Turkiye in June 2023
June 1, 2023
- Türkiye Arrests 6 Mossad Recruits on Espionage Charges (Daily Sabah). Turkish officials have arrested six suspects in an ongoing probe into a cell of 15 operatives caught spying for the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, according to a report in the Sabah newspaper.
- The Turkish Economy Grows 4% in the First Quarter, Exceeding Expectations (Al Sharq Business). Turkiye’s economy grew during the first quarter of this year by 4% annually, exceeding analysts’ average expectations of 3.5% growth.
- UAE and Turkiye Ratify Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Al Nahar). UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Thani Al-Zuwaidi announced that his country had ratified the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with Turkey in preparation for its activation…Al-Zuwaidi indicated that the agreement would contribute to the growth and prosperity of non-oil trade between the two countries to more than $40 billion annually within five years.
June 2, 2023
- Türkiye Test-Fires Domestic Ballistic Missile Over Black Sea (Anadolu Agency). According to the Turkish Defense Industries Presidency, the Tayfun was developed by Roketsan, a state-owned defense giant, and fired from the country’s Rize.
- Turkiye, UAE Ratify $40 Billion Trade Deal After Erdogan’s Victory (Al Monitor). The United Arab Emirates and Turkey ratified on Wednesday a cooperation agreement aiming to raise bilateral trade to $40 billion within five years.
June 3, 2023
- President Erdoğan Announces Members of Türkiye’s New Cabinet (Daily Sabah). President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced his brand new cabinet following his re-election in Türkiye’s May 28 runoff vote, with two ministers retaining their seats and many new faces to usher in a new era.
- Who is Hakan Fidan, Turkey’s New Foreign Minister with Spy Powers? (Al Monitor). Turkey’s shadowy and low-key intelligence chief Hakan Fidan is set to step into the limelight and take the helm of the country’s diplomacy after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tapped him as the country’s new foreign minister on Saturday.
- Türkiye to Send Troops to High-tension Kosovo at NATO’s Request (Daily Sabah). The Ministry of National Defense stated that after the events in Kosovo, a commando battalion was deployed upon the request of the NATO Joint Force Command, and preparations were started for the Turkish Armed Forces to be transferred to the Sultan Murat Barracks in Kosovo by June 5.
- Turkish President, NATO Chief Meet in Istanbul for Talks (Anadolu Agency). On Saturday, Stoltenberg attended the inauguration ceremony of Erdogan who took the oath of office as Türkiye’s president…Stoltenberg was among those who congratulated Erdogan after his reelection victory on May 28
June 6, 2023
- Russia Sees No Prospects for Extension of Black Sea Grain Deal (Daily Sabah). Russia on Monday said it sees no prospects for extending the crucial wartime Black Sea grain export deal, which is set to expire in mid-July, Russian news agencies reported.
- Inflation in Turkiye Drops Below 40% in May as Erdogan Forms Economic Team (Al Monitor). Turkey’s year-on-year inflation dropped to 39.59% in May, official data released on Monday showed, broadly in line with expectations after the government made natural gas free to offset price rises.
June 7, 2023
- US-based Exec considered Potential Pick to Run Turkish Central Bank (Daily Sabah). Türkiye’s newly appointed Treasury and Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek has met Hafize Gaye Erkan, a senior finance executive in the U.S., who is considered a potential candidate to become the new central bank governor, media reports claimed Monday.
- Renewal of Black Sea Grain Deal Could Hinge on Ammonia Pipeline (Daily Sabah). The potential renewal next month of an agreement permitting secure wartime shipment of grains and fertilizers from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports may depend on the reopening of a pipeline that transports Russian ammonia to one of those Ukrainian ports. The United Nations and Türkiye brokered the Black Sea Grain Initiative for 120 days last July to help tackle a global food crisis worsened by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, one of the world’s leading grain exporters. It has been extended three times since, most recently until July 17
June 8, 2023
- Erdogan to Appoint First Female Head of the Central Bank Amid the Lira’s Decline (New Arab). The US Bloomberg Agency and Turkish media said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is heading to choose Hafeza Ghaya as head of the Turkish Central Bank to succeed his current president, Shihab Qafji Oglu, as the first woman to hold this position in the country, at a time when the price of the Turkish lira witnessed a sharp decline in Dealings on Wednesday.
