The EU’s hot air balloon and Turkey
21 April 2019
When it comes to global politics, we all know that the European Union (EU) is in a sorry state. One of its three most powerful members is leaving, its inbred establishment is besieged, its Eastern edges are slipping into despotism. It lacks a cohesive foreign policy framework: 2016 Global Strategy to make the EU a global actor has yet to be implemented. Why? It’s as Seneca said “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” Without political leadership, even the best of plans is useless.
Migrating from Turkey’s governing block
14 April 2019
“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action” writes Ian Fleming in Goldfinger. Since I am not James Bond, I’m inclined to replace “enemy action” with “pattern,” but it works just the same, and for me, the 2019 election in Turkey was that magical third time. Let me explain.
Next time it will be the economy
07 April 2019
There are two types of countries in our region: countries where you know the results of an election before votes are counted, and those where you have to wait for the tally. Some may have had their doubts about where Turkey placed in that categorization, but last week’s vote clarified things. Democracy is still breathing in this country. Good for us.
Much ado about nothing
31 March 2019
That’s how I see things in the financial markets this past week. Why? There’s nothing there about economic policy. It’s all about politics. Turkey is going to the polls this Sunday. In Shakespeare’s play of the same title, a great fuss (“much ado”) is made of something insignificant. There are unfounded claims of the hero’s infidelity and the unfounded claims that two characters are in love with each other. All about eavesdropping, hearsay, spying and critique of other people. The Turkish economy too, is a play about deception and self-deception.
In banks Turks trust
24 March 2019
Looking at the economy these days, there are things that I understand and there are things that I have difficulty in understanding. The recent rapid rise in retail foreign exchange (FX) bank deposit accounts speaks of volumes, if you ask me. Just this week, the government decided to raise the witholding tax rate on interest income from FX accounts. Let me explain what I am hearing, and why all this is important.
All eyez on Turkey
17 March 2019
In December 1995, the American rapper 2Pac (Tupac Amari Shakur) was on MTV, talking about his new album. “It's called All Eyez on Me. That's how I feel it is. I got the police watching me, the Feds... everybody's looking to see what I'mma do now so All Eyez on Me.” That’s what it feels like in Turkey these days.
Conservative debates in Turkey and Germany
10 March 2019
“The times they are-a changin’” sang Bob Dylan in the 1960s. That got to me sometimes. Aren’t they always “a-changin’?” Isn’t that what time is? Not necessarily. The course of human events can slow down and speed up. There is a good argument to be made that today, urbanization and technological innovation are accelerating things faster than at any point in human history. For people who think of themselves as being “conservative,” it makes things complicated. That is why I find debates among conservatives more interesting and more important these days.
Turkey as Einwanderungsland
10 February 2019
I see two important trends shaping the future of the global debate: the first is population aging and the second is migration. It’s an old story in a new setting. People in developed parts of the world are getting older, while young people in poor places are trying to get away from their circumstances. I see a global role for countries like Turkey in shaping the solutions to these problems. Let me explain.
Time to re-engage with Iran
03 February 2019
Have you heard of the testimonies of US intelligence chiefs at a Senate hearing last week? They all said that Iran is not trying to build nuclear weapons. It seems like very good news for our troubled region. Looking for short-term policy implications? It’s time to re-engage with Iran. So the Europeans, together with Turkey, were right and the US and Israel were wrong in their policy recommendations.
Why Brexit is important for Turkey
08 January 2019
Brexit discussions has turned into a farce in the UK. If we consider the referendum itself as a tragedy, Prime Minister May’s handling of the Brexit process has turned it into a comedy. Currently, there is a whole new discussion on how Brexit should be carried out. Interestingly, the current discussions are all UK-centric. However Brexit is more important for Turkey than you may imagine, therefore how they see this process through with the UK is so very important for the EU, too. Let me explain.