Turkey is diversifying its energy imports
04 October 2020
In a secret meeting in 1942, then U.K Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, “The challenge of working with allies is that sometimes they develop opinions of their own and we don’t always perhaps give those opinions the respect they deserve.” Alliances are crucial for success in foreign policy. Good alliances cannot form unless statesmen understand the concerns and possible regional problems of their allies and take the long view. Everybody, including Turkey, needs to think about these words of wisdom.
Signatories of Abraham Accords should take a hard look at Cyprus
27 September 2020
When I first heard about the normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE, I reminisced Amin Malouf’s book “The Crusades Through Arab Eyes,” where he writes that every Arab chieftain saw the oncoming Crusades as an opportunity to deal with their local enemies. They thought that if they elevated their local skirmishes to a new, continent-wide level, they could come out on top. The result was a bloodbath. The “enemy of your enemy may also be your enemy,” as former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said about ISIL a few years ago.
Turkey is getting older
20 September 2020
We live in the age of multiple global challenges. Global warming and pandemics are obviously interrelated problems that require a global response, but there is a less obvious one I can think of: Aging.
The tiger and the virus
13 September 2020
Ten years ago, everyone in Turkey was talking about tigers – Anatolian tigers. These up and coming cities in the dry climate of inner Anatolia were the homes of dynamic young firms striking out to make their fortunes. Nowadays, we are only talking about the virus. That, and a series of currency crises seem to have made us forget about the Anatolian tigers. I think Turkey needs to re-focus on what matters most and launch urban governance reform. This means tending to the tigers while controlling the virus. Let me elaborate.
Inflation measurement in the age of COVID-19
06 September 2020
On the sudden stop in global economic activity this year, Fed Chair Jay Powell said in May 2020 that “the virus is the cause, not the usual suspects.” That started the global process of monetary easing.
Waiting for the virus
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.”
Turkey is still normalizing
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
A tale of three blasts
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.
That pricking feeling again
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.”
Turkey’s COVID-19 response from the perspective of German business
26 July 2020
Recently, “AHK Türkei,” the Turkish-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, has announced the results of a survey regarding the business expectations of its members. Fortunately, Turkey is not the only country that AHK, the German Chamber movement, has a dual chamber arrangement with – it has these arrangements with 92 countries. That is how through this survey, we can compare the COVID-19 response of different countries from a commercial perspective. It’s a kind of litmus test for Turkey’s COVID-19 response, and I find the results more than a bit ambivalent. Let me explain.