Archive

  • October 2020 (3)
  • September 2020 (4)
  • August 2020 (4)
  • July 2020 (1)
  • June 2020 (4)
  • May 2020 (5)
  • April 2020 (3)
  • March 2020 (6)
  • February 2020 (3)
  • January 2020 (4)
  • December 2019 (2)
  • November 2019 (3)

    A Schuman Plan for Cyprus
    Güven Sak, PhD 18 October 2020
    Turkish Cyprus is due to hold the second round of its presidential elections on Sunday. The tragedy of the situation is that the outcome of the election probably won’t change things too much for the enclave to go forward. Whoever gets elected will have to act within a very narrow margin of choices because the Cyprus conflict is no longer merely about the inhabitants of the island. [More]
    Turkey is aging at an inopportune time
    Güven Sak, PhD 11 October 2020
    “A pessimist sees the difficulty at every opportunity, the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” said Churchill. I consider myself a born again optimist, yet as an experienced citizen of Turkey, I see much difficulty as well. Like Madeleine Albright, I am an optimist who worries a lot nowadays. [More]
    Turkey is diversifying its energy imports
    Güven Sak, PhD 04 October 2020
    In a secret meeting in 1942, then U.K Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, “The challenge of working with allies is that sometimes they develop opinions of their own and we don’t always perhaps give those opinions the respect they deserve.” Alliances are crucial for success in foreign policy. Good alliances cannot form unless statesmen understand the concerns and possible regional problems of their allies and take the long view. Everybody, including Turkey, needs to think about these words of wisdom. [More]
    Signatories of Abraham Accords should take a hard look at Cyprus
    Güven Sak, PhD 27 September 2020
    When I first heard about the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE, I reminisced Amin Malouf’s book “The Crusades Through Arab Eyes,” where he writes that every Arab chieftain saw the oncoming Crusades as an opportunity to deal with their local enemies. They thought that if they elevated their local skirmishes to a new, continent-wide level, they could come out on top. The result was a bloodbath. The “enemy of your enemy may also be your enemy,” as former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said about ISIL a few years ago. [More]
    Turkey is getting older
    Güven Sak, PhD 20 September 2020
    We live in the age of multiple global challenges. Global warming and pandemics are obviously interrelated problems that require a global response, but there is a less obvious one I can think of: Aging. [More]
    The tiger and the virus
    Güven Sak, PhD 13 September 2020
    Ten years ago, everyone in Turkey was talking about tigers – Anatolian tigers. These up and coming cities in the dry climate of inner Anatolia were the homes of dynamic young firms striking out to make their fortunes. Nowadays, we are only talking about the virus. That, and a series of currency crises seem to have made us forget about the Anatolian tigers. I think Turkey needs to re-focus on what matters most and launch urban governance reform. This means tending to the tigers while controlling the virus. Let me elaborate. [More]
    Inflation measurement in the age of COVID-19
    Güven Sak, PhD 06 September 2020
    On the sudden stop in global economic activity this year, Fed Chair Jay Powell said in May 2020 that “the virus is the cause, not the usual suspects.” That started the global process of monetary easing. [More]
    Waiting for the virus
    Güven Sak, PhD 30 August 2020
    Constantine P. Cavafy’s poem “Waiting for the Barbarians” is a delightful read in dark times. It’s about a day in an unnamed city-state, where life comes to a halt as everybody, from the king to the crowd, stop whatever they usually do, dress up in their finest clothes and await the arrival of “the barbarians.” [More]
    Turkey is still normalizing
    Güven Sak, PhD 16 August 2020
    Looking at Turkey from abroad these days, one might be interested in various data points. The exchange rate, the interest rate and the various up-and-down ticks of the Borsa Istanbul index. One may also look at dotted lines in the Aegean and dotted lines on paper that are being negotiated or renegotiated. Those things are surely important, but I submit to you one data point that captures something far deeper than any of that: The fertility rate. Turkey recently announced its revised average rate of births per woman. As of 2019, the fertility rate dropped sharply from 2.069 babies per woman to 1.88. That’s the kind of thing I have in mind when I am telling my foreign friends to take a longer view on Turkey. Look at the grand normalization process that’s moving forward despite the daily news [More]
    A tale of three blasts
    Güven Sak, PhD 09 August 2020
    I still recommend taking the long view on Turkey. Yes, there is cause for serious concern, but Turkey remains a great country in a very troubled region. In this troubled region, we do not always do the right thing, but I like to think we learn from our mistakes. Just have a look at the three major events, three blasts, in fact, that I see this week, and three learning opportunities, taking their place in our collective consciousness. [More]