Archive for the ‘Iran and Turkey’ category

Turkey lira crashes to new lows as market alarm grows

August 10, 2018


© AFP | The lira’s drastic fall has European banks worried

10 August 2018 – 13H20 France 24

Source Link: Turkey lira crashes to new lows as market alarm grows

{Trump drops another economic bomb. – LS}

ISTANBUL (AFP) –

Turkey’s embattled lira on Friday hit new record lows against the US dollar and euro, losing over six percent in value as strains with the United States showed no sign of abating and fears grew over the exposure of European banks.

The lira was trading at 5.90 to the dollar, a loss on the day of 6.5 percent. Earlier, it had crashed some 12 percent through the 6.00 level for the first time in history, trading at one point at more than 6.20 lira per dollar.

The lira has now lost over a third of its value against both the dollar and the euro this year, with the currency battered by both concerns over domestic economic policy and the political situation.

Versus the euro on Friday the lira lost 7.0 percent to trade at 6.8.

Turkey remains at loggerheads with the United States in one of the worst spats between the two NATO allies in years over the detention for the last two years of American pastor Andrew Brunson and a host of other issues.

Talks this week in Washington failed to resolve the impasse which has led both sides to slap sanctions on senior officials amid fears of graver measures to come.

– Doubts over central bank –

Meanwhile, markets are deeply concerned over the direction of economic policy under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with inflation nearly 16 percent but the central bank reluctant to raise rates in response.

UBS chief economist for EMEA emerging markets Gyorgy Kovacs said a giant rate hike of 350-400 basis points would be “consistent with real rate levels that in the past helped to stabilise the currency.”

He warned a “rate hike alone might not stem the worries about the US and Turkey tensions and a potential further escalation.”

And it remains unclear if the bank would be willing to sharply lift rates with analysts saying the nominally independent institution is under the influence of Erdogan, who wants low rates to keep growth humming.

Erdogan after winning June 24 elections with revamped powers tightened his control over the central bank and appointed his son-in-law Berat Albayrak to head a newly-empowered finance ministry.

“President Erdogan’s strengthened powers under the new presidential system have made it increasingly uncertain whether policymakers will be able to act to stabilise the economy,” said William Jackson, chief emerging markets economist at Capital Economics in London.

He said the lira’s fall was being exacerbated by fears the central bank “isn’t being permitted to raise interest rates”.

– ‘Accelerating speed’ –

Concerns were intensified Friday by a report in the Financial Times that the supervisory wing of the European Central Bank (ECB) had over the last weeks began to look more closely at euro zone lenders’ exposure to Turkey.

The report said that the situation is not yet seen as “critical” but Spain’s BBVA, Italy’s UniCredit and France’s BNP Paribas are regarded as particularly exposed.

“Investors have been looking at the unfolding currency crisis in Turkey as a local difficulty, however the accelerating speed of the declines appears to be raising concerns about European banks exposure to the Turkish banking system,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

Albayrak, who formerly served as energy minister, is on Friday expected to announce what he has described as a “new economic model” for Turkey but markets remain sceptical.

The president did nothing to reassure markets with comments overnight that the pressure on the lira was due to what he described as a “variety of campaigns” and appearing to play down the magnitude of the crisis.

“If they have dollars, we have our people, we have our right and we have Allah!” he said.

The plunge in the lira has featured remarkably little on Turkish television channels and newspapers — most of which after recent ownership changes are loyal to the government — with most media focusing instead on recent flooding by the Black Sea.

© 2018 AFP

Congress blocks F-35s to Turkey, as Ankara turns toward tyranny

July 25, 2018


Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto | Getty Images

by Jordan Schachtel · July 25, 2018 Conservative Review

Source Link:
Congress blocks F-35s to Turkey, as Ankara turns toward tyranny

{The payback is starting and it’s going to be a bitch. – LS}

A bipartisan measure in Congress has succeeded in temporarily blocking the latest generation of U.S. fighter jets from getting into the hands of the Erdogan regime in Turkey.

On Tuesday, the amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) delayed the delivery of the F-35 joint strike fighter to Turkey. The amendment requires that the Pentagon reassess Turkey’s efforts to purchase an advanced S-400 missile system from Russia.

Legislators also felt that Turkey should not receive the F-35s given the ongoing detention of U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson and other unnamed Americans. Turkey is believed to be holding the pastor as a bargaining chip in hopes of securing the extradition of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Ankara does not appear to be concerned about the transfer of the F-35s. In comments to Turkey’s state-run media, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remained confident that the F-35s would be delivered on schedule.

