Revenge of the places that don’t matter
08 November 2020
It was Andres Rodriguez-Pose of the London School of Economics (LSE), who saw “the revenge of the places that don’t matter, in the 2016 Brexit vote in the U.K., the 2016 election of Donald Trump in the U.S., the 2016 Austrian presidential election, the 2017 French presidential election, and the 2017 German general elections.” All of those votes were about regional inequalities.
Three tasks for G20
01 November 2020
In three weeks, the leaders of the world’s most “systemically important” countries are due to meet in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for the 15th summit of the G20. It used to be an important event in the geopolitical calendar where many serious financial, environmental and political problems were addressed in its summits. With the election of Donald Trump in 2016, as well as many other nationalist and populist leaders, the importance of the G20 has declined.
Saudi ban shows importance of rules-based trade
25 October 2020
Turkey still does not have an ambassador in Tel Aviv, our president campaigns against Israel whenever he gets the chance, and conditions under the COVID-19 pandemic are less than ideal, yet Turkish-Israeli trade continues unhindered. In the first nine months of 2020, Turkey’s exports to Israel amounted to $3.2 billion, almost the same as the export volume of 2019. Troubled political relations between the two countries have not had a direct impact on bilateral trade. There are no calls for boycotts, nor measures to slow down trade between Turkey and Israel. Despite the troubled relationship between Erdoğan and Netanyahu, the system works.
A Schuman Plan for Cyprus
18 October 2020
Turkish Cyprus is due to hold the second round of its presidential elections on Sunday. The tragedy of the situation is that the outcome of the election probably won’t change things too much for the enclave to go forward. Whoever gets elected will have to act within a very narrow margin of choices because the Cyprus conflict is no longer merely about the inhabitants of the island.
Turkey is aging at an inopportune time
11 October 2020
“A pessimist sees the difficulty at every opportunity, the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” said Churchill. I consider myself a born again optimist, yet as an experienced citizen of Turkey, I see much difficulty as well. Like Madeleine Albright, I am an optimist who worries a lot nowadays.
Turkey is diversifying its energy imports
04 October 2020
In a secret meeting in 1942, then U.K Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, “The challenge of working with allies is that sometimes they develop opinions of their own and we don’t always perhaps give those opinions the respect they deserve.” Alliances are crucial for success in foreign policy. Good alliances cannot form unless statesmen understand the concerns and possible regional problems of their allies and take the long view. Everybody, including Turkey, needs to think about these words of wisdom.
Signatories of Abraham Accords should take a hard look at Cyprus
27 September 2020
When I first heard about the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE, I reminisced Amin Malouf’s book “The Crusades Through Arab Eyes,” where he writes that every Arab chieftain saw the oncoming Crusades as an opportunity to deal with their local enemies. They thought that if they elevated their local skirmishes to a new, continent-wide level, they could come out on top. The result was a bloodbath. The “enemy of your enemy may also be your enemy,” as former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said about ISIL a few years ago.
Turkey is getting older
20 September 2020
We live in the age of multiple global challenges. Global warming and pandemics are obviously interrelated problems that require a global response, but there is a less obvious one I can think of: Aging.
The tiger and the virus
13 September 2020
Ten years ago, everyone in Turkey was talking about tigers – Anatolian tigers. These up and coming cities in the dry climate of inner Anatolia were the homes of dynamic young firms striking out to make their fortunes. Nowadays, we are only talking about the virus. That, and a series of currency crises seem to have made us forget about the Anatolian tigers. I think Turkey needs to re-focus on what matters most and launch urban governance reform. This means tending to the tigers while controlling the virus. Let me elaborate.
Inflation measurement in the age of COVID-19
06 September 2020
On the sudden stop in global economic activity this year, Fed Chair Jay Powell said in May 2020 that “the virus is the cause, not the usual suspects.” That started the global process of monetary easing.