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  • Author: Bulent Aliriza
  • Publication Date: 12-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The four massive truck bombs which targeted two synagogues on November 15, and just five days later, the British Consulate and a British-based bank in Istanbul, claimed fifty five Turkish and foreign victims – including the British Consul General - and wounded hundreds more, while causing millions of dollars of material damage. Beyond their immediate impact, the terrorist attacks caused incalculable collateral damage to the sense of security of the Turkish people by undermining the prevailing domestic tranquility. At an even wider level, the terrorists responsible for the outrages, who demonstrated once again that they would not draw the line at killing fellow Moslems in the misguided pursuit of their goals, also dragged Turkey into the frontline of their war.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Baris Omali
  • Publication Date: 11-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: On October 7, the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), dominated by the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) approved a resolution authorizing the government to send Turkish troops to Iraq. After the 358 to 183 vote, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan commented that Turkey had “come to the decision that it can't totally fulfill its duty as a neighbor in this big transformation process of Iraq with only political, humanitarian and economic support, without military contributions.” Although over 60 percent of the Turkish public were opposed to deployment, Erdogan committed his personal prestige and unchallenged authority over JDP parliamentarians to ensure a positive vote in contrast to the parliamentary reverse on March 1.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Seda Ciftci
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: As Ankara struggled through its typically hot summer, the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) was hard at work. The Justice and Development Party (JDP) government, which has 366 seats in the 550-member TGNA, pushed through major legislative packages tied to European Union (EU) requirements for eventual Turkish membership just before its two-month legislative break on August 1. Parallel to its efforts related to its declared primary objective of EU membership, the government also managed to successfully conclude the fifth IMF review, leading to the release of a $500 million tranche and the easing of the debt repayment schedule by the IMF, while endeavoring to repair the crucial relationship with the US.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Bulent Aliriza
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: It has been three months since the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) failed to muster the appropriate number of votes to allow the United States to open a northern front through Turkey against Iraq. In retrospect it is clear that the March 1 vote reflected the public opposition to the imminent conflict, the perceptible ambivalence of the powerful military establishment and its reluctance to provide an unambiguous recommendation - in particular at the National Security Council (NSC) meeting one day before the vote - and the attitude of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. It also reflected the inability of the governing Justice and Development Party (JDP) to overcome its deep misgivings about the war to give a sufficiently clear lead.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Seda Ciftci
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Overshadowed by the surprising failure on March 1 of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) to permit the deployment of American forces to open a northern front through Turkey in the likely war with Iraq, and the resulting strains in the US-Turkish relationship, the Cyprus issue has also reached a diplomatic climax. On March 4-5, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas, who has been under increasing pressure from United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, came to Ankara seeking support. Proclaiming himself satisfied with his talks with Turkish leaders, Denktas now heads into a crucial meeting at The Hague on March 10 with Annan and newly elected Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos. The governing Justice and Development Party (JDP), which has been promoting a settlement of the Cyprus problem, now faces the prospect of the collapse of the UN-sponsored efforts as well as additional complications in Turkey's relations with the European Union (EU). However, despite JDP Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan's complaints about the difficulties of dealing with the Iraq and Cyprus issues at the same time, he cannot avoid the urgent decisions that will redefine Turkish foreign policy.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: America, Turkey, Middle East, Cyprus
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The Conference Board announced today that the U.S. leading index increased 1.0 percent, the coincident index increased 0.1 percent, and the lagging index decreased 0.1 percent in May.The leading index increased sharply in May following a slight gain in April. This increase was largely due to stock prices, real money supply, and consumer expectations, but most other components also increased slightly. It is possible that these two consecutive increases reflect the beginning of an upward trend, thereby ending the flat trend that began in early 2002.The strength in the leading indicators has become more widespread as shown by a pick-up in the diffusion indexes, which measure the proportion of the components that are rising. The one- and six-month diffusion indexes are now at or above fifty percent, up from lower levels earlier in the year. The coincident index, a measure of current economic conditions, increased modestly in May after holding steady in the previous two months. The coincident index remained essentially flat in the second quarter, but is likely to increase in the second half of the year reflecting the recent gains in the leading index.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 04-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The Conference Board announced today that the U.S. leading index increased 0.1 percent, the coincident index decreased 0.1 percent, and the lagging index decreased 0.5 percent in April.After declining in February and March, the leading index increased slightly in April. Since early 2002, the leading index has been fluctuating around a flat trend. This is consistent with real GDP growth continuing to fluctuate around a 2% to 2.5% average annual rate.Despite rebounding financial indicators and consumer expectations, there is still weakness in the labor market and manufacturing indicators. Weakness in these components reflects the recent declines in manufacturing capacity utilization.The coincident index, a measure of current economic conditions, decreased in April after holding steady in March. The slight decline in the coincident indicators in April is consistent with the weakness in the leading index in the first quarter of 2003.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 03-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The Conference Board announced today that the U.S. leading index decreased 0.2 percent, the coincident index held steady, and the lagging index decreased 0.1 percent in March.The leading index declined for a second consecutive month in March, but the information available so far in April suggests that these declines will not continue. The leading index has been fluctuating around a flat trend since December 2001.The flatness in the leading index suggests that U.S. real GDP growth will stay in the 2-3% range for now. As long as economic growth is constrained in this range, the labor market cannot improve.The coincident index has been essentially flat in recent months with gains in income and sales offset by weakness in employment and industrial production. With economic growth at or slightly below potential, the coincident index is unlikely to grow strongly.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The Conference Board announced today that the U.S. leading index decreased 0.4 percent, the coincident index held steady, and the lagging index decreased 0.1 percent in February.The leading index fell in February for the first time since September 2002. Uncertainty over war in Iraq, as well as severe winter weather in February, is reflected in the widespread weakness, particularly in stock prices, consumer expectations, and the labor market. Some of these weaknesses have persisted through March.More generally, the leading index has been fluctuating around a flat trend over the past 15 months with a balance between rising and falling components. The index fell in the third quarter of 2002, rose in the fourth quarter, and is now declining again in the first quarter.After flattening in the fourth quarter of last year, the coincident index, a measure of current economic activity, increased 0.2 in January and held that level in February (with a decline in employment offsetting the gains in income, production, and sales). At this point, the leading index is suggesting that economic growth may be on the sluggish side in the second quarter.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq
  • Publication Date: 01-2003
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Conference Board
  • Abstract: The Conference Board announced today that the U.S. leading index decreased 0.1 percent, the coincident index increased by 0.2 percent, and the lagging index decreased 0.1 percent in January.A sharp drop in claims for unemployment insurance offset the weak expectations of consumers in January. The leading index remains well above its peak prior to the 2001 recession and just below the previous high achieved in May 2002.The coincident index turned up again in January after pausing in the last quarter of 2002. This month's increase in the coincident index, the largest in six months, is consistent with the gains in the leading index late last year and reflects better current conditions in the beginning of this year.Barring any shock or prolonged uncertainty in the Middle East, the leading and coincident indexes point to a more robust pace of economic activity in the coming months.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States