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Turkiye in january 2024

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2024-1-3

  1. Erdogan to Host Reisi and Putin: Key Regional Talks in Ankara. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is preparing to host significant diplomatic talks in Ankara with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The discussions are set to encompass a wide range of critical regional issues, including the Gaza ceasefire, prisoner exchanges, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the Black Sea Grain Initiative. A key focus will be strengthening economic ties, with an ambitious target to boost trade to $100 billion. For President Raisi’s visit, the agenda includes pressing matters like the Gaza conflict, cooperation in the South Caucasus, counter-terrorism efforts, and enhancing economic relations, possibly through new border crossings. Discussions will also delve into the situations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and the South Caucasus, along with a concerted effort to combat terrorism, particularly against the PKK and PJAK. Raisi’s trip signifies a crucial phase in the ongoing high-level dialogue between Iran and Turkiye, aiming to address both bilateral and regional challenges.
  2. Turkish Authorities Thwart ISIS Attack on Religious Sites Amid Alleged Mossad Plot. Turkish intelligence and police forces successfully foiled an ISIS plot to attack churches and synagogues across multiple cities in Türkiye. Surveillance operations led to the identification and subsequent arrest of suspects involved in the ISIS cell, who were reportedly conducting detailed reconnaissance on their targets. This development coincides with separate allegations that Israel’s Mossad is orchestrating violence and chaos in Türkiye. These allegations involve plans to incite tensions and manipulate public opinion, potentially through attacks on Jewish organizations or figures, with the blame being shifted onto Palestinians. Additionally, there are claims that Mossad might utilize terrorist groups like the PKK and ISIS to further unrest and target political figures, aiming to provoke disputes between Arab populations and Türkiye. These events highlight significant security challenges in Türkiye, involving both domestic and international actors.
  3. Turkiye’s Export Boom and Special Energy Deal with UAE Boosts Gulf Relations. Turkiye, under President Erdogan, has seen a remarkable surge in exports in 2023, especially to key Gulf countries and Russia. The total export revenue hit a record high of $255.8 billion, with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Russia leading the increase. The UAE topped the growth chart with a 63.4% rise, while Saudi Arabia followed closely with an impressive 150.4% increase, and Russia with 16.9%. This significant growth in exports is attributed to Turkiye’s strategic shift in economic policies and its efforts to strengthen ties with Gulf nations and Russia. Complementing this economic success, details have emerged about a special energy agreement signed between Turkiye and the UAE during President Erdogan’s visit to Abu Dhabi. The deal, worth nearly $18 billion, facilitates UAE companies to invest in Turkiye’s nuclear, wind, and solar energy sectors for a combined capacity of 28,500 MW. Notably, this agreement offers the UAE exclusive investment rights, exempting them from bidding and competition, and providing a ‘friendly’ dispute resolution mechanism outside of court. These developments underscore Turkiye’s deepening economic and diplomatic relationships with the Gulf region.

2024-1-4

  1. Turkish Intervention in Syrian Conflict: Navigating National Interests and the Fate of Syrians. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan emphasized Turkey’s efforts to prevent a new conflict between the Syrian regime and the opposition, underscoring the need to maintain the status quo as per the Astana Agreement. Fidan highlighted multiple reasons for Turkey’s involvement, including mitigating refugee influx and curbing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) advantage in the conflict. He stressed the significance of diplomatic and intelligence efforts to preserve the current balance and prevent further escalation. Additionally, Fidan noted Turkey’s cooperation with Erbil in combating terrorism, particularly against the PKK, reflecting Turkey’s strategic interests in the region amidst the ongoing Israeli aggression against Gaza. This statement raises questions about the real stakeholders in the Syrian conflict and who ultimately gets to decide the fate of the Syrian people.
  2.  Iranian President Raisi Postpones Türkiye Visit Following Deadly Kerman Blasts. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has canceled his scheduled visit to Türkiye in the wake of twin terrorist attacks in Kerman, Iran, which resulted in over 100 fatalities. The visit, initially planned to address issues including the Gaza humanitarian crisis and Red Sea tensions, was postponed after a phone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who expressed condolences and condemned the attacks. The Kerman blasts, occurring on the 4th anniversary of Qassem Soleimani’s death, targeted a commemoration ceremony, killing 103 and injuring 211. This postponement reflects the impact of internal crises on international diplomatic engagements.

