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Turkiye in November 2023

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November 1, 2023

  1. Türkiye and Iran’s Joint Efforts to Prevent Israel-Palestine Conflict Escalation. Türkiye and Iran are collaborating to prevent the Gaza conflict from escalating into a regional war. They emphasize the importance of achieving a ceasefire and long-term peace, urging international involvement for a solution accepted by Palestine and regional nations. Criticizing the European Union’s stance, they call for efforts to secure permanent peace in Palestine. Iran condemns Israel’s actions and its use of prohibited weapons, warning of potential consequences if the conflict continues. The foreign ministers discuss the situation in Palestine, regional developments, and bilateral relations, highlighting the need to avert a crisis (Daily Sabah).
  2. Palestine Supports Turkiye’s “Guarantor” Formula. Palestine’s Ambassador to Ankara, Faed Mustafa, expressed support for Turkiye’s efforts to create guarantor countries in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Mustafa emphasized the need for political and diplomatic support for Turkiye’s role as a guarantor and called for the return of Palestinian rights from Israel. He also highlighted the importance of international support for Palestine and the challenges they face in the conflict (Star).
  3. Turkiye-UAE Economic Partnership. The Turkiye-UAE Joint Committee (JETCO) established during President Erdogan’s UAE visit aims to boost trade, investment, and collaboration. Both countries see each other as crucial economic partners, with a plan to increase trade volume from $14 billion to $25 billion rapidly. They have also engaged in various sectors, with potential investment opportunities. The Kalkınma Yolu Project seeks to reduce cargo transit time from Basra Gulf to the EU from one month to four days, involving UAE, Turkiye, Iraq, and possibly Saudi Arabia (Sabah).
  4. Erdogan Condemns Israel’s Actions in Gaza. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly criticized Israel, stating it has lost its state mentality and now behaves like an organization. He also condemned Western countries, particularly European nations, for failing the humanitarian test in Gaza. Erdogan called for an immediate halt to Israel’s actions and emphasized the need for international accountability for war crimes in Gaza (TRT Arabic).
  5. Turkish President Proposes New Gaza Security Mechanism. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has suggested establishing a new security mechanism in Gaza, with regional cooperation, to address the Israel-Hamas conflict. He expressed Türkiye’s readiness to take responsibility for this initiative, emphasizing the importance of regional collaboration. Erdoğan also reiterated his call for a peace conference involving relevant parties (Daily News).
  6. Turkiye’s Pursuit of ICC Action Against Israeli War Crimes. Following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s declaration of Israel as a “war criminal” in a pro-Palestinian rally, Turkish authorities are actively exploring avenues to present Israel’s actions against Palestinian civilians as war crimes before the International Criminal Court (ICC) (MEM).
  7. Supersonic US Bomber Lands in Turkiye’s Incirlik Base. The US European Command announced the arrival of the supersonic bomber, B-1B Lancer, at Turkiye’s Incirlik Air Base, marking a historic milestone. The mission aims to demonstrate US readiness to support regional objectives and showcase American airpower worldwide. This strategic bomber conducted its first-ever hot-pit refueling at Incirlik, reducing ground time and enabling faster return to flight. The event strengthens US-Turkiye NATO relations and emphasizes their strong alliance (Syria TV).

November 2, 2023

  1. Turkish FM Urges Equitable Approach to Ukraine and Palestine Conflicts. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan called for a fair and consistent approach to conflicts in Ukraine and Palestine, emphasizing the need for lasting peace in the region. He criticized the EU’s stance on the Palestine-Israel conflict and highlighted Türkiye’s efforts to prevent the Gaza situation from escalating into a wider war. Fidan also mentioned ongoing negotiations for evacuating Turkish citizens from Gaza (TRT world).
  2. Turkey and Iran Issue Joint Warning on Gaza Conflict, Differ on Oil Boycott. Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers jointly warn of the Israel-Hamas conflict’s expansion but differ on boycotting Israel’s oil. Turkey seeks a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and offers to facilitate a peace agreement. Iran calls for cutting ties with Israel and stopping oil exports to the nation (Al monitor).
  3. UAE Shows Interest in Turkish Defense Industry, Eyeing SİHAs. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has expressed interest in Turkey’s defense industry, particularly in acquiring Turkish-made drones (SİHAs). The two countries have established a working group to expand their defense industry cooperation, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding regarding strategic collaboration in the defense sector. The group aims to develop a common roadmap and explore various areas of cooperation, including research and development projects and joint defense initiatives. This move demonstrates the growing partnership between Turkey and the UAE in the field of defense (Yeniakit).
  4. Turkish Official Seeks Cooperation with Egyptian Defense Production Companies. The President of Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries expressed Turkey’s interest in collaborating with Egyptian defense production companies. The meeting took place in the new administrative capital of Egypt and aimed to explore opportunities for mutual cooperation in the defense industry. The Turkish government is focused on enhancing domestic military manufacturing and increasing exports in advanced technological military industries (Turk Press).

