• September 2021 (1)
  • August 2021 (4)
  • July 2021 (3)
  • June 2021 (4)
  • May 2021 (5)
  • April 2021 (2)
  • March 2021 (5)
  • February 2021 (4)
  • January 2021 (4)
  • December 2020 (4)
  • November 2020 (5)
  • October 2020 (4)

    Waiting for the virus
    Güven Sak, PhD 30 August 2020
    Constantine P. Cavafy’s poem “Waiting for the Barbarians” is a delightful read in dark times. It’s about a day in an unnamed city-state, where life comes to a halt as everybody, from the king to the crowd, stop whatever they usually do, dress up in their finest clothes and await the arrival of “the barbarians.” [More]
    Turkey is still normalizing
    Güven Sak, PhD 16 August 2020
    Looking at Turkey from abroad these days, one might be interested in various data points. The exchange rate, the interest rate and the various up-and-down ticks of the Borsa Istanbul index. One may also look at dotted lines in the Aegean and dotted lines on paper that are being negotiated or renegotiated. Those things are surely important, but I submit to you one data point that captures something far deeper than any of that: The fertility rate. Turkey recently announced its revised average rate of births per woman. As of 2019, the fertility rate dropped sharply from 2.069 babies per woman to 1.88. That’s the kind of thing I have in mind when I am telling my foreign friends to take a longer view on Turkey. Look at the grand normalization process that’s moving forward despite the daily news [More]
    A tale of three blasts
    Güven Sak, PhD 09 August 2020
    I still recommend taking the long view on Turkey. Yes, there is cause for serious concern, but Turkey remains a great country in a very troubled region. In this troubled region, we do not always do the right thing, but I like to think we learn from our mistakes. Just have a look at the three major events, three blasts, in fact, that I see this week, and three learning opportunities, taking their place in our collective consciousness. [More]
    That pricking feeling again
    Güven Sak, PhD 04 August 2020
    It’s Bayram (Eid el Adha) a time for celebration in the Muslim world, when families gather, make an animal sacrifice, and feast together. The Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakthin wrote “the feast has no utilitarian connotation (as has daily rest and relaxation after working hours.) On the contrary, the feast means liberation from all that is utilitarian, practical. It is a temporary transfer to the utopian world.” [More]