Turkey continues to be a thorn in the side of the NATO alliance. The regime in Ankara has repeatedly cozied up to American adversaries in Russia and Iran. Inside Turkey, human rights travesties unfold on a daily basis. An April 2017 referendum gave Erdogan amazing powers, stripping away much of Turkey’s secular, constitutional system of checks and balances.  Erdogan has leveraged an alleged coup against his government to garner even more power. He has ordered the indefinite imprisonment of tens of thousands of academics, religious minorities, activists, journalists, students, and anyone else whom he perceives as a challenge to his rule.

Moreover, some of the regime’s highest-ranking officials have been accused of supporting jihadi terrorist groups in the Middle East. Recently, Erdogan’s son-in-law (who is now Turkey’s finance minister) was connected to energy deals with the Islamic State terrorist organization. Turkey openly supports the Muslim Brotherhood and its terrorist affiliate Hamas.

Erdogan is also stirring up trouble with close American allies. This week, he claimed that Israel was the “most fascist, racist state” in the world, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of following in the footsteps of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

Despite all of these concerns, Defense Secretary James Mattis has insisted that Turkey should still receive the Lockheed Martin F-35s. He has warned that blocking the sale could trigger a “supply chain disruption.” Turkey aspires to have a fleet of about 100 F-35s.

Turkey vows to keep buying Iranian oil: ‘We will not obey’

July 25, 2018

by Joel Gehrke | July 24, 2018 Washington Examiner

Source Link: Turkey vows to keep buying Iranian oil: ‘We will not obey’

{One day, Turkey will need a favor from DJT. Let’s see how that works out. – LS}

Turkey plans to keep purchasing Iranian oil in defiance of American sanctions on the rogue regime, according to the NATO ally’s top diplomat.

“We buy oil from Iran and we purchase it in proper conditions,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday. “What is the other option?”

Cavusoglu’s comments raise the specter of yet another clash between the U.S. and Turkey, which is also in the final stages of an arms deal with Russia that could trigger American sanctions. Turkish officials, in both cases, have dismissed the U.S.’ threat of sanctions to constrain the choices of other countries.

“While we are explaining why we will not obey these sanctions, we have also expressed that we do not find these U.S. sanctions appropriate,” Cavusoglu said Tuesday.

The Trump administration hopes to isolate Iran and deprive the regime of access to international sources of revenue that might be used to finance a nuclear weapons program or regional aggression by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and the regime’s terrorist proxies.

“Any time sanctions are put in place, countries have to give up economic activity,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in May. “So the Americans have given up economic activity now for an awfully long time, and I’ll concede there are American companies who would love to do business with the Islamic Republic of Iran … But everyone is going to have to participate in this. Every country is going to have to understand that we cannot continue to create wealth for Qasem Soleimani.”

Turkey has pledged to consummate an agreement to purchase Russian S-400 anti-aircraft defenses, despite strong pushback from NATO allies and U.S. sanctions on the Russian defense industry.

But as Cavosoglu takes a hard line on the oil sanctions, Tupras, Turkey’s biggest oil importer, is cutting back on deals with Iran without eliminating the sales entirely.

“During the sanctions scheme of 2011 by the U.S., Tupras was able to purchase three to four cargoes of Iranian crude a month,” a source told Hurriyet Daily News. “I believe they would want to be able to stick to that this time as well instead of completely stopping. This crude needs to be bought by someone as otherwise it will send the price shooting up, which nobody wants.”

That reduction might render Turkey eligible for a rare waiver from the sanctions. “We are prepared to work with countries that are reducing their imports on a case-by-case basis,” Brian Hook, the State Department director of policy planning, told reporters in early July. “But as with our other sanctions, we are not looking to grant waivers or licenses.”

Still, Cavusoglu’s rhetoric is emblematic of the disagreements that have hampered U.S.-Turkey cooperation in the region of late.

“We need [Turkey’s] behavior to reflect the objectives of NATO, and that’s what we’re diligently working to do: to get them to rejoin NATO, in a way, with their actions, consistent with what we’re trying to achieve in NATO,” Pompeo said during a May congressional hearing. “And not take actions that undermine its efforts.”

Turkey told U.S. it opposes sanctions on Iran: foreign minister

July 24, 2018

by Reuters Tuesday Jul 24, 2018 The Foreign Desk

Source Link: Turkey told U.S. it opposes sanctions on Iran: foreign minister

{Who you are has a lot to do with who you hang out with. – LS}

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey has told American officials it opposes U.S. sanctions on Iran and is not obliged to implement them, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump has pulled the United States out of a 2015 nuclear pact with Iran and ordered U.S. sanctions on Tehran, while a senior State Department official said Washington has told allies to cut imports of Iranian oil by November

Turkey has criticized Trump’s move to withdraw from the nuclear pact and has publicly resisted the U.S. call to cut oil imports from Iran.

