Archive

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    Whatever happened to Turkish Lira?
    Güven Sak, PhD 22 August 2015
    Turks are now acting as if it came by surprise. The Turkish Lira has lost around 9% of its value against the dollar in a single month. If you take January of this year as the starting point, it has reached to around 27%. Why? [More]
    Insipid leadership makes normalization harder
    Güven Sak, PhD 15 August 2015
    Turkey had its election this June. Halfway in August now, the country has still no government. Just before the election in June 7, 2015, I dubbed it as the outset of the great normalization in Turkey. That was published in June 6, 2015, mind you. There I noted a caveat, kind of a “personality” problem that may hamper the transition process. Let me reiterate. [More]
    The peace process is still alive in Turkey
    Güven Sak, PhD 08 August 2015
    Turkey has started air campaigns against both ISIL and the PKK. ISIL is the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the new bastion of the age-old militant Salafi menace in our region. The PKK, on the other hand, is the Kurdistan Workers Party, a Marxist-Leninist outfit indigenous to Turkish Kurdistan. Both organizations use terrorism as a method, meaning that they conduct asymmetric warfare and choose their targets, civilian, military or police, to instill fear and spread division among their enemies. But despite what our politicians say, we do not treat them the same. While ISIL is hell bent on killing and enslaving us, the PKK is part of a political movement that we can and are negotiating with. [More]
    Is it really different this time with ISIL?
    Güven Sak, PhD 25 July 2015
    Turkey is at war with ISIL, but did you know that this has happened before? Twice, actually. ISIL might be a new organization, but what it represents has been around for a few centuries. Our Ottoman forefathers have squashed the menace before. Yet Selim Koru of TEPAV notes that this third time is different. Why? [More]
    Desperately waiting for a new government
    Güven Sak, PhD 18 July 2015
    Turkey still has no government. No government is bad for Turkey. Turks do feel the impact of no government more directly than Belgians and Danes. After all, no government means no decisions in Turkey. Wonder why Turks are desperately waiting for a new government? First of all, Turkey is more centralized than either Belgium or Denmark. Belgium is a federal state. So by definition, it is decentralized. Denmark, on the other hand, is a unitary state. But there are important differences there too. The two countries are the exact opposites of each other when it comes to their governance structures. 78% of all public sector employees are working with local administrations in Denmark. Compare that with the fact that only 9% of public sector employees work for local authorities in Turkey. In Bel [More]
    Turkey is no Belgium
    Güven Sak, PhD 13 July 2015
    Of course you don’t need to read this column to know that. Turkey’s per capita GDP is only a fifth of that of Belgium. Our economy has been declared part of the “fragile five,” while Belgium is safely embedded in the EU’s currency and trade union. Belgium also has no neighbors like ISIL. In one respect however, we seem to be on track to join Belgium – we take our time with coalitions. After their December 2011 elections, it notoriously took the Belgians 541 days to form a coalition. [More]
    Why do Turks distrust one another?
    10 July 2015
    Could Turkey ever be ruled by a coalition? This was the question on everyone’s minds in the last couple of months. I believe that the answer to this question lies in the magical phenomenon that we call “trust.” If the parties can trust one another, a coalition will work out; otherwise, the system will hit an impasse. It’s a straightforward way of reasoning: Just as spouses who distrust one another can’t work out their marriage, just as two partners who distrust one another cannot manage their company together, two or three parties that distrust one another will unfortunately fail to form a coalition and rule the country. [More]
    “This is not a Maydan, but Baghramyan” – Electricity protests in Yerevan
    Diana Yayloyan 06 July 2015
    Tens of thousands of people in the evening of 22 June took the Baghramyan Street in Yerevan, where the residence of President Serzh Sargsyan is located, as a sign of disagreement with the increase in electricity tariffs. The protest emerged as a strong reaction to the decision, taken on 17 June, to increase electricity tariff from the 1st of August on more than 16%. The situation escalated on early morning, 23th of June, when police used the water cannon against the demonstrators. Contrary to the expectations of the authorities, this action not only failed to disperse the crowd, but increased people desire and readiness to go until their demands are met. Approximately 230 demonstrators were arrested; some journalists became victims of the brutal treatment by police. The demonstrators did n [More]
    The Greek Tragedy of Mario Draghi
    Güven Sak, PhD 04 July 2015
    Central banking is difficult. It requires bankers not only to plan for how they think the future is going to play out, but plan for how they fear it might play out, too. But even the best plans won’t be enough if central bankers don’t know how to talk about them. Banking is all about what is going to happen in the future – who is going to pay whom, and how. So central bankers need to be adept at manipulating the future in the present day. Like everyone else, they do that with words. Each one must be precisely calibrated to instill certain expectations in listeners and readers. [More]
    How to talk about the big picture
    Güven Sak, PhD 27 June 2015
    What would you do if someone asked you to summarize the major tensions of human beings on this blue planet of ours? I’m talking about the big, systemic issues – the problems of capitalism, war, climate change and development. These things are too complicated for any one person or a single generation to solve. [More]