November 3, 2023

  1. Erdogan Discusses Gaza Humanitarian Ceasefire at Turkic States Summit. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a meeting with Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov at the Organization of Turkic States Summit in Astana, emphasized the importance of international efforts to prevent human rights violations in Palestine and suggested the Organization of Turkic States could contribute to a humanitarian ceasefire and peace in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Erdogan also highlighted the need for a guarantor mechanism involving relevant actors to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict. The summit focuses on regional issues and aims to strengthen relations among Turkic countries (TRT World).
  2. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Criticizes EU’s Double Standards and Calls for Expansion. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan emphasized that the EU should consider expansion as a geostrategic issue and criticized the double standards in some EU member states regarding solidarity with Palestinians. He reiterated Turkey’s unchanged perspective on EU membership and the need for a fresh discussion on expansion under new geopolitical circumstances (TRT Arabic).

November 6, 2023

  1. Blinken and Fidan Discuss Middle East Crisis and Bilateral Ties in Ankara.U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan discuss the Israel-Hamas conflict and bilateral relations. Blinken’s visit to Turkey follows his meetings in Israel and Jordan. Discussions also involve Gaza, regional issues, and the situation in Syria (Hurriyet Daily News).
  2. Türkiye’s Guarantor Offer for Gaza: President Erdogan’s Stand. Turkish President Erdogan proposes Türkiye’s guarantorship in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, emphasizing the need for peace, rejecting plans that harm Palestinians, and expressing dissatisfaction with the EU’s response to Israel’s actions. Erdogan also pledges support to bring Israeli human rights violations and war crimes to the International Criminal Court (TRT World).
  3. Turkish Defense Announces Destruction of 15 PKK Terrorist Sites in Northern Iraq. The Turkish Ministry of Defense reports the destruction of 15 PKK terrorist sites, including weapon depots and caves, in a Saturday night airstrike in Hakurk, northern Iraq (TRT Arabic).
  4. Erdoğan Ends Communication with Netanyahu Over Gaza Conflict. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announces the cessation of communication with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to Israel’s actions in Gaza. Erdogan also emphasizes that Turkiye is not severing diplomatic relations with Israel but aims to mediate an end to the conflict through its intelligence agency chief (Hurriyet Daily News).

November 7, 2023

  1. Turkey Develops Ship Protection Systems against Invisible Threats. STM, a Turkish defense technology company, has successfully developed local systems to protect warships against chemical, biological, and nuclear threats known as “invisible threats.” These systems can also be used in civilian applications to provide high-quality protection against unseen dangers. STM’s commitment to enhancing Turkey’s self-sufficiency in defense industries is reflected in their innovative solutions and international collaborations (Anadolu Agency).
  2. Turkish Intelligence Eliminates PKK Official in Northern Iraq. Turkish intelligence successfully eliminated Ayshe Arslan, a PKK/KGK terrorist organization official responsible for the Hakurk region in northern Iraq. Arslan, also known as “Tekoşin Jinda,” had joined the organization in 2004 and was active within its Syrian wing, the PYD/PKK, since 2014 (Daily Sabah).
  3. Turkish Foreign Minister Engages with European Counterparts on Gaza Conflict. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan held separate phone discussions with Dutch and Czech foreign ministers, addressing the Gaza conflict and emphasizing the need for an immediate cease-fire and humanitarian aid. They also discussed preventing the situation from escalating into a regional crisis and the importance of the Black Sea grain deal (Anadolu Agency).
  4. Turkish-US Talks on Sweden’s NATO Membership and F-16 Deal. Turkish and American foreign ministers, Hakan Fidan and Antony Blinken, discussed Sweden’s NATO membership and Turkey’s acquisition of F-16 fighter jets during their talks in Ankara. The conversations centered on these two key issues, with the US administration continuing efforts to secure Turkey’s F-16 purchase and emphasizing the importance of Sweden’s swift NATO membership approval. The US Congress had linked Turkey’s F-16 deal to its approval of Sweden’s NATO request. Talks on these topics have progressed, and Turkey aims for a positive outcome (Sharq Awsat).

