Adult Awareness of Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship — 14 Countries
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)
According to the 2012 Report of the U.S. Surgeon General, exposure to tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship (TAPS) is associated with the initiation and continuation of smoking among young persons. The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) requires countries to prohibit all forms of TAPS (2); the United States signed the agreement in 2004, but the action has not yet been ratified. Many countries have adopted partial bans covering direct advertising in traditional media channels; however, few countries have adopted comprehensive bans on all types of direct and indirect marketing. To assess progress toward elimination of TAPS and the level of awareness of TAPS among persons aged ≥15 years, CDC used data from the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) collected in 14 countries during 2008–2010. Awareness of any TAPS ranged from 12.4% in Turkey to 70.4% in the Philippines. In the four countries where awareness of TAPs was ≤15%, three of the countries had comprehensive bans covering all nine channels assessed by GATS, and the fourth country banned seven of the nine channels. In 12 countries, more persons were aware of advertising in stores than advertising via any other channel. Reducing exposure to TAPS is important to prevent initiation of tobacco use by youths and young adults and to help smokers quit.
Damaging M7.2 Earthquake in Eastern Turkey; Insured Losses $100 to $400 Million
Source: EQECAT, Inc.
A damaging M7.2 earthquake occurred Sunday, October 23 in eastern Turkey, and has been followed by several strong aftershocks that may have exacerbated damage caused by the main shock. Hundreds of fatalities have been reported, caused mainly by building collapses.
EQECAT’s preliminary estimate of insured losses from this event is in the range of $100 to $200 million USD. Total economic damage is estimated in the low single-digit billions USD. Total economic damage is estimated at approximately one-tenth that from the 1999 M7.6 Izmit earthquake in western Turkey and 10 times the damage from the 2010 M6.1 earthquake in eastern Turkey.
The earthquake was felt throughout eastern Turkey, Armenia, and northwestern Iran, from Georgia in the north to Syria and Iraq in the south. Most of the damage occurred in Turkey.
Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Department of State Foreign Press Center)
Attempts to resolve the Cyprus problem and reunify the island have undergone various levels of negotiation for over 45 years. Talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders have thus far failed to reach a mutually agreed settlement leaving the country with a solution for unification far from being achieved and raising the specter of a possible permanent separation.
Since the beginning of 2011, Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu have continued the negotiation process even though the talks appear to have increasingly exposed differences and frustrations between the two leaders. Although both sides have intimated that some convergence of views have been achieved in the areas of governance, economy, and EU issues, Christofias and Eroglu have not found common ground on the difficult issues of property rights, security, settlers, and citizenship, areas where both sides have long-held and very different positions and where neither side seems willing to make necessary concessions.
The results of parliamentary elections held in Greek Cyprus in May appear to have had no bearing on the status of the negotiations or the likelihood of a quick agreement. In July an Interpeace initiative, “Cyprus 2015,” released a new opinion poll that seemed to indicate that the current state of negotiations had hardened the political climate on both sides and had created a sense of public discontent that included a growing ambivalence among the Turkish Cypriots and a negative drift toward reunification among undecided Greek Cypriots.
On July 7, 2011, Christofias and Eroglu traveled to Geneva to meet for a third time with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in another attempt by the UN to boost momentum for the talks. It appears that Ban insisted that the negotiations conclude by October so that an international conference could be held to discuss security issues and that referenda could be scheduled in both the north and south by the spring of 2012. The hope among some is that a reunified Cyprus can assume the rotating presidency of the EU on July 1, 2012.
In mid-July, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, on a visit to northern Cyprus, warned that an agreement needed to be achieved by the end of 2011 or the island could remain split and stated that no territorial compromises, including the return of Varosha or Morphou to Greek Cyprus would be acceptable. He also stated that Turkey would essentially freeze its relations with the EU during the Cypriot presidency of the EU if there were no solution to the Cyprus issue because Ankara could not accept the presidency of South Cyprus which it does not recognize. These comments led Cypriot President Christofias to state that there could be no prospect for peace if this was also the position of the Turkish Cypriots.
The United States Congress continues to maintain its interest in a resolution of the Cyprus issue; the lack of a negotiated settlement continues to affect relations between Turkey and the EU, the EU and NATO, and U.S. interests in maintaining a relationship with Turkey that can be useful in addressing many of the issues involving the greater Middle East as well as throughout the Black Sea/Eastern Mediterranean region. Language expressing continued support for the negotiation process has been included in the House FY2012 Foreign Assistance Authorization bill.
This report provides a brief overview of the early history of the negotiations, a more detailed review of the negotiations since 2008, and a description of some of the issues involved in the talks. A side issue involving trade between the European Union and Turkish Cyprus is also addressed.
On Europe’s Fringes: Russia, Turkey and the European Union
Source: Chatham House
Russia and Turkey, significant powers on the fringes of the European Union, both have awkward relations with Brussels. As Russia’s and Turkey’s strength becomes greater and the EU’s declines, the relationships between them will increasingly involve political as well as economic factors. Turkey is economically and politically closer to Europe than Russia is, while Russia’s relationship with Europe mainly consists of a mutual energy dependency. Russia’s unpredictable business environment remains a key constraint on its deeper integration with the EU. The Turkish economy faces challenges, but Turkey has a much better business environment than Russia. The EU’s own economic deficiencies suggest that it needs to remain circumspect in dealing with both countries. But Turkey, in particular, should be considered more of a foreign policy partner.
