Archive

  • June 2018 (3)
  • May 2018 (3)
  • April 2018 (5)
  • March 2018 (3)
  • February 2018 (5)
  • January 2018 (4)
  • December 2017 (4)
  • November 2017 (3)
  • October 2017 (4)
  • September 2017 (5)
  • August 2017 (4)
  • July 2017 (5)

    Imagine a Syria with no Americans
    Güven Sak, PhD 31 March 2018
    Have you heard the last bit of presidential wisdom from Donald Trump? “We are knocking the hell out of ISIS” boasted the triumphant president, “we’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it.” When asked about Trump’s remarks, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said she was “unaware” about any plans for a troop withdrawal. Whether it will actually happen or not, President Trump is making us think about a scenario hitherto far out of the realm of possibility: What if there were no Americans in Syria? What if the supposedly sole superpower in the world just didn’t try to shape events in the most violently disputed piece of land in the world? [More]
    From Japan to China bashing
    Güven Sak, PhD 17 March 2018
    I see two emerging trends. One is in the West, the other is in China. I was at a meeting in Mumbai this week. Everybody there was more interested in the power consolidation in China than in the disarray in Washington. President Trump, who has never been accountable to a board of directors in his life, is running the American government like a private company. We have a drunk sitting in the driving seat of the American government. Let me tell you what that feels like to a Turk in Mumbai. [More]
    The gender gap is narrowing in Turkey
    Güven Sak, PhD 10 March 2018
    Last week, TEPAV announced its third Gender Inequality Scorecard. Our objective here is to raise awareness about gender inequality in the Turkish countryside. The results are surprising this year. After the 2012 and 2015 reports, there is significant improvement across the board in gender equality. We collect data on the provincial level, and the best performing are Van, Tunceli, Antalya, Maraş and Artvin. Except Antalya, all of these provinces are in the East. [More]
    Turkey needs more GVCs
    Güven Sak, PhD 24 February 2018
    Turkey’s industrial transformation started in the early 1980s. Unlike many of its Middle Eastern neighbors, Turkey has no natural resources, so it had to organize its society around producing things others might want to buy. And we did. Our per capita GDP went from $1,500 in 1980 to more than $10,000 in 35 years. An agricultural backwater became an urban, industrial, and fairly market-driven place. So far so good. Yet if the idea is to converge with the rich world, Turkey is in trouble. It needs to renew its industrial base. To do that, it needs global value chains (GVCs). It now seems however, that GVCs no longer want to come to Turkey. Why not? [More]
    Higher growth, higher misery in Turkey
    Güven Sak, PhD 17 February 2018
    Turkey’s economy grew by 11.1 percent in the third quarter of 2017. That’s the highest figure since 2014. Yet the misery index, found simply by summing up the inflation rate and unemployment rate, has reached 21.2 percent. That figure, in turn, is at its highest since 2004. So higher growth has made Turkey even more miserable. Why? [More]
    Turkey and NATO: 45 years ago, 45 years later
    Güven Sak, PhD 10 February 2018
    NATO was established in 1949. Turkey and Greece became members in 1952. And if there was no NATO at the time, Turks would have had to invent it. Russia was breathing down Turkey’s neck, and it needed Western allies to keep it in check. And Turkey paid for that protection in its blood. A 5,000-strong Turkish brigade shipped off to the Korean War in 1950. 741 of them died. Yet these days people keep asking me “Why are Turkey and NATO growing apart?” Are they really? I don’t think so. Let me elaborate. [More]
    Russian-Turkish relations and the dark underbelly of Cryptocurrency
    Güven Sak, PhD 03 February 2018
    Russian-Turkish relations were in the news again last week. But this time it was different. It was not about s-400s, not sanctions or secondary sanctions, nor even about the Syrian Civil War. It was about bitcoin and blockchain technologies. Could this also be considered something sinister, as Russia and Turkey as partners in crime? Could cryptocurrencies be considered a new tool for busting American sanctions? Could this be the premature end to bitcoin? Let me elaborate. [More]
    Is Turkey going back to square one after 40 years?
    Güven Sak, PhD 20 January 2018
    Turkey has transformed itself from a sleepy agrarian society to a dynamic industrial country. Much of it is thanks to Özal’s reforms that started the transformation process in the 1980s. Then the Customs Union with the EU in 1996 turned Turkey into a mid-tech industrial country. The economic transformation of Turkey has so far been a success story in terms of improving the global competitiveness of the country. Not anymore. As of 2016, Turkey’s competitiveness has declined to lower than global average. Why? Let me elaborate. [More]
    The year 2007 was a perfect storm for Turkey
    Güven Sak, PhD 13 January 2018
    “Countries don’t disappear, it has been said, but sometimes they do encounter perfect storms.” wrote Jorge Castaneda, a Mexican politician and academic, the other day in the NYT, “these do not threaten their existence, yet they can represent major challenges to their welfare and integrity.”2007 was such a year for Turkey. Let me explain why this is important today. [More]
    A tale of three countries: Turkey, China and Iran
    Güven Sak, PhD 06 January 2018
    I was in Tehran right after President Rouhani was first elected. The hotel rooms were fully booked, with businesspeople and journalists from across the world. The story was that Iran was deciding to return to our world from the parallel universe the country has exiled itself to around 40 years ago. There is now discontent on Iranian streets. I see this as frustration with the pace of the reform process. [More]