Monday, April 30, 2007


This monkey was so thirsty that he needed a drink.
And he knows the way to get it for free...
Sometimes I am curious what monkeys think about human mankind...
Picture was taken today in Kashmir, India.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The world rallies for Darfur, Istanbul for Ataturk

The rally in Istanbul. Many friends went there. I personally don't like this kind of 'nationalism', I am a European. I feel myself more European than Dutch. I understand the fear of many Turks about Islamic tendencies in the current government. But this country is a Muslim country, or am I wrong? The fear about the sharia is baseless, since this is absolutely not in line with the Acquis communautaire of the EU, to which the current government is committed, too. And regarding the EU, once you checked in you can never leave.
But demonstrations like this, confirm that the people became more mature in politics under the current government.

But Darfur is really a disaster zone. World wide protest and campaign to stop the violence there. And I wonder if the Turks are aware who started the genocide in this part of Sudan. The only thing I know is that they stopped at the UN a genocide exhibition related to Darfur, Sudan. I didn't see any protest about this today...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Queen's Day in the Netherlands

Yes, this is Queen's day in the Netherlands. The National party of our Queen. It's for free to join. And it looks like this year, with temperatures of 26 degrees, it will be a fantastic event. People can prepare themselves for this day during the weekend. But I am sure that many will not make it the first of May to work.

Queen's Day is celebrated on the 30th of April, the birthday of our former Queen, Juliana; our much beloved Queen from 1948 until 1980.
Especially in the big cities of the Netherlands, it's party time! Starting already on the 29th of April at 18.00

Yes, this was 2001, and it was nice weather. Queen's Day is fun. It's for young and old. And it's striking how the Dutch behave that day: it's carnival for them!

Picture made in Vondelpark Amsterdam. Throughout the year a place to rest, and enjoy the multi-national faces of Amsterdam.

Who is concerned about Turkish Image?

These are interesting days in Turkey. And, yes, now big parts of the world are watching the Turks. First the Turkish Armed Forces warned the current government of the AK Party that 'they' (read: the army) also have a say in the debate about who will be the next president. Then the EU warned the Turkish army not to interfere. At last but not the least, the Turkish government warns the Turkish army that the Prime minister is still above the army.
The only country which didn't warn was the USA. But they condemned the statements made by the 'Generals'.
In the end, this is not good for Turkish image!

Only Burma, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Libya, Egypt, and Thailand are ruled by the military.
Does Turkey as a candidate member of the EU belong here?
Although Turkish army is respected, it's feared as well.
It would be an economical disaster and a setback for years if the military would have a say in politics.
For more info about military who like to play around with countries click here.

Poem two - On the Secret Bridge

On the Secret Bridge
(Sır Köprüsünde)

kör bir dizeye şarkı öğretir gibi
diziyorum kıldan ince sözlerimi
hazır ol! duruyorum, tetikte kalbim
kalbine diyez seslerle yüzüyorum

Adımın sol anahtarı yok
Yüzümün yelkeni yırtıldı

çatlak ar damarına giriyorum usulca
günaha giriyorum ellerinde gezinmek suç
edepsiz notaların işgalinde nefesim
korkuyorum...üflesem düşeceksin

Aklım düşmemeli bu savaşta
Hâlâ sıcak dönüş yolu

kör bir dizeye şarkı söyletir gibi
tutuyorum kılıçtan keskin sözlerimi
sol göğsünün kapısında nöbette
ateşten bir nehirle susuyorum

Adımın sol anahtarı yok
Yüzümün yelkeni...

Nurduran Duman

Friday, April 27, 2007

Istanbul, city of restaurants

Had some friends over from the Netherlands, and went to some restaurants. And I can tell you, there are thousands of restaurants in Istanbul. I know a lot of them on the European side, but still 'where shall we go this time?'. Too many choices all the time.
But we made it one night to Venge in Levent and one evening to LOFT. First was kebab and second more international style, although the 'style' of service is not international, it's Turkish. And not one European country can compete with that...
Most EU bureaucrats know this..))

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A new President for Turkey?

A. Gul for President. That will be an earthquake for Turkey. Personally, I don't think that he is a bad choice. Unfortunately, his wife is wearing not a headscarf, but is covered in a comical way, which will not attribute to Turkish modern image.

On the other side, Turkey claimed to be secular for decades, but was not; it suppressed its Muslim religion and as a result, National-islamists harmed Turkey more than this government over the past five years. Its secularism was a religion by itself.

Turkey needs more publicity, not propaganda

This article is published in the Turkish Daily News of April 24, 2007

If Turkey wants to have a peaceful, stable and tolerant image in the world through a pluralistic society, which it claims to be, Turkish society must be based upon freedom of speech, freedom in the economical sense and equality in social life. And the flow of information must be as free as a bird.
Turkey is to some (too) far right wing European politicians what garlic is to vampires: the mere mention of it sends them into convulsions. They try to associate Turkey in the public opinion with bully talkers, ultra nationalism and intolerance against other faiths. It is simple for them: Turkey, as a country, threatens, suppresses and denies “others.” Yes, Turkey is also responsible for this, as it has been sending out decades of ambivalent power play with words like, “The world is watching us at each step we take,” or “Let us do it our way.”

