Baku, Azerbaijan, May 31
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
The month of May which is coming to an end, could have been one of the most calm periods in Turkey, if another diplomatic crisis with the US and Israel didn't occur . Moreover, many important political and economic events occurred in Turkey in May.
Which important events occurred in Turkey in May 2018?
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited Korean investors to take part in the construction of a shipping canal in Istanbul
President Erdogan during his visit to Seoul invited South Korean investors to participate in the construction of the Istanbul Canal. The president said that the participation of South Korea in the canal’s construction will serve the interests of the two countries. Later, Erdogan stressed that the shipping canal in Istanbul is a strategically important project.
Erdogan's candidacy officially put forward for post of president in election
Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has officially nominated the country’s incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for the June 24 presidential election.
Erdogan’s candidacy for the presidency is also supported by the opposition Nationalist Movement Party.
On June 24, simultaneously with the presidential election, the parliamentary election will be held in Turkey.
Incumbent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Meral Aksener from the recently created Good Party (Iyi Parti), Temel Karamollaoglu from the Felicity Party (Saadet Partisi), Muharrem Ince from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Dogu Perincek from the Patriotic Party (Vatan Partisi), Vecdet Oz from the Justice Party (Adalet Partisi) and Selahattin Demirtas from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) are running for the post of president of Turkey.
Turkey and China intend to use national currencies in mutual trade
Turkey may use the national currencies in trade with China, President Erdogan said.
Erdogan noted that Turkey and China are currently holding negotiations aimed at transition to the national currencies in mutual settlements.
"The transition to the national currencies in mutual trade with China is to the benefit of Ankara and Beijing," Erdogan said.
According to the Institute of Statistics of Turkey (TUIK), in March 2018, the total value of Turkish exports amounted to $15.587 billion, an increase of 7.7 percent compared to March 2017.
In March 2018, imports to Turkey reached $21.442 billion, an increase of 12.7 percent compared to March 2017.
In March 2018, Turkey's imports from China amounted to $2.1 billion.
Palestine - reason for breaking off Turkey-Israel relations
Israeli soldiers have recently opened fire at people during the protests in the Gaza Strip during the celebration of the 70th anniversary of establishment of Israel and the transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
According to the latest information, 150 Palestinians were killed in the clashes, more than 2,700 were injured.
As a sign of protest, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called on Muslim countries to reconsider relations with Israel. Yildirim stressed that Turkey sharply condemns Israel's actions against Palestinians.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry also called on the ambassador and consul general of Israel to leave Turkey, afterwards, the ambassador and consul general of Israel left Turkey.
Furthermore, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held an emergency meeting in Istanbul regarding Palestine on May 18.
Assassination attempt on Erdogan during his visit to Balkans
In mid-May, the Turkish intelligence services were informed that during the visit of President Erdogan to the Balkans, an assassination attempt could be made against him, the Turkish media reported. The intelligence services of Western countries also warned Turkey about this.
"A group of people from Turkey are preparing an assassination attempt on Erdogan during his visit to the Balkans in the coming period," Western intelligence services said. The security agencies, which received similar information from various sources, launched the investigation in this regard.
Turkey hopes for multibillion investments from Azerbaijan
Ankara expects Azerbaijani companies to invest 23.6 billion Turkish liras into the country’s economy, Turkish Minister of Economy Nihat Zeybekci said in an exclusive interview with Trend.
"Presumably, these funds will be transferred to 42 investment promotion zones," the minister added. "From 2002 until February 2018, Azerbaijani companies invested about $6 billion in the Turkish economy. Azerbaijani investors rank 12th in investment making."
"A significant part of these investments accounted for the energy sector and oil refining," Zeybekci said.
"Moreover, the real estate sector has recently attracted Azerbaijani investors," the minister said, expressing hope that over time Azerbaijani investments in Turkey will be more diversified.
Ankara gets discount on Russian gas
President Erdogan said that Russia will return Turkey $1 billion as a margin for the supplied gas. Erdogan also reminded that in 2015 Turkey appealed to Russia with a proposal for a discount on the supplied gas. After Moscow refused to grant a discount, Ankara appealed to the International Court of Arbitration. As a result, the sides reached an agreement on a 10.25 percent discount.
"Following long discussions, an agreement on a 10.25 percent discount on gas supplied in 2015 and 2016 was reached,” Erdogan said. “The margin for these two years, namely, $1 billion, will be returned to Turkey."
Turkey eyes to send astronauts into space
One of the goals of Turkey is to send astronauts into space, and this task is planned to be realized after the country creates a national space agency.
Currently, the work is underway to create a national space agency.
Turkey will allocate $6 billion for creation of the national space agency, scheduled for 2023.
The project to create the space agency is the second biggest undertaking in Turkey after the construction of a shipping channel in Istanbul.
The national space agency will have a territory of 500 hectares, with 100 hectares planned for the construction of a special center for development of space technologies. The agency is being created to ensure the national interests of Turkey. The agency's headquarters will be located in Ankara.
Erdogan announces about implementation of 140 megaprojects in Turkey
President Erdogan said that 140 megaprojects will be implemented in Turkey in case of his victory in the parliamentary election to be held on June 24, 2018.
One of 140 megaprojects implies the construction of a new town near the third airport in Istanbul.
President Erdogan said that a new town is planned to be built along the shipping canal in Istanbul.
Turkey will start to manufacture TAI TFX fighters, export military helicopters to Pakistan
Turkey will start to manufacture fifth-generation fighters - TAI TFX in 2023. With the commencement of the production of TAI TFX fighters, Turkey will stop using F-4 and F-16.
Pakistan has signed a contract with Turkey for the purchase of 30 Turkish-made ATAK helicopters. The negotiations with Pakistan on the sale of ATAK helicopters have been conducted since 2017.
The media reports the total value of the contract has not been disclosed. The exact date of delivery of ATAK helicopters to Pakistan has not been reported.
First control flight held in third airport in Istanbul
The first control flight was carried out at the third airport in Istanbul on May 29.
The flight was carried out under the control of the General Directorate of State Airports Authority of Turkey (DHMI). The testing of the first flight in the third airport was held successfully.
The construction of the third airport in Istanbul has been completed by over 88 percent. The third airport is being built near the Lake Terkos in northern Istanbul.
Currently, flights from Turkey to 282 destinations are carried out. After commissioning of the third airport in Istanbul, the number of flight destinations in Turkey will increase from 282 to 350.
Under the project, the first runway of the new airport will be 3.7 kilometers long and 60 meters wide.
US and Turkey eliminating differences
The US and Turkey have reached an agreement on Syria’s Manbij issue, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in late May.
Previously, this issue was a problem in relations between the two countries.
Cavusoglu said that details of the roadmap regarding the withdrawal of the PYD/YPG terrorists from the Syrian town of Manbij will be made public during the meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Cavusoglu also noted that the meeting with Pompeo will be held June 4.
Rufiz Hafizoglu, Deputy editor-in-chief of Trend
Follow the author on Twitter: @rhafizoglu