Turkiye in September 2023
September 1, 2023
- Turkey’s Q2 Economy Beats Expectations (Daily Sabah). Turkey’s economy grew 3.8% in Q2 2023, surpassing the expected 3.5%, with GDP rising to 5.5 trillion Turkish liras.
- Turkish FM’s Ongoing Efforts to Resolve Grain Deal (Anadolu Agency). Lavrov demanded guarantees for Black Sea grain deal amid Western sanctions. Turkey and UN aim to revive it, Fidan optimistic about the new offer. Revival on Erdogan-Putin agenda, also discussing Syria. Turkish-Ukrainian ministers discuss grain initiative, reconstruction, and trade via video call. Oraloglu supports Ukraine’s transport investment.
- UAE-Turkey, UAE-Indonesia Economic Agreements Tomorrow (Europa Reporter). The United Arab Emirates will implement comprehensive economic partnership agreements with Turkey and Indonesia starting September 1, 2023. The agreements aim to open new markets and offer opportunities for Emirati exports and investments in these economically growing regions.
September 6, 2023
- Erdogan: Russia Sets Terms for Grain Deal Resumption (Press Bee). Turkish President Erdogan says Russia will only resume its suspended grain trade agreement if its agricultural bank gains SWIFT access and its ships are insured. The remarks followed a meeting with Russian President Putin in Sochi.
- Turkiye and Greece Start New Era in Diplomacy, Say Foreign Ministers (Daily Sabah). Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan announced a “new and positive era” in relations with Greece during a joint press conference with Greek counterpart Giorgos Gerapetritis. The statement comes amid ongoing disputes between the two nations over the Aegean Sea and Mediterranean.
- EU Pledges €781M for Turkish Refugees; Varhelyi to Sign Deal (Daily Sabah). EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi will sign a €781 million aid package for refugees in Turkiye during his visit to Ankara. Discussions will focus on EU-Turkiye bilateral relations and include meetings with key Turkish ministers.
- Turkiye and Japan Ink Trade and Investment Pact (TRT World). Turkiye and Japan have signed a cooperation agreement to boost trade and investment. Trade ministers Omer Polat and Yasutoshi Nishimura announced plans for a forthcoming summit in Tokyo and aim to elevate economic relations to a strategic partnership level.
September 7, 2023
- Turkey, EU to Resume Customs Union Talks (Sky News). Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan announced that Turkey and the European Union will restart discussions next week to modernize their customs union. This comes as Turkey remains keen on resuming its long-stalled accession talks with the EU. Both parties aim for unhindered access for goods and have identified immediate areas of collaboration. EU officials emphasized the need for Turkey to address rule of law and human rights issues to fully align with EU standards
September 8, 2023
- Turkiye Bolsters Economic Ties with US, EU, and World Bank (Anadolu Agency, Daily Sabah). Turkiye is making strategic moves to bolster its economy and international relations. Mehmet Ali Yalcindag, chairman of the Turkiye-US Business Council, announced a new era of trade relations with the US, citing a 54% increase in trade volume over the past three years and targeting a $100 billion trade volume. The European Union and Turkiye have signed a project to support the social integration of foreigners, highlighting Turkiye’s role in global migration. Meanwhile, the World Bank is preparing an $18 billion support program for Turkiye, praising its efforts to stabilize the economy. These partnerships come amid ongoing economic reforms and are viewed as a comprehensive effort to strengthen Turkiye’s economic and social fabric.
- Istanbul Mayor Under Fire for Failing to Prevent Deadly Floods (Al Jazeera, Al Hadath, Anadolu Agency). Heavy rains in northwestern Turkiye led to floods that killed at least 7 people and injured 31 others. The mayor of Istanbul, Akram Imamoglu, has come under criticism for not adequately preparing for the floods despite having spent billions of Turkish liras on flood prevention projects. Critics point out that the city had previously claimed to have solved the problems of torrents and floods. Imamoglu defended his actions, stating that the heavy rainfall was surprising and that preparations are being made for more extreme weather events due to climate change.
September 11, 2023
- Turkic States, Erdogan, and Iran: A Trifecta of Stances on Karabakh and Regional Tensions (TRT Arab, i24). Secretary-General Aliyev and Erdogan call for Azerbaijan-Armenia dialogue over Karabakh, while Erdogan questions Black Sea grain exports without Russia. Iran escalates its South Caucasus involvement, aiding Armenia and unveiling hypersonic missiles, raising stakes for regional actors including Russia.