Read the full article by clicking here

Monday, April 23, 2007

Children's day in Turkey and elsewhere

Just asked several Turkish friends if the Turkish Children's Day is unique in the world. All answered, yes. Without even thinking. Feel a little sorry for them since the first ICD (International Children's Day) was announced at the World Conference in Geneva, 1925!

While the UN and UNESCO changed this in 1954 to November the 20th, although many countries have another day. For example India, which chose the birthday of their first PM,
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the 14th of November as their Children's Day. Funny detail is that the 14th of November is exactly 9 months after the 14th of February, Valentin's Day of 2007. Also New Zealand has its own Te Rā O Te Tamariki on the 4th of March. Can make an endless list.

What disturbs me at the moment is that in Turkey they are misusing children on this day for political purposes. It's all about Ataturk: singing about him, dancing for him, reciting him etcetera. Or for Mohammed. Everything fine with me but as long as these two components of the Turkish society can not even leave their children celebrate in peace, on this particular day, they have to de-Ataturk the Turkish society since his words: 'You don't have to see me, but you have to understand me', is not for them.

The Poet, a second introduction

Nurduran Duman was born in Çan, a county of Çanakkale.
She graduated from İstanbul Technical University, Faculty of Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering as a Naval Architect and Ocean Engineer.

Her poem collection Yenilgi Oyunu was rewarded with 2005 Cemal Süreya Poem Awards Jury Special Award. Yenilgi Oyunu was published in 2006.

Her poems, translations (poems and stories), poetic articles, book reviews and interviews with foreign writers have been published in various magazines such as Cumhuriyet Kitap, Varlık, Yasakmeyve, Eşik Cini, Edebiyat ve Eleştiri, etcetera.
In addition she has been conducting many theatre activities in various positions (actress, director, theater electrician, etc.) for years.
Currently she is the producer and presenter of the radio programme “Yazın Küresi” in Özlem Radyo.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday; the weekly day of rest in a Muslim country

Sunday is the weekly day of rest in the Christian world. Saturday is the weekly day of rest in the Jewish state of Israel, Muslim countries and among Jewish communities. But in Turkey with a predominantly Muslim population (99%), Sunday is the weekly day of rest. If you can speak of a rest day; a lot of shops are open and people are 'beeing' around. And Turks have to work, hard, so often on Sunday as well.

Ataturk introduced a 'Free Sunday' in 1935 among other social reforms:

The activities of religious sects were banned by law (1925);
Western calendar was introduced (1925);
International numeric system was introduced (1928);
The Metric system was introduced (1931);
The nicknames and personal titles were abolished (1934);
Religious attire was prohibited in public (1934);
According to this law, religious personalities, irrespective of the religious groups they belong to, were not to wear religious attire in public but only in their sanctuaries.
The surname law was introduced (1934);
The modern secular system of jurisprudence instead of religious law is integrated (1926);
The liberation of the women of Turkey by giving them political and social rights.
a) Rights brought with medeni kanun (1926);
b) Rights for women to be elected for the parliament (1926).

See here the friction with the Muslim world!

Concept maker or (copy) writer

When I wrote my first article (a simple press release) some 20 years ago, people liked my style, the concept, but were very critical about my (Dutch) grammar. So, I improved it since then. But since I think in concepts, I write and never have an eye for the grammar. That stayed so when I worked as a copy writer: always someone was proofreading what I produced.

Especially when you write on a computer, you don't see your own typo faults, and that's a fact.
Now I am writing in English for almost 10 years. I thought that I developed this language better than French, which was for a long time my second language (besides German), but after harsh criticism of a Turkish Lady in Florence, Yasemin (
view her blog), I decided to appoint her as my editor. Also since I write columns once in a while. She thankfully accepted the job..))

I am a concept maker, with eyes for details, but not for grammar. Long live the Editor, but the Concept maker is still Alive!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Poem one

Yarım Çember

Bulmak için o yitik dizeyi
lanetli bir yaşamla
takas ettim kendimi
tuzdan duvarlar ördüm denize
bir adım iki göz evime

yoksul kazılar yaptım som kaleler
ölümü sağ gözüme gömdüm
dirimi sığdıramadım yerin yüzüne

sihirli sulardan içtim, yüzdüm de...
bu yüzden bulanıktır aklım

Yazmak için o dizeyi
lanetli bir aşkla ödeştim
çirkinleştiğim oldu gece yarıları
çirkef sözcüklerle seviştiğim

ilişkiler dokudum pamuk ipliği
kimi çizsem kırılmadım, koptum
kime dokunduysam yaralı

bir yarım çemberin üstünde
geçtim içdenizlerini sevginin

bir yanım hep yarımdır bu yüzden

Nurduran Duman

Introducing Nurduran Duman, the poet.

This is Nurduran Duman, an old colleague of mine and friend, who decided several years ago to stop working for the organization I shortly worked for.

She is dedicating her energy now for her poems, a courageous step. Since not that many people in Turkey are reading.

