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  • December 2017 (4)

    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]
    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]