- Turkish Troops Wrap up Deployment to Kosovo (Daily Sabah). The last batch of troops from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) arrived in Kosovo late Tuesday after the NATO member joined a joint task force to de-escalate ethnic tensions in the Balkan country.
- Mitsotakis Says Will Seek out Erdoğan at NATO Summit if Elected (Daily Sabah). Greece’s former Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the front-runner in national elections on June 25, said on Tuesday that if he wins, he will try to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at next month’s NATO summit in the Lithuanian city of Vilnius.
June 9, 2023
- Turkiye’s New Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan Calls Sweden as NATO Bid Progresses (Al Monitor). As Western efforts to pave the way for Sweden’s accession to NATO are amping up, Turkey’s new Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, on Wednesday called on Stockholm to take concrete steps toward that goal.
- Turkish Intelligence Eliminates PKK Targets in Iraq (Daily Sabah). The Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) neutralized a senior member of the PKK terrorist group and two other terrorists in Iraq, media outlets reported Thursday.
June 12, 2023
- UAE, Türkiye Seek To Take their Non-Oil Trade Volume to $40 Billion Annually (Anadolu Agency). The Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement aims to “achieve mutual benefits for both countries and stimulate long-term, sustainable, and comprehensive economic growth by eliminating or reducing customs duties on 82 percent of goods and products, representing more than 93 percent of non-oil trade,”…The agreement also “improves market access to Türkiye for exporters from the UAE, including major sectors such as construction, metals and their products, polymers, and other manufactured products,” explained the Emirati Economy Minister Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri.
- Champions League Final Brings Global Record to Istanbul Airport (Daily Sabah). Istanbul Airport broke a world air traffic record Saturday with 1,594 take-offs and landings, thanks to the UEFA Champions League final, according to Türkiye’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation…Istanbul Airport can handle 90 million passengers a year in the current phase, which is nothing compared to its potential capacity of serving 200 million after completing all stages, making it the world’s largest.
- Türkiye Elected to United Nations Economic and Social Council (Daily Sabah). Türkiye became a member of the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), one of the six organs of the global body coordinating the organization’s economic and social fields.
- TANAP to Increase Gas Carrying Capacity to Türkiye, Europe (Daily Sabah). The capacity of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) that carries natural gas from Azerbaijan to Türkiye and further on to Europe was increased, contributing to the energy partnership between Ankara and Baku while putting Türkiye in a hub position, a high-level Azerbaijani official said…22.2 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas are expected to be exported this year via the pipeline, with 10.2 bcm destined for Türkiye and 12 bcm for Europe.
June 13, 2023
- Turkish President Arrives in Azerbaijan After Reelection (Anadolu Agency). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday arrived in Azerbaijan after he visited the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as part of his first foreign tour after his May 28 reelection…Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Tuesday will welcome Erdogan with an official ceremony in the capital Baku.
- Erdogan Calls On Green Cypriot Side to Recognize Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (Daily Sabah). The only way to solve the Cyprus issue is to establish peace in the Aegean Sea and on the island, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, as he called on the Greek Cypriot side to change its maximalist and uncompromising approach and recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
- US Sends Military Supplies to Syrian City Occupied by Terrorist PKK (Daily Sabah). The U.S. Army sent a convoy of about 40 vehicles from Iraq to Syria in another sign of support for the terrorist group PKK terrorist group’s Syrian offshoot YPG. The convoy arrived in Hassakeh, a city controlled by the terrorists, on Sunday, the same day the terrorist group fired rockets toward Türkiye on the Turkish-Syrian border, targeting a police station.
- Swedish FM Hopeful New Counter-Terrorism Law Will Boost Cooperation with Türkiye (Daily Sabah). Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said he hopes the new counter-terrorism law will facilitate cooperation with Türkiye and other NATO members…Sweden has been under a high terrorism threat since 2010. Addressing it requires intense national and international efforts, Billstrom told a joint news conference with Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau in Warsaw on Monday.
June 14, 2023
- Erdogan Says Turkiye Will Open Consulate in Shusha (Daily Sabah). President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was given an official welcome on Tuesday in Baku by his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev. Erdoğan arrived in the country late Monday, his second visit abroad since he was reelected to Türkiye’s top office on May 28…Speaking at a joint news conference with Aliyev ahead of a meeting between the Turkish and Azerbaijani delegations, Erdoğan said they planned to open a Turkish Consulate in Shusha. “It will be a different message to the whole world, especially Armenia,” he said. Shusha was liberated from Armenia by Azerbaijani forces in 2020.
