said that global economy and Turkey’s economy were evaluated in general terms. “There are basic principles that we have been following for the last 10.5 years. One of them is the financial discipline. We will never make concessions to financial discipline. Other principals include the monetary policies conducted by our central bank as part of its operational and instrumental independence. Furthermore, the third principle covers structural reforms,” Babacan said.”

Turkey runs a budget surplus of 3.1 bln liras – July 16th 2013

“Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek has announced yesterday that Turkey ran a budget surplus of TL 3.1 billion in the first half of this year. Progress in incomes and decrease in interest rate costs contributed to this budget performance. Simsek said it should be perceived as a success for the country that had been battling with the recession in Europe, which is its largest export market. Speaking at a press conference organized on the budget realization for the January-June period, Simsek told reporters in Ankara that Turkey’s budget revenues surged by 10.7 percent between January and June over a year ago, while tax revenues enjoyed a 20.7 percent increase in this period. The country’s primary surplus reached TL 26.4 billion in the first half. He said the first figures showed that they would easily reach the government’s year-end budget target totaling TL 34 billion. “The government is in full control of economic developments in Turkey and it has taken all the necessary steps to mitigate structural weaknesses,” Simsek said.”

Babacan: “Increase in employment and growth rate are considered success” – June 12th 2013

“Assessing Turkey’s growth rate figures for Q1 of 2013 after announced by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan who is in charge of economy stated that increase in both growth rate and employment should be simultaneously considered as a significant achievement. Babacan said that the gross domestic product (GDP) came out with a 3 percent of increase in the first quarter compared to the same term of the previous year which was recorded over expectations. Babacan stated that final private consumption expenditure which had gone weak last year started to make positive contributions to the growth in the Q1 of this year. “We expect an increase in the contribution made by private sector in the remaining part of the year. In the first quarter, public investments have also contributed to growth to a great extent,” said Babacan, adding that Turkey’s economy which has been growing since 2010 and an increase in the employment rate in Turkey was recorded as 1.2 million people in the first quarter of 2013, compared to the same term of 2012. “In many developed and developing countries, unemployment rate continues to rise, currently hitting top levels. The fulfillment of growth in our country and strong rise in the employment rate are considered important success,” Babacan noted.”

Number of THY passangers increases – July 16th 2013

“The number of passengers carried by Turkish Airlines (THY) increased to 22.4 million in the first half of this year, corresponding to an increase by 26 percent from the same period of the previous year. According to a statement made by the company to the Public Disclosure Platform (KAP) yesterday, the number of passengers climbed from 17.8 million to 22.4 million, as it showed a 23 percent increase in the domestic lines and a 28 percent increase in international lines.”

Article by Davutoglu published on the Guardian Daily – June 18th 2013

“Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu wrote an article entitled “Turkey: despite the protests, we represent all of our citizens” which was published on the British the Guardian daily. Depicting the events of Gezi Park in Istanbul, the article written by Davutoglu says, “First, it’s wrong to claim there is a deficit of democracy in Turkey. From the moment the AK party came to power we have striven to achieve a stable and just system in which all segments of our society enjoy their basic rights under the rule of law,” adding that they have firmly embraced democratic principles, relied on the wisdom of public opinion, acted within the law and viewed themselves not as the rulers of a country, but as the servants of democracy chosen by and serving the people. “Second, our success extends beyond the ballot box. Indeed, all peaceful protests reflect our achievement in expanding democratic participation and debate. I strongly believe that as more people, especially younger generations, get involved in politics, the more likely a real democratic culture that respects dissenting views will endure in Turkey. … Third, though we view peaceful protests as part of a democratic system, we have to strike a balance between this principle and maintaining public order. The protests began as a peaceful environmental movement opposing a government plan for development. Unfortunately, violent extremist groups hijacked their democratic demands. No democratic government would allow any illegal or illegitimate group to undermine public order, attack the police and destroy public and private property,” adding, however, there have been some mistakes in the use of force against the protesters, and the government has expressed regret. Davutoglu also wrote that investigations into these incidents are under way, and those responsible are already being held accountable.”