November 8, 2023

  1. In a heartfelt response to the ongoing conflict in Gaza, Türkiye’s First Lady, Emine Erdoğan, has lent her voice to the chorus of international concern. With a poignant critique of Israel’s military operations, she accused the Israeli forces of severe transgressions and stood firmly in solidarity with those suffering. Her call to end the violence extends beyond Gaza, touching on conflict zones worldwide, urging for peace and support for the downtrodden—a sentiment deeply rooted in the nation’s cultural and political discourse (Daily Sabah).
  2. On the diplomatic front, Türkiye finds itself navigating a complex web of international treaties and security concerns. The nation expressed its dismay over Russia’s decision to step away from the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, a cornerstone of European security. This withdrawal not only speaks to the fraying threads of arms control but also to the broader challenges facing NATO and its members. Türkiye’s hope for the treaty’s restoration speaks to its commitment to stability and a balanced military presence on the continent, emphasizing the need for transparency and predictability among the armed forces of the signatory nations (Daily Sabah).
  3. Expanding the scope to the energy sector, Türkiye is set to amplify its self-reliance with the introduction of a new gas production vessel to its fleet. This strategic development, as unveiled by Energy and Natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar, signals an ambitious step towards bolstering the nation’s domestic energy capabilities. The initiative not only secures Türkiye’s energy future but also paves the way for exploration endeavors in the waters of Libya and Africa, underlining a vision of energy independence and international cooperation. Discussions of renewable energy and partnerships with nations like the UAE, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar further illustrate Türkiye’s multifaceted approach to securing its energy interests in the global arena (Sabah).

November 9, 2023

  1. Putin, Erdogan, and Raisi Strengthen Ties in Central Asia. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi are intensifying diplomatic efforts in Central Asia. Putin’s visit to Kazakhstan and Erdogan and Raisi’s participation in the Economic Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan highlight the region’s growing strategic importance. Amidst these developments, Erdogan’s strong criticism of Western silence on Gaza at the summit further emphasizes the dynamic and multifaceted nature of international relations in this key geopolitical arena (Asharq).
  2. Key Factors Behind EU’s Reluctance to Admit Turkiye: A Comprehensive Overview. The European Union’s hesitation to admit Turkiye stems from a range of issues including concerns over Turkiye’s human rights record and political freedoms, the unresolved Cyprus dispute, economic disparities, and Turkiye’s unique geopolitical position. Cultural and religious differences, challenges in managing migration and border security, divergent foreign policies, and internal Turkish politics under President Erdoğan have also been significant factors. Additionally, there is a general reluctance within the EU towards further enlargement, often influenced by public opinion in member states, which tends to be skeptical about Turkiye’s accession due to various concerns including cultural integration and economic competition (Delegation of the EU to Turkiye).
  3. Turkish Foreign Ministry Criticizes EU’s 2023 Report as Unjust and Biased. The Turkish Foreign Ministry has strongly rejected the European Commission’s 2023 Report, labeling it as unjust and biased. They dispute claims regarding political criteria and fundamental rights, citing political obstruction in EU negotiations since 2009. The Ministry criticizes the EU for contradictory actions, such as blocking dialogue while alleging decreased alignment in critical policy areas. They refute allegations of failing to meet Customs Union obligations, attributing issues to the EU’s politicization of negotiations. The Ministry also condemns the EU’s stance on the Hamas-Israel conflict and the Eastern Mediterranean, Aegean, and Cyprus issues, accusing the EU of bias and unfairness. Despite these criticisms, Turkiye acknowledges the EU’s recognition of its economic development and alignment with EU standards in many areas. The Ministry urges the EU to adopt a fair and inclusive enlargement policy and to reflect Turkiye’s candidacy status in its actions and discourse (Turkish Foreign Ministry). 
  4. Erdogan Urges Economic Cooperation Organization to Condemn Israeli Attacks on Gaza. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls on the Economic Cooperation Organization to denounce Israel’s ongoing attacks on Gaza, highlighting the need for collective Muslim solidarity. Erdogan criticizes Israel’s actions and emphasizes Turkiye’s humanitarian aid efforts for Gaza (Anadolu Agency). 
  5. Türkiye’s Defense Exports Reach $4.3 Billion in 10 Months. Türkiye’s defense and aviation industry exports amounted to $4.3 billion in the first 10 months of 2023, with a target of $6 billion for the year. The sector’s 10.8% increase in October contributes to Türkiye’s goal of reducing defense imports and establishing a stronger global market presence (Hurriyet Daily News).

