The murder in Instanbul this January of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink served as a sobering reminder that Turkey is not yet the liberal state that some in the West have hoped. In response to Dink's death, efforts to abolish article 301, which makes it a crime to insult the state or Turkishness, have increased. Yesterday the Voice of America reported that 53 Nobel prize winners have signed a letter urging Turkey to repeal article 301 under which scores of intellectuals, including Dink and Orhan Pamuk, have been prosecuted.
Draconian laws like article 301 tarnish Turkey's image as the Middle East's sole democracy and disturb its bid to join the EU. Stephanie Clifford highlights such tensions in "Fully Committed," her article following entrepreneur Bülent Celebi as he tries to build a Silicon Valley-style company in Instanbul. Some of the challenges that come up for Celebi include navigating the state's labyrinthine bureaucracy; running an ethical company in a place where bribery is business as usual; and keeping a liberal home where liquor is sometimes illegal and corporal punishment the norm.
As a country like Turkey -- and even more so China -- opens itself for business, the economy is often ahead of the politics. For entrepreneurs with a global itch, do your homework and read Ian Bremmer's article "How to Calculate Political Risk."
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