Back to basics in Cyprus?
20 July 2021
Cyprus gained its independence from Britain in 1960. Since then, we have had a simmering conflict between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities of the island. There has always been intercommunal talks to ease the inherent tensions, but they all failed to bring lasting peace.
Learning how to swim: China vs. Turkey
04 July 2021
2021 is the centenary of the establishment of the Communist Party of China (CCP). It is also the centenary of the first constitution of modern Turkey. Accepted in January 1921 by the Grand National Assembly, the constitution was a response to the Sevres Treaty signed by the Istanbul government in August 1920. The Sevres treaty essentially divided the remaining territories of the Ottoman Empire between the imperial powers, while the constitution was an assertion of independence. It was also a confrontation of legitimacy between the officials of the Empire and the Imperial Dynasty.
European Leaders Talk Turkey
27 June 2021
Since 2018, Turkey only comes up in EU Commission documents under the heading of the Eastern Mediterranean, treated not as a “necessary partner” but as an “adversary.” This is because the European Council, meaning the political leadership of all the countries, wanted it that way. Not anymore.
Time to start modernizing the EU-Turkey Custom Union
20 June 2021
Turkey’s relationship with the West was a marriage of reason. Despite recent tensions, the reasons for that union continue to exist. Turkey’s economic and social transformation is good for European security. This will be all the more so in the post-pandemic recovery process. The Green New Deal on both sides of the Atlantic is set to energize Turkey’s relations with the West in general, and EU-Turkey relations in particular. The European Council summit on June 24-25 could yield a critical decision to this end. Let me tell you why.
Our toolkit is becoming obsolete
13 June 2021
With pandemic affecting our lives not only in one quarter but so far a total of five quarters, from inflation to growth to well-being, the meaning of the indicators economists look at has started to change. It’s not that we are measuring things differently, but in my opinion, the meaning of the things we are measuring is changing.
Inequality rising in Turkey and across the world
08 June 2021
Living in Ankara these days increasingly feels like being in the world of the fictional Hunger Games series, the dystopian novel by Suzanne Collins. In the world of “Panem,” the Capitol houses the rich and the talented, and the 13 districts are home to the poor and laboring masses. Every year, there are “games,” gathering a pool of talented young people at the Capitol and pitting them in a fight to the death. The winner gets to live in Panem.
Income inequality in post-pandemic Turkey
30 May 2021
In the rapidly changing agenda of our fair country, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan points to robust growth in the first quarter of 2021. The official figures will be announced on Monday, but a strong growth performance after the negative impact of COVID-19 in Q1 2020 figures will not be a surprise.
Say no to global green gentrification
25 May 2021
The Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) released unemployment figures in Turkey this week. The youth unemployment rate has now reached 25.3 percent, which of course, only counts people who are still actively looking for a job. If you add young people who have lost their hope of finding one, that figure rises to 36.5 percent in the first quarter of 2021. You might say that it is the responsibility of the government of Turkey to fix this, and you would be right. Realistically, however, we know that even if that is possible, it is highly improbable. I believe that what we see in Turkey points to a broader economic reality that global policymakers, who are currently designing pandemic recovery, need to take into account.
Another goat, another dunam
16 May 2021
Doing Business in Israel is easy. Doing business in neighboring Palestine is not. I learned this the hard way, through experience. I was talking to a truly frustrated World Bank officer two decades ago at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Looking over the walls that were last mended by my Ottoman ancestors, I was trying to learn about her experience of working in the place. “If you have a project to support the Palestinian economy, you need to convince a designated Israeli official,” she told me. “You do your best. You’re happy to see progress over time, and you feel that you’re talking the same language with this official.”
Trading in the Middle East
09 May 2021
I was talking to a foreign diplomat in Ankara the other day about how establishing diplomatic ties between countries is simpler than building up economic ties. Exchanging ambassadors is a straight-forward procedure when compared to the complexity of thousands or more economic actors reaching out into the other country, finding people they can work with, and navigating the inevitably complex physical and bureaucratic procedures the trade involves.