Saturday, March 31, 2007

Cyprus and the EU: what matters is perception

This article is published in the Turkish Weekly of March 31, 2007

The first time I heard about the Cyprus issue and the divided island, was when I was 16 years old, just back from a nice holiday in Italy. I remember hearing that the Turks invaded Cyprus: the Turks did it again. At least that was the news in the Netherlands. There was no internet, no international television channels like CNN, BBC World which are now broadcasting worldwide: we were dependent on printed media. No real-time coverage.

When I made my first trip to Turkey in 2002, 26 years later, I immediately clashed with Turkish people over Cyprus: in my opinion Turkey was wrong and they were the ones to blame for the status quo on Cyprus.
I was also annoyed that my Turkish friends referred to Cyprus as ‘Baby land’ while talking about it, as if it was a colony of their Turkey: their Motherland. The vast majority of them had an outspoken opinion about ‘Peace Mission to Cyprus’; it was the only solution to stop the violence over there. And it belongs to Turkey.

Read the full article by clicking here.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Touchdown Amsterdam

It is already 10 weeks ago that I went for business to the Netherlands. This time an orientation trip with a Turkish client. Mostly after 2 days I am homesick to Istanbul, therefore now a short trip but with a full agenda.

Monday night dinner in one of the most fancy restaurants of Amsterdam: le Garage.
Yes, our Turkish clients like to have a good dinner in Amsterdam since a lunch in the Netherlands is most of the time some bread with cheese and 'karnemelk'.
But for sure they don't know the many famous faces in the mirrors of this restaurant. See the picture.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A stubborn Chinese

Good to see that there are still people who are not for sale. This Chinese refuses to sell his house to a project developer. Although surrounded by massive apartment buildings he is still standing strong.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ataturk City

Just back from Ankara. Not my first time there, but my first stay in Ankara's Swiss Hotel. I know that Turks like to get everything overheated, so my nice room. Took me some time to discover how to open the windows; I need fresh air during the night.
Yes, I like the residential areas of Ankara, with its streets full of trees. In Istanbul they replaced a complete forest for some apartment buildings.
But what always depress me in Ankara are the government buildings, the apartments complex for the average Turks full with Ataturk pictures, statues, flags, and so on. Ankara looks like the former East European block countries: no fantasy at all regarding design.
Nothing wrong about Ataturk and his well being soul, but is he not a little bit over exposed everywhere?
As the founder of the modern republic and the first President of Turkey, people adore him as a god. But nation states have to move one. Was and is there not any other Turkish president who did a lot for the 'well being' of Turkey?
Just a simple question...
Anyway, I baptised Ankara in Ataturk City! Not one Turk came up with this idea, so I did it...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Turkey needs to express itself better to the world

This article is published in Turkish Daily News of March 15, 2007.

What Turks miss is that the promotion of a country is most effectively done by its individual citizens. Turkish patriots would do a better job if they stopped hacking Greek and Kurdish Web sites, and start launching their own blogs that will give the taste of Turkey to foreigners.
Turkey might not have diamonds but it sits on
silver, gold and bronze: Many civilizations have left traces in Turkey. However, it looks like the Turks are the last to acknowledge it, or simply they don't care. Turkish history books are heavily focused on Atatürk. Yes, Atatürk was a visionary, but Turkey should focus on its real culture and heritage. There is a lot to discover without falling into political debates all the time, damaging once again Turkey's image by sending out dualistic and schizophrenic signals.

Read the full article by clicking

Monday, March 12, 2007

Social Media

One week ago I read in one of the main Turkish newspapers that within 5 years all Turkish companies will have a blog. I don't think so.

More than one year ago I gave one prospect of mine, a company which is 'heavenly' dependent on online tools, to get a blog. They told me: 'No, maybe by the end of this decade we might need it'. And our former counter part agreed on this: it was too sky rocking for Turkey! How do they dare to say this?

I agree that on the
social media front, blogs are around though they seem to be used much for discussing news items and politics. And yes, people like to talk and chat in Turkey - think only about all the messages which are 'delivered' from cumba to cumba (balcony) - but that doesn't mean that social media - online tools - will not hit the scores in Turkey.
Therefore: for them who put a ban on YouTube last week: Get a
Second Life!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Opening Day

The lush countryside of Liechtenstein, which has 14 villages.
For more info:

Thursday, March 08, 2007

You read Me, I watch You.

Put today a counter on this blog. In the wrong place of course. I am still clumsy about how to deal with all these features. If someone is reading this, your help is well appreciated.

And comments are always welcome. Feel free to complain about what I write here. Only rude language will not pass 'the moderator'...

And, btw, the counter started on March the 8th, 2007...the day that we started watching you!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Everything you want to know about Turkish Universities...

Ege University Research and Application Center of Women Problems (EKAM) Director Nurselen Toygar said that there were around 8 million illiterate Turkish women. There are in total 72 million people living in Turkey. That's a shocking fact.
Toygar said, "Beside these 8 million illiterate women, 640,000 girls are not going to school in Turkey. Only 3 percent of women receive university education. On the other hand Turkey is ranked 165 in the list of countries where women are represented in the best way."
Regarding universities, not one of the more than 90 universities are listed in the Top-500 worldwide. In the Top-500 of Europe, the first Turkish university is listed 172.
For more insight, click here.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

My queen visits my country

This article is published in Turkish Daily of March 1, 2007.

As a Dutch man living in Turkey, the visit of my queen here is highly symbolic. First I should drop a note to other Dutch men and women who will be accompanying Her Majesty and thus visiting Turkey soon: Don't fear the taxi drivers. They are my best friends in Istanbul. They don't act like the "Taliban" – the common nickname for the taxi drivers in Amsterdam – instead they treat you with respect. Yesterday I took a cab; it cost me just 4 YTL and before I left the car, the driver told me to wait. Then he suddenly walked around to open my door. Yes, before my queen arrived in Istanbul, I was treated like royalty here.

Read the full article by clicking here.

‘My Queen’ and ‘My Country’

Published on February the 28th 2007 in Turkish Weekly.

Are you Dutch? Or are you from the Netherlands or Holland? And what kind of language do you speak over 'there': "German", "Allamagne", "Dutch"?
And why are you dressed up like Orange monkey’s when your national football team plays a football match?
And yes, we Turks know that your Dutch football teams: AZ, PSV and again AZ kicked our Fenerbahce, Galatasaray, Kayserispor etc. out the European league this year. Thank you!
And why is the color Orange so special for you? Why not a simple tricolor: Red, White and Blue? Because the French once occupied the Low Lands: the Netherlands?
And why are the Dutch always so tall? And, yes, you Love Heineken? What about Raki, our national Liquor? No thank you.

Read the full article by clicking here.