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  • October 2017 (4)

    Shooting down the Russian jet a symptom of Turkey’s central malaise
    Güven Sak, PhD 28 November 2015
    Ever since Turkey downed the Russian Su-24 on its border with Syria, I have been thinking about the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident between Israel and Turkey. In many ways, the jet incident is to Russia what the Mavi Marmara was to Turkey. Russia’s demands for an apology made the cases all the more similar. The only difference is that Russia understands this is not about legality, but rather about saving face. [More]
    Why is Turkey’s export performance going down the drain?
    Güven Sak, PhD 20 November 2015
    G20 Antalya Summit is now over. The G20 Circus has hit the road from Antalya to Hangzhou in China. The next performance is due in November 2016. The G20 offers a good opportunity to follow up on the global agenda. Never mind those commentators who say that ISIS has become the top item in the global agenda. ISIS was just the current affairs flavor of the global agenda debates this year. It simply served the purpose of salt, pepper or paprika in a dish. In fact, the global agenda is much more extensive and more comprehensive than ISIS. The slowdown in world trade constitutes one of the important issues in the global agenda nowadays, which, obviously, affects Turkey as well. Our exports go downhill, according to dollar-based statistics. Let’s take a closer look at the figures today. [More]
    When will the asymmetry in G20 agenda get a fix?
    Güven Sak, PhD 19 November 2015
    What would be the impression you’d get on G20 if you followed the G20 summit through the Turkish media alone. Imagine you’d never heard of it. Imagine you’re trying to figure it out for the first time by following the Turkish media. You may have thought that G20 was an organization company that brought leaders to Antalya for bilateral get-togethers. Or that it was a tea party event bringing together the leaders. But this simply demonstrates Turkey’s status in the face of the global agenda, to be frank. [More]
    The EU Progress Report and Fiscal Transparency
    Emin Dedeoğlu 19 November 2015
    As you know, the EU progress report was released last week. It may have escaped your attention in the report but it would seem that fiscal policy is not on the EU’s radar all that much. It would be understandable if it wasn’t. No immediate problems strike the eye in the budgetary balance and the debt stock in terms of fiscal discipline. In a section consisting of a single paragraph, it says a) that the annual budget is drafted as a part of the medium-term budgetary framework, b) that fiscal discipline is maintained despite the lack of a Fiscal Council and c) that the budgetary transparency is adequate. The only criticism is that revolving funds remain outside the budgetary process. [More]
    Would every Syrian asylum seeker become another Naim Süleymanoğlu?
    10 November 2015
    All the news stories over the past few months stir our emotions. Emotions take the lead in the debates on the current state of affairs in the country. Syrians rank high among the critical issues reigned by emotions. We face a migratory influx comprising millions of people that leave their homes behind and go seek a new life that promises safety and possibly higher welfare. The government spokesperson said a few days ago that there are 2.2mn Syrians in Turkey. This migration flow started in 2011. We assumed back then that the inflow was temporary and the neighbors we hosted would return home once the situation in Syria was normalized. But as we approach the end of 2015, the dominant viewpoint today is that Syria will never recover to its old self, that millions have lost their homes into th [More]
    The devil you know
    Güven Sak, PhD 07 November 2015
    Turkey went to the polls on Sunday, and we found out that the desire for a change, which was obvious in results of June 2015 elections, had turned into a fear of change. Voters who were slipping away from the AKP rushed back, giving it a landslide victory. [More]
    1 out of every 40 companies established in Turkey is now Syrian
    Güven Sak, PhD 26 October 2015
    The leader of the trade with Syria in 2010 was Istanbul. Turkey’s exports to Syria reached its zenith that year at USD1.9bn. One third of that figure originated from Istanbul. In 2014, Turkey’s exports to Syria still stood at USD1.8bn. But only one sixth of that figure originates from Istanbul. Exports from Istanbul to Syria dropped from one third to one sixth of Turkey’s overall exports. Istanbul is no longer the leader in exports to Syria. [More]
    How have Gaziantep’s exports to war-torn Syria quadrupled since 2011?
    Güven Sak, PhD 24 October 2015
    Turks seem to be fed up with the number of Syrian refugees coming to Turkey. According to a recent survey by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center, 67 percent of Turks believe that “Turkey should allow fewer refugees from Syria and Iraq.” Does that mean that Turks now consider Syrians as a burden? After so many years of Turks migrating to Europe, have we adopted European anti-immigration attitudes ourselves? No, not really. Let me tell you why.It is true that the number of Syrian refugees has reached around 2 million, and we are now expecting more from Aleppo, as Russian bombing displaces more people. As it becomes clear that this is not a short, or even medium-term crisis, Ankara needs to devise a mechanism to integrate Syrians into Turkish society. So far it has failed spectacularly. Yes, T [More]
    What will Erdoğan, Putin, Obama and Merkel discuss in Antalya?
    Güven Sak, PhD 23 October 2015
    The G20 comes to Turkey mid-November this year. As you know, Turkey chairs the G20 this year. World leaders will be meeting in Antalya in three weeks but I don’t sense any buzz around.  Both Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama will be in Antalya. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also come to Turkey three weeks after her prior visit. President Erdoğan will be hosting them. And what will they do in Turkey? What will they discuss? [More]
    The Syrian civil war has come to Turkey
    Güven Sak, PhD 17 October 2015
    Last weekend’s bomb attack was a rude awakening for Turks, who are now beginning to realize that the Syrian civil war has come to their doorstep. Turkey is now one of the battlegrounds for the war between ISIL and the PYD, the Syrian splinter group of the PKK. Both groups see the Turkish state as their secondary, and each other as primary enemies. Neither has any trouble undermining Ankara’s sovereignty by moving their war to Turkish soil. This is a new stage of the Syrian Civil War. [More]