Turkey news roundup – Dec. 12, 2019

Turkish drilling vessel Yavuz sets sail in Izmit Bay, on its way to the Mediterranean Sea, off the port of Dilovasi, Turkey, June 20, 2019. Picture taken June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Eastern Mediterranean Developments

On November 29th, Turkey and the Libyan government signed an agreement establishing maritime boundaries between the two countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The move was criticized by other regional actors including Greece and Egypt and increases tensions over longstanding regional maritime disputes. Disputes have intensified in recent years as international actors seek to explore and exploit the region’s natural gas resources.

Reuters: Erdogan: Turkey and Libya can conduct joint explorations in eastern Med

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Turkey and Libya can carry out joint exploration operations in the eastern Mediterranean after the two sides signed a deal on maritime boundaries. The President also contended that other actors, such as Greece, Israel and Egypt cannot explore or construct pipelines in the zone established by the agreement without permission from Turkey.

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For more on the Atlantic Council IN TURKEY’s previous work on the East Med, check out the links below.


The largest refugee hosting country in the world, Turkey hosts over 3.5 million Syrian refugees as a result of the war in Syria. According to the Turkish government, Turkey has spent upwards of $40 billion in humanitarian relief for refugees. At the same time, Turkey has complained that the international community has provided little support and avoided burden sharing. The 6 billion euro allocated by the EU is provided on a project-basis to international organizations working in Turkey.

EU Reporter: EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey – €6 billion to support refugees and local communities in need fully mobilized

The European Union has fully mobilized the funds it committed to support refugees in Turkey. IN the March 2016 agreement on refugees between the EU an Turkey, also known as the EU-Turkey Statement, the EU committed to providing six billion euros in aid.

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For more on the Atlantic Council IN TURKEY’s previous work on migration, check out the links below.


In the past 15 years, Turkey has pursued a robust of policy of expanding diplomatic and economic relations with Africa. Over that period, Turkey’s bilateral trade with the African continent has increased nearly five fold to $23.8 billion while Turkey has established embassies in 43 African countries.

Hürriyet Daily News: 2020 to be Africa year for Turkey, says trade minister

In 2020, Turkey will double down on its strategy of outreach and economic engagement with Africa Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said in a meeting with the Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) Africa Business Council. In 2020, Turkish officials will visits Morocco, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Mozambique to negotiate new trade agreements. The minister also said that Turkey will likely host a Turkey-Africa Summit next year in April.

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For more on the Atlantic Council IN TURKEY’s previous work on Africa, check out the links below.

The Atlantic Council in Turkey promotes dialogue through research and programming addressing critical issues around energy, economics, migration, and security.