TurkeyOctober 14 2020, 6:17 am

WSJ Journalists Participate in Turkish Government-Tied Think Tank Book Discussion

Two jour­nal­ists from the Wall Street Jour­nal par­tic­i­pat­ed in a book dis­cus­sion of their book on Chinese/US trade and host­ed by a think tank close to the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment. Accord­ing to the event page:

July 20, 2020 The trade bat­tle between Chi­na and the U.S. didn’t start with Trump and won’t end with him, argue Bob Davis and Lin­gling Wei. The two coun­tries have a long and fraught polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic his­to­ry which has become more con­tentious over the past three years―an esca­la­tion that has neg­a­tive­ly impact­ed both coun­tries’ economies and the world at large―and holds the poten­tial for even more uncer­tain­ty and dis­rup­tion. How did this stand-off hap­pen? How much are U.S. pres­i­dents and offi­cials who haven’t effec­tive­ly con­front­ed or nego­ti­at­ed with Chi­na to blame? What role have Chi­nese lead­ers, and U.S. busi­ness lead­ers who for decades act­ed as Beijing’s lob­by­ists in Wash­ing­ton, played in dri­ving ten­sions between the two coun­tries? Super­pow­er Show­down is the sto­ry of a romance gone bad. Unique­ly posi­tioned to tell the sto­ry, Davis and Wei have con­duct­ed hun­dreds of inter­views with gov­ern­ment and busi­ness offi­cials in both nations over the sev­en years they have worked togeth­er writ­ing for the Wall Street Jour­nal. Ana­lyz­ing U.S.–China rela­tions, they explain how we have reached this tip­ping point, and look at where we could be head­ed. Vivid and provoca­tive, Super­pow­er Show­down will help read­ers under­stand the con­text of the trade war and pre­pare them for what may come next.

Read the rest here.

The host­ing think thank, the SETA Foun­da­tion for Polit­i­cal, Eco­nom­ic and Social Research (Turk­ish: Siyaset, Ekono­mi ve Toplum Araştır­maları Vak­fı; SETA) describes itself as “a non-prof­it research insti­tute ded­i­cat­ed to inno­v­a­tive stud­ies on nation­al, region­al, and inter­na­tion­al issues.” SETA has its head­quar­ters in Ankara and offices in Istan­bul, Wash­ing­ton DC, Cairo, and Berlin. SETA is close­ly linked to Pres­i­dent Erdoğan as:

  • The cur­rent Gen­er­al Coor­di­na­tor Burhanet­tin Duran has been a mem­ber of the Turk­ish Pres­i­den­cy Secu­ri­ty and For­eign Poli­cies Coun­cil since 2018.
  • Many of the indi­vid­u­als above have also been colum­nists for the pro-gov­ern­ment Sabah and/or its Eng­lish-lan­guage ver­sion Dai­ly Sabah news­pa­pers, which are also linked to Erdoğan. Their par­ent company’s chair­man of the board of direc­tors is a close friend of Erdoğan. Addi­tion­al­ly, Erdoğan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, and Albayrak’s broth­er have been board mem­bers.
  • The mod­er­a­tor of the book dis­cus­sion, Kil­ic Bugra Kanat, is the research direc­tor of SETA DC and him­self a Dai­ly Sabah columnist.

Turkey, with its strug­gling econ­o­my, has been inter­est­ed in secur­ing Chi­nese invest­ment and funds espe­cial­ly as its rela­tions with the West have dete­ri­o­rat­ed and its busi­ness­es have had trou­ble get­ting cred­it from Euro­pean and Amer­i­can investors. Turkey is also an impor­tant loca­tion for and has been inter­est­ed in ben­e­fit­ting from China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, which expands trade routes and Chi­nese influ­ence by financ­ing infra­struc­ture projects in var­i­ous coun­tries. Turkey’s protests against China’s treat­ment of the most­ly Mus­lim, eth­ni­cal­ly Tur­kic Uighurs, includ­ing cre­at­ing “reed­u­ca­tion camps” for them, for has how­ev­er been an obsta­cle in Chi­nese-Turk­ish rela­tions. The pur­pose of the book dis­cus­sion may be for SETA to find insights on how to nav­i­gate con­flicts in US-Chi­nese rela­tions in order to ben­e­fit Turkey.


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