• Refugees in Turkey need more assistance

    By Elif Naz Guvenis and Joris Voorhoeve

    There are about 70 million refugees in the world. Half of them are children. Most of them lead a precarious life in which their physical survival is at stake, not to speak of their right to a happy future. Every human being has the right to survival, but this is only guaranteed in rule-of-law democracies that truly apply national and international law.

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  • Refugees in Turkey are a time bomb

    By Elif Naz Guvenis and Joris Voorhoeve

    For many people, the world is a dangerous place. Sometimes we are very surprised by unexpected crises, but often serious crises are quite predictable. It is probable that we will see more and more migration crises, due to wars, suppressive governments, religious strife, and environmental threats. At present 1% of the world’s population is forced to flee from their dwellings. Half of them are children. In most cases their future is destroyed.

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  • Existential Risks

    By Joris Voorhoeve, Professor Emeritus International Organizations, Former Cabinet Minister of The Netherlands

    The British philosopher Tony Ord has studied all risks that could seriously harm or even teminate mankind. They range from stellar explosions to pandemics and far going climate change.  Stellar explosions near the earth,  a collision with a comet, or a supervolcanic eruption that might end human life as we know it, are  estimated  to occur not more often than once in 10.000 years (supervolcanic eruption) or once in 1000 million years (stellar explosion.).

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  • A world without poverty?

    By Kelsi Wilsher and Joris Voorhoeve

    More than 700 million people, almost 10% of the world population, have to subsist on an income of just $1.90 a day living in poverty-stricken areas like Sub-Sahara Africa and much of South and Southeast Asia. To many of us, living in rich societies, two dollars is just loose change we might not notice if they were lost.

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  • WASH the world: Water and Sanitation

    By Kelsi Wilsher and Joris Voorhoeve

    Water determines the existence of humans, animals and plants. Humans cannot survive more than 3 days without drinking water. Clean water and sanitation for all are Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6. Yet of the 7.4 billion people in today’s world, 4.2 billion still live without safely managed sanitation’ and two out of five people worldwide have no basic handwashing facilities at home.

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  • Equality and Quality in Education

    By Kelsi Wilsher and Joris Voorhoeve

    Nelson Mandela said that ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’. He was right as achieving this goal will have a strong, positive effect on reaching other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It has been estimated that 420 million people can be lifted out of poverty, and maternal deaths can be reduced by two thirds if all women in low-income countries (LICs) and low-middle income countries (LMICs) complete secondary education.

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  • The earth warms faster than models expect: Permafrost melting causes strong warming gasses

    By Joris Voorhoeve, Professor Emeritus International Organizations, Former Cabinet Minister of The Netherlands

    There are reasons to expect that the climate will change faster than expected. First, the Paris Agreement to curb CO2 emissions is not kept. All states violate it. Current knowledge shows that average temperatures will rise by 3.5 degrees Centigrade, while the agreement is that countries take measures to limit the rise to less than 2 degrees.

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  • The Only Wealth is Health

    By Kelsi Wilsher and Joris Voorhoeve

    The Corona crisis proves how important the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 3 is for all of mankind. SDG 3 seeks to ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’ by 2030 and has targets such as further research and development into affordable vaccines, ending AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases, increase health training, reduce global maternal mortality rates and achieve universal access to health care.

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  • Affordable and Clean Energy

    By Marijn van Rees, Research Associate at the Sen Foundation

    Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7) is set out to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. According to the UN, energy is closely connected to the problem of global climate change as the energy sector represents by far the largest source of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions that are contributing to global warming.

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  • Christmas surprises from Putin?

    By Joris Voorhoeve, Professor Emeritus International Organizations, Former Cabinet Minister of The Netherlands

    Vladimir Putin is known for exploiting the weakness of others. That is the core business of international politics. His regime wants to restore the Great Power of the USSR. But Russia’s economy, smaller than the Benelux, is not strong and modern and relies mostly on selling oil, gas and weapons. It has no appealing ideology other than nationalism and top-down control.

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  • Water for forests in North Africa

    By Joris Voorhoeve, Professor Emeritus International Organizations, Former Cabinet Minister of The Netherlands

    Sometimes it is necessary to go against intuitive common sense, which tells us that one should tackle difficult tasks one by one. There are occasions in which it is better to combine them and tackle them together. There are at least 15 serious problems concerning Europe and Africa that, if tackled together, offer new opportunities.

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  • A European Foreign Policy Union?

    By Joris Voorhoeve, Professor Emeritus International Organizations, Former Cabinet Minister of The Netherlands

    As in the past, the 21st century will be ruled by the strongest political actors, which now are: China, the US, India, Russia and a few large middle powers. Separate West-European states, even Germany, are small in comparison to the superpowers. The interests and values of many European states are similar to each other, but their division and the recurrence of nationalism keeps the European Union weak. The EU is a union but is only a strong power in the world’s commercial matters.

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  • Why borders vote for the right-wing?