- Establishing Zangezur Corridor will Strengthen Ankara-Baku Ties: Turkish President (Anadolu Agency). Confirming the key Zangezur corridor land route in the southern Caucasus will build stronger ties between Türkiye and Azerbaijan, the Turkish president said on Tuesday that the planned Zangezur corridor – an unimpeded road through Armenian territory connecting Azerbaijan to its Nakhchivan exclave – would also link Azerbaijan directly to eastern Türkiye and give additional unity to the larger Turkic world.
- Intrepid Women’s Expedition to Türkiye to Support Local Women After Quakes (Daily Sabah). Intrepid Travel, the renowned travel B Corporation and the largest of its kind worldwide has unveiled its latest initiative, a Women’s Expedition to Türkiye. This transformative journey aims to uplift and empower local women as they rebuild their lives following the devastating earthquakes that struck the country on Feb. 6. The expedition is part of Intrepid’s esteemed collection of eight all-female trips led by inspiring female tour leaders.
June 15, 2023
- Erdogan Says Sweden Must Do Its Part on Terrorism for NATO Bid (Anadolu Agency). Erdogan told reporters, ahead of a meeting of a joint mechanism of Türkiye, Sweden, and Finland set for Wednesday in the Turkish capital Ankara, “The expectations of Sweden do not mean that we will comply with these expectations. For us to comply with these expectations, Sweden must first do its part.” Erdogan also called on Stockholm to use Swedish police to prevent PKK terrorists from operating there.
- PKK Ends its Unilateral Ceasefire with Turkiye (Elaph). The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging an armed conflict against the Turkish army since 1984, has announced the end of a unilateral ceasefire declared in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake on February 6…On Tuesday, the “Kurdistan Community Organization” supervising the entire Kurdish rebel movement, including the PKK, denounced the occurrence of a “new wave of attacks” by the Turkish forces and decided to “end the decision to stop military operations,” according to what was stated in a statement published by the agency. “Furat” pro-Kurdish news.
June 16, 2023
- Turkish President Vows To Introduce New Civilian Constitution (Anadolu Agency). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday promised to introduce a new “civilian” constitution…”We will work together to bring a civilian body to Türkiye,” Erdogan said after a Cabinet meeting, which lasted more than eight hours, in the capital Ankara.
- After the Burning of the Turkish Flag and the Statue of Erdogan, Ankara Summons the Swiss Ambassador (Al Jazeera). Diplomatic sources said Muhammad Kemal Bozai, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister and Director of European Affairs, summoned Ambassador Roach to the ministry’s headquarters. He assured Ambassador Roche that this attack targeting President Erdogan was unacceptable. Bozai demanded an investigation of the incident to identify the “culprits” and take measures against them.
June 19, 2023
- How Has This Week Been in the Economy? (Cumhuriyet). In April, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) announced that Turkiye had a monthly current account deficit of $5.40 billion. Thus, the Turkish economy had a monthly current account deficit for 18 consecutive months. In April, the annualized current account deficit rose to $57.8 billion, the highest in 11 years…UNEMPLOYMENT RISE…According to TUIK data, The number of unemployed persons aged 15 and over increased by 74,000 in April 2023 compared to the previous month and reached 3,585,000 total. On the other hand, the unemployment rate eased by 0.1 percentage points to 10.2 percent. While the unemployment rate was 8.1 percent for men, it was estimated to be 14.3 percent for women.
June 20, 2023
- Ankara, Baghdad Discuss Resumption of Iraq’s Northern Oil Exports (Daily Sabah). A delegation of Turkish energy officials Monday met with Iraqi oil officials in Baghdad to discuss a resumption of Iraq’s northern oil exports, according to sources…“We are discussing all technical aspects regarding the restarting of oil exports. A decision to resume flows will not happen today, and more meetings are expected,” an oil official familiar with the meeting told Reuters anonymously.
