Archive

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  • April 2017 (8)
  • March 2017 (4)
  • February 2017 (4)

    Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees
    Güven Sak, PhD 16 April 2016
    I was in Washington, DC this week. Having attended multiple panels on the region, I heard so many negative things about the current state of affairs in Turkey. Especially the word “vexation” was used so many times with reference to Turkey. Speaking to concerned observers, I just point out the latest survey results of Turkish Statistics Institution. The institution has announced just yesterday that the fertility rate among Turkish women in 2015 has declined to 2.14. In 2016, the expectation is for this rate to further decline to 2.1. [More]
    A more unconventional monetary policy in Turkey?
    Güven Sak, PhD 09 April 2016
    When developing Asia was in crisis in the 1990s, the world valiantly upheld monetary orthodoxy. Then Europe went into crisis in 2008, world leaders came up with unconventional monetary policy. That’s when we all learned about monetary easing and negative interest rates. So the poor were forced into discipline, while the rich can indulge in “helicopter money”. Well, guess what? Turkey’s leaders may now want some of that sweet “unconventional” stuff too. [More]
    Turkey is losing hope
    Güven Sak, PhD 02 April 2016
    Nobody in Turkey talks about the 2023 targets anymore. Remember the days when Turkey had an ambitious, but doable plan? I do. I had much to criticize back then, but at least there were policies to criticize. Looking back, I kind of miss those days. [More]
    Turks are unwell
    Güven Sak, PhD 26 March 2016
    There is a famous dialogue in Mike Nichols’ 1967 film, The Graduate. It is a film about a young college graduate who has an affair with the older Mrs. Robinson, who is the wife of his father's business partner. Dustin Hoffman plays the lead as young Benjamin. In this scene, he is talking to an old acquaintance of the family, Mr. McGuire, played by Walter Brooke. [More]
    Bad news for illiberals in Turkey
    Güven Sak, PhD 19 March 2016
    Can Turkey turn into a little Russia? That is what businesspeople ask me these days. They see the current government not for what it is, but what it is not: liberal. And they want to know whether this illiberalism can grow in strength. [More]
    Can Turkey make Europe more effective?
    Güven Sak, PhD 12 March 2016
    In a recent Financial Times article, Wolfgang Münchau claimed that today’s refugee crisis posed a greater threat to the EU’s future than the euro area debates ever did. “After nearly 60 years of European integration,” argued Münchau, “We are entering the age of disintegration. It will not necessarily lead to a formal break-up of the EU - this is extremely unlikely - but it will make the EU less effective.” The article was written before the EU-Turkey migration summit on March 7, a meeting where nobody was expecting a surprise move. Yet, Turkey made one. So where are we now? Can Turkey save Europe from disintegration? Can Turkey make Europe more effective? It depends.Let me start by expanding on the Turkish move. Up until now, Turkey considered itself an outsider to the EU’s inter [More]
    The little China on Turkey’s doorstep
    Güven Sak, PhD 05 March 2016
    I was in Tehran recently on a day trip. There was a fresh feeling in the air, a kind of happiness that bubbles over and makes you anxious. It’s as if Iran is about to enter get married to globalization, it’s the night before, and the country has a collective bellyache. [More]
    Which is more significant, Brexit or the migration crisis?
    Güven Sak, PhD 27 February 2016
    A spectre is haunting Europe, once again nowadays - the spectre of who is calling the shots in the old continent. The epic struggle between European capitals and Brussels is approaching a critical juncture. Like so many times in European history, Turkey’s stance will be critical in deciding the fate of the continent. [More]
    Why Turkey needs the constitutional commission
    Güven Sak, PhD 20 February 2016
    The Interparty Parliamentary Panel tasked with drafting a new constitution, also known as the “Constitutional Commission,” lasted only three sessions. “This commission has ended.” İsmail Kahraman, the Speaker of the Parliament allegedly said in that ill-fated last meeting. These reports have not been refuted, so I assume they reflect reality. I find this a grave mistake, first of all, on the part of the Speaker himself. It was his task to keep the flame flickering, but it appears as though he is having difficulty in understanding the immensity of the task he was entrusted with. A pity. PM Davutoğlu, realizing the importance of the commission, is struggling to salvage the ship sunk by the incompetence of its captain. [More]
    Get ‘Gershad’ to dodge the morality police in Iran
    Güven Sak, PhD 13 February 2016
    I was overjoyed the other day to hear that Iranian youths have developed a mobile app that helps people dodge the patrols of Ershad, Iran’s morality police. The Ershad check whether Iranian citizens’ outfit or makeup undermines the social order: If a woman’s headscarf reveals too much of her hair, for example, she gets told to cover up properly.There are two types of governments in the world: Governments that send around mobile traffic police patrols and governments that send around mobile morality police patrols. The first is a service to the people; the second is an attempt to control them. Unfortunately, governments in our region have a fascination with sartorial habits. The Kemalists were allergic to headscarves and made people wear Western-style hats; the Islamists infamous [More]