Of Turks and Americans
16 June 2019
Winston Churchill once said that “you can count on the Americans to do the right thing,” then he added, I presume with a smile, “after they have exhausted all other possibilities.” It isn’t any different for the Turks, I may add.
The G20 can save the world once again
09 June 2019
Marx and Engels famously started the Communist Manifesto with the words “a specter is haunting Europe—the specter of communism.” Crypto Anarchist Timothy May was less Euro-centric, beginning his 1992 Crypto Anarchist Manifesto with the words “a specter is haunting the modern world—the specter of crypto anarchy.” I would say that the “modern world” today, is anywhere with an internet connection. That’s a lot of people of a lot of different cultures.
Half of Turks are still not working
02 June 2019
In 2018, the Turkish lira depreciated by 39 percent against the US dollar. That was followed by steep increases in unemployment and inflation, the combination of which yields a 60 percent increase in Turkey’s so-called “misery index.” In other words: people are hurting.
Yes, Turks feel the impact
21 May 2019
“Is the guy on the street feeling it?” someone asked me this week. The “it” here refers to the economy of course. His intention, I gather, was to understand why the governing bloc failed in Istanbul, as well as Turkey’s other major cities. Is it the economy or ideology? I tend to think that economy was important, and it’s going to be more so from now on.
All the reserves in the world will not suffice
12 May 2019
Rulers have to live with their decisions. There is a point in Shakespeare’s famous play where Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking. She has recently plotted with her husband the murder of Duncan and Macduff’s family, and though this has given them power, she is now ridden with guilt, and maybe regret.
Why I am optimistic about Turkey
05 May 2019
Turkey may look vulnerable to you. When President Erdoğan was elected back in June 2018, you could buy a dollar with 4.71 Lira. Now it costs around 5.97 Lira. This means that the Lira has depreciated by around 27 percent in less than a year against the dollar. Yet there are solid reasons to be optimistic about Turkey.
The EU’s hot air balloon and Turkey
21 April 2019
When it comes to global politics, we all know that the European Union (EU) is in a sorry state. One of its three most powerful members is leaving, its inbred establishment is besieged, its Eastern edges are slipping into despotism. It lacks a cohesive foreign policy framework: 2016 Global Strategy to make the EU a global actor has yet to be implemented. Why? It’s as Seneca said “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” Without political leadership, even the best of plans is useless.
Migrating from Turkey’s governing block
14 April 2019
“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action” writes Ian Fleming in Goldfinger. Since I am not James Bond, I’m inclined to replace “enemy action” with “pattern,” but it works just the same, and for me, the 2019 election in Turkey was that magical third time. Let me explain.
Next time it will be the economy
07 April 2019
There are two types of countries in our region: countries where you know the results of an election before votes are counted, and those where you have to wait for the tally. Some may have had their doubts about where Turkey placed in that categorization, but last week’s vote clarified things. Democracy is still breathing in this country. Good for us.
Much ado about nothing
31 March 2019
That’s how I see things in the financial markets this past week. Why? There’s nothing there about economic policy. It’s all about politics. Turkey is going to the polls this Sunday. In Shakespeare’s play of the same title, a great fuss (“much ado”) is made of something insignificant. There are unfounded claims of the hero’s infidelity and the unfounded claims that two characters are in love with each other. All about eavesdropping, hearsay, spying and critique of other people. The Turkish economy too, is a play about deception and self-deception.