November 10, 2023

  1. Turkiye’s Defense of Hamas Complicates Relations with EU. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s defense of Hamas in the Gaza-Israel conflict has strained Turkiye’s relationship with the European Union. While Turkiye is an EU candidate country, negotiations have been frozen since 2018. Erdogan’s support for Hamas, which is classified as a terrorist organization by Israel, the US, and the EU, has raised concerns in Brussels. The EU values democratic principles, but it doesn’t want to sever ties with Turkiye due to its strategic location. Erdogan’s positions have shifted, complicating the possibility of mediation in the conflict, and EU-Turkiye negotiations become increasingly challenging (Elaph).
  2. AK Party Criticizes EU Report on Türkiye. The governing AK Party in Türkiye has criticized the European Union Commission’s 2023 Türkiye Report, stating that it maintains a biased approach towards Türkiye. The report’s assessment of Türkiye’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was particularly condemned by AK Party spokesperson Omer Celik. He argued that the EU has lost its authority to speak on behalf of humanitarian and universal values, as there is a divergence between European streets and European states on this issue. Türkiye has been actively involved in aid efforts for Gaza (TRT World). 

November 14, 2023

  1. Turkey-Greece Confidence-Building Measures Amid F-16 Purchase Efforts. Turkey and Greece have agreed to implement a series of confidence-building measures in 2024, including military exercise reductions and joint drills. This agreement coincides with Turkey’s efforts to overcome U.S. congressional objections to purchasing new F-16 jets, linking the approval of this sale to Turkey’s improved relations with Greece and other geopolitical factors (Al Monitor). 
  2. Global Shift to Nuclear Energy: Focus on Türkiye’s Akkuyu Project. In response to the energy crisis exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine war, nations worldwide are increasingly turning to nuclear energy. Sama Bilbao y Leon of the World Nuclear Association highlights a significant global resurgence in nuclear energy, with plans to expand capacity in Europe, Asia, and North America. Türkiye’s Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, expected to be operational next year, is a key example of this shift. The sector anticipates a rise in global nuclear capacity to 931 gigawatts by 2040, a substantial increase from the current level. This move towards nuclear energy is partly driven by the desire to reduce dependence on Russian energy sources (Aksam). 
  3. Erdogan’s Berlin Visit Proceeds Despite His Stance on Israel. The German government remains committed to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s upcoming visit to Berlin, despite his critical stance on Israel’s actions in Gaza. German government spokesman Steffen Heibstreit confirmed the visit is on schedule, emphasizing Germany’s firm position on Israel. Erdogan, who has labeled Hamas as a “liberation organization” and criticized Israeli actions as “fascist,” will meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier during his visit (Sharq Awsat). 

November 15, 2023

  1. Erdogan Warns Netanyahu: Your Nuclear Arsenal Won’t Save You, Your End Approaches. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered a stern message to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, stating that Israel’s nuclear arsenal wouldn’t protect them. Erdogan criticized Israel’s actions, calling it a terrorist state and expressing support for the Palestinian cause amid the ongoing Israeli-Gaza conflict (Hurriyet). 
  2. Turkish Court Commences Trial of 57 Accused of Espionage for Israel. The trial of 57 individuals accused of spying for Israeli intelligence begins in Istanbul, Turkey, with charges related to obtaining confidential state information for political or military espionage purposes. The case, which started in December last year, alleges the establishment of a remote operations team by the Israeli Intelligence Service, using internet-based mobile phone apps and social media for communication and fund transfers. Turkish media previously reported the discovery of Mossad cells in Istanbul involved in monitoring activities of individuals and Palestinian organizations in Turkey (Al Jazeera). 
  3. Parliamentary Panel to Begin Discussions on Sweden’s NATO Bid. A parliamentary panel is set to deliberate on Sweden’s application to join NATO, with discussions commencing on November 16. The accession protocol, submitted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is under review by the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. Sweden and Finland decided to apply for NATO membership in response to Russia’s occupation of Ukraine. While Turkey approved Finland’s bid, the process with Sweden faced challenges due to anti-Turkey protests in Stockholm. Amendments to anti-terror laws and lifted arms sales restrictions paved the way for an agreement between President Erdoğan and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson (Hurriyet Daily).

