Archive

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  • January 2018 (4)
  • December 2017 (4)
  • November 2017 (3)
  • October 2017 (4)

    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]
    Misfortunes never come single
    Güven Sak, PhD 26 September 2015
    Comparisons are useful to pinpoint your place in the stream of events. These days, it’s often comparisons between two evils. You try to think about which problem is worse, and prioritize accordingly. After President Erdoğan’s Moscow visit, here is my new comparison: Which one is worse for Turkey, becoming the biggest refugee-hosting country, or seeing a united front of support around PYD, the Syrian Kurdish organization fighting ISIL? [More]
    Which one is worse?
    Güven Sak, PhD 19 September 2015
    Is it the delay in the imminent policy decision by the Fed, America’s Central Bank? Or is it that in early 2016, Erdem Başçı, the governor of the Central Bank of Turkey, will have ended his term? Which one is worse for the Turkish economy? Let’s weigh the potential impact of each.The United States Federal Reserve is still on hold. This week’s meeting kept interest rates at zero. Why? Beats me. It’s as if the Fed is waiting for every economy in the world to reach bliss before taking rates back up. With the Fed’s inaction, I see a glimmer of hope in the eyes of some commentators in Turkey. Is there any reason for countries like Turkey to be hopeful with the delay in the Fed’s imminent policy decision? No. First of all, it is only a matter of time until the Fed does raise rates. No [More]
    No Country for Economists
    Güven Sak, PhD 12 September 2015
    Is Turkey an interesting case of economic fluctuations? No. There is nothing mysterious about the slowdown in the Turkish economy. Anyone paying attention could and did see it coming miles away. All it took was a decline in the political stability, followed by the all too predictable decline in the quality of ministries’ decisions. The economy itself is not interesting, the way say, the American derivatives markets, or London’s housing market is interesting to economists. [More]
    China has what Turkey had in the late 1980s
    Güven Sak, PhD 05 September 2015
    I started my career as an economist at the Capital Markets Board of Turkey. It was the 1980s, I was fresh out of school and excited to be part of a milestone in my country’s economic policy: opening the Turkish stock market to foreign investors. [More]
    Of Turkish and French Presidents
    Güven Sak, PhD 29 August 2015
    Turkey had its legislative elections in June 7. The result was simple. Four parties made it into parliament and not a single one had enough seats to form a government by itself. As prime minister designate, Ahmet Davutoğlu failed to form a coalition government. In line with his constitutional powers, President Erdoğan dissolved the Parliament and declared that snap elections would be held on November 1st. [More]
    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]