The Macron plan matters for Turkey
10 September 2017
Looking for a reason why the eurozone was so ineffective in combatting its economic problems? Look at the French inaction in dealing with problems of its own. The country has been lagging behind economically, socially and politically for the past decade, while Germany ploughed ahead to be leader of Europe.
The case for an ASEAN in the Middle East
03 September 2017
Years ago, I participated in a World Bank conference on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea, near Amman. The discussion was on corporate governance reforms, a pet subject of the organization at the time. A portfolio manager took the floor, looked at all the international and national bureaucrats, and shattered my vision for development and change.
Arbil is no Barcelona
27 August 2017
Both Arbil and Barcelona are going to hold independence referenda in less than a month. Arbil set the date for Sept. 25 and Barcelona for Oct. 1. The former is on the independence of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) from Iraq, and the latter on the independence of the Autonomous Government of Catalonia from Spain. Both Baghdad and Madrid are fiercely opposed to the plans of their regional governments. Despite the similarities however, it is worth pondering the considerable differences between them.
The case for realism in Turkey-Europe relations
20 August 2017
“Not a day has passed in Turkey without a domestic security operation against an active ISIL cell,” a security expert noted the other day. “Just follow the news.” We had been talking about the Barcelona terror attack, but the conversation was coming back to Turkey very quickly.
From the Adriatic Sea to the Great Wall of China
13 August 2017
I recently read Henry Kissinger’s remarks in June about Turkey. I compare it to what he said about Turkey back in 1992, and the difference within the 25 years is heartbreaking. Developments in Syria are poisoning Turkey’s intimate relations with its allies. Let me elaborate.
How it begins, how it ends
06 August 2017
I borrowed the title of today’s column from an old essay by the late Umberto Eco. The Western reaction to the Gülenist putsch attempt in Turkey last year made me go back to it. Eco was a columnist for Il Verri, an Italian literary magazine, between 1959 and 1961. “How to travel with a Salmon & Other Essays” is a translated English language collection of his essays from that period. Just have a look at this particular essay and see what I mean.
Turkey and Germany need to increase bandwidth
23 July 2017
“How dare you consider vacationing in Turkey with my children?” said a wife to her husband in the back of a Berlin taxi. At least that’s what the driver – who was of Turkish origin - told me afterwards. This driver was anxious, eager to talk about what he and many others feel is a growing anxiety between the Turks and the Germans in that country.
Why do Turks smile less than before?
09 July 2017
“There is something rotten in the state of Denmark” says Marcellus in the first act of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Living in Ankara, I can relate to that. Gallup’s 2017 Global Emotions Report was recently released and I can see an interesting trend. Every year, fewer Turks answer the question “Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?” affirmatively. Last year, half of the respondents said they had smiled or laughed on the previous day. This year, it’s just 38 percent.
‘Unbelling’ the cat in Cyprus
02 July 2017
In Aesop’s Fables, a group of mice get together to discuss how to rid themselves of the danger of the cat. After much discussion, they decide to put a bell on it, so that they can hear it when it approaches. Who though, the question then becomes, will bell the cat? The moral of the story is that it is relatively easy to agree on what should be done, but much harder to make the sacrifice when executing the task.
Is Turkey growing faster in 2017?
25 June 2017
“People who love sausage and people who believe in justice should never watch either of them being made.” So said Otto von Bismarck, the great German statesman of the 19th century, according to legend.