EU - Turkey Relations
20 January 2020
With the latest worrying developments in the international scene, I believe it is time for the EU to rethink its policy approach towards Turkey. Both Turkey and the EU face the same difficulties, especially at the moment in the Middle East. Together we would have much greater strength to influence the events to come. In that context, discussion of “EU- Turkey Relations” will remain incomplete unless without first examining closely the interaction between Turkey and Europe.
Israelis are back in Turkey after a lost decade
19 January 2020
When we speak of the recent history of Turkish-Israeli relations, two dates stand out. The first is Jan. 30, 2009, when then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was on a Davos panel with President Shimon Peres. Erdoğan told Peres what he thought of Israel’s policies, and stormed off the stage.
Mr. Michel comes to Ankara
12 January 2020
The President of the European Council, Mr. Charles Michel was in Zagreb, Croatia the other day, as that country took over the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. He was criticized in Zagreb for not wearing a tie, but a turtleneck sweater. Croatia prides itself of being the home of the necktie, which seems to have deepened the offense.
Mind the gap in 2020
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
Refugees still left in the cold
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.
Must Turkey always stand alone in the world?
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.
How “The White Man’s Burden” Endures in Trump
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.
Turkey ranked 33rd among 190 countries
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.
A passage to Europe
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.
It’s all about the refugees
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.