Archive

  • May 2020 (5)
  • April 2020 (3)
  • March 2020 (6)
  • February 2020 (3)
  • January 2020 (4)
  • December 2019 (2)
  • November 2019 (3)
  • October 2019 (3)
  • September 2019 (2)
  • August 2019 (3)
  • July 2019 (2)
  • June 2019 (4)

    Mind the gap in 2020
    Güven Sak, PhD 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 [More]
    Refugees still left in the cold
    Güven Sak, PhD 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. [More]
    Must Turkey always stand alone in the world?
    N. Murat Ersavcı 12 December 2019
    Must Turkey always stand alone in the world? It has been a member of NATO for nearly 60 years, but on many issues, it looks to many Turks as if it is on its own. That feeling has of course been reinforced in the last fifteen years by the EU’s decision to reject Turkey’s application for full membership – and its complete blindness towards the fateful consequences of its act. In this article, I propose to examine some of the factors causing Turkey to feel isolated or that it has a poor image. [More]
    How “The White Man’s Burden” Endures in Trump
    Güven Sak, PhD 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. [More]
    Turkey ranked 33rd among 190 countries
    Güven Sak, PhD 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. [More]
    A passage to Europe
    Güven Sak, PhD 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. [More]
    It’s all about the refugees
    Güven Sak, PhD 27 October 2019
    It was Tip O’Neill, a former speaker of the US House of Representatives, who said that “all politics is local.” Joe Biden, then Vice President of US, clarified the phrase for me in Istanbul, when he said “all politics is personal”. That is a solid reference point to understand the dynamics behind the limited Turkish counter terrorism operation into North Eastern Syria. It’s all about the refugees, if you ask me. [More]
    Turkey is waiting for the other shoe to drop
    Güven Sak, PhD 22 October 2019
    I like how Urban Dictionary explained this idiom: “A guest who checked into an inn one night was warned to be quiet because the guest in the room next to his was a light sleeper. As he undressed for bed, he drop one shoe which, sure enough, awakened the other guest. He managed to get the other shoe off in silence, and got into bed. An hour later, he heard a pounding on the wall and a shout: ‘When are you going to drop the other shoe?’” [More]
    Brexit is a bigger problem for the Turkish economy than Syria
    Güven Sak, PhD 13 October 2019
    I was recently asked how badly Turkey’s military operation in Syria could affect the already troubled economy. Could this move, my inquisitor wanted to know, be the last nail in the economy’s coffin? My answer was no. I think that the highly probable no-deal Brexit at the end of October could have a more negative impact than the limited operation in northern Syria. Why? Let me explain. [More]
    An Orwellian new Commission for Europe?
    Güven Sak, PhD 17 September 2019
    Ursula von der Leyen, the President-elect of the European Commission, announced the names of her commissioners this week. I was first struck by the name of the new job dealing with migration. It’s actually called the “Vice-Presidency for Protecting our European Way of Life.” I like how it specifies with “our European Way of Life,” rather than say, “the European Way of Life.” The Orwellian theme continues with the new commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement: Lazslo Tocsanyi, a dutiful follower of Hungary’s Victor Orban. I hope I’m wrong, but from the looks of it, it appears that the new Commission will be accepting identity politics as its core. [More]