September 12, 2023
- Turkiye’s July Current Account Deficit Surges to $5.5 Billion, Exceeding Market Expectations (Al Sharq Al Awsat). In July, Turkiye’s current account deficit soared to $5.5 billion, exceeding the expected $4.45 billion, driven by higher gold imports, a widening trade gap, and new wage hikes. The Central Bank reported a $42.3 billion deficit for H1, following a $651 million surplus in June.
- Erdogan Optimistic About Resolving Syrian Crisis After Egypt Relations Restored (Al Arabiya). President Erdogan is optimistic about positive outcomes in regional issues, including Syria, amid improved Egyptian-Turkish relations. Erdogan and President El-Sisi exchanged invitations to visit Cairo, but no dates were specified. This follows the recent reconciliation between Egypt and Turkiye.
- Erdogan and Pashinyan Discuss Bilateral Relations and Regional Issues (Anadolu Agency). In a Monday phone call, Turkish President Erdogan and Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan discussed bilateral ties and regional stability. According to the Turkish Presidency’s Communications Department, they stressed the need for lasting peace in the region and committed to ongoing diplomatic efforts for mutual prosperity.
- The Kazakh President Receives Fidan in Astana (Anadolu Agency). On Monday, Kazakh President Tokayev met Turkish Foreign Minister Fidan in Astana, aiming to strengthen ties. Tokayev praised Turkiye’s global role in conflict resolution and emphasized their strategic partnership. Bilateral trade increased 54% to $6.3 billion last year, with plans to reach $10 billion soon.
- World Bank Grants $1 Billion for Turkish Earthquake Recovery (Hurriyet Daily News). The World Bank has allocated $1 billion to assist earthquake recovery efforts in southern Turkiye. Minister Mehmet Özhaski stated that this funding will significantly contribute to reconstruction in the affected region, with a substantial portion earmarked for housing and infrastructure projects in rural areas within the earthquake zone.
- Turkish Intelligence Neutralizes Senior PKK/YPG Leader in Northern Syria (TRT World). Turkish National Intelligence Service conducted a cross-border operation in northern Syria, neutralizing Muhtasem Akyurek, a prominent PKK/YPG terrorist known as Serhat Serhildan. Akyurek, active since 2015, played a vital role in the organization’s actions and armed training. His elimination is expected to disrupt PKK’s training activities in the region.
September 13, 2023
- Turkish Chief of Staff Discusses NATO Developments with Supreme Commander (Anadolu Agency). Turkish Chief of Staff, General Metin Gorak, discussed recent NATO developments in a phone call with Supreme Commander General Christopher Cavoli.
- British Foreign Secretary Visits Ankara to Discuss Bilateral and Global Issues (Hurriyet Daily News).The British Foreign Secretary is in Ankara to discuss bilateral relations and address global concerns, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
- The Austrian Leader Calls for an End to Negotiations Between Türkiye and The European Union (Hurriyet Daily News). Austria’s leader advocates for the termination of EU membership talks between Türkiye and the European Union, emphasizing the need for a new partnership while welcoming discussions with Turkish President Erdogan in the near future
- Türkiye and Iran Hold the 55th Security Committee Meeting (Anadolu Agency). Officials from Türkiye and Iran discuss border security, cross-border trade, and combating smuggling at the 55th Turkish-Iranian Security Committee Meeting held in Urmia.
September 14, 2023
- Turkey Announces New Corridor, Iran Boosts Border Presence (Al Jazeera). Turkey plans to create a corridor linking it with Azerbaijan via Armenia, while Iran strengthens its military presence on the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region’s border. Turkish Minister Abdulkadir Oraloglu announced the Zangzur Corridor project, highlighting Azerbaijani and Armenian involvement during a Transport and Logistics Forum.
- Sudan’s Al-Burhan Meets Erdogan in Turkey (Sky News Arabia). Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, President of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council, embarks on an official visit to Ankara, Turkey, continuing his regional engagements. He will discuss bilateral relations, cooperation, and shared interests with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the visit.
- UN and Turkish Cypriots Progress on Pyla Road Dispute (Al Monitor). UN talks with Turkish Cypriots regarding the disputed Pyla Road project have shown promise, although unresolved issues persist. Negotiations aim to connect the Turkish Cypriot village of Arsos to the multi-ethnic village of Pella, within the UN-controlled buffer zone, with concerns surrounding road control and checkpoints in the buffer zone.
