Archive

  • April 2018 (4)
  • March 2018 (3)
  • February 2018 (5)
  • January 2018 (4)
  • December 2017 (4)
  • November 2017 (3)
  • October 2017 (4)
  • September 2017 (5)
  • August 2017 (4)
  • July 2017 (5)
  • June 2017 (4)
  • May 2017 (3)

    The coalition to end all coalitions
    Güven Sak, PhD 16 April 2017
    Turks like to vote. They have tasted the freedom of a ballot booth, a place where you face yourself, and make a decision about your future. But we hate coalition governments. Anyone who was around here in the 1990s and before would tell you that the horse trading after elections is unbearable, and that it should be done away with if possible. How far are we willing to go to abolish that kind of uncertainty? [More]
    How is Turkey to be governed?
    Güven Sak, PhD 14 April 2017
    On April 16, Turkey is going to the polls to vote on a hotly debated constitutional amendments package. The country has had referenda for constitutional amendments before now, but this is going to be the first one to change the system of government as a whole. [More]
    Erdogan Goes for the Death Blow Against Turkey’s Bureaucracy
    Selim Koru 14 April 2017
    On the night of June 16, 1826, blood ran on the streets of Istanbul. Mobs of the sultan’s loyalists raided buildings belonging to the Janissaries, hunting down anyone affiliated with the group. The Janissaries had once been the elite fighting force that spearheaded Ottoman armies. By this time, however, they were also a vested interest group occupying key positions in business and government. They had de facto power over government policy and had deposed more than one sultan who displeased them.But when their 1826 coup went south, Sultan Mahmud II sought to extinguish their political power once and for all. In what came to be known as the “Auspicious Incident,” thousands of Janissaries were killed and many more went into self-imposed exile.Nearly two centuries later, in April 2016, Preside [More]
    ‘Come on, this is not Turkey’
    Güven Sak, PhD 09 April 2017
    “Human beings are pattern-seeking and storytelling animals,” said Edward Leamer, a professor in economics. That is after all, what science is also about; you look for patterns and tell coherent stories about them. Today, let me tell you about a couple of persistent patterns regarding the Turkish economy. [More]
    Forced Migrants: Labour Market Integration and Entrepreneurship
    Omar Kadkoy, Timur Kaymaz, Murat Kenanoğlu, Güven Sak 04 April 2017
    In 2015, worldwide forced displacement was at its highest recorded level, surpassing 65 million. Out of this number, nearly 20 million people are those who fled their countries of origin to seek refuge in third countries. International responsibility sharing in terms of hosting the historical levels of refugee flows has so far been inadequate. Today, lower- and upper-middle income countries host 65 percent of the world’s refugees, mostly in urban settings. Whereas refugee camps provide access to basic needs such as shelter, food and healthcare, displaced individuals living in urban settings have to sustain their needs through their own means. In turn, this requires access to labour market. [More]
    Why Turkey’s economy stumbled in 2016
    Güven Sak, PhD 02 April 2017
    According to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK), Turkey grew by 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016. Added to upward revisions of the previous two quarters, that brings Turkey’s annual growth in 2016 to 2.9 percent. The same number was 6.1 percent in 2015. [More]
    Turkey's role in the new regional normal
    Güven Sak, PhD 26 March 2017
    I was reading the results of a survey conducted in the province of Van around a week ago. Van is one of the easternmost provinces in Turkey, right on the border with Iran. The survey was conducted at a town hall meeting by my colleagues at TEPAV. Around 400 participants were asked “What needs to be done to improve the tourism industry in Van?” The respondents did not choose options like “more SME support,” nor did they ask for more money, as is usual in provinces like Van. No, their first priority was to improve the quality of urban life. If this is the first time you are hearing about quality of life issues in an Anatolian town, you are not alone. I was perplexed. Most people in Anatolian towns don’t try to improve their urban environments; they just pick up and leave for the b [More]
    Unemployment amid the political storm
    Güven Sak, PhD 19 March 2017
    March 15 was a very interesting day, or at least it was for me. The Netherlands held general elections, and the Turkish Institute of Statistics (TÜİK) released its Bulletin of Unemployment. I think it proved to be a day of glory for the Dutch, and despair for Turks. The Islamophobic Geert Wilders was sidelined by Dutch voters, who have turned up at a record 85 percent. On the same day, we found out that unemployment reached a seven-year high in Turkey, while having declined to a seven-year low in the EU, revealed just a week ago. It is worthwhile to unpack these events a bit. [More]
    It's all about that "vision thing"
    Güven Sak, PhD 12 March 2017
    In 1987, then-vice president George H.W. Bush was spending a few days at Camp David to think about how to approach his presidential campaign. When the topic of a "vision" came up, Bush is said to have responded in exasperation, "Oh, the vision thing." Lacking vision has become synonymous for failure to articulate compelling and coherent policy positions. Bush of course, ended up being a one-term president, and there is a reason for that. The "vision thing" is the single most pressing problem of Western civilization today. Let me elaborate. [More]
    How to think about 'Turkey's Great Normalization'
    Güven Sak, PhD 05 March 2017
    In 1980, Turkey’s GDP per capita was around $1,500. It was $3,600 in 2002 and by 2008 it had reached $10,000. Then it stalled. Was that halt only because of the global financial crisis? I don’t think so. The convergence of Turkey’s per capita GDP to that of the United States also stalled at the same time. [More]