November 16, 2023

  1. Türkiye-Israel Tensions Escalate, Legal Action Sought. Tensions between Türkiye and Israel have intensified, with Ankara denouncing Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statements against President Erdoğan as “unfounded slander.” The Turkish Foreign Ministry, criticizing Israel’s historical actions against Palestinians, has rejected Netanyahu’s accusations of terrorism support and reaffirmed its commitment to the Palestinian cause. The diplomatic strife escalated as Erdoğan challenged Netanyahu over Israel’s nuclear arsenal, while a former Turkish lawmaker, backed by lawyers, filed a petition for Netanyahu’s trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC), accusing him of war crimes and crimes against humanity. This move marks a significant escalation in Türkiye-Israel relations, highlighting the complexities of regional dynamics amid the Gaza conflict (Anadolu Agency, Daily Sabah, Al Jazeera, TRT World).

November 17, 2023

  1. Türkiye’s Fuat Oktay Delays Decision on Sweden’s NATO Membership Bid. The Turkish Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, led by Chairman Fuat Oktay, has postponed the decision on Sweden’s NATO membership bid. The debate on Sweden’s accession protocol was adjourned due to the need for further clarification on certain issues and concerns related to Türkiye’s security. Türkiye has accused Sweden of being lenient toward groups it considers threats, including PKK and FETÖ members, and has expressed frustration over protests in Sweden. Despite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan initially lifting objections, the final decision remains pending (Hurriyet). 
  2. Families of Israeli Hostages Appeal to President Erdogan for Humanitarian Intervention. The families of Israeli hostages, who have been held by Hamas for 42 days, have written a letter to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, seeking his humanitarian intervention. They express deep concern for the well-being of the hostages and request assistance in ascertaining their condition, providing medical care, and securing their immediate release. The families highlight their inability to communicate with their loved ones and appeal to Erdogan’s influence in the region to support their cause (Hurriyet). 
  3. Turkish Weapons Factory Expands and Modernizes with New Investments. Turkiye’s Machinery and Chemical Industry Corporation (MKE) is enhancing its capabilities and expanding its production through new investments at the Çankırı Weapons Factory. The modernization project aims to increase the factory’s production capacity for various weapon systems, including anti-aircraft guns, grenade launchers, automatic grenade launchers, anti-aircraft machine guns, and howitzers. This initiative is supported by customs duty exemptions, VAT exemptions, tax reductions, and investment contributions. The Çankırı Weapons Factory plays a crucial role in reducing Turkey’s reliance on foreign sources for medium-caliber weapon systems, contributing to the country’s defense industry (Daily Sabah).

November 21, 2023

Turkish Leadership’s Critique of Israel Spurs Activist-Led Flotilla, Recalling 2010 Incident. The Turkish leadership’s outspoken criticism of Israel and the West’s response to the Gaza conflict has seemingly influenced a significant activist response. About 1,000 boats, organized by Turkish activist Volkan Okçu, are assembling in Turkey, aiming to disrupt Israeli marine activities. This action, reminiscent of the 2010 Gaza Freedom Flotilla incident, involves international activists and focuses on blocking Israeli trade while delivering aid to Gaza through nonviolent means. This development is a direct reflection of the sentiments expressed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and First Lady Emine Erdogan. President Erdogan has condemned European leaders for their Holocaust shame and their stance on Israel, while the First Lady has implied U.S. complicity in the Gaza conflict due to its military support to Israel. Additionally, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan has warned of escalating crises due to Western inaction. These combined factors highlight Turkey’s critical view of Western policies and its active role in supporting Palestinian causes. The flotilla’s formation coincides with escalating regional tensions, including Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel’s northern border and the Houthis’ hijacking in the Red Sea, amid the ongoing Israeli offensive in Gaza and talks of a potential truce.