September 15, 2023
- US to Sanction 5 Turkish Companies for Aiding Russia in Evading Sanctions (24). The US plans to impose sanctions on five Turkish companies and one individual for assisting Russia in evading sanctions and supporting Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. These sanctions are part of a larger package targeting over 150 entities related to Russia to hinder Kremlin access to technology and funding for the Ukraine conflict.
- Turkiye Discusses the Development Road Project with Iraq, UAE, and Qatar (El Nashra). Turkiye’s Foreign Ministry is in talks with Iraq, the UAE, and Qatar about the strategic Turkish-Iraqi Development Road Project. The project aims to create a trade route connecting Basra, northern Iraq, and Turkiye, linking Asia and Europe. These discussions come amid changing geopolitical dynamics and global competition.
- Russia, Turkiye, and Qatar Cooperate to Supply Grains to Africa (TRT World). Russia is collaborating with Turkiye and Qatar to deliver one million tons of grain to needy African nations as an independent project separate from the expired Black Sea grain agreement.
September 18, 2023
- Erdogan’s Diplomatic Dance: Turkiye’s Shifting Relations on Multiple Fronts (Al Sharq Al Awsat, Anadolu Agency, TRT Arabi, Hurriyet Daily News, TRT World). President Erdogan signals a distancing from the EU following a European Parliament report opposing Turkiye’s accession while heading to New York for UN meetings. Turkiye’s exports to Saudi Arabia quadruple to $1.6 billion amid diplomatic efforts. Concurrently, discussions are underway with Russia, China, and South Korea for a new nuclear plant in Turkiye. The country also rejects U.S. accusations of child recruitment, reciprocating with similar allegations against the U.S. Despite this, U.S. officials remain optimistic about expanding trade and strategic partnerships with Turkiye.
September 19, 2023
- Erdogan: The European Union’s Position on Turkey’s Accession Will be a Decisive Factor in The Future of Our Relations (Daily Sabah). President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the European Union’s position on Turkey’s accession will be a decisive factor in the future of our relations.He added in a meeting with research centers in New York City that Turkey is an international player in the defense industries despite the restrictions, and our defense exports in the first half of 2023 amounted to 2 billion and 400 million dollars.
- EU Allocates 400 Million Euros in Aid to Turkey for Earthquake Relief (Anadolu Agency). The European Union Council has approved 400 million euros in aid to Turkey, specifically to deal with the aftermath of the double earthquake that struck the south of the country last February.
- Alibaba Invests $2 Billion in Turkey (Al Monitor). Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announced a $2 billion investment in Turkey, signaling strong economic ties between the two countries. Alibaba has already invested $1.4 billion through its Turkish unit, Trendyol.
September 20, 2023
- Erdogan Rejects EU and U.S. Conditions at UNGA, Puts Ball in Sweden’s Court on NATO Entry (Sharq Al Awsat). On the sidelines of the UNGA summit, President Erdogan told PBS that Turkiye has never needed EU support and remains self-sufficient. He was dismissive of the recent European Commission report, suggesting Turkiye could distance itself from the EU. Erdogan also rejected a U.S. condition tying Turkiye’s F-16 acquisition to Sweden’s NATO entry, insisting Sweden must first curb terrorist activities on its soil.
- Turkiye’s Foreign Policy: From Karabakh Talks to Jordanian Business and NATO Briefings (Daily Sabah). Turkiye’s foreign policy activities were in high gear this week. Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met with his Azerbaijani counterpart to discuss the Karabakh issue on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. Meanwhile, a Turkish-Jordanian business forum aimed at bolstering economic ties commenced in Amman. President Erdogan was also busy in New York, meeting with his Algerian and Polish counterparts, as well as the NATO Secretary General, to discuss a range of regional and international issues.
September 21, 2023
- Turkiye-Africa Trade Volume Reaches $40.7 Billion (Daily Sabah). The announcement came at the 9th World Cooperation Industries Forum in Istanbul. It was revealed that Turkish companies employ 100,000 people in Africa.
- Fidan Advances Turkiye-EU Relations with Key Visa and Migration Talks at UNGA (Daily Sabah). Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met with EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson at the UNGA to discuss visa liberalization and irregular migration. The talks are part of Turkiye’s ongoing efforts to eliminate visa requirements for its citizens traveling to the EU. Of the 72 criteria in the Turkiye-EU Readmission Agreement, Turkiye has already met 66, making significant strides towards fulfilling the agreement’s terms.