2024-1-9

  1. Advancing Defense Frontiers: Turkey’s Leap in Aerospace and Naval Capabilities. Turkey is set to redefine its defense landscape with two major advancements: the maiden flight of its national combat aircraft KAAN and the successful test firing of the national heavy torpedo AKYA. The imminent flight of KAAN, developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), symbolizes a crucial leap into a new century of technological innovation and self-reliance. This event, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey, demonstrates the nation’s progress from a producer of aircraft parts to a developer of comprehensive defense systems. Simultaneously, the AKYA torpedo’s successful testing underscores Turkey’s emerging prowess in naval weaponry, setting it apart with a unique, unpredictable system. These developments not only enhance Turkey’s military strength but also position it as a potential leader in the global defense industry. Collectively, they signify Turkey’s strategic move towards an independent and robust defense capability in both aerospace and naval sectors.

2024-1-10  

  1. Türkiye’s Strategic Moves: U.S. Diplomacy, Economic Revival, and Mineral Cooperation. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, concluding his Middle East tour that began in Türkiye, emphasized in Israel the potential for Türkiye to play a key role in post-war Gaza security. Concurrently, Türkiye’s economy team, led by Central Bank Governor Hafize Gaye Erkan, is set for high-profile investor meetings in the U.S., signaling a policy shift towards tighter monetary controls and inflation management. Furthermore, Türkiye declares readiness to collaborate globally, especially with African and Asian countries, in the field of critical minerals, underscoring its ambition to leverage its rich rare earth elements resources for strategic and economic gains.

2024-1-11

  1. Erdogan on Successful Operation Against MOSSAD Agents: This is Just the Beginning. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan commented on the successful operation against MOSSAD agents in Turkey, emphasizing that it’s only the first step and warning that those who threaten Turkey will come to understand the nation better. He praised the National Intelligence Organization for its effective operations in exposing espionage networks.
  2. Turkish Intelligence Chief Emphasizes Turkey’s Role in Regional and Global Peace. Turkey’s intelligence chief, Ibrahim Kalin, stressed the importance of Turkey’s role in achieving regional and global peace during the 97th anniversary of the Turkish Intelligence Organization. He highlighted Turkey’s strength and its comprehensive strategy to protect the nation, addressing various security challenges. Kalin also emphasized the need for a just and inclusive global security framework and the importance of addressing the basic rights of the Palestinian people for lasting stability in the Middle East.
  3. Kremlin Emphasizes the Need for “Constant Communication” Between Putin and Erdogan. The Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, stressed the importance of continuous communication between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, highlighting its significance for bilateral relations. Peskov also mentioned ongoing efforts to achieve peace between Russia and Ukraine amid the ongoing conflict.

2024-1-12

  1. Turkish Company Tupras Reports Loss of Contact with Oil Ship in Sea of Oman. The Turkish Oil Refineries Company, Tupras, has announced the loss of contact with the oil tanker “Saint Nicholas,” which was transporting Iraqi oil in the Sea of Oman. This announcement coincides with separate reports of an armed group seizing another oil tanker in the same region. Despite this concerning development, Tupras has assured that the incident has not impacted its refining operations. The disappearance of the “Saint Nicholas” adds to the growing concerns over maritime security in the Sea of Oman, an area critical to global oil transportation.
  2. Turkiye Successfully Tests Bozdogan and Gokdogan Missiles, Prepares for Warhead Trials. Haluk Gurgun, the head of the Turkish Defense Industries Authority, has announced the successful completion of design tests for the Bozdogan and Gokdogan missiles. The next phase involves conducting trials for the warheads that will be equipped on these missiles, prior to their delivery to the Turkish Air Force. This milestone signifies a significant advancement in Turkey’s defense industry capabilities, marking an important step in the development of its indigenous missile technology.
  3. Turkish Aircraft Conduct First Arms Control Mission in NATO Airspace, Drone Prepares for Advanced Roles. The Turkish Ministry of Defense has disclosed that two Turkish aircraft successfully executed their inaugural arms control mission within the airspace of a NATO member country, in collaboration with Romanian F-16 jets. This operation represents a significant first for Turkey’s military aviation within NATO. Additionally, Turkish Aerospace Industries has been developing the “Aksungur” drone, designed for a variety of tasks including intelligence gathering, surveillance, reconnaissance, and strike missions. Plans are in place to equip this drone with a locally produced engine in 2024, a move expected to significantly enhance its capabilities for military operations. This development underscores Turkey’s growing technological advancements and strategic contributions within the NATO framework.