Caglayan conducts phone diplomacy with ministers of 11 EU countries – June 28th 2013

“At a time of controversy around the fact that foreign investors were fleeing from Turkey, the government and business world initiated an economic stride in order to prevent losses. Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan conducts phone diplomacy with the ministers of 11 EU countries, while representatives of business world, such as Turkish Union of Chambers and Stock Exchanges (TOBB), Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM), Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MUSIAD), Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) and Construction Industrialists Employers’ Union (INTES) have initiated intensive efforts to combat the negative atmosphere caused by protests. Caglayan met with Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, President of the Chamber Laurent Mossar, and Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn. The first item on the agenda at these meetings was the economic developments after Gezi Park incidents. Caglayan conveyed a file which was prepared regarding Gezi Park incidents to Mossar on a flash memory. Caglayan said, “After they watched the images I showed them, Ministers and the President of Chamber said that they had been misled. We are not talking about the economy. We are talking about misinformation.” Stating that the two countries will conduct logistic cooperation thanks to the JETCO agreement, Caglayan said, “The Duke, who will come to Turkey in November, said ‘The way EU treated Turkey hurt people, I am saying this without hesitation.’ Luxembourg wants to establish a commercial office in Istanbul and Ankara.” Caglayan stated that none of the ministers he met said that there was an antidemocratic treatment, and added “We do not have a problem of proving ourselves.””

Erdogan attends opening ceremony of new metro line in Istanbul – July 8th 2013

“A new metro line on Istanbul’s European side costing a total of TL 2.86 billion ($1.44 billion) was inaugurated on Sunday with the participation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey’s Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis, Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy leaders Suleyman Soylu and Mustafa Sentop, Governor of Istanbul Avni Mutlu, Mayor of Istanbul Kadir Topbas and AKP’s Istanbul provincial chairman Aziz Babuscu. Speaking at the ceremony, Erdogan said, “Istanbul now has a new metro line of 21.7 kilometers. With this latest line, the city’s metro lines measure 124.4 kilometers in total. We have added 79 kilometers of new lines in the last nine years.” Addressing the crowd, Erdogan also slammed the military overthrow of elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and called for his immediate release. Stating that Turkey is on the side of democracy in Egypt and united with Egyptian people, Erdogan urged respect for the will of Egypt’s people. “The European Union has not yet made a statement condemning the coup. Where is your EU acquis? The United Nations hasn’t made a resolute statement. Some Muslim countries have not rebuked the coup with courage,” Erdogan said, adding, “May nobody deceive anybody. In Egypt, a coup has been staged. And a coup, whomever it targets, is bad and prejudicial. It murders democracy and the future. Those who don’t call a coup a coup are the supporters of a coup.””

Turks in Europe hold rally for Erdogan – July 8th 2013

“Thousands of Turks living in European countries, including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland, organized a rally on Sunday in Dusseldorf, Germany and demanded respect to democracy in Turkey and voiced their support for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The rally which was organized by the Union of European Turkish democrats started with a short folk music concert. German police have taken extensive security measures to protect the demonstrators. The rally was also attended by Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy leader responsible for foreign affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu and Culture and Tourism Minister Omer Celik.”

Erdogan says Turkish democracy and economy passed the test – June 18th 2013

“During a meeting of the Advisory Committee for Turkish Citizens Abroad, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday in Ankara that Turkish democracy and economy passed the test they faced during the course of two-week long protests centered on Istanbul’s Taksim Square. “These protests directly targeted Turkey’s economy and democracy, but neither our economy, nor our democracy received any damage, thanks to the solid foundations we have laid down.” Erdogan also continued his harshly-worded criticisms against the EU yesterday, accusing Brussels of being “undemocratic” in his latest reaction against the recent European Parliament resolution critical against of the government’s handling of the ongoing protests. “Do you have the right to take such a decision? You stay silent about what’s happening in France, in England and elsewhere in Europe, and you dare take a decision on our security forces, who are exercising their duty of law enforcement against those demonstrators. You are anti-democratic,” Erdogan said. Accusing the EU of not respecting democracy, Erdogan said, “Your definition of freedom is different. You support those who attack the freedom of others.”
Describing the activities of the Gezi Park activists as an attempt to restrict the freedom of him and others, Erdogan repeated his attack on the European Parliament by saying he did not recognize it.”