 

November 22, 2023

Erdogan’s Algerian Outreach: Boosting Investment and Gas Ties, Advocating for Palestine. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during his first visit to Algeria since 2020, announced plans to increase Turkish investments in Algeria to $10 billion, up from the current $6 billion. This announcement came at the Algerian-Turkish Business Forum in Algiers. Erdogan emphasized Turkiye’s role as the largest investor in Algeria outside the oil and natural gas sector, providing significant job opportunities. The visit saw the signing of 12 cooperation agreements in various fields including trade, education, culture, and environment. Additionally, Turkiye and Algeria extended their liquefied gas purchase agreement for three more years, with Turkiye continuing to import 4.4 billion cubic meters of gas annually. Erdogan also voiced support for a potential deal between Hamas and Israel, condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza and advocating for Israeli leaders to be tried in the International Criminal Court. The Turkish leader’s visit underscores a strengthening of diplomatic and economic relations between Turkiye and Algeria. Additionally, both leaders strongly criticized Israel’s actions in Gaza, advocating for taking Israel to the International Criminal Court. Erdogan expressed hope for positive outcomes in negotiations for the release of hostages in the region.

FM Fidan’s Diplomatic Efforts: Addressing Gaza, Urging EU on Türkiye’s Bid.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan embarks on a UK and France tour with an Arab-Islamic ministerial delegation, focusing on the Gaza crisis. Spearheading this initiative, Türkiye also urges the EU to make a strategic decision on its long-standing membership bid. Fidan emphasizes Türkiye’s role as a stability actor in regional crises and calls for the EU to acknowledge Türkiye’s strategic importance, including its stance on a two-state solution for Cyprus.

Turkiye Thwarts Mossad Operation, Safeguards Palestinian Engineer.

Turkish intelligence foiled an Israeli Mossad plan to abduct Palestinian software engineer Omar A., known for breaching the Iron Dome system. Omar, initially targeted in Gaza and later in Istanbul, was tracked by Turkish authorities to Malaysia, where they prevented a Mossad interrogation attempt. Upon his return to Istanbul, Turkish intelligence ensured his safety, capturing Mossad operatives involved in the abduction plot.

November 23, 2023

  1. Israeli Hostages’ Families Seek Erdogan’s Help Again. Israeli hostages’ families appeal to President Erdogan for assistance in a second letter, emphasizing his influential role. Despite protesting against Netanyahu, they request Erdogan’s intervention, recognizing him as a powerful leader. The letter urges Erdogan to use his influence with Hamas to ensure the hostages’ release (Hurriyet).
  2. Türkiye Delays Approval for Sweden’s NATO Bid. Türkiye notifies NATO of its decision to postpone the final approval of Sweden’s NATO membership bid, hindering expectations for a resolution at the upcoming foreign ministers’ meeting. The Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs commission plans to resume discussions next week. This leaves Sweden’s NATO accession pending during ongoing concerns (Daily Sabah).
  3. Russia Supports Turkiye’s Natural Gas Hub Ambitions. Russian Consul General in Istanbul, Andrey Buravov, highlights Russia’s commitment to Turkiye’s gas hub plans, following President Putin’s announcement. Trade between Turkiye and Russia exceeded $65 billion last year, and both countries are actively working on details for creating a natural gas hub in Turkiye. Buravov also emphasizes the ongoing gas shipments via the TurkStream pipeline, meeting Turkiye’s requested volumes and offering potential for exports to third countries (Aksam).