2024-1-15

  1. Turkiye Intensifies Military Operations in Northern Iraq and Syria. Turkiye has ramped up its military operations in northern Iraq and Syria in retaliation against Kurdish militant attacks. The Turkish Ministry of Defense announced the successful targeting of 29 “terrorist” locations in both regions through air strikes. These strikes, which targeted hideouts, shelters, and oil facilities, were a response to the recent deaths of nine Turkish soldiers during conflicts with Kurdish fighters. The Turkish government underscored that precautions were taken to safeguard civilians and historical sites. Additionally, Turkiye conducted a special operation in northern Iraq, resulting in the demise of Fayeq Aiden, a key recruiter for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Europe. Another operation led to the neutralization of PKK leader Hawallya Marjan in the Matina area, in collaboration with Turkish forces in Iraq. These actions are part of Turkiye’s ongoing campaign against the PKK, which operates in various regional countries.
  2. Brutal Torture of Syrian Child in Turkiye Sparks Outrage.  A harrowing incident in Gaziantep, southern Turkiye, has highlighted the violence and discrimination faced by Syrian refugees. Fourteen-year-old Syrian refugee Ahmed Zeinab was subjected to brutal torture by a group of Turkish youths following a dispute during a football match. The torture methods included beating with metal tools, hair pulling, attempted suffocation, and burning with cigarettes. Believing Ahmed to be dead, the assailants abandoned him roadside. Two suspects have been apprehended, with the search continuing for others. This incident has ignited widespread condemnation among both Turkish and Syrian communities, with calls for stronger protection of Syrian refugees and stringent action against the perpetrators.
  3. Turkiye to Implement Marine Traffic Monitoring System in Northern Cyprus. Turkiye’s Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Abdulkadir Oraloglu, announced plans to establish a “Marine Traffic Services System” in Northern Turkish Cyprus. This initiative is designed to monitor maritime activities and safeguard Turkiye’s interests in the Mediterranean Sea. The system will track navigational traffic and issue alerts in cases of maritime accidents or oil spills. This development is aimed at bolstering Turkiye’s strategic presence in the eastern Mediterranean region.

2024-1-17

  1. Renewed Tensions in Turkish-American and Israeli Relations.According to a report by Turkey’s “Hürriyet” newspaper, the United States and Israel continue to incite the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) against Turkey. Turkey, maintaining a firm stance, has declared no change in its military strategy in Northern Iraq, emphasizing the continuation of its operations against both the PKK and ISIS. Sources indicate that under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s leadership, Turkey is shifting towards greater independence from the U.S. and asserting itself as a significant global player. Analysis, including those published in “Foreign Affairs” magazine, highlights Turkey’s growing role in global challenges, particularly in military technology and the defense industry.Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are playing a pivotal role in this arena, bolstering Turkey’s position as a technological competitor on the world stage. CTech, a Turkish firm specializing in communication technologies and cybersecurity, has received a proposal from NATO for the purchase of its satellite communication products. This offer signifies recognition of Turkey’s technological advancements, especially considering the success of platforms like ANKA-S, TB-2, and ANKA-3 in enhancing Turkey’s defense capabilities. CTech’s CEO, Junaid Farat, points to the strategic importance of developing these systems using local and national resources. The company specifically focuses on communication technologies and information security, with a strong emphasis on cybersecurity in its offerings.
  2. Turkey Escalates Military Operations Against Kurdish Militants in Cross-Border Campaign.Turkish authorities have intensified their military campaign against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Iraq and Syria, with recent operations targeting 23 sites including shelters and ammunition depots. This five-day air offensive reportedly neutralized 78 militants, among them key leaders. The Turkish government, invoking Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, insists these actions are essential self-defense measures.Domestically, Turkey’s crackdown extends to arresting 165 suspects linked to the PKK across 28 provinces. Particularly notable were the operations in Izmir, where 15 individuals were apprehended, charged with violating anti-terrorism financing laws and engaging in terrorist propaganda. In Istanbul, 20 members of the PKK’s “Women’s Network” were detained, accused of aiding the group’s activities and spreading its message via social media. The Turkish government is also targeting the group’s propaganda efforts in the West, notably accusing British citizen Mark Campbell of promoting the PKK and recruiting young activists. In a broader context, these developments signal Turkey’s unyielding stance against perceived threats to its national security. The Turkish Parliament is actively seeking international support against terrorism, emphasizing the nation’s ongoing battle against “ISIS”, particularly in light of recent attacks within Turkey that have claimed lives. These military and internal security measures underscore Turkey’s commitment to maintaining regional stability and addressing security challenges both along its borders and within its own territory.

