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    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]
    Intended for Europe, destined for MidEast
    Güven Sak, PhD 12 October 2015
    We are going through tough times. We lost some 100 citizens to two bombs that went off in Ankara on Saturday. We do not have definitive numbers yet but hundreds of people were also injured. Once upon a time, such incidents would only happen in Baghdad, Kabul, Damascus or Al Raqqah. Such remote places, we would think. We would follow what happened through our televisions or the internet. It would happen in Aleppo. Aleppo is quite close to Gaziantep, but not at all for Ankara or Istanbul. When Suruç was hit, we would still discuss the regional limits of the impact of the incident. But the explosion on Saturday was in Ankara this time. [More]
    Are we going through the Sevres syndrome all over again?
    Güven Sak, PhD 10 October 2015
    Being in Turkey these days feels like a permanent déjà vu. And not in a good way. Turks once again have that feeling of being encircled by enemies and threats. They feel insecure. That feeling often is referred to as the “Sevres syndrome,” after the treaty that broke up and partitioned the Ottoman territories among European powers. Our Founding Fathers launched a war of independence to tear up that treaty, and that is how we are still here. But the anxiety that someone could come at any moment and take it all away never really dissipated. In the last few years it seemed like we might start outgrowing it, but now that Russian jets are buzzing over our heads, the Sevres syndrome may be back in full force. [More]
    Diverging paths: Turkey and Indonesia
    Güven Sak, PhD 03 October 2015
    Turkey is no Indonesia, Standard & Poor’s declared this week. But the two countries have many things in common. Both are composed of Muslim majorities, both are listed under the MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) grouping, trailing the BRICS. Both countries have received a BB+ from S&P recently. But the similarities end there, says Standard & Poor’s. In a press release, the ratings agency noted that Indonesia and Turkey are taking divergent paths. Turkey’s outlook is negative while that of Indonesia is positive. So as developing markets are being shaken up and we are waiting for the imminent decision of the Fed, Turkey is negatively discriminated while Indonesia is positively discriminated. Why? [More]