+ Full Paper (PDF)
Railway Reform in South East Europe and Turkey: On the Right Track?
Source: World Bank
The railways of South East Europe and Turkey experienced significant declines in traffic volumes in 2009. This reflected the impact of the international financial crisis unleashed in the last quarter of 2008 and its contractionary impact on the economies of the region and elsewhere. Lower traffic volumes
translated in most cases into a serious deterioration of the financial performance of the state-owned railways. This brought home the costs of failing to implement essential reforms to improve the operational and financial performance of the sector when the economy was strong. In Romania in 2010, large-scale layoffs were announced at short notice for the state rail companies. The situation is similar for the Bulgarian state rail incumbents—they face an acute liquidity crisis, and will require additional state aid merely to keep running. The lesson of these events is clear: it is unwise to delay implementing state railway sector reforms during good economic times—because the consequences can be too severe if a financial downturn occurs before those reforms have been taken and properly implemented.
Turkey-U.S. Defense Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
Congress and the Obama Administration are seeking to manage longstanding bilateral and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-based defense cooperation with Turkey at a time when a more independent Turkish foreign policy course and changes in regional security conditions are creating new challenges for both countries. Defense cooperation rooted in shared threat perceptions from the Cold War era and built on close U.S. ties with the Turkish military leadership now must be reconciled with a decline of the military’s political influence in Turkish society and some negative turns in Turkish popular sentiment toward the United States over the past decade. At the same time, Turkey’s importance as a U.S. ally has arguably increased on issues of global significance in its surrounding region that include Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In early 2011, Turkey’s regional role has arguably become even more prominent—exemplified by its significant involvement politically and militarily on the question of NATO’s intervention in Libya.
How Congress and the Administration manage defense cooperation with Turkey in this evolving context is likely to have a significant bearing on U.S. national security interests, as well as on both U.S. and Turkish calculations of the mutual benefits and leverage involved in the cooperative relationship. Some officials and analysts believe that, in at least some respects, the United States needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the United States. Others counter that claims of Turkish leverage over the United States are exaggerated.
Possible general congressional and Administration approaches to U.S.-Turkey defense cooperation (“Possible U.S. Policy Approaches”) include
• avoiding major recharacterizations of the alliance, while emphasizing and expressing confidence that existing NATO and bilateral relationships—with their long legacies—can address mutual security challenges;
• according high priority to the alliance and revising expectations for it by accommodating new developments within and outside of Turkey;
• linking cooperation in some way to Turkey’s relations with certain third-party countries or non-state actors—including Iran, Israel, Hamas, Armenia, and China—or to Turkish actions on issues of U.S. national security interest; and
• using or combining any of these approaches on a case-by-case basis.
Specific issues that remain of significant importance for Congress (see “Specific Issues and Possible Options for Congress”), given its authority to appropriate funds, review major arms sales, consider non-binding resolutions, and provide general oversight include the following:
• Continued military access to Turkish bases and transport corridors: The ongoing availability to the United States and NATO of Turkish bases and transport corridors—which have been used heavily for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya—is valuable and remains a possible point of contention and leverage. The extent of its importance and of alternatives may be subject to further analysis.
• Future of Turkey-Israel relations: U.S. efforts to maintain alliances with both Turkey and Israel could be made more complicated if relations between them do not improve—potentially influencing the regional security environment.
Country Specific Information: Turkey
Source; U.S. Department of State
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Many of Turkey’s regions are well-developed with a wide range of tourist facilities of all classes in the main tourist destinations. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Turkey for additional information.
Bank Lending in Turkey: Effects of Monetary and Fiscal Policies
Source: International Monetary Fund
The period following the 2000-01 crisis was marked by a successful disinflation program sustained through inflation targeting and fiscal discipline in Turkey. This paper studies the impact of monetary and fiscal policies on credit growth during this period. Using quarterly bank-level data covering 2002-08, we find evidence that liquidity-constrained banks have sharper decline in lending during contractionary monetary policies and that crowding-out effect disappears more for banks with a retail-banking focus when fiscal policies are prudent.The results are statistically weak, suggesting that bank lending channel is not strong in Turkey and government finances has limited direct impact on credit.
+ Full Paper (PDF)
Country Analysis Brief: Turkey
Source: Energy Information Administration
Turkey is playing an increasingly important role in the transit of oil and gas supplies from Russia, the Caspian region, and the Middle East routed westward to Europe. Turkey has been a major transit point for seaborne traded oil and is becoming more important for pipeline-traded oil and natural gas, with significant volumes transported to westward to Europe. Growing volumes of Russian and Caspian oil are being sent by tanker via the Bosporus Straits to Western markets while a terminal on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast at Ceyhan allows the country to export oil from northern Iraq and Azerbaijan.
How We’re Doing Compared to the Rest of the World
Source: Brookings Institution
In the past month, President Obama has pressed the autocratic president of our most important Arab ally to heed the demands of his people and step down, established a workman-like relationship with China’s president, and delivered a State of the Union address that sought to “win the future.” Taken together, these critical events highlight the complexity of America’s global leadership dilemma: whether to cooperate or to compete; whether to partner with some autocrats while pressuring others. Over the past three decades, American presidents have found their ability to deal with these dilemmas affected by the shifting balances of relative power in the international system. In the seventh “How We’re Doing” Index, experts at the Brookings Institution explored some of the key data behind our leading partners and competitors.