Turkey: Gatekeeper of the East and West
By Mitchell T. Zink
“Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving – it doesn’t matter,
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times,
Come, come again, come.”
– Mawlana Jalaladdin Rumi, 13th Century Sufi Philosopher/Poet
I come from a city that has been called the “melting pot” of America, a place where the fusion of the elements of different nationalities, ethnicities, and cultures brings about something stronger and greater by virtue of such mixing, an alloy perhaps best personified by a name adopted in the last century, The Capital of the World. This honorific term has been bestowed upon other great cities throughout history such as Rome, London, and others that held the same standing as New York City now does, yet of these, one stands resolutely as an emblematic reminder of the place I call home. While there are a plethora of reasons why Istanbul and modern Turkey garner such distinction, paramount amongst these is the coalescence found through a willingness to adapt and invite foreign influences while maintaining respect for history and tradition. This combination is what affords Turkey its past, present, and future role as a “melting pot” through the centuries, where trade routes on the Silk Road now meet skyscrapers, and where a city on the straits of the Bosporus has stood the test of time as gatekeeper of the East and West.
In May of 2013, I had the pleasure of joining a select group of Ph.D. candidates from the Washington, D.C. area on an intercultural fellowship with the Rumi Forum. This organization’s mission is to “foster interfaith and intercultural dialogue, stimulate thinking and exchange of opinions on supporting and fostering democracy and peace all over the world and to provide a common platform for education and information exchange,” and regularly conducts trips to Turkey and the surrounding region to enhance this level of understanding.1 Our assembled members came from a wide swath of academia ranging from students of political science, history, and social issues, all with the common intent to learn more about Turkey. Led most ably by our guide and Rumi Forum President Emre Celik, our expedition included trips to Istanbul,
Ankara, Gaziantep, and Şanlıurfa, where we had the opportunity to imbibe not only in the cultural, historical, and religious sites, but to interact with local business leaders, politicians, journalists, activists, etc. Each of these people presented their viewpoint of Turkey’s position on the global scale and provided a broad spectrum of life from which to examine.
The question that I attempted to ask in my time there and in the months since has been quite simple and yet so complex in the necessary analysis and conception of an answer: what can modern Turkey offer to the intrepid entrepreneur seeking to create a stable business relationship? As we come away from the precipice of financial collapse, new markets are sought and thus the ability to adapt and thrive are valuable qualities to possess for those seeking new opportunities. As the historical gatekeeper, Turkey’s asset of providing a link between the East and West is an essential that cannot be overlooked, and combined with a person willing to make a commitment towards such a venture, can prove bountiful for someone willing to take a leap of fate.
The 20th Century and the Turkish Economy
At present, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) classes Turkey’s economy as an emerging market that is largely developed, making this nation one of the world’s newer industrialized countries.2 Turkey is among the world’s leading producers of agricultural products, textiles, motor vehicles, ships and other transportation equipment, construction materials, consumer electronics and home appliances. In the past few decades, Turkey saw rapid growth within the private sector, although the state continues to play a major role within banking, industry, communications, and transport. With the world’s 15th largest GDP by PPP and 17th largest nominal GDP, Turkey continues to show its progress and willingness to commit to improving the quality of life for the majority of its citizens.3 The nation is also a founding member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and party to the G-20 summit of major economies.
A major factor for Turkey’s recent growth has been its commitment towards joining the European Union (EU), which requires certain parameters before accession is considered. In order to reach this point, a nation must successfully complete negotiations with the European Commission on 33 of the 35 chapters of the Acquis Communautaire, the major body of EU law governing everything from the movement of goods to fishing rights. As Turkey has continued its commitment to satisfying these requirements since submitting an application to the EU in 1987, the quality of life in the nation has dramatically increased.4
However, Turkey’s accession to the EU has been stymied on a number of fronts, ranging from the issue of Northern Cyprus to the ongoing Eurozone Crisis. The former issue has plagued Turkey from the onset, as Cyprus is ardently against the nation from joining the EU because of the invasion in 1974 and occupation that continues to this day. M. Haluk Ilicak, the Undersecretary for Turkey’s Ministry of EU Affairs, stated in May 2013 that “even if Turkey does not become an EU member, the nation continues to see the benefits of reform and improvement on a national scale.” Further, it was his belief that “ascension…may not be the best option at this point in time,” as he continued to take into account the current situation with the Euro and the negative impact that this could have on development in Turkey.5
Historically, since gaining independence in 1923 until the early 2000s, volatile trends greatly affected the nation in the country in terms of both financial performance and economic growth, resulting in a then uncertain outlook for the future. In the embryonic stages, the lack of substantial human capital and hard currency reserves prevented mass economic growth as seen with other nations during this period of time. Priority was focused on providing institutional reforms to achieve stable growth with low inflation and limited volatility. By the 1930s, heightened political unrest in Europe in the lead up to World War II forced the nation to heavily rely on state oriented control to foster growth.6 Following the war and the inclusion of Turkey in NATO, private ownership, entrepreneurship, and greater participation of private capital in economic activity were adopted, with incentives for these a must.