- Erdoğan Backs Azerbaijan’s Karabakh Anti-Terror Ops at UNGA (Hurriyet). Turkish President Erdoğan endorsed Azerbaijan’s anti-terror actions in Karabakh during his U.N. General Assembly speech. He emphasized territorial integrity and called for Armenia to engage in peace initiatives. Azerbaijan’s President Aliyev lauded the “strategic alliance” between the two nations.
September 22, 2023
- Turkey Boosts Economic and Energy Ties with U.S. and Israel, Sets Multi-Billion Dollar Trade and Investment Goals (Anadolu Agency). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that last year, trade between the U.S. and Turkey surpassed $32 billion, a 15% increase, with direct U.S. investments in Turkey totaling $14.4 billion. He also announced a new energy partnership with Israel and mutual visits between the nations. The current trade volume between Turkey and Israel is $9.5 billion, with an agreement to elevate it to at least $15 billion.
- Massive Drug Bust in Istanbul Seizes 2.4 Million Captagon Pills Valued at $6.6 Million (Hurriyet). Turkish law enforcement agencies seized narcotics worth 180 million Turkish Liras ($6.6 million) at Istanbul’s Ambarlı port. The operation was initiated on a suspicious container destined for foreign shores, revealing 2.4 million captagon pills. Immediate investigations are underway. Concurrent operations in İzmir and Diyarbakır led to multiple detentions and further drug confiscations.
- First Ukrainian Grain Ship Reaches Turkey’s Bosporus Following Russia’s Black Sea Deal Exit (Al Monitor). The first grain vessel to leave Ukraine since Russia’s withdrawal from a Black Sea grain deal arrived in Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait. The Palau-flagged ship, carrying over 3,000 tons of wheat, departed from Ukraine’s Odessa port, where Russian forces have escalated attacks after refusing to renew the grain deal. Turkey, which helped broker the original agreement, remains hesitant to establish an alternative route without Russian participation. Meanwhile, Ukraine is seeking to establish a new grain corridor, in talks with both Washington and Ankara.
September 25, 2023
- Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan’s Diplomatic Marathon at UN General Assembly: Key Takeaways (TRT Arabic). Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan engages in multiple discussions at the 78th UN General Assembly. Topics include Ukraine, grain shipments, counter-terrorism in Azerbaijan, Turkiye-EU relations, and the Cyprus issue. Bilateral talks held with the U.S., Bahrain, and Lithuania.
- Erdogan and Aliyev to Discuss Nagorno-Karabakh and Zangezur Corridor in Nakhichevan Meeting (Al Arabiya). Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan engages in multiple discussions at the 78th UN General Assembly. Topics include Ukraine, grain shipments, counter-terrorism in Azerbaijan, Turkiye-EU relations, and the Cyprus issue. Bilateral talks held with the U.S., Bahrain, and Lithuania.
- Greece to Push for Expansion of EU-Turkiye Migration Deal in Upcoming Thessaloniki Meeting (Hurriyet). Greece seeks to renew and expand the 2016 EU-Turkiye migration deal, with talks scheduled in Thessaloniki on December 7. The initiative follows a positive meeting between the Greek PM and Turkish President in New York.
- Turkiye-Africa Trade Skyrockets to $40 Billion in 2022, Marking Significant Growth from 2003 (TRT Arabic). Turkiye-Africa trade reaches $40.7 billion in 2022, a significant increase from $5.4 billion in 2003. The growth follows Turkiye’s “Africa Plan” initiated in 2005, aiming for further commercial expansion on the continent.
- Turkiye’s Machinery Exports Surge by 11.1% to $18.6 Billion in First Eight Months of 2023 (Sky News Arabia). Turkiye’s machinery exports grow by 11.1%, reaching $18.6 billion in the first eight months of 2023. The increase defies global trade challenges and outperforms developed countries, attributed to domestic investments in machinery.
September 26, 2023
- Erdoğan and Aliyev Inaugurate Gas Pipeline, Discuss Zangezur Corridor and Nagorno-Karabakh Ceasefire (Daily Sabah). During a visit to Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan exclave, Turkish President Erdoğan and Azerbaijani President Aliyev discussed regional issues and bilateral relations. The leaders inaugurated a new gas pipeline and talked about the future Zangezur corridor, aimed at connecting Nakhchivan to Azerbaijan’s mainland. The meeting comes after a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, ending decades of separatist rule.
