The Turkish Lira is plunging despite high growth. Why?
07 April 2018
Turkey had a record growth rate of 7.4 percent in 2017. As of April, the lira has depreciated by 8 percent in 2018. This trend, it seems, will continue. Can we say that record growth has made the Lira more vulnerable? And if so, why?
Imagine a Syria with no Americans
31 March 2018
Have you heard the last bit of presidential wisdom from Donald Trump? “We are knocking the hell out of ISIS” boasted the triumphant president, “we’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it.” When asked about Trump’s remarks, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said she was “unaware” about any plans for a troop withdrawal. Whether it will actually happen or not, President Trump is making us think about a scenario hitherto far out of the realm of possibility: What if there were no Americans in Syria? What if the supposedly sole superpower in the world just didn’t try to shape events in the most violently disputed piece of land in the world?
From Japan to China bashing
17 March 2018
I see two emerging trends. One is in the West, the other is in China. I was at a meeting in Mumbai this week. Everybody there was more interested in the power consolidation in China than in the disarray in Washington. President Trump, who has never been accountable to a board of directors in his life, is running the American government like a private company. We have a drunk sitting in the driving seat of the American government. Let me tell you what that feels like to a Turk in Mumbai.
The gender gap is narrowing in Turkey
10 March 2018
Last week, TEPAV announced its third Gender Inequality Scorecard. Our objective here is to raise awareness about gender inequality in the Turkish countryside. The results are surprising this year. After the 2012 and 2015 reports, there is significant improvement across the board in gender equality. We collect data on the provincial level, and the best performing are Van, Tunceli, Antalya, Maraş and Artvin. Except Antalya, all of these provinces are in the East.
Turkey needs more GVCs
24 February 2018
Turkey’s industrial transformation started in the early 1980s. Unlike many of its Middle Eastern neighbors, Turkey has no natural resources, so it had to organize its society around producing things others might want to buy. And we did. Our per capita GDP went from $1,500 in 1980 to more than $10,000 in 35 years. An agricultural backwater became an urban, industrial, and fairly market-driven place. So far so good. Yet if the idea is to converge with the rich world, Turkey is in trouble. It needs to renew its industrial base. To do that, it needs global value chains (GVCs). It now seems however, that GVCs no longer want to come to Turkey. Why not?
Turkey needs to increase its ‘readiness’ for future of production
19 February 2018
One of today’s most important tasks for Turkey is to increase its level of ‘readiness’ for the future of production, as startups might be used as transformation tools.New technologies have not only changed the way in which manufacturing and R&D is carried out but also corporate behavior and business models.Last month, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published a report on “readiness” in terms of the future of production. The report uses a benchmarking framework and a dataset as a way of understanding the current level of “readiness” in countries across the world.Two different components shape the assessment: “Structure of production” and “drivers of production.” “Structure of production” indicates the countries’ current production baseline, while “drivers of production” comprise the key
Higher growth, higher misery in Turkey
17 February 2018
Turkey’s economy grew by 11.1 percent in the third quarter of 2017. That’s the highest figure since 2014. Yet the misery index, found simply by summing up the inflation rate and unemployment rate, has reached 21.2 percent. That figure, in turn, is at its highest since 2004. So higher growth has made Turkey even more miserable. Why?
Turkey and NATO: 45 years ago, 45 years later
10 February 2018
NATO was established in 1949. Turkey and Greece became members in 1952. And if there was no NATO at the time, Turks would have had to invent it. Russia was breathing down Turkey’s neck, and it needed Western allies to keep it in check. And Turkey paid for that protection in its blood. A 5,000-strong Turkish brigade shipped off to the Korean War in 1950. 741 of them died. Yet these days people keep asking me “Why are Turkey and NATO growing apart?” Are they really? I don’t think so. Let me elaborate.
Russian-Turkish relations and the dark underbelly of Cryptocurrency
03 February 2018
Russian-Turkish relations were in the news again last week. But this time it was different. It was not about s-400s, not sanctions or secondary sanctions, nor even about the Syrian Civil War. It was about bitcoin and blockchain technologies. Could this also be considered something sinister, as Russia and Turkey as partners in crime? Could cryptocurrencies be considered a new tool for busting American sanctions? Could this be the premature end to bitcoin? Let me elaborate.
One global economy, two visions
29 January 2018
The World Economic Forum's 48th annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, kicked off with copious measures of optimism and caution. On one side, IMF upped its global growth projections for 2018 and 2019 right before the meetings began. Also prior to Davos was an announcement by Apple, the most valuable company in the world, that it would contribute $350 billion to the US economy, creating 20,000 new jobs in the next five years. Both these developments set a tone of optimism for the meetings. At Davos, CEOs cheered and clapped the US tax reform, companies declared their goodwill and vowed to increase workers’ wages among other concessions, envisioning an ever-stronger American economy that would strengthen global growth along with it.On the other end, IMF director Christine Lagarde appeared cir