    By Javid Ibad, Research Associate at the Sen Foundation

    The rise of right-wing populist parties and movements is not new in Europe. Right-wing populists got parliamentary representation in the majority of EU member states. In discussed case study of the Netherlands, border residents voted for the Freedom Party (PVV) by 3.5% more than non-border residents. This is a significant difference for the Netherlands which has a quite fragmented multi-party parliamentary system where 0.67% of votes are enough to get a seat. Central governments try to include the maximal number of citizens in their distribution policies. This leads to dissatisfaction among border residents, as they have different preferences over the distribution of public goods.

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  • Resolving Global Conflicts without Violence – Part 2

    By Joris Voorhoeve, Professor Emeritus International Organizations, Former Cabinet Minister of The Netherlands

    In part 1, we noted the power of peaceful conflict resolution, as exemplified by Mahatma Gandhi. We also noted the instruments and effective approaches. In this article, I want to add an approach which is important but often forgotten: tax reform. As most people and institutions respond to fiscal incentives to lower their tax bills, fiscal reform is an important tool to improve behaviour or corporations, states and people. 

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  • Resolving Global Conflicts without Violence – Part 1

    By Joris Voorhoeve, Professor Emeritus International Organizations, Former Cabinet Minister of The Netherlands

    Mahatma Gandhi, who we honour this year, 150 years after his birth,  remains a shining example of the power of non-violent conflict resolution. In 2013, I visited the Gandhi Museum in New Delhi. I was struck in particular by a cartoon on the wall near the end. Martin Luther King had been drawn standing next to Mahatma Gandhi, who was sitting on the ground. Gandhi looked up to King and said: You know, the funny thing with assassins is that they think they killed us.

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  • The Case of Turkey: Middle Income Trap or is it Different This Time?

    Leiden UniversityBy Ilia Barboutev, PhD candidate Leiden University

    Since the end of the Cold War and the seemingly decisive victory of neo-liberal economic prescriptions, numerous developing countries have experienced sharp and steady growth, eventually achieving what the World Bank defines as middle income status of a Gross National Income of around 12,000 USD per capita at current levels.

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  • Germany and European Security

    Viadrina European UniversityBy Imre Bartal

    The preamble of the official translation of the German Constitution states the determination of the German people “to promote world peace as an equal partner in a united Europe”. The meaning of a “united Europe” remains disputed to this day but promoting world peace is a relatively clear and concrete goal. As is often the case with translations however, the original text does not quite carry the same meaning. “Dem Frieden der Welt zu dienen” translates more accurately to “serving the peace of the world” and “serving” is in linguistic terms a more intense expression than “promoting”.

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  • Deciphering Turkey’s strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean

    Leiden UniversityBy Vasileios P. Karakasis

    On February 23 2018, five Turkish warships, applying a NAVTEX issued by the Turkish authorities in Block 3 of RoC’s EEZ, harassed the drilling rig Saiepem 12000 of the Italian state-owned company ENI, and threatened to sink it. The Italian vessel, after the discovery of an allegedly important amount of gas reserves in Block 6 of RoC’s EEZ, was heading towards Block 3 to initiate drilling in another well.

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  • New Political Year Marked With Presidential Race in Turkey

    Leiden UniversityBy Kenan Cruz Çilli

    The beginning of the political year in Turkey has been marked by what is likely to be the overarching theme for the months to come: the presidential race and the upcoming elections. In 2019, the Turkish electorate will head to the polls three times for ordinary municipal elections, as well as for parliamentary and presidential ones.

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  • The Geopolitics of Autonomous Vehicles – Implications for the United States

    Johns Hopkins UniversityBy Joshua Henderson

    The United States and China are leading the world in investing in new technologies, specifically advanced computing such as artificial intelligence and AVs. These two countries are global economic leaders and rivals. AV technology is not only a commercial opportunity for the countries but also a strategic imperative.

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  • Conflicts around Europe 2.

    Leiden UniversityBy Ilia Barboutev, PhD candidate Leiden University

    Turkey shares a border with the EU where troubling developments are occurring. With a population of over 80 million people, and through its role as a host of over 3 million Syrian refugees who would otherwise have tried to come to Europe, the current instability plaguing the country should be a serious concern for all Europeans.

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  • Conflicts around Europe 1.

    Leiden UniversityBy Ilia Barboutev, PhD candidate Leiden University

    We are nearing the 30th anniversary of Francis Fukuyama’s famous prediction that Western liberal democracy will come to be the universally accepted and final form of government. In the summer of 1989, Mr. Fukuyama, while witnessing the collapse of the Soviet Empire, prophesized a future world largely devoid of ideological struggles, where consumerism, a general sense of boredom and intellectual stagnation would rule the day.

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Editorial Policy
The contents of issues of MAKING SENSE are the sole responsibility of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the Sen Foundation. The director will select submitted contributions mainly on their added value for current debates, quality of reasoning and clarity of expression. Ilia Barboutev opens the series and will assist in collecting and editing other contributions. Advanced researchers and students are invited to present conclusions of their research which are relevant for public policy or contribute reflections on important policy questions. Submissions should not exceed 600 words. MAKING SENSE will be issued at least once a month and more frequently if the occasion arises.