Turkey’s Erdogan plans state visit to Germany

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Angela Merkel face a relationship-building exercise after ties soured over Turkey’s crackdown and its detention of German citizens and journalists after a failed coup in 2016. (Reuters)
Updated 27 July 2018
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Turkey’s Erdogan plans state visit to Germany

  • It will be Erdogan’s first official visit to Germany since 2014 – his first since taking over the Turkish presidency
  • The Turkish government has purged more than 150,000 civil servants and charged 77,000 people since the failed coup

BERLIN: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will pay a state visit to Germany, probably around late September, German newspaper Bild reported in Saturday editions, citing government sources in Berlin and Ankara.
It would be Erdogan’s first official visit to Germany since 2014, and his first since taking over the Turkish presidency, the mass circulation daily said.
Plans for the visit reflect efforts to rebuild relations between Germany and Turkey after ties soured in a series of disputes over Turkey’s crackdown after a failed coup in 2016 and its detention of German citizens and journalists.
A state visit includes a reception by the German president with military honors and a formal state banquet.
No immediate comment was available from the German or Turkish governments.
Former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in January said he had agreed with his counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, to do everything possible to improve ties between the NATO allies and trading partners.
German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, who works for the publisher of Bild, was released in February after being held for a year on alleged security offenses.
His release removed a key irritant in ties between the two allies, but German officials remain deeply concerned about Turkey’s deteriorating record on human rights and freedoms.
Another German national was arrested in southeastern Turkey this week accused of spreading propaganda for Turkish militants, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Wednesday.
The Turkish government has purged more than 150,000 civil servants and charged 77,000 people since the failed coup. It has also launched cross-border operations into Syria against what it says are terrorist threats by the Kurdish YPG militia, which it deems a terrorist organization linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have voiced concern over the crackdown, saying President Tayyip Erdogan has used the putsch as a pretext to muzzle dissent. The government says the measures are necessary.


UK firms step up preparations for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit as PM Theresa May meets with EU leaders

Updated 21 March 2019
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UK firms step up preparations for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit as PM Theresa May meets with EU leaders

  • May is meeting EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday in attempt to get support for Brexit delay
  • The Bank of England warned in November that the British economy could shrink by a massive 8 percent

LONDON: UK companies have ratcheted up their preparations for a disorderly “no-deal” Brexit as best they can over the past couple of months, the Bank of England said on Thursday.
With the prospect of a chaotic Brexit potentially eight days away, a survey by the central bank’s agents showed that around 80 percent of companies “judged themselves ready” for such a scenario, in which the country crashes out of the European Union with no deal and no transition to new trading arrangements with the bloc. That’s up from around 50 percent in an equivalent survey in January.
For decades, trading with the rest of the EU has been seamless. A disorderly Brexit could see the return of tariffs and other restrictions on trade with the EU, Britain’s main export destination.
To prepare, some firms have moved jobs and operations to the EU to continue to benefit from its seamless trade. Many have had to learn how to file customs declarations and adjust labels on goods. Exporters of animals are learning about health checks they will need to comply with.
According to the bank’s survey, however, many of those companies preparing for a “no-deal” Brexit said “there were limits to the degree of readiness that was feasible in the face of the range of possible outcomes in that scenario.”
There’s only so much companies can do, for example, to prepare for new tariffs and exchange rate movements.

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Britain appears headed for a “no-deal” Brexit on March 29 if Prime Minister Theresa May fails to win parliamentary support for her withdrawal agreement with the EU.
She is meeting EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday in an attempt to get support for a delay to the country’s departure date to June 30. EU leaders have said a short extension would have to be conditional on her Brexit plan getting parliamentary backing and have indicated they would only be willing to back a delay to May 22, the day before elections to the European Parliament. After two heavy rejections in parliament, there are doubts as to whether she will be able to get parliamentary approval. What would happen next is uncertain.
European leaders, including those from France and Luxembourg, have said any extension will be granted dependent on May's deal passing a third parliamentary vote.
The Bank of England warned in November that the British economy could shrink by a massive 8 percent within months, though Governor Mark Carney has indicated the recession will be less savage, partly because of heightened preparedness.
According to the minutes of the latest meeting of the bank’s nine-member Monetary Policy Committee, at which the main interest rate was kept at 0.75 percent, rate-setters warned “Brexit uncertainties would continue to affect economic activity looking ahead, most notably business investment.”
Brexit uncertainty has dogged the British economy for nearly three years. In 2018, the economy grew by 1.4 percent, its lowest rate since 2012, even during what was then a global upswing. Business investment was down 3.7 percent in the fourth quarter from the year before.
“Business investment had now fallen in each of the past four quarters as uncertainties relating to Brexit had intensified,” the rate-setters said.
The survey showed uncertainty was likely to remain for months, even years, as Britain works out its long-term relationship with the EU. It said around 60 percent of UK firms in February said Brexit was one of their top three uncertainties, compared with 40 percent just after the June 2016 Brexit referendum.
Around 40 percent of firms expect the uncertainty to be resolved only by the end of 2019 and 20 percent anticipate it persisting into 2021 or beyond.