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    At the gates of Europe
    Güven Sak, PhD 11 December 2016
    Last I checked, on Dec. 8, it had dwindled down to 0. Just 14 months ago, on Oct. 20, 2015, it was more than 10,000, mind you. Prefer long-term averages? The daily average was around 5,000 for November 2015 and 66 for November 2016. [More]
    Europe needs a Turkey strategy
    Güven Sak, PhD 27 November 2016
    The European Parliament has recommended to the European Commission a temporary freeze of accession negotiations with Turkey. The resolution was approved overwhelmingly with 479 “yes” votes. Some say that the resolution is all bark and no bite, and that the EP is just trying to be important. I don’t think so. I think it’s indicative of long-standing strategic blindness in Brussels, and it will have serious consequences. [More]
    ‘You shall not buy’: Syrians and real estate ownership in Turkey
    Omar Kadkoy 21 November 2016
    In September, 1,276 homes were sold to foreigners in Turkey. Among the top five foreign buyers were three Arab nationalities: Iraqis, Saudis and Kuwaitis. The non-Arabs were the Russians and the British. Together, these five nationalities bought half of the real estate sold to foreigners, according to official data. Similarly, in 2015, Arabs bought 45.9 percent of all real estate sold to foreigners in Turkey, dominating the top three once again. At first glance, all appears to be in order, and Turkey seems to be attracting a satisfactory amount of Arab capital. But why do Syrians have no presence among foreign buyers? Syrians represent about 3.5 percent of the Turkish population now. More importantly, according to the Directorate General of Migration Management statistics, some 90 percent [More]
    Why the Trexit debate?
    Güven Sak, PhD 20 November 2016
    There have been many articles about “Trexit” in the Turkish media since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan raised the possibility of a referendum on Ankara’s EU membership bid. The term, of course, is derived from “Brexit,” and implies that Turks will vote their way out of the EU, just as the British did. [More]
    The exodus?
    Güven Sak, PhD 13 November 2016
    I have been hearing the same question a lot lately. CEOs of international companies, ambassadors, foreign visitors in any meeting about Turkey are asking me what I think of the Turks making plans to leave their country. With the coup attempt, state of emergency and wave upon wave of arrests, people want to leave. I understand why people are upset, however I just do not see an exodus of sorts. It looks like an optical illusion to me. 2016 has been an intense year. The fear of more Mexicans in the United States and the fear of Turks and other oh-so-disreputable people flooding Britain have been front and center. In both countries, both campaigns seem to – very purposefully – have touched a nerve. Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States and British national [More]
    Welcome to the Grand Hotel Abyss
    Güven Sak, PhD 06 November 2016
    The day after that dreadful night of the failed coup in Turkey, tens of thousands of Venezuelans were crossing the Colombian border. The weekend of July 16-17 witnessed around 135,000 Venezuelans making the trip. They walked there, and they walked back. Why you may wonder? [More]
    Why the growth slowdown in Turkey now?
    Güven Sak, PhD 30 October 2016
    Have you seen the Putinphone? Caviar, a Russian jewelry company, has designed a limited edition of them on the occasion of the 63rd birthday of the Russian president.  It looks like the iPhone 6, except Putin’s face is encrusted in gold on the back, as is the seal of the Russian presidency and a few lines of the country’s national anthem. This is all on top of a titanium base that is supposed to reflect the national will of the Russian people, as embodied by their omnipresent president. Here’s the rub though: When you turn the phone on, it’s just a regular iPhone, “designed by Apple in California” and manufactured by Foxconn in China. That’s because there are two types of countries in the world: Countries that make iPhones and countries that make iPhone covers. It’s a pity that Russ [More]
    A small but decisive step towards rule of law in Turkey?
    Güven Sak, PhD 23 October 2016
    “The power to become habituated to his surroundings is a marked characteristic of mankind,” writes John Maynard Keynes in the opening sentence of The Economic Consequences of the Peace. “Very few of us realize with conviction the intensely unusual, unstable, complicated, unreliable, temporary nature of the … organization by which Western Europe has lived for the last half century.” [More]
    Why is the Turkish Lira rapidly depreciating?
    Güven Sak, PhD 16 October 2016
    According to the latest round of the World Values Survey, only 11 percent of Turks believe that “most people can be trusted”. In Germany, that number is 45 percent. When it comes to trusting others, Turks are at the bottom of the list. Yet in comparison to others, Turks save less and borrow more. The current account deficit stands testimony to that. So Turks are surrounded by people they don’t trust, but don’t build up financial security around them. Sounds like a recipe for anxiety to me. [More]
    Increasing inflows into Turkey after downgrade
    Güven Sak, PhD 09 October 2016
    Moody’s downgraded Turkey to a speculative level on 22 September. That makes two such grades, the first being S&P’s decision soon after the attempted coup in July. Moody’s downgrade was based on the “weakening in previously supportive credit fundamentals, particularly growth and institutional strength.” So, one would expect foreign fund outflows from the country as investors shy away from Turkish assets. Yet, like a slap in the face of Moody’s and S&P analysts, portfolio investors are flocking in. Foreign investors bought a net of $618 million worth of stocks and bonds in five trading days through September 30. That’s the highest inflow in the last 7 weeks, mind you. So, foreign investors reacted to Moody’s downgrade by buying more Turkish assets. [More]