- Türkiye, Russia, Iran, Syria to Discuss Syria’s Future in Astana (Daily Sabah). The new round of Astana talks to discuss Syria’s future with the participation of Türkiye, Iran, Russia and Syria will take place in Kazakhstan on June 20-21, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday…The second technical meeting of the Quadripartite Process between the Turkish, Iranian, Russian and Syrian foreign ministries will also take place on the sidelines of the meeting
June 21, 2023
- Turkish Airstrike Kills Senior PKK Operative in Northwest Syria (Hurriyet). The MIT (National Intelligence Organization of Turkey) has killed Rıdvan Ulugana, a high-priority target and member of the PKK/YPG terrorist group in Northwest Syria’s Tel Rifat region. Ulugana, known by various code names…had been involved in multiple attacks against Turkish security forces and civilians and was responsible for organizing the transfer of PKK members from Syria to Turkey.
- Erdoğan, KRG Leader Barzani Meet in Ankara (Daily Sabah). President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently welcomed Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Masrour Barzani for confidential discussions in Ankara. The meeting, which marked Barzani’s third official visit to Türkiye and the first since Erdoğan’s re-election in May, focused on current developments in Iraq, the broader region, and furthering bilateral relations. Türkiye’s newly appointed Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, also participated in the talks. Türkiye and the KRG have robust economic and political ties, with the KRG providing humanitarian aid following the February earthquakes in southern Türkiye.
June 22, 2023
- Swedish FM Calls Turkish Parliament to Approve NATO Bid (Daily Sabah). Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom expressed confidence that Sweden has fulfilled its obligations to secure Turkey’s approval for its NATO membership. Billstrom called on the Turkish Parliament to begin the ratification process. However, Turkiye and Hungary have hesitated to approve Sweden’s membership, citing concerns over Sweden’s efforts against counterterrorism, particularly regarding the PKK. Recently, a man accused of attempted terrorist financing for the PKK appeared in a Swedish court, further fueling tensions.
- Turkiye to Export Drones to Four Additional Countries (Anadolu Agency). Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is set to export its Anka drones to four countries this year, according to Ziya Dogan, the Chief Product Engineer. One customer is already actively using the Anka drones, and an export deal has been signed with another country for delivery in 2024.
June 23, 2023
- Turkiye Expects Gulf Investments After Top-Level UAE Visit (Reuters). Turkiye expects investments from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia in its energy and defense sectors following negotiations held by top Turkish economy officials in Abu Dhabi. Turkish Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz and Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek visited the UAE ahead of a potential visit by President Tayyip Erdogan. These talks signal a shift in Turkey’s economic policy towards a more orthodox approach after years of unorthodox policies that impacted the country’s economy.
- Türkiye to Shape Economy Policies Around Stability, Confidence, Sustainability (Anadolu Agency). Treasury and Finance minister, Mehmet Simsek, stated that Turkiye’s economic policies would prioritize stability, trust, and sustainability following the central bank’s decision to raise interest rates…The Central Bank of Turkey’s decision to raise the policy rate by 650 basis points to 15% marks its first increase in 27 months and aims to curb inflation.
June 26, 2023
- Türkiye Breaks Daily Export Record (Anadolu Agency). The trade minister of Türkiye announced that the country achieved a historic milestone in daily exports, exceeding $2.121 billion on June 23…Despite economic challenges and the Eurozone’s declining PMI, Türkiye’s exporters demonstrated strength and dynamism in achieving this milestone.
- Türkiye Becomes Key Country in Balkans, Says Montenegrin Premier (Anadolu Agency). The Prime Minister of Montenegro, Dritan Abazovic, praised Türkiye’s role as a “key country” in the Western Balkans and emphasized its crucial mediating role between Serbia and Kosovo.
June 27, 2023
- Erdogan Says Sweden Must Ban PKK Rallies to Enter NATO (Hurriyet). President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has emphasized to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg that Sweden must end demonstrations and activities by PKK members and sympathizers on its soil if it wants to join NATO. During a phone conversation, Erdoğan and Stoltenberg also discussed developments in Russia and expressed the hope that these developments would contribute to a just peace in Ukraine. They also touched upon Turkiye’s attempt to purchase F-16s from the United States, stressing that associating this issue with Sweden’s NATO membership would harm NATO’s security.
