Why Brexit is an Opportunity for Turkey
16 February 2020
Brexit, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson likes to say, is done. The British have about a year to negotiate the deal that will determine their future relationship with the EU. The form Brexit takes will have significant repercussions for third parties, Turkey being only one of the many. I believe that Brexit to be rather fortunate for Turkey. Let me explain what I mean by that.
Europe’s geopolitical power and Turkey
09 February 2020
Someone asked an awkward question the other day: “What does a geopolitical commission mean for Turkey?” He was talking about the new EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s plan to boost Europe’s geopolitical weight. Her priorities briefing says that “such a Commission will have a political agenda in which reinforcing the EU’s role as a relevant international actor, and trying to shape a better global order through reinforcing multilateralism, is to become a key priority [‘A stronger Europe in the world’].” I think this would be good for Turkey, but awkward.
Trump's Israel-Palestine Plan is a patchwork of failed attempts
02 February 2020
Looking for something positive happening in Turkey lately? Well, Wikipedia is back as of January 2020. It was shameful that for years we had to use workarounds to use the encyclopedia of the digital age. Thanks to the Constitutional Court in Ankara, it is now easier to search for information in Turkey.
Israelis are back in Turkey after a lost decade
19 January 2020
When we speak of the recent history of Turkish-Israeli relations, two dates stand out. The first is Jan. 30, 2009, when then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was on a Davos panel with President Shimon Peres. Erdoğan told Peres what he thought of Israel’s policies, and stormed off the stage.
Mr. Michel comes to Ankara
12 January 2020
The President of the European Council, Mr. Charles Michel was in Zagreb, Croatia the other day, as that country took over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. He was criticized in Zagreb for not wearing a tie, but a turtleneck sweater. Croatia prides itself of being the home of the necktie, which seems to have deepened the offense.
Mind the gap in 2020
05 January 2020
I see a huge gap between Turkey’s daily political rhetoric and the aspirations of its ordinary citizens. Day-to-day politics is often about grievances, how Turkey’s Western allies have betrayed it, how it is alone and must defend itself. People seem to like that sort of thing, but maybe that’s just it - they seem to. When asked in private, the ordinary Turk again and again expresses a desire to be part of Western institutions, and we have mounting data to reinforce this observation. I was looking at the recent İKV (İktisadi Kalkınma Vakfı-Economic Development Foundation) survey, which indicates that 60 percent of Turks are ready to vote for Turkey to become a member of the European Union. This figure is at 66 percent among the 18-24 age bracket. These numbers alone seem to contradict the h
Refugees still left in the cold
22 December 2019
Last week the Global Refugee Forum was convened in Geneva to put the refugee situation under the spotlight. It was the first of its kind to be organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Swiss government.
How “The White Man’s Burden” Endures in Trump
24 November 2019
This week, President Trump pardoned three US officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq. It made me think of Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden,” that ode to western imperialism.
Turkey ranked 33rd among 190 countries
10 November 2019
In the World Bank’s 2019 Doing Business Survey, Turkey was among the top 10 reformers. It has not been able to hold on to this position in the 2020 report that was just released. Yet the country’s ranking regarding ease of doing business has improved, moving from 33rd to 43rd. In the metrics of doing business, Turkey looks better than before.
A passage to Europe
05 November 2019
Let me start with a bit of wonderful news: Next Tuesday, November 5, the Chang’an Cargo Train (a.k.a. China Railway Express) is to make a short stop in Ankara. It is then going to pass under the Bosphorous, using the Marmaray tunnel. This is going to be the first direct cargo train traveling from Xian, China, to Europe. At long last, the Turkish corridor to Europe is becoming operational.