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    ’Kemalpaşa’ corollary to 'McDonald’s doctrine’

    Hürriyet Haber
    21.04.2009 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme: 20.04.2009 - 17:46

    For many years, a well-known journalist made almost a career out of advancing his "McDonald’s Peace Thesis." It held that no two countries both hosting a McDonald’s franchise had ever gone to war. The argument was frayed by the U.S.-led bombing of Serbia in the 1990s.

    <ı>But it still holds in its essence. When economic integration between societies reaches the level that it can sustain fast food franchises, pragmatism follows in other relational spheres.

    And so we would like to add the "Kemalpaşa corollary to the Thomas Friedman/McDonalds doctrine." Analogizing from the fast food argument, it will hold that across the borders of the fractious Caucasus, trade in textiles and plastic kitchenware may be the vanguard of true peacemaking. Yesterday, we led our front page with a trilogy of stories from Baku, Kars and Yerevan on the complex efforts to hammer out an accord that will serve to open Turkey’s borders with Armenia as well as achieve some lesser steps toward reconciliation of the long-festering Nagorno-Karabagh dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

    In our Economic Review section, we also focused on another nearby border region outside the three-way diplomatic limelight. This story was on Kemalpaşa, a tiny town on the Turkey-Georgia border. A year ago, the town had just a handful of shops. Today, it has become a veritable Caucasus trade hub with 340 shops plus outdoor markets doing business with an aggregate turnover estimated at $500,000 a day.

    "Neither an institution nor any other person had a role in the emergence of this trade," said Engin Koyuncu, head of the local chamber of commerce. "All have developed spontaneously." We realize the issues and dynamics on the Turkish-Georgian border are quite different than on those elsewhere. We offer no "model" of how border commerce should work. But we are inspired by this example of what can happen when the language of commerce is allowed to speak. It’s a language to which the ears of all policymakers in the Caucacus should be tuned.

    ***

    Skolimowski’s ’mystery companion’ is ours

    In the spirit of collaboration with our colleagues at the Turkish daily Sabah, we want to set the record straight as to the identity of the mysterious companion of Polish film director Jerzy Skolimowski. Yesterday, Sabah reported on a Bosphorus boat trip for visiting dignataries to the Istanbul International Film Festival. "Skolimowski was more than cool," the newspaper reported. "The young woman at his side was first thought to be his daughter, but later it was learned that it was his girlfriend." In fact, the young woman was Daily News reporter Marzena Romanowska. For those who missed her interview with Skolimowski yesterday, it can be read at our web site: www.hurriyetdailynews.com.
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