- Turkish Intelligence ‘Neutralizes’ 11 PKK/YPG Terrorists in Northern Syria (Anadolu Agency). Turkish intelligence forces have successfully “neutralized” 11 terrorists affiliated with the PKK/KCK-PYD/YPG in northern Syria near the Turkish border. The Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) conducted simultaneous operations in the Manbij region, targeting the YPG/PKK camp. The operations were carried out after careful reconnaissance and coordination with the Turkish Armed Forces. Turkiye has been conducting successful anti-terror operations in northern Syria since 2016 to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and ensure the local population’s safety. The PKK has been involved in a decades-long terror campaign, causing the loss of thousands of lives.
June 28, 2023
- Sweden Says it Fully Supports Türkiye Against All Threats to Turkish National Security (Anadolu Agency). Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom expressed full support for Turkey against all threats to its security, including condemning terrorist organizations such as the PKK. Speaking alongside British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, Billstrom emphasized Sweden’s commitment to being an active and loyal ally, contributing to NATO’s security. Sweden recently passed an anti-terror law to enhance cooperation with Turkey and other NATO and EU countries, hoping to gain approval for its NATO membership bid. Turkey has already approved Finland’s membership but awaits Sweden’s compliance with a trilateral memorandum addressing Ankara’s security concerns.
- Erdogan, Mitsotakis Voice Hope for New Era in Turkish-Greek Ties (TRT World). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis expressed optimism about improved bilateral relations following recent elections in both countries. Erdogan congratulated Mitsotakis in a phone call after he was sworn in as Greek premier, highlighting the opportunity presented by strong governments trusted by their respective peoples. Erdogan’s victory in the Turkish presidential election runoff and his party’s majority in parliament, along with Mitsotakis’ conservative New Democracy party winning over 40 percent of the vote in Greece, set the stage for a potentially positive future for bilateral ties.
- Swedish Prosecutor Asks to Extradite PKK Terror Suspect to Türkiye (Anadolu Agency). A Swedish prosecutor has requested that a suspect arrested for terror activities be extradited to Turkey. The suspect is accused of collecting money for the PKK/YPG terror group and is facing charges including “financing terrorism,” “attempted extortion,” and “armed assault.” The prosecutor stated that there was substantial evidence linking the suspect to the PKK and requested a five-year prison sentence and extradition to Turkey. The verdict is expected to be announced on July 7. The suspect was arrested in January for allegedly collecting money for the PKK through armed threats in a restaurant.
June 29, 2023
- Erdogan Says PKK Activities in Sweden Unacceptable (Yeni Safak). During a phone conversation with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Turkish President Erdogan expressed his concerns about PKK supporters in Sweden organizing demonstrations, recruiting individuals, and providing financial support to terrorist groups. While acknowledging Sweden’s recent anti-terrorism measures, Erdogan stated that these activities are “unacceptable” to Ankara.
- Confidence-Building Measures Towards Normalization Should Continue, Türkiye Tells Armenia (Anadolu Agency). During a phone call, Turkish President Erdogan conveyed to Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan that confidence-building measures to normalize ties between Ankara and Yerevan should persist. Pashinyan congratulated Erdogan and the Turkish people on the occasion of Eid al-Adha. Erdogan reciprocated by expressing his wishes for peace and prosperity for humanity during the holiday.
- Erdogan Says Türkiye Opposes Any Threat to Al-Aqsa Mosque’s Sanctity, Status (Anadolu Agency). During a phone call, Turkish President Erdogan assured Palestinian President Abbas that Turkey would continue to support the Palestinian cause and oppose any actions that could harm the sanctity and status of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. Erdogan extended Eid al-Adha greetings to Abbas and expressed sorrow over recent developments in the occupied West Bank. He conveyed prayers and condolences to those affected by the Israeli airstrikes in the Jenin refugee camp and wished strength and patience to the victims’ families.
June 30, 2023
- President Erdoğan Denounces Desecration of Quran in Sweden (Daily Sabah). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned the burning of the Quran in Sweden and extended his Eid al-Adha greetings to Muslims worldwide. He expressed his determination to teach Western entities that insulting Muslims is not freedom of thought and vowed to react strongly until a decisive fight against terrorist organizations and enemies of Islam is undertaken. The Swedish appeals court recently overturned a ban on Quran-burning protests, stating that the police had no legal grounds to prevent such actions.