During the 1960s, import-substitution growth strategy began initiation and proved successful, with the Turkish economy experiencing the highest level of growth in its then 80- year existence. Despite this, a decade later would spawn an oil crisis in which Turkey was unable to maintain growth on account of lost resources, which prevented the emergence of well- financed private banks. Having replaced the import-substitution growth strategy of the 1960s with export-led growth strategies required more than could be achieved. Through the creation a competitive exchange rate policy, exchange rates were then forced to navigate a pass-through, which resulted in a vicious circle of devaluations followed by the persistence of heightened inflation. Volatility increased sharply over the following years, with both economic and financial stability becoming insurmountable cliffs only summited by foreign aid. Private banks suffered losses throughout this decade, with a large share of the accumulated capital wiped out in a series
of payment crises outlined by the inability to reach policy recommendation.7 All hope was not
lost though, as stability began to seemingly increase by the latter half of the 1980s, during which private banks began to see a large resurgence.
However, as history has shown, Turkey is not immune to financial predicaments, and thee gains of the previous decade were quickly diminished by the 1990s as evidenced by the
crises experienced in 1994 and more recently in 2001. In the early 1990s, suffering from an unsustainable fiscal balance and insufficient primary surplus to counter-balance external deficit fragilities, the economy fell into the traps of twin deficits.8 During this time, stabilization programs designed to slow down the crisis were repeatedly delayed, unnerving a wide swath of financial market participants and investors. Within the first months of 1994, the Turkish lira faced sharp deprecation after more than a decade, falling to 45,000 Liras to a single US Dollar.9
Turkish local elections were due to occur in that year, and government recognized the need for immediate action. An economic package was developed, but to maintain stability, the Treasury was forced to sell bonds with a maturity of three months at an interest rate of 50%. These rates were able to lessen the increasing volatility of the economy and provided a basis for a new deal with the IMF, which consequently helped to improve expectations of a positive outcome.10
Despite the importance of this program, the IMF deal failed to be properly implemented in the years that followed and this, combined with the uncontrollable effects of environment, specifically the devastating 1999 İzmit earthquake, further diminished the likelihood of a realistic short term, sustainable recovery effort. Further IMF agreements came sporadically and piecemeal, and all still failing to be successfully implemented. Heightened liberalization of capital accounts to eliminate all controls in order to declare “de jure” convertibility was adopted but unlikely to succeed without necessary financial reforms combined with universal supervision and regulation. Financial systems could not sufficiently adapt to the new paradigm and faltering banks were bailed out through government nationalization. As a result of this crisis, the remainder of the 1990s may best be described as a “lost decade” in terms of Turkey’s banking and financial stability, but despite this, there still remained an air of hope with the beginning of a new century.11
By 2000, delaying efforts had resulted in some stabilization, but due to the lack of dedication to creating social welfare programs and adequate economic re-structuring and reform, fiscal deficits continued to plague the nation. By 2001, a new crisis was on the horizon, this time fueled by the inability of the Turkish government and banking systems to provide sufficient financial support to promote meaningful economic growth. The government of Bülent Ecevit was already running enormous budget deficits, with the main contributor for the sustainability of these programs being the continual issuance of high-interest bonds to Turkish banks. Inflation sparked by massive influx of foreign currency provided a short-term fix for the government to
avoid default on these bonds.12 However, because of their continued issuance, Turkish banks become more reliant on these bonds as a primary source of investment and income.