November 24, 2023

  1. Turkish Tensions: Espionage, Border Tragedy, and Gaza’s Future. Turkey is emerging as a central figure in Middle Eastern geopolitics, as evidenced by recent developments. President Erdogan‘s proposal of a new security framework signifies Turkey’s ambition to become a key player in post-war Gaza, potentially acting as a peace mediator. However, this role is contrasted by the arrest of two Israelis on espionage charges in Istanbul, accused of attempting to recruit a Palestinian software developer linked to Israeli intelligence. Further complicating Turkey’s position, the death of a 15-year-old Palestinian-Syrian refugee, Hassan Nidal Ghannam, at the hands of Turkish border guards highlights a stark contradiction between Turkey’s diplomatic initiatives and its actions on the ground.
  2. Turkey and UK Sign Defense Cooperation Agreement in Ankara. Turkish and British Defense Ministers, Yasar Guler and Grant Shapps, signed a statement of intent in Ankara, affirming their commitment to enhance bilateral cooperation. Discussions covered regional security, defense industry collaboration, and potential joint training exercises. The agreement follows Turkey’s expressed interest in purchasing 40 Eurofighter Typhoon jets, raising strategic implications.
  3. Stratcom Summit: Istanbul Hosts Global Strategic Communication Gathering. The third International Stratcom Summit, sponsored by the Turkish Presidential Communication Department, commenced in Istanbul. Attended by prominent figures from 30 countries, the summit focuses on the global fight against mixed threats for stability, security, and solidarity. Over two days, it features nine sessions with the participation of over 3,000 individuals, including local and international experts.

November 27, 2023

Russia-Turkey Economic Ties Flourish as Gas Hub Project Advances. During the 18th meeting of the Russian-Turkish Commission on trade and economic cooperation in Ankara, Turkey and Russia solidified their economic collaboration. Protocols were signed, extending cooperation beyond energy into areas such as rare metal processing and lithium-ion battery-based energy storage devices. Of particular note is the substantial progress made in discussions about a gas hub project in Turkey, aimed at securely delivering Russian gas to Europe, with both nations actively pursuing its realization. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak emphasized Turkey’s vital role as a transit corridor and expressed optimism about reaching practical agreements soon. This strengthens their commitment to enhancing economic ties, aiming for $100 billion in bilateral trade, and emphasizing nuclear projects such as the Akkuyu nuclear power plant. Additionally, Russian Ambassador Aleksei Erkhov touched on matters beyond economics, criticizing Western double standards on the Gaza conflict and discussing Russia’s stance on Turkey’s proposed guarantorship for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and efforts for Turkish-Syrian normalization. Turkey’s robust economic growth was also highlighted by President Erdogan, with exports reaching $254.8 billion in the past year, marking a substantial increase and emphasizing the need for both quantity and quality in future export endeavors.

Turkey and Iran’s Wild Ride: Hostage Release and Gaza Ceasefire Quest. In a diplomatic twist, Turkey and Iran have both claimed credit for their roles in securing the release of Thai hostages held by Palestinian militants in Gaza, adding an element of comedy to the situation. While Iran, along with Qatar, alleges its involvement in freeing 10 Thais and a Filipino, Turkey insists that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan actively played a part in the release of 14 Thai nationals, leaving approximately 20 Thais still in captivity. Amid this hostage drama, Turkish President Erdogan and Iranian President Raisi have united in diplomatic efforts to secure a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, denouncing “Israeli brutality in Palestinian territories.” This aligns with the ongoing four-day truce facilitated by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States. Concurrently, Turkish Parliament Speaker Numan Kurtulmuş called for the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, stressing international protection of Palestinian rights. President Erdogan engaged in discussions with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, emphasizing uninterrupted humanitarian aid to Gaza, while Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan addressed the Gaza crisis at the Union of the Mediterranean forum.

Turkey’s Eurofighter Quest While Facing US Tensions. Turkey finds itself navigating a diplomatic tightrope as it explores the acquisition of 40 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to bolster its fifth-generation fighter fleet, a decision triggered by the US Congress’ halt in the sale of F-16 fighter jets. However, Germany’s opposition looms large, with the UK and Spain attempting to sway their stance. This move reflects Turkey’s pursuit of alternatives amid escalating US geopolitical tensions and uncertainties surrounding F-16 negotiations, potentially challenging Lockheed Martin’s market dominance. Concerns also emerge from Germany’s military deal restrictions and manufacturing uncertainties, complicating Ankara’s Eurofighter proposal. Simultaneously, Ankara recently released Matin Topuz, a former employee of the US Consulate in Istanbul, after a three-year conviction for alleged ties to a terrorist organization strained bilateral relations, highlighting the delicate balancing act Turkey faces in maintaining its international partnerships.