Shinawatra: Turkey, Thailand share ‘silk road’ vision – July 5th 2013

“Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who will be arriving in Turkey this Friday, has said Turkey and Thailand should explore how to develop deeper connections and that the relationship could be enhanced by the two countries’ shared vision of a new “Silk Road.” Shinawatra’s visit will be the first official visit from Thailand at the prime ministry level in eight years. The Thai prime minister spoke to Today’s Zaman ahead of her three-day visit to the capital July 5-7 with a delegation of businessmen. She and her Turkish counterpart, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will sign the first Thai-Turkish Action Plan that covers a period through 2018. Like Turkey, Thailand has been growing in spite of the global economic crisis. Turkey is a major contributor to Thailand’s tourism sector. In 2012, Thailand’s exports to Turkey reached $1.1 billion, while Turkey’s reciprocal exports amounted to $243 million. In addition to a shared vision and shared economic goals, the two countries also face similar issues. The Thai government believes in using peaceful measures to solve its problems in the Southern Border Provinces of Thailand (SBP), an effort comparable to Turkey’s recent Kurdish initiative. ​Thailand’s problem with separatist ethnic Muslim groups in the South, near the Malaysian border, goes back decades. Recently, the country started a dialogue process to resolve the problem and Prime Minister Shinawatra will be speaking with Erdogan about the negotiation process on the Kurdish question. “We are taking many steps to protect the cultural heritage and local identity of the population in the SBP, to promote economic growth and development and to promote the rule of law. Respect for human rights is an important part of our policy, not only in this area but throughout the country and is implemented alongside respect for diversity,” Shinawatra told Today’s Zaman. She said Turkey and Thailand can pursue closer relations in many areas of mutual interest, such as trade and investment, renewable energy, the Halal food industry, construction and tourism. “We should also use each other’s countries as gateways to our respective regions. This will be even more important as ASEAN becomes a Community in 2015 and Thailand will be serving as the region’s logistics hub,” the prime minister said. Prime Minister Shinawatra said she hoped her visit to Turkey would result in a further boost to ties, especially in terms of economic partnership. “But what I really hope to explore is how to develop greater trans-Asian and Europe-Asia connectivity between our two countries and regions. I understand that Turkey is leading efforts to develop an “Iron Silk Road” while Thailand is seeking to develop a “New Silk Route” linking Southeast Asia with Central Asia and then Turkey. I believe that this shared vision of enhanced connectivity creates great potential for cooperation for the mutual benefit of our regions and peoples,” she said.”

TOKI to build one million new houses – July 11th 2013

“Head of the Housing Development Administration (TOKI) Ahmet Haluk Karabel said that TOKI had allocated 57 billion Turkish Liras to developing new houses in the last decade. Stating that TOKI has built 120,000 houses in Istanbul, 70,000 in Ankara, 19,000 in Bursa, 15,000 in Konya, 24,320 in Van and 14,000 in each of Adana, Kayseri and Izmir and 10,720 in Diyarbakir, Karabel said that those houses have contributed to an increased housing supply and to keeping rent at a sustainable level. Karabel added that the construction sector players planned to develop more than 7.56 million new houses by 2023 and TOKI planned to develop 1 million of them.”

Turkish businesspeople sign huge contacts with North African companies – June 10th 2013

“The businesspeople who have accompanied Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his official visit to Morocco, Tunis and Algeria returned home with billion-dollar agreements. As part of the program which was organized by the Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MUSIAD) and attended by 250 Turkish businesspeople, nearly 3,000 business meetings were held in which concrete steps were taken. According to information given by MUSIAD, an Algerian company will make investments totaling $50 million in a 5-star facility to be constructed on an area of 500 square meters. An Istanbul-based company has signed a preliminary contract for the construction of a shopping mall and residence. Turkish companies have also made cooperation worth million dollars in fields of telecommunication, iron and steel, energy, olive oil, milk, cheese and tomato paste production facilities, logistics and food.”

