Where is Turkey in the Sunni-Shia conflict?
09 January 2016
With tensions growing between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the sectarian conflict in the Middle East is approaching boiling point. The second American intervention to Iraq altered the long-established balance in our region, and created an environment where sectarianism emerged to the surface. The Arab awakening shattered whatever checks remained. The tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia threaten to escalate this conflict to the state level.
From Children of the Recession to the Children of Sur
02 January 2016
The Sur district of Diyarbakır province is under curfew these days. Security forces are trying to take down barricades in the streets, often “manned” by mere teenagers. As important as it is to resolve the security problem, our questions cannot stop there.
Will Turkey be cautious in 2016, or will it be bold?
27 December 2015
How do I see Turkey in 2016? That is one of the questions I have been asked frequently in the last few weeks. As New Year’s Eve is fast approaching, let me clarify my position: I consider 2016 to be a trying year for Turkey. Even though the odds will not be in our favor, the overall outcome will heavily depend upon how Turks are going to deal with the issues at hand. So 2016 can either be a year of living boldly or a year of living cautiously for Turks. I think we should all err on the side of caution.
Why 2016 is going to be a crucial year for the G20
20 December 2015
I was in Beijing last week. I was lucky because there was a breeze throughout my stay. Without it, the sky is gray throughout, and the smog makes you cough incessantly. Beijing’s population was around 10 million in the early 1990s, with only one ring road to connect the outskirts. The population doubled in the past 25 years, and now Beijing has 6 ring roads, with the 7th one to be built soon. It will be around 1000 kilometers, I was told. So China has changed. The iconic bicycles of the 1980s have disappeared, and the cars that replaced them have poisoned the air. Beijing might be the most egregious case, but China’s other urban areas aren’t very different. That is because China’s leaders made a tradeoff. They chose job creation and growth at the expense of urban sprawl. Why did it have to
The Chinese 4 “i”s to the 3 Turkish “i”s for a G20 more relevant to the developing world
05 December 2015
Turkey’s G20 Presidency ended with the Antalya Summit last month, and the Chinese year has already begun with the release of the document “China G20 2016: G20 Summit 2016, China” that underlines its priorities for 2016. Looking back at the Turkish G20 priorities document released approximately one year ago, one remembers the 3 i’s - inclusiveness, implementation and investment. The Chinese raised the stakes to 4 i’s. The document states “China, assuming the G20 presidency for 2016, stands ready to work together with all members towards an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy.” What does that mean? If you ask me, the Chinese document says that the G20 is becoming more relevant for developing countries. In 2016, China will continue with the trend - initiated by
Shooting down the Russian jet a symptom of Turkey’s central malaise
28 November 2015
Ever since Turkey downed the Russian Su-24 on its border with Syria, I have been thinking about the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident between Israel and Turkey. In many ways, the jet incident is to Russia what the Mavi Marmara was to Turkey. Russia’s demands for an apology made the cases all the more similar. The only difference is that Russia understands this is not about legality, but rather about saving face.
Why is Turkey’s export performance going down the drain?
20 November 2015
G20 Antalya Summit is now over. The G20 Circus has hit the road from Antalya to Hangzhou in China. The next performance is due in November 2016. The G20 offers a good opportunity to follow up on the global agenda. Never mind those commentators who say that ISIS has become the top item in the global agenda. ISIS was just the current affairs flavor of the global agenda debates this year. It simply served the purpose of salt, pepper or paprika in a dish. In fact, the global agenda is much more extensive and more comprehensive than ISIS. The slowdown in world trade constitutes one of the important issues in the global agenda nowadays, which, obviously, affects Turkey as well. Our exports go downhill, according to dollar-based statistics. Let’s take a closer look at the figures today.
When will the asymmetry in G20 agenda get a fix?
19 November 2015
What would be the impression you’d get on G20 if you followed the G20 summit through the Turkish media alone. Imagine you’d never heard of it. Imagine you’re trying to figure it out for the first time by following the Turkish media. You may have thought that G20 was an organization company that brought leaders to Antalya for bilateral get-togethers. Or that it was a tea party event bringing together the leaders. But this simply demonstrates Turkey’s status in the face of the global agenda, to be frank.
The devil you know
07 November 2015
Turkey went to the polls on Sunday, and we found out that the desire for a change, which was obvious in results of June 2015 elections, had turned into a fear of change. Voters who were slipping away from the AKP rushed back, giving it a landslide victory.
1 out of every 40 companies established in Turkey is now Syrian
26 October 2015
The leader of the trade with Syria in 2010 was Istanbul. Turkey’s exports to Syria reached its zenith that year at USD1.9bn. One third of that figure originated from Istanbul. In 2014, Turkey’s exports to Syria still stood at USD1.8bn. But only one sixth of that figure originates from Istanbul. Exports from Istanbul to Syria dropped from one third to one sixth of Turkey’s overall exports. Istanbul is no longer the leader in exports to Syria.