Turkey’s financial and political instability were in peril and the resounding call for a positive government stance to assuage the fears of economic collapse was launched. Despite this need to remain positive, on February 19th, “Black Wednesday,” Prime Minister Ecevit was recorded after a meeting with his government stating his concerns about the seriousness of this “crisis.”13 This simple usage of the word crisis brought to mind the issues within the last century, and like the straw that broke the camel’s back, the system was soon in collapse. Stocks swiftly plummeted and the interest rate for borrowing reached an astronomical 3,000%.14 Billions of Turkish Liras were exchanged for Euros or US Dollars, causing the Turkish Central bank to rapidly lose $5 billion dollars of its reserves. The crash triggered even more economic turmoil in the coming months. By the second quarter of 2001, over 14,500 jobs were lost and the Lira fell to 1,500,000 per each US Dollar.15
Immediate action was needed in order to keep Turkey and its people on the world stage. New regulations and reforms were enacted to improve public finance management and the Central Bank of Turkey was given an independent structure in terms of policy implementations. Asset and equity structuring in the banking sector were improved and sweeping reforms of the social security system were soon adopted. Banks were nationalized on a case by case basis, with a number of executives arrested on charges of embezzlement and manipulation of funds. In the ashes of this crisis, a new party soon rose to prominence, the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, the Justice and Development Party or AKP, led by Abdullah Gül for a short 4 months. A new, secularist candidate with was soon nominated and won election as Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Digging deeper in the ashes, many Turkish leaders now believe that the 2001 crisis was the major catalyst for reforms within the nation, as it served to remove poorly functioning banks from the system while forcing long term economic goals for sustained growth to be achieved.
The Turkish Economy in the 21st Century
Turkey’s continuing role on the world stage as a developing market economy has been reaffirmed multiple times, from sources as diverse as the Central Intelligence Agency and the World Bank to private entities such as Moody’s and The Economist.16 Since 2002, the emergence of the “Anatolian Tigers” has seen large-scale growth spurred on by the improvements in public finance and development in the field of structural reforms within the often overlooked Asian portion of the nation. Perhaps most telling of Turkey’s economic security is the resilience seen during the 2007–2012 global financial crisis, in particular the Eurozone sovereign debt issues. Despite its geographic location next to Greece, Turkey has not suffered the same severe
disruption to its economic infrastructure as other nations have. In 2009 the Turkish government introduced various economic stimulus measures to reduce the impact of the global financial crisis such as temporary tax cuts on automobiles, home appliances, and housing. As a result, the production of durable consumer goods increased by 7.2% and perishable consumer goods increased by 1.8% between 2007–2009.17 Overall, Turkish GDP has increased from $196 billion dollars in 2001 to $789 billion dollars in 2012, as seen in Figure I:
GDP Per Capita since 2001 has also increased, rising from $3,000 dollars per person to $10,600 dollars per person in 2012, as seen in Figure II:
Turkey’s GDP Growth was affected by the financial crisis, but has rebounded since then, with the rate at 2.24% actually above that of the United States in 2012 at 2.21%, as seen in Fig III:
(Fig. III: Turkish and US (in blue) GDP per capita between 2001-2012 Source: The World Bank)
Although many nations have been unable to recover following the recession, the Turkish economy expanded by 9.2% in 2010 and by 8.5% in 2011, thus standing out as the fastest growing economy in all of Europe, and as one of the world’s fastest growing economies.18 As reported in The Economist, share prices of the Turkish Stock Exchange nearly doubled over the course of 2009. In early January of 2010, Moody’s upgraded Turkey’s crediting rating upgraded Turkey’s rating one notch from Ba3 to Ba2, and then again in May of 2013 to Baa3, which is considered Investment Grade according to their ratings system.19The decision is Moody’s first Investment Grade rating for Turkey in two decades, but despite this hiatus, Moody’s acknowledges Turkey’s “recent and expected future improvements in key economic and public finance metrics” as the basis for the ratings boost to this viable position.20 In
2012, Fitch upgraded Turkey’s credit rating to investment grade on their long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) from BB+ to BBB- and long-term local currency IDR was upgraded from BB+ to BBB after a near 18 year gap of activity.21