Soon you will find her poems here under the label: Nurduran Duman, a Turkish poet.

Friday, April 20, 2007

When will this change...

The brutal slaughtering of three Christians in Malatya, Turkey by Islam-nationalists (you have them in all tastes and colors) shows again that the Turkish state, doesn't matter if it is ruled by democratic Islamists, Kemalists or socialists, can not even protect its tiny minority of less than 1% of non-Muslims.

In contrary to the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Germany and so on, where Muslims can practice and advertise their religion freely without risking their lives. And even in these European countries they have a say in politics. The massive outcry in the Turkish press over these murderers looks hypocritical. Nothing will change as long as Turkey doesn't restructure the back bones of the Turkish society. And as long as that is not the case nothing will change in the mindset of the Turkish people: Christians are in Turkey to convert Muslims to Christianity. This doctrine and excuse is not valid anymore.

When I read the columnists of today, I got a terrible feeling. But I want to make an exception for Mustafa Aykol, whose comments and columns are like a scream in the dark. I recommend his writing in his blog of The White Path. And of Ziya Meral, his column 'the banality of the murders'

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Greek-Turkish Love

Yes, so much is said about Turkish-Greek relations that it seems as if it is impossible to bring people from both countries together. Dead wrong!
Here a picture of a Turkish-Greek couple...
Can you see at their faces where they are from? Who is 'the Greek' and who is 'the Turk'?
Enjoy! The picture is not that clear since I made it with my cellular phone.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The spreading of the Light

Although already back in Istanbul, want to share with you all one event in Greece.
It was Easter Saturday, April the 7th, and it was quite impressive: The spreading of the Light.
On the Holy Feast of Pasha, Greek Orthodox Christians celebrate the life-giving Resurrection of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This feast of feasts is the most significant day in the life of the Church. It is a celebration of the defeat of death. In this victory that came through the Cross, Christ broke the bondage of sin, and through faith offers his followers restoration, transformation, and eternal life.
Before midnight on Saturday evening, the Odes of Lamentation of the previous day are repeated. The Orthros of the Resurrection begins in complete darkness. The priest takes light from the vigil light and gives it to the faithful, who are holding candles. The priest sings: "Come ye and receive light from the unwaning light, and glorify Christ, who arose from the dead", and all the people join him in singing this hymn again and again. From this moment, every Christian holds the Easter candle as a symbol of his vivid, deep faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ as Savior. In many churches the priest leads the people outside the church, where he reads the Gospel which refers to the Angels' statement: "He is Risen; He is not here,” (Mark 16:1-8).
And there were a lot of people outside on the streets, and when the first candle came out the church the light was spreading quickly. Yes, this was impressive!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A church in Thessaloniki

Drove yesterday from Athens back to Thessaloniki.
While the air was really dry and nice in Athens, Thessaloniki is humid. All the time you have the feeling that you fall asleep. Perfect environment for a holiday!

Today to a shopping mall:
Cosmos. Owned by the Greek Orthodox church, so between all kind of outdoor restaurants and bars, and in fact in the middle of the shopping complex, a Greek Orthodox Church was built. Who is telling me now that the Greek Orthodox is not dominant in the Greek society? Got a lot of reactions from Greeks who simple deny this after my article about EU and Cyprus.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Easter Sunday

Yes, this picture looks like the photo made in Bodrum, on the right hand side column of my blog. But this is Pireau, a suburb of Thessaloniki. Beautiful scenery. The difference is that you can see a Greek island from Turkey, but you can not see Turkish land from Thessaloniki.
On Easter Sunday I drove through 'explore my senses' of Greece. And yes, it was nice. Had a nice piece of lamb on the beach, and enjoyed myself. Yes, definitely, the Greek cuisine is made for my stomach, Turkish one smells sometimes like hospital food: looks like they do their utmost best to cook the vitamins out.
The picture is made when I was waiting for my meal...

Flying Olympic Airways

This is a high wind propeller airplane.
Didn't know that these planes are still used for commercial purposes. But Olympic Airways is still using these machines: between Istanbul and Thessaloniki. Not more than 50 people can go with it! And I was thinking last week Thursday, the first day of Greek Orthodox Easter, that this flight could be crowded. Especially since there are only 2 flights each week from Istanbul to the second city of Greece. But the flight was not even full!
Thirty years ago, while on my first visit to Athens, we booked an unexpected flight to Cairo. Never forget that trip since I was thinking by the start that we didn't get off the ground...
Now, sitting in Exit Row, I could hear the propellers banging in my ears for 1 hr and 10 minutes.
No, not fun at all. Also the flight was delayed twice. We took off 20 minutes after the flight was supposed to land in Thessaloniki. I am curious about my flight this Sunday: Thessaloniki-Athens-Istanbul.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The world really doesn't know what really happened in Cyprus

The world really doesn’t know what really happened in Cyprus and why Turks occupied it. A paradigm shift within the EU on how to perceive Cyprus is needed, and the only one who can do this are the Turks, who should tell their story more effectively.
Cyprus and the EU - What matters is the perception

This article is published on Wednesday, April 4, 2007 in
The Turkish Daily News
Read the full article by clicking here