2024-1-17

  1. Renewed Tensions in Turkish-American and Israeli Relations.According to a report by Turkey’s “Hürriyet” newspaper, the United States and Israel continue to incite the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) against Turkey. Turkey, maintaining a firm stance, has declared no change in its military strategy in Northern Iraq, emphasizing the continuation of its operations against both the PKK and ISIS. Sources indicate that under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s leadership, Turkey is shifting towards greater independence from the U.S. and asserting itself as a significant global player. Analysis, including those published in “Foreign Affairs” magazine, highlights Turkey’s growing role in global challenges, particularly in military technology and the defense industry.Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are playing a pivotal role in this arena, bolstering Turkey’s position as a technological competitor on the world stage. CTech, a Turkish firm specializing in communication technologies and cybersecurity, has received a proposal from NATO for the purchase of its satellite communication products. This offer signifies recognition of Turkey’s technological advancements, especially considering the success of platforms like ANKA-S, TB-2, and ANKA-3 in enhancing Turkey’s defense capabilities. CTech’s CEO, Junaid Farat, points to the strategic importance of developing these systems using local and national resources. The company specifically focuses on communication technologies and information security, with a strong emphasis on cybersecurity in its offerings.

2024-1-18

  1. Turkiye Intensifies Military Campaign in Northeast Syria. On the fourth day of Turkiye’s intensified military operations in northeast Syria, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan declared the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) obsolete, reaffirming Turkiye’s dedication to combating terrorism across its borders. Simultaneously, Turkish forces conducted artillery and mortar strikes on villages from Tal Abyad‘s western countryside to Kobani’s eastern regions, resulting in substantial property damage. These actions follow three days of airstrikes that have devastated 80 locations, including key infrastructure like the Suwaidia Gas Plant, water supply facilities, and an oil refinery, exacerbating civilian casualties and destruction. Furthermore, the Al-Hol camp in Hasakah’s countryside experienced disorder and a breach attempt. Foreign women affiliated with ISIS members instigated this disturbance, which was contained by internal security forces. The nearby Al-Sina’a prison, containing thousands of extremist detainees, also faced a rocket attack and an escape attempt. Both attempts were successfully thwarted by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the international coalition, reflecting the ongoing security challenges in the region.

2024-1-19

  1. Turkiye Signals Potential Further Military Operations in Iraq and Syria and Issues Direct Threat to Talabani. The Turkish Ministry of Defense hinted at possible additional military operations in Iraq and Syria, underscoring ongoing regional tensions. This announcement follows reports of the United Kingdom, under Bafel Talabani’s leadership, maintaining contact with the PKK despite Turkiye’s repeated warnings. Turkish Minister Fidan, addressing the GNAT (Grand National Assembly of Turkiye), issued a final warning to Talabani, indicating that new, unspecified measures might be implemented. While the nature of these measures remains undisclosed, there is growing speculation about whether military intervention is among the considered options.
  2.  Turkiye Fears U.S. Aims to Dominate the Black Sea. Recent developments have intensified Turkiye’s concerns regarding the US Black Sea strategy. Ankara perceives the strategy’s objectives – enhancing security, energy security, and economic development – as ambiguous, with a lack of transparent implementation methods. This ambiguity, coupled with historical contexts of US engagements in the region, fuels Turkish skepticism. Disagreements over the Black Sea’s governance further exacerbate tensions. Turkiye, valuing regional control, contrasts with the US view favoring international oversight. Turkiye’s strategic maneuvers within NATO, aimed at moderating US influence in the Black Sea, reflect its commitment to safeguarding regional interests against perceived external overreach.
  3.  Turkish Government Media Reports on Military Operations in Northern Syria. Turkish government media reported that its military operations in northern Syria have significantly disrupted the PKK, a designated terrorist organization. The focused attacks by the Turkish Armed Forces targeted oil production facilities controlled by the PKK, leading to a shift in their operations to tanker-based oil transportation. This change comes as a direct response to the destruction of their facilities. The oil, allegedly extracted under US oversight in the Qamishli region, is being smuggled from the Rimeylan and Kahtaniye oil fields. Observations from Mardin’s Nusaybin district indicate a strategic movement of these tankers, scheduled at intervals and routed through populated areas, to minimize detection.
  4. Dollar Rises to $1 = 30.5 Turkish Lira Amid Turkiye’s Strategic Economic Revamp. With the Turkish Lira at $1 = 30.5, Turkiye’s economic reforms are drawing global investor interest. These reforms aim to bolster the economy, attract foreign investment, and stabilize currency. Focusing on government bonds and high interest rates, these measures are expected to improve financial stability and lead to credit rating upgrades, signaling international confidence in Turkiye’s economic strategy.