‘Places where we cannot go are not ours, we trot around the world’ – June 20th 2013

“Turkey established a trade bridge with the world; 1428 businesspeople from 130 countries are meeting Turkish businesspeople. Cape Verde, Seychelles, Guinea Bissau, Botswana and Djibouti from Africa; Venezuela and Panama from Latin America will be participating for the first time in a program this year which will consist of 20 thousand business talks. Turkey – World Trade Bridge 2013 program featuring construction, construction materials, construction machineries, furniture and related machineries was initiated in Istanbul Expo Center under the cooperation of Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) and Ministry of Economy with the support of Turkish Exporters’ Assembly. 1,428 businesspeople from 130 countries are meeting 1500 businesspeople from Turkey. Participation of businesspeople from Cape Verde, Seychelles, Guinea Bissau, Botswana and Djibouti in Africa; Venezuela and Panama in Latin America has been ensured for the first time this year in the program in the scope of which 20 thousand business talks will be held. A cooperation agreement was executed between Philippine Chamber of Commerce and TUSKON in the scope of the program. Representatives from the Philippines had already ordered three containers of furniture even before official talks started. Over a thousand interpreters are interpreting in 30 different languages. In a speech during the press conference for Turkey-World Trade Bridge 2013, Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan said that the capacity and quality of the event was increasing every year, adding that this would be a worldwide brand the patent of which belonged to Turkey. Stating that the country defied the global crisis, and three thousand merchants would come together, Caglayan continued by saying, “We foresee that businesspeople coming from 135 countries in five continents will hold more than 20 thousand bilateral business interviews. This program has a new feature; after this two-day event, 1478 business world representatives coming from abroad will visit 44 different provinces on Friday. They will meet their addressees in 44 different provinces. Such an organization does not have a precedent in the world. We are trotting around the world with the understanding that places we cannot go are not ours.” Stating that they are preparing a new roadmap, Caglayan said, “We are working on the scope of new generation support, where the number target countries and priority countries are changed. We will lay down the roadmap in cooperation with NGO’s such as TUSKON, Turkish Union of Chambers and Stock Exchanges (TOBB), Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MUSIAD), Turkish Industry & Business Association (TUSIAD) and Association of Anatolia Businessmen (ASKON). Storage systems will be established together with Turkish Trade Centers. Our sectors and NGO’s will determine the most needed products in the warehouses in such countries. Our NGO’s will set up a company, offering storage facilities and instantly supplying the goods to the buyer.””

Number of French nationals working in Turkey up 11 pct in 2012 – June 12th 2013

“According to a report by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the number of French nationals working in Turkey increased 11 percent year-on-year in 2012, the Aksam Daily reported on Tuesday. The report said that the continued crisis has been negatively affecting employment across Europe as finding jobs becomes harder for Europeans, leading them to leave their home countries to seek for jobs in developing countries. The ministry’s report revealed that Turkey is the top country of choice for French nationals. Another report prepared by Equance, a company that provides consulting services for French people looking for jobs abroad, also showed that Turkey was the top choice. As of 2013, the number of French nationals living in Turkey is 7,367. Data from Kariyer.net, Turkey’s leading job-seeking website, shows that there are about 8,000 profiles of French job seekers in the system. Kariyer.net general manager Yusuf Azoz said that: “We could say that this is a result of globalization. The trend started with directors but the boundaries of the labor force are being lifted. The importance of nationality is today’s labor market is also declining.” Pointing to Turkey’s economic stability and the opportunities in its job market while many countries are experiencing difficulties, Azoz said that this is another reason for Turkey’s attractiveness among job seekers. Azoz also stated that the number of foreign applicants on Kariyer.net went up by 34 percent in 2011 year-on-year and by 112 percent in 2012, adding that applications by French nationals also increased by 7 percent over the past two years. He said that the main jobs that foreigners typically apply for are sales staff, engineers, accountants, clerks, interpreters, teachers and executive assistants. The French ministry’s report showed that as of the end of 2012, the number of French nationals living abroad totals 1.6 million, an increase of 1.1 percent from 2011 to 2012.”

Yours sincerely,

Cem

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