OECD projections for 2012 – 2017 show that predict that Turkey will exceed China, the US, Brazil, and Japan in the rise of GDP growth at 5.2% over that period of time.22A survey conducted by Forbes in 2010 showed that Istanbul, Turkey’s financial capital but not actual capitol despite what the average person may believe, had a total of 28 billionaires, ranking 4th in the world behind New York City (60 billionaires), Moscow (50 billionaires), and London (32 billionaires).23 What does this all mean for the entrepreneur looking to begin doing business or investing funds in Turkey? According to the Financial Times Special Report on Turkey, Turkish government officials and business executives believe the quickest route to achieving export and economic growth lies outside of traditional Western focused markets.24 Five years ago, the “European Union accounted for much more than half of all Turkey’s exports; now the figure is heading down toward not much more than a third”.25
Erdem Başçı, Governor of Turkey’s Central Bank, believes that, overtime, a revitalized Iraq will eventually become Turkey’s largest export market, as their proximity combined with the government’s willingness to facilitate private expansion into emerging markets within the region.26 This is key for someone interested in taking advantage of that connection that Turkey
provides as gatekeeper between East and West. Businessman Hüsnü Özyeğin notes that “the government (of Turkey) has a strategic vision in which they will open up more embassies in growth regions and emerging markets such as Africa, Turkish Airlines will fly there, so Turkish businessmen can go there to do business there.”27
Mehmet Çelik, Third Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, noted further that his Ministry is focusing their attentions on the Middle East and striking a series of visa-free travel deals, while eyeing to establish free trade zones with other nations within the region who are willing to cooperate.28 Opportunity abounds for those who are willing to seek such avenues in Turkey, but they must do so before the market is crowded out.
Investing in Turkey
Despite this positive transformation within the past year, there are still fears about investments within Turkey. One may consider the issues that face its neighbors, which range from Greece and their plagued economy to the West, historical grievances with Armenia to the North, a US hostile Iran on its Eastern border, an uncertain Iraq to the South, and the continuing Syrian Civil War also to the South. Further, internal strife had become a topical subject, with protests in May of 2013 spurring on great concern over the stability of Erdoğan’s government. Having just returned from this nation, I inquired of a reputable risk analyst and native Turk his opinion concerning the situation then facing Turkey and its lasting effects upon investments in the country in the long and short term:
“As you may know Turkey is a culturally divided country, much like the U.S. actually. Erdoğan has adopted a harsh tone lately and although he did not restrict any personal freedom, his words sound like he plans to do so. I believe that is mostly because he wants satisfy the conservative ideals of this supporter base. However, it’s true that he doesn’t like cooperation with any political group. He never takes a step back, even when he does something stupid like turning a park into a shopping mall. Protests were based on this righteous demand that is keeping the park as it is. However, the underlying motivation was that people were fed up with Erdoğan trying dictate what he wants and the fact that he never cooperates with any kind of opposition. Erdoğan is man raised in tumultuous times when separation between conservatives and seculars much deeper and seculars pressured conservatives into almost non-existence. You can see in his eyes that he’ll never bow down to any demand coming representatives of the old state. He believes, by getting the votes of half of the country, he exercises the will of the nation, and it’s true that half of the country stands by him no matter what.
Protesters had the moral advantage since they only wanted their park back. However, opposition of any sort saw the opportunity to act against Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party. Soon, marginal left and racist groups joined the protests and protests took an unfortunate turn. Protesters have left their focus since the aim wasn’t the park anymore. Even when Erdoğan welcomed the protesters to hear the demands, they could not clearly communicate the demands of the protesters. This was inevitable because protesters became a huge coalition of people who know clearly what they react against but they had no idea how to construct something that would represent every single group in the coalition. Erdoğan promised to settle the issue with plebiscite, but protesters wanted keep the park until some other demands are met. In the end, the protests became an aimless invasion of the park.
