Turkiye: monthly report February 2024

In February, Turkiye was one of the most active countries in the Eastern Mediterranean. After Erdoğan’s reconfirmation as president last May, Ankara is looking for a new strategy in economic, domestic, and foreign policy. In this regard, on February 14 the Turkish president was received in Cairo by his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The international press described the meeting as "historic", marking a moment of easing tensions between the two countries. Relations between Ankara and Cairo had worsened in 2013 when al-Sisi, through a coup, ousted Erdoğan 's ally, Mohamed Morsi. Since then, the two countries have often found themselves supporting opposing factions in various regional conflicts, such as the one in Libya. Since October 7, however, Turkiye and Egypt reopened an official communication channel to support the population of Gaza and the Palestinian cause. This diplomatic effort culminated in the meeting, on February 14, during which Erdoğan referred to al-Sisi as his "esteemed brother." During the meeting, the two leaders discussed the dispatch of humanitarian aid to Gaza and the possibility of relocating civilians to Rafah. Erdoğan and al-Sisi’s project is to increase diplomatic and military cooperation, emphasizing the reconstruction of Gaza as a priority on their political agendas. At the end of the visit, the two presidents signed a joint statement to reinstate the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council and inked a series of agreements in the energy and defense sectors. The reconciliation between Ankara and Cairo represents a significant component for the regional stability of the Mediterranean.

The $23-billion sale of F-16 jets by the US to Turkiye is also a sign of Ankara’s new stance in foreign policy and was finalized after Sweden's to NATO. The agreement includes the 40 F-16 jets, together with ammunition and military equipment for the modernization of the Turkish armed forces. Both the U.S. Ambassador to Ankara, Jeff Flake, and Erdoğan expressed satisfaction with the decision, stating that "the sale of F-16s is crucial for NATO forces and will ensure greater interoperability among allies." At the end of the meeting, the creation of a Turkish-American joint venture in the defense sector in Texas was announced.

In the meantime, Turkiye is facing several challenges on the domestic front. On February 2, the governor of the Central Bank of Turkiye, Hafize Gaye Erkan, resigned. Just 7 months into her term, Erkan resigned following a family scandal brought to light by the opposition. With the governor's resignation, the Turkish lira weakened, losing 0.6% and depreciating to an exchange rate of 30 TRY = 1 USD, a historic low. Erdoğan accepted the resignation and, at the recommendation of Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek, appointed Fatih Karahan, one of the three deputy directors of the Central Bank, as her replacement. The new governor is a highly credible figure for the international markets and, probably, he will continue the work started by Erkan. Erkan's resignation came at a delicate time for Turkish politics, just a few weeks before local elections. According to some polls, at end of February, the opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu is leading over his AKP opponent, Murat Kurum, in Istanbul. The president has nominated Kurum, a former Minister of Environment, to regain one of the major Turkish cities lost in 2019 to the opposition (CHP). According to data released by ORC Research, İmamoğlu, the current mayor of Istanbul, is leading with 43.8% approval and Kurum's with 38.2%. İmamoğlu is considered Erdoğan 's most powerful political rival and faces imprisonment for insulting the Electoral Council in 2019. The ongoing trial could potentially lead to İmamoğlu's removal from political life just days before the elections.

Download the February 2024 report

Med-Or Foundation in Turkey

On Wednesday, July 20, a Memorandum of Cooperation between Med-Or Foundation and the Center for Strategic Research of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey was signed.

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