Of Turkish and French Presidents
29 August 2015
Turkey had its legislative elections in June 7. The result was simple. Four parties made it into parliament and not a single one had enough seats to form a government by itself. As prime minister designate, Ahmet Davutoğlu failed to form a coalition government. In line with his constitutional powers, President Erdoğan dissolved the Parliament and declared that snap elections would be held on November 1st.
Whatever happened to Turkish Lira?
22 August 2015
Turks are now acting as if it came by surprise. The Turkish Lira has lost around 9% of its value against the dollar in a single month. If you take January of this year as the starting point, it has reached to around 27%. Why?
Insipid leadership makes normalization harder
15 August 2015
Turkey had its election this June. Halfway in August now, the country has still no government. Just before the election in June 7, 2015, I dubbed it as the outset of the great normalization in Turkey. That was published in June 6, 2015, mind you. There I noted a caveat, kind of a “personality” problem that may hamper the transition process. Let me reiterate.
The peace process is still alive in Turkey
08 August 2015
Turkey has started air campaigns against both ISIL and the PKK. ISIL is the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the new bastion of the age-old militant Salafi menace in our region. The PKK, on the other hand, is the Kurdistan Workers Party, a Marxist-Leninist outfit indigenous to Turkish Kurdistan. Both organizations use terrorism as a method, meaning that they conduct asymmetric warfare and choose their targets, civilian, military or police, to instill fear and spread division among their enemies. But despite what our politicians say, we do not treat them the same. While ISIL is hell bent on killing and enslaving us, the PKK is part of a political movement that we can and are negotiating with.
Is it really different this time with ISIL?
25 July 2015
Turkey is at war with ISIL, but did you know that this has happened before? Twice, actually. ISIL might be a new organization, but what it represents has been around for a few centuries. Our Ottoman forefathers have squashed the menace before. Yet Selim Koru of TEPAV notes that this third time is different. Why?
Desperately waiting for a new government
18 July 2015
Turkey still has no government. No government is bad for Turkey. Turks do feel the impact of no government more directly than Belgians and Danes. After all, no government means no decisions in Turkey. Wonder why Turks are desperately waiting for a new government? First of all, Turkey is more centralized than either Belgium or Denmark. Belgium is a federal state. So by definition, it is decentralized. Denmark, on the other hand, is a unitary state. But there are important differences there too. The two countries are the exact opposites of each other when it comes to their governance structures. 78% of all public sector employees are working with local administrations in Denmark. Compare that with the fact that only 9% of public sector employees work for local authorities in Turkey. In Bel
Turkey is no Belgium
13 July 2015
Of course you don’t need to read this column to know that. Turkey’s per capita GDP is only a fifth of that of Belgium. Our economy has been declared part of the “fragile five,” while Belgium is safely embedded in the EU’s currency and trade union. Belgium also has no neighbors like ISIL. In one respect however, we seem to be on track to join Belgium – we take our time with coalitions. After their December 2011 elections, it notoriously took the Belgians 541 days to form a coalition.
The Greek Tragedy of Mario Draghi
04 July 2015
Central banking is difficult. It requires bankers not only to plan for how they think the future is going to play out, but plan for how they fear it might play out, too. But even the best plans won’t be enough if central bankers don’t know how to talk about them. Banking is all about what is going to happen in the future – who is going to pay whom, and how. So central bankers need to be adept at manipulating the future in the present day. Like everyone else, they do that with words. Each one must be precisely calibrated to instill certain expectations in listeners and readers.
How to talk about the big picture
27 June 2015
What would you do if someone asked you to summarize the major tensions of human beings on this blue planet of ours? I’m talking about the big, systemic issues – the problems of capitalism, war, climate change and development. These things are too complicated for any one person or a single generation to solve.
The Return of the Dispossessed
13 June 2015
Turkey had its 18th multi-party general election last Sunday. The results bear repeating: our governing party of last 13 years, has come out 18 short of a parliamentary majority. We now have a 4 party parliament. The last time this sort of thing happened was when we used dial-up internet connections, and cell phones had actual antennas on them.