I see this as a discharge of temper and emotions the other half of the country, mostly secularists and the rest of the opposition. They were quite clever in the way the represented themselves. They used mostly western symbols of peace and democracy. I think only small groups of protests genuinely believed in the true democratic ways, but this is a win itself since the opposition in Turkey is horrible. Things are calm now in Turkey. The stock market was affected for a week, but everything is back to normal now. We still keep the investment grade status given by the reputable ratings firms. People protested in the evening and went to back in the day time. People felt like they became Tyler Durden from Fight Club 🙂 We’re not like Egypt. We have a booming economy and people have promising jobs and career opportunities in front of them. No one wants throw away all that by clashing with the police. We had a number of coups in the past but we have learnt how to deal with pressure inside the limits of democracy. Among all the commotion none of the groups called for army to intervene. The biggest gain from these protests is that people realized that we need a functioning civil society to act as a bridge between the parties and the people. You don’t go anywhere with violence. This was just another thing that we had to experience in order to establish a functioning democracy. All will be well in Turkey.”29
Having personally traveled to Turkey as part of the Rumi Forum Ph.D. Scholars Intercultural Fellowship in May 2013, my own advice to a potential investor is to experience this nation firsthand, if possible. The Rumi Forum is part of a grand movement known as Hizmet, “the service,” founded by Fetullah Gülen, which seeks to promote interfaith dialogues and improve the quality of life throughout the world. Despite the rumblings of dissent earlier this year, Turkey’s government under Erdoğan continues to provide an open, stable market to the Middle East. The Turkish economy has shown remarkable performance with its steady growth over the last eight years, with continued growth expected in the near future. A sound macroeconomic strategy in combination with prudent fiscal policies and major structural reforms in effect since 2002 has integrated the Turkish economy into the globalized world, while transforming the country into one of the major recipients of Foreign Direct Investment in its region.
Over the past decade, the structural reforms hastened by Turkey’s EU accession process
have paved the way for comprehensive changes and improvements in quality of life brought about by expansion of infrastructure and commerce. The main objectives of these efforts were to increase the role of the private sector in the Turkish economy, to enhance the efficiency and resiliency of the financial sector (in response to the 2001 crisis), and to place the social securit y system on a more solid foundation. As these reforms have strengthened the macroeconomic fundamentals of the country, the economy has grown, and thus Turkey as a gatekeeper has continued to stand the test of the modern era.
Significant improvements in such a short period of time have registered Turkey on the world economic scale as an exceptional emerging economy, including:
- Institutionalized economy fueled by USD 123 billion of FDI in the past decade and 13th most attractive FDI destination in the world (2012 A.T. Kearney FDI Confidence Index).
- 16th largest economy in the world and 6th largest economy compared with EU countries in 2012 (GDP at PPP, IMF-WEO).
- Robust economic growth over the last decade with an average annual real GDP growth of 5.2%.
- GDP reached USD 786 billion in 2012, up from USD 231 billion in 2002.
- Strong financial structure resilient to the global financial crisis.
With any investment, there should be a plethora of questions and considerations before major funding in an operation begins. These are dependent upon what one intends to invest their assets in, and within Turkey, the sky is quite literally the limit. This nation possesses a history spanning to the very beginnings of human society seen at sites such as Göbekli Tepe to the not so distant Byzantine Empire and Constantinople up to the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of Istanbul as the once Capital of the World. Turkey is a proving ground for the sensible entrepreneur and continues to return a profit for those with a willingness and commitment to understand the needs and wants of doing business. The immortal words of Suffi poet and philosopher Rumi stated centuries ago continue to paint a picture of Turkey for the wanderer and worshiper as a welcoming place that will resolutely stand as gatekeeper of the East and West.