“We do not have to adhere to the sanctions imposed on a country by another country. We don’t find the sanctions right either,” Cavusoglu told a news conference in Azerbaijan.

“We held meetings with the United States in Ankara and told them openly: Turkey gets oil and gas from Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Iraq. If I don’t buy from Iran now, where am I supposed to meet that need from?” Cavusoglu said.

Last week U.S. Treasury and State Department officials met Turkish counterparts in Ankara to discuss sanctions on Iran. Ankara said authorities were working to prevent Turkey being hurt by the measures.

Turkey depends on imports for almost all of its energy needs. In the first four months of this year, Turkey bought more than 3 million tonnes of crude oil from Iran, almost 55 percent of its total crude supplies, according to data from the Turkish energy watchdog (EPDK).

Ties between Ankara and Washington, NATO allies, have been strained over a host of issues including several legal cases.

A Turkish court last week ruled to keep American pastor Andrew Brunson in jail, in a case that has deepened existing rifts and jeopardized the procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35 jets by Turkey.

The U.S. Senate passed a bill last month including a measure that prohibits Turkey from buying the jets because of Brunson’s imprisonment and Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense system, which are incompatible with NATO systems.

Cavusoglu, however, said there were no issues with the procurement of the jets and the United States could not exclude Turkey from the project.

“The United States needs to understand that it is not possible to get a result from Turkey through sanctions. They will see results if they approach Turkey with dialogue and respect,” he said.

“We will not bow down to such pressures, sanctions or threats. Everyone will get used to the new Turkey.”

(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Humeyra Pamuk and Dominic Evans)

 

Iran’s Plans Need to be Recognises and Thwarted

August 30, 2017

Iran’s Plans Need to be Recognises and Thwarted, Iran News Update, Jazeh Miller, August 29, 2017

At the minute, Tehran has control over an alarming amount of space in Syria and Iraq. It is using its forces in Iran, and Assad’s forces, to provide a safe route of almost 2,000 kilometres linking Tehran and Beirut. This will give Iran the chance to supply its militias, including the notorious Hezbollah, with supplies and heavy weapons without being hindered by checks, border verifications, etc.

Now that Iran and Qatar have restored ties and Turkey and Iran are planning joint military action against Kurdish groups, foreign governments need to pick a side. Non-complaint states should have their diplomatic ties severed and a devastating result needs to be avoided.

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It is very clear that Iran plans to dominate the Middle East – this is its long-term goal and the reason why it is interfering in so many countries. However, some experts believe that the Iranian regime is also targeting Makkah and Madinah.

There are several indications to suggest this. For one, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, last year insulted the Saudi royal family and criticised its role as caretaker of the holiest Islam sites.

Only a few months ago, the former defense minister of Iran Hossein Dehghan warned Saudi Arabia: “If the Saudis do anything ignorant, we will leave no area untouched except for Makkah and Madinah.” One of the princes of Saudi Arabia said that his country is well aware that it is a main target of the Iranian regime and said that instead of waiting for the battle to come to Saudi Arabia, they would work to have it in Iran.

Saudi Arabia and its allies in the GCC took action to stop Iran from opening the military corridor that would have led the regime right to the Saudi border.

However, there may be an even more pressing danger.

At the minute, Tehran has control over an alarming amount of space in Syria and Iraq. It is using its forces in Iran, and Assad’s forces, to provide a safe route of almost 2,000 kilometres linking Tehran and Beirut. This will give Iran the chance to supply its militias, including the notorious Hezbollah, with supplies and heavy weapons without being hindered by checks, border verifications, etc.

Iran has been identified as the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world and it is not even trying to cover up its terrorist activities.

President Trump announced that he was considering the United States’ position with regards to the 2015 nuclear deal, and President Rouhani responded by saying that Iran’s nuclear program could be restarted immediately.

The Iranian regime is out of control and threats like these show that there is no chance of bringing moderation to the ruling powers of Iran.

As well as threatening the international community, the Iranian regime is threatening people at home. The Iranian people have no right to free speech and are threatened with prison, cruel punishments, or in some cases execution.

Now that Iran and Qatar have restored ties and Turkey and Iran are planning joint military action against Kurdish groups, foreign governments need to pick a side. Non-complaint states should have their diplomatic ties severed and a devastating result needs to be avoided.