November 28, 2023

  1. Increasing Tensions Between Turkey and NATO Over Surge in Forbidden Military Shipments to Russia. A report from the Financial Times reveals a rise in Turkey’s sales of military materials to Russia, intensifying tensions with NATO. The surge in forbidden shipments raises suspicions about Turkey serving as a conduit for Moscow, impacting relations with the U.S. and allies. A top-level visit from the U.S. Treasury’s Brian Nelson underscores Washington’s concern, emphasizing efforts to prevent and investigate commercial and financial activities benefiting Russia’s war in Ukraine. Turkey’s $158 million exports to Russia and former Soviet countries, suspected of aiding Moscow, pose a challenge to export controls.
  2. Cihat Yaycı Issues Warning: Palestine Rejects Ankara’s Proposal. Retired Admiral Cihat Yaycı emphasizes the need for a ‘maritime jurisdiction agreement‘ with Palestine, similar to the one with Libya. He warns that Turkey must act swiftly, asserting that such an agreement would grant Palestine significant maritime territory. Yaycı highlights the potential for legal documentation, asserting ownership and restricting access to resources. Despite presenting the proposal, Palestine rejected it. Yaycı also discusses geopolitical challenges in the Middle East, emphasizing the target on Turkey.
  3. High-Level Military Talks Strengthen Alliance Between Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. In Baku, the capitals of Azerbaijan, high-level military discussions were held between Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The meeting emphasized ongoing military collaboration and regional stability. Ministers highlighted the importance of countering terrorism, separatist threats, and non-regional interference, affirming the need for peaceful conflict resolution. The trio underlined the significance of joint military, educational, and health initiatives, promoting exercises for operational harmony and elevating trilateral cooperation to enhance regional security. The talks marked the tenth strategic dialogue, emphasizing the commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the South Caucasus region.

November 29, 2023

  1. Erdoğan Condemns Netanyahu as “Butcher of Gaza,” Urges Lasting Truce. President Erdoğan criticizes Netanyahu for Gaza atrocities, accusing him of genocide. Türkiye demands Israeli accountability for war crimes, emphasizing support for Gaza. Erdoğan pessimistic about a lasting truce, citing Netanyahu’s actions fueling anti-Semitism and endangering global Jewish communities.
  2. Erdogan Vows Diplomatic Push for Gaza Cease-Fire and Hostage Release. President Erdogan pledges intensified diplomatic efforts for a permanent cease-fire and hostage release in Gaza, condemning Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as the “butcher of Gaza.” Erdogan criticizes Netanyahu’s actions, cites ongoing atrocities, and emphasizes Türkiye’s commitment to holding Israel accountable for war crimes.
  3. Turkey Signals Approval for Sweden’s NATO Membership in Weeks. Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström reports that Turkey is expected to approve Sweden’s NATO membership in the coming weeks. The announcement follows a bilateral meeting between the Swedish and Turkish foreign ministers ahead of NATO foreign ministers’ discussions. Turkey emphasizes the need for Sweden to address terrorism concerns, while NATO continues pressure on Turkey regarding Ukraine, facing a stalled conflict and Washington’s delays.
  4. Turkish Foreign Minister and US Secretary of State Discuss Gaza and Sweden’s NATO Bid. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to discuss the Gaza situation and Sweden’s NATO membership. Talks come amid an extended humanitarian pause in the Gaza conflict. The Turkish parliament delayed the consideration of Sweden’s NATO accession, citing security concerns, as Fidan engages in bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels.

November 30, 2023

  1. Guarantor Offer in Gaza, Turkey-Qatar Coordination. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan proposed a guarantor mechanism to maintain the Gaza ceasefire at the U.N. and advocated for a peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine. Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar’s meeting with Qatar‘s Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah in Ankara, amidst heightened tensions between the U.SIsrael, and Turkey, is believed to discuss the situation in Gaza, reflecting Turkey’s active role in regional diplomacy.
  2. Turkey’s Economy Expands 5.9% in Q3, Boosted by New Oil Discoveries. Turkey’s GDP grew by 5.9% in the third quarter of 2023, marking the 13th consecutive quarter of growth since 2020. This robust expansion was driven by notable increases in various sectors, including construction, industry, and finance. Additionally, the discovery and operation of new oil wells in the Şırnak region, particularly in the Şehit Esma Çevik Oil Field on Gabar Mountain, has significantly contributed to this economic surge. With the current production of 27,000 barrels of oil per day, and the goal to reach 35,000 barrels by year-end, Turkey is on track to significantly boost its economic output and energy independence.

 

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