1 About Rumi Forum (2013) https://www.rumiforum.org/about/about-rumi-forum.html
2 International Monetary Fund (IMF) (April 2011) “IMF Advanced Economies List. World Economic Outlook”
4 Kubilay Yado, Arin (2013) “The AKP’s Foreign Policy. Turkey’s Reorientation from the West to the
East?” Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin
5 Ilicak, M. Haluk (May 2013) “Meeting with the Rumi Forum Ph.D. Scholars”
6 Karakeben, Kaan (June 2013) “Follow-up from meeting with the Rumi Forum Ph.D. Scholars”
7 Karakeben, Kaan (June 2013) “Follow-up from meeting with the Rumi Forum Ph.D. Scholars”
8 Görmez, Yüksel & Yiğit, Serkan (2009) “The Economic and Financial Stability in Turkey: A Historical Perspective,”
Fourth Conference of Southeast Europe Monetary History Network (SEEMHN), p. 3-22
9 Ibid., p. 4-9
10 Yüksel (2009), p. 2, 18
11 Karakeben, Kaan (June 2013) “Follow-up from meeting with the Rumi Forum Ph.D. Scholars”
12 Görmez, Yüksel (2008) “Banking in Turkey: History and Evolution”, Bank of Greece Working Paper
13 Zaman Economy (2011) “Turkey’s economy from 2001 to 2011: stronger, steadier and safer,” Turkish Review
15 OECD Economic Surveys: Turkey 2000/2001.
16 Görmez, Yüksel & Yiğit, Serkan (2009) “The Economic and Financial Stability in Turkey: A Historical Perspective,”
Fourth Conference of Southeast Europe Monetary History Network (SEEMHN), p. 24-29
17 Kadras, Saban (2009) “Turkish recovery needs more time” Asia Times Online
18 The World Bank (2013) Turkey Data
19Today’s Zaman (2010) Moody’s upgrades government bond rating amidst crisis
20 Hong, Nicole (2013) “Moody’s Raises Rating on Turkey to Investment Grade,” The Wall Street Journal
21 Butler, Darren (2012) “Turkey regains investment grade rating after long wait,” Reuters Online
22 OECD (2012) “Economic Outlook No: 91, June 2012”
23 Forbes (2010) “Forbes Billionaires List, Cost Of Living,” Forbes Magazine
24 Dombey, Daniel (2013) “Silk roads lead to Turkey’s resurgent power,” The Financial Times
28 Ilicak, M. Haluk (May 2013) “Meeting with the Rumi Forum Ph.D. Scholars”
29 Karakeben, Kaan (June 2013) “Follow-up from meeting with the Rumi Forum Ph.D. Scholars”
Ø About Rumi Forum (2013) https://www.rumiforum.org/about/about-rumi-forum.html
Ø International Monetary Fund (IMF) (April 2011) “IMF Advanced Economies List. World Economic Outlook”
Ø Kubilay Yado, Arin (2013) “The AKP’s Foreign Policy. Turkey’s Reorientation from the West to the East?” Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin
Ø Ilicak, M. Haluk (May 2013) “Meeting with the Rumi Forum Ph.D. Scholars”
Ø Karakeben, Kaan (June 2013) “Follow-up from meeting with the Rumi Forum Ph.D. Scholars”
Ø Görmez, Yüksel & Yiğit, Serkan (2009) “The Economic and Financial Stability in Turkey: A Historical Perspective,” Fourth Conference of Southeast Europe Monetary History Network (SEEMHN), p. 3-22
Ø Görmez, Yüksel (2008) “Banking in Turkey: History and Evolution”, Bank of Greece Working Paper
Ø Series No:83
Ø Zaman Economy (2011) “Turkey’s economy from 2001 to 2011: stronger, steadier and safer,” Turkish Review
Ø OECD Economic Surveys: Turkey 2000/2001.
Ø Görmez, Yüksel & Yiğit, Serkan (2009) “The Economic and Financial Stability in Turkey: A Historical Perspective,” Fourth Conference of Southeast Europe Monetary History Network (SEEMHN), p. 24-29
Ø Kadras, Saban (2009) “Turkish recovery needs more time” Asia Times Online
Ø The World Bank (2013) Turkey Data
Ø Today’s Zaman (2010) Moody’s upgrades government bond rating amidst crisis
Ø Hong, Nicole (2013) “Moody’s Raises Rating on Turkey to Investment Grade,” The Wall Street Journal
Ø Butler, Darren (2012) “Turkey regains investment grade rating after long wait,” Reuters Online
Ø OECD (2012) “Economic Outlook No: 91, June 2012”
Ø Forbes (2010) “Forbes Billionaires List, Cost Of Living,” Forbes Magazine
Ø Dombey, Daniel (2013) “Silk roads lead to Turkey’s resurgent power,” The Financial Times
Ø The Republic of Turkey Investment Support and Promotion Agency
With special thanks to Emre Çelik, Rasit Telbisoglu, The Rumi Forum, and my colleagues from the Rumi Forum Ph.D. Scholars Intercultural Fellowship of May 2012