September 27, 2023
- Turkiye and Azerbaijan Discuss Controversial Land Corridor Near Armenia (The New Arab). Azerbaijani and Turkish presidents met to explore the creation of a land corridor through southern Armenia, linking Azerbaijan and Turkiye. The talks come after Azerbaijan’s recent victory in Nagorno-Karabakh and raise concerns in Armenia and Russia.
- Turkiye Exposes Extensive FETÖ Network Within Law Enforcement (Daily Sabah). Turkish intelligence has decrypted a database revealing 3,000 previously unidentified law enforcement personnel linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). The six-year investigation also identified over 4,000 “handlers” within the group. The findings are expected to serve as evidence in future operations against FETÖ.
- Turkish Customs Seize 17 kg of Methamphetamine Hidden in Carpets at Istanbul Airport (Al Khaleej). Turkish authorities intercepted 17 kilograms of methamphetamine concealed within two carpets at Istanbul Airport. Detected by trained dogs, the seized drugs are valued at around 18 million Turkish liras. An investigation has been initiated by the Turkish Public Prosecutor’s Office.
September 28, 2023
- Turkiye Expands Diplomatic Horizons: High-Level Talks with Armenia Amid Crisis and $5 Billion Trade Goal with Uzbekistan (Daily Sabah). Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan engaged in significant diplomatic activities, holding high-level talks with Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan amid the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis and a mass exodus of ethnic Armenians. The talks aim to normalize Turkiye-Armenia relations. Concurrently, Fidan met with Uzbek Foreign Minister Bakhtiyor Saidov in Ankara to discuss a range of bilateral issues, including a targeted $5 billion trade volume. The meeting also covered regional and international matters, such as relations within the Organization of Turkic States.
- Erdogan Supports Azerbaijan’s Karabakh Success, Signals Positive Iranian Response for Turkiye-Azerbaijan Corridor (Al Monitor). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed strong support for Azerbaijan’s recent military operation in Karabakh, emphasizing Turkiye’s commitment to strengthening bilateral relations “at all levels.” Additionally, Erdogan revealed that Iran is showing positive signals towards a joint Turkish-Azeri plan to establish a transport corridor connecting Turkiye to Azerbaijan via Armenia. The corridor aims to enhance trade and is considered a strategic initiative by both nations.
September 29, 2023
- Turkish Airlines and China Eastern Airlines Forge New Partnership: Boost in Flights Amid Post-Pandemic Recovery (Anadolu Agency). Turkish Airlines and China Eastern Airlines have signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance their cooperation. The agreement was announced at the International Aviation Forum “North Bund Forum 2023” in Shanghai. Following the recovery of the Turkish-Chinese market post-COVID-19, China Eastern Airlines has initiated flights to Istanbul. The flights between Shanghai and Istanbul will operate alternately three times a week, marking a significant step in the expansion of cooperation between the two airlines.
- Turkish-Azerbaijani Defense Partnership Flourishes: Nakhchivan Military Modernization Complex Marks New Milestone (Anadolu Agency). Turkiye and Azerbaijan have deepened their defense industry cooperation with the recent opening of the Nakhchivan Military Modernization Complex. The project, completed in just seven months, aims to enhance the Azerbaijani Army’s capabilities by providing maintenance, repair, and modernization services for ground vehicles without relying on foreign sources. The Turkish Company for the Management of Military Factories and Shipyards (ASFAT) played a key role in the project, transferring over 50 years of accumulated experience in defense installations. The success of this low-cost, rapid project has led to discussions about modernizing other military facilities in Azerbaijan.
- Turkish Parliament Speaker Engages in Diplomatic Talks with Israeli and Irish Counterparts During European Conference (Daily Sabah). Turkish Parliament Speaker Numan Kurtulmus met with Irish Senate President Gerry Buttimer and Israeli Parliament Speaker Amir Ohana in Dublin. These separate meetings occurred on the sidelines of the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliaments, which runs from Wednesday to Friday. Discussions focused on international and regional issues as well as bilateral relations. The meetings were attended by various Turkish officials, including the head of the Turkish-Irish parliamentary friendship group, Sunay Karamik.