The British are doing what the Turks should have done
17 March 2015
The highlight of the last week came from beyond the ocean. The headline of the Financial Times last Friday was “US attacks UK’s ‘constant accommodation’ with China.” According to the story, the Americans were disgruntled by the UK’s approach to China.
Why do Turks overestimate themselves?
14 March 2015
They do! That, at least, is what a recent survey says. According to the OECD, only 3% of people in Turkey say that they are underqualified for their current jobs. The OECD average is around 22%, mind you. What is more, 40% of Turks think they are overqualified for their jobs. OECD average for employees thinking they are overqualified? Just 25%. So either we entertain delusions of grandeur, or there really are no good jobs in this country. I tend to lean towards the former explanation.
Why are the Turks obsessed with the interest rate?
07 March 2015
We have been here before. It has been more than a decade and a half since our country’s politics steered our economy into the ditch. We must not have learned our lesson. Perhaps it’s a problem with our abstraction skills. We are unable to identify a fixed pattern through time, so we are doomed to go through it endlessly. The first one was in 1994 and the new episode is now unfolding before our eyes. What we have acquired during this time is an unhealthy obsession with the interest rate.
If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys
06 March 2015
Turkey has lost the chance of success by doing everything exactly the way it has done so far. Staying the same used to be a possibility, but not anymore. That’s why Turkey has to start looking for novel ways of doing things and making a difference. Turkey has to forget everything it knows from factories to schools, politics, and science, refute everything that is enciphered in its genetic code and seek a new way. But are we ready for that adventure? Not really. Just as Turkey’s politicians are unaware that the country can be governed in a much better way, company executives are unaware that much better management is possible for their companies. Everybody has a strong belief that the status quo is the best option available. What needs to change thus remains in tact. Everyone tends to belie
What’s the trouble with Turkey?
28 February 2015
Denmark has had no majority government since 1982. Turkey, on the other hand, has been ruled by a tight single party majority since 2002. That is 33 years of debate and dealmaking in Denmark and 13 years of parliamentary hegemony in Turkey. Life is so boring in Denmark, or so I tell myself. And anyways, a single-party government means political stability.
Have you heard the cry of Özgecan?
21 February 2015
Özgecan Aslan was a 20-year old university student. She was killed in a private bus after an attempted rape in Tarsus, between Mersin and Adana on the southern coast of Turkey. The perpetrators of the monstrous crime disfigured and burned her body. They have all been arrested. Yet the slogan “Have you heard the cry of Özgecan?” is still echoing across massive protests all over the country. Being a woman in Turkey is not easy. In that regard we are like India, where a 23-year old physiotherapy intern was gang-raped and killed at a private bus in Southern Delhi. Just like that. I have to confess that we in Turkey have not heard the cry of Özgecan on time.
Greek debt no longer a technical problem
14 February 2015
The European Union has approached the Greek debt problem as a technical one up until now. Greek governments used to share that perspective. No more. Alexis Tsipras and his Radical Coalition of the Left puts politics front and center. Why? Because the purely mathematical approach of debt dynamics turned out to be a disaster. Unemployment increased around 50%, while the ratio of public debt to GDP increased from 120% to more than 170%. It was a bitter failure.
The Middle East and North Africa needs its own ASEAN
31 January 2015
In 2012, Turkey made the Ro-Ro agreement with Egypt, which allowed its goods easier access to Middle Eastern markets. The agreement is going to expire this April, and Egypt has made it clear that it will not renew it. The whole episode strengthens my belief that Turkey needs to restore the zero problems policy.
First Muslim-majority country to chair the G20
24 January 2015
In 2012, Mexico was the first emerging economy to lead the G20. So Turkey is not first. But those out there with unhealthy “first time ever” obsessions, can take solace in Turkey being the first Muslim-majority country to chair the G20. Here is one “first time ever” for you. No one says it out loud, but I can see it in their eyes – everybody is following Turkey with great interest for this reason, if not any other. Turkey is the first Muslim-majority nation to lead the G20 process. See, I said it again. That makes 2015 important.
Why Turkey’s transformation is confusing
17 January 2015
I have been hearing two seemingly contradictory tales about Turkey’s transformation lately. One ends with the AKP’s election victory in 2002, while the other starts with it. Both are wrong. Turkish history is all but one continuum, if you ask me. Without President Özal’s legacy pre-2002, we would not have had President Erdoğan post-2002. Even the epistemological break with the establishment of the Republic was hatched in the late Ottoman period. It was soldiers of the empire who led the Liberation War and shaped the events that changed Turkey starting from 1919. It was them who rejected the Sevres agreement, a Turkish Versailles. The path breaking reforms of the Republic were born of the dreams of the Ottoman intelligentsia, and not only among those in Istanbul but also those in Cairo. Ye