Turkey’s standoff with US continues, stock rally reversed
Growing rift with US comes as tensions between Erdogan and Putin on Kurdish issue reignited
In response to Washington’s move to ease its visa ban against Turkey on Monday, which sparked a rally in Turkish stocks, Ankara signaled the diplomatic row with the US is far from over.
After markets closed on Monday, Bloomberg reports, the Turkish embassy in Washington issued a statement objecting to claims made in the US announcement that it would ease its visa ban. Turkey’s response said that no assurances had been given to the US regarding an ongoing money-laundering case, and that “Turkey also has very serious concerns about the ongoing cases against Turkish citizens in the US.”
The cases in question range from that of Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who has been implicated in money-laundering activity in violation of Iran sanctions, to indictments of members of President Erdogan’s security detail for alleged involvement in a brawl during protests in Washington.
Erdogan himself was linked in US court documents last week to the Zarrab case, though not accused of a crime.
The Turkish embassy’s statement on Monday sent the benchmark BIST 100 index down 1.66% Tuesday.
The court cases and ensuing diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the US add to a list of disagreements which also include Washington’s refusal to extradite Erdogan’s political rival, Fethullah Gulen, and the US alliance with Kurdish groups in Syria.
Though Turkey sees a pivot towards closer ties with Russia as leverage in its relationship with the US, the disagreement over support for Kurds in Syria — seen by Turkey as terrorist groups — is also threatening to create a rift between Erdogan and Putin.
Al-Monitor writes this week that Russia’s decision to invite Kurdish representatives to a Syrian Congress on National Dialogue in Sochi will test Ankara’s commitment to strengthening ties with Moscow:
The Russian initiative has raised the specter of a face-off with Ankara, which sees the PYD and the YPG as Syrian offshoots of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is internationally designated as a terrorist organization, and treats them as terrorist groups as well. The invitation to the PYD caused astonishment, indignation and anger in Ankara.