2024-1-24

  1. Turkish Parliament Approves Sweden’s NATO Membership. The Turkish Parliament has approved a bill allowing Sweden to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), approximately 20 months after Sweden’s application for membership. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to sign the bill into law soon. Despite its opposition to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Turkey has criticized Western sanctions against Russia. Hungary remains the only country yet to approve Sweden’s NATO membership.

2024-1-25

  1. Turkish Central Bank Raises Key Interest Rate to 45%. On Thursday, the Turkish Central Bank took a significant step to address the continuing financial difficulties in Turkey by raising the key interest rate from 42.5% to 45%. This substantial increase in borrowing costs is part of a broader tightening of monetary policy aimed at combating record inflation. Official data had previously shown a staggering 64.77% annual inflation rate in December, and this upward trend is expected to persist due to a substantial increase in the minimum wage. The recent rise in inflation has been driven by various sectors, including hotels and restaurants (93.2% increase), education (82.1% increase), and food and non-alcoholic beverages (72% increase). The Turkish Central Bank’s move reflects ongoing efforts to stabilize the economy after a period of monetary easing, and it underscores the challenges posed by inflation and economic fluctuations in Turkey.
  2. Turkey Responds to Khamenei’s Call, Halts Trade Dealings with Israel. Turkey announced the removal of Israel from its targeted export markets list. This decision comes despite the trade exchange between Turkey and Israel reaching record levels, with Turkish exports to Israel valued at $5.42 billion in 2023, making Israel the 13th largest market for Turkish exports. Since October 7, 701 Turkish ships have arrived in Israel, averaging eight ships a day, including 480 direct voyages between Turkey and Israel and 221 via Turkey. The Turkish Ministry of Trade also halted its support for joint conferences between the two countries, impeding the efforts of the Turkish trade attaché in Israel to foster commercial relations.
  3. Iran-Turkey Talks Yield Support for Palestinian Groups; Economic Deals Signed. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Turkey, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, culminated in a declaration of support for Palestinian groups and the signing of ten agreements, primarily focusing on enhancing economic cooperation. The leaders jointly expressed their backing for what they termed “the Islamic resistance in Palestine,” a statement made amidst ongoing tensions in Gaza, where Israel is actively countering Hamas, backed by Iran and allied with Turkey. This stance, juxtaposed with Turkey’s continued economic engagements with Israel, reveals complex regional dynamics. Further, the visit underscores both nations’ ambitious goal to boost bilateral trade to $30 billion annually, despite a recent decrease in trade volume, which saw a 16% decline to $4.4 billion in the first 10 months of 2023.
  4. Biden Seeks Congress Approval for Sale of F-16 Fighter Jets to Turkey Following Sweden’s NATO Entry. Following Sweden’s NATO application approval, President Biden has initiated the process to seek Congressional approval for the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey. The US State Department expressed its support for Turkey’s efforts to modernize its F-16 fleet but emphasized Congress’s pivotal role in this process. Ambassador Jeff Flake, in an exclusive interview with Reuters, revealed that once the official ratification document is received in Washington, the State Department will promptly notify Congress about the fighter jet sale. Additionally, President Biden has sent letters to key Congressional committees, welcoming the Turkish Parliament’s approval of Sweden’s NATO membership. This move underscores the strategic importance of maintaining strong defense ties in the region.
  5. Why is Russia Getting Involved in US-Turkey Montreux Convention Talks? US Deputy Secretary of Defense Celeste Wallander’s recent statement on the Montreux Convention raised questions about potential changes to the treaty. Wallander emphasized the need for collaboration with Black Sea coastal countries, including Turkey. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov responded, indicating that Turkey, as the guardian of the convention, would strictly implement its provisions if the USA sought amendments

2024-1-26

  1. British-Turkish Talks Focus on Gaza, NATO, and Bilateral Ties. In a recent high-level meeting, British Foreign Minister David Cameron and his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan discussed crucial issues including the Gaza Strip’s security, the implementation of a two-state solution, and the protocol for Sweden’s NATO accession. The 90-minute dialogue in Türkiye also covered enhancing trade and defense industry ties, reflecting a strategic effort to bolster UK-Turkish relations. This meeting highlights the UK’s active role in addressing key Middle Eastern and European security issues, with implications for broader geopolitical stability and NATO’s cohesion, which are of interest to U.S. foreign policy.

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