Thursday, May 31, 2007

Turkish politics

For weeks now, I am trying to finalize a column about Communications in Turkish politics. But one way or the other, I can not finish it. I want to stay out Turkish politics with my comments, since it is too many intrigues, and sometimes, I can not simply follow the thoughts of the Turkish politicians.
They all seem pretty confident with themselves, and I don't think they care about the ordinary Turkish people. But I had the privilege to meet Bulent Tanla, representative of the CHP Istanbul, who yesterday said that he will not run for the elections in July. In particular, I worked with Hasan Tanla, his son. Very descent people!
Yet, if I look at the leaders of all the parties, sorry, but none of them makes me excited. Maybe I start to become a

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Holland Festival

Yesterday, May 29, the yearly Holland festival started. Music, dance, movies, etc. Until June the 12th. Here is the program.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Representative of humanity

This symbolizes my way of thinking, and see proof in daily life. Taken from wikipedia. See the link below.

Christ vs. Lucifer and Ahriman

Lucifer and his counterpart Ahriman figure in anthroposophy as two polar, generally evil influences on world and human evolution. Steiner described both positive and negative aspects of both figures, however: Lucifer as the light spirit that "plays on human pride and offers the delusion of divinity", but also motivates creativity and spirituality; Ahriman as the dark spirit that tempts human beings to "deny [their] link with divinity and to live entirely on the material plane", but also stimulates intellectuality and technology. Both figures "exert a negative and evil effect on humanity because man allows their influence to be misplaced and one-sided," yet their influences are necessary for human freedom to unfold.[2][5]
According to anthroposophy, each human being has the task to find a balance between these opposing influences; each person is helped in this task through the mediating being of the Representative of Humanity, also known as the Christ being, a spiritual entity which stands between and harmonizes the two extremes.[5]

For the full article, click here.

Boxing with the politicians

Reuters put this picture on the wire. Saw this one in the British, French, Italian, German and Dutch newspapers already. The Dutch newspaper allows their readers to comment interactively on their news. Saw some hilarious reactions. One was very funny: A guy asks for the patent to make a show about it (Boxing with the Politicians) for van der Ende (Dutch TV maker responsible for Big Brother, Who Wants to be a Millionaire etc.)
Some suggest even to import this 'style' of debating in the EU, which is too dull for many...
Personally I think this is not good for Turkish fragile image, although I saw these kind of scenes in Italy and Spain as well...

Monday, May 28, 2007


Most of the time I don't read Ali Kulebi, a director of some kind of pre-cold war institute in Ankara, his 'opinion', or let me say: his column.

This time, because of the tendentious heading, Unbearable arrogance of the EU, I did read his article. Besides the many falsifications and lies, it's the same old nationalist rhetoric.

Also, he forgets to mention that Turkey is a member of the NATO, which as a organization have it golden rules, And without the NATO, it would be a very poor equipped army (I don't think that the modern way of thinking of the Turkish Army fits Mr. Ali, but I am pretty sure, that they like to shop around in imperialistic USA and the EU, rather than in Iran).

Here are some 'rectifications':
- Turkey is not banging on the door of the EU for 45 year. Seriously since 1987, thanks to Ozal. That you have to obey the rules of a club you want to be member of, doesn't seem to bother, in his mind.
-The EU is not interfering, only telling what are the rules to become a member. Simple.
-The EU didn't remove Haider (Austria) from office, only bilateral talks were suspended.
-The three candidates were not following the party line of which they want to represent. Another one is now undersecretary of Justice...Is it possible Mr. Ali that a Dutch born became member of the Turkish government?
-Turkey is the fifth largest market of the EU. Right, and the EU is Turkey's largest business partner. But Europeans are still seen as traitors.
-The Turkish language is not outlawed in the EU. In countries with a huge Turkish population all the government documents are available in Turkish, on national, regional and even local level. And official interpreters are everywhere. But Turkish is not an official language in the EU as English is not in Turkey.
-Turkish business people can freely travel on a one year visa when they plan to do serious business, and not opening a CD shop in Rotterdam. And I have experience in this for 15 years.

All the Turkish business people I have helped in Europe, didn't face one problem with obtaining a visa.

If we take all this together and see what foreigners are facing in Turkey, especially in business, then there rests me one thing to say to Mr. Ali: you are a disturbing hypocrite.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The last days of Constantinople

Been besieged many times, the last assault on the Byzantine capital - the last capital of the once mighty Roman Empire - Constantinople, in the last week of May 1453, was successful. Read here the story.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Al Jazeera

Discovered a few weeks ago, that if you subscribe to the services of Digiturk, you also can watch Al Jazeera. Next to CNN world, BBC world, Euronews, and many other channels.
Must be said, that I had some kind of prejudice against this Qatar based news channel. But it's an added value channel. Broadcast in English, mainly by British presentators. It's just the 'other side of the news'. But don't like their Slogan: we Set the News Agenda.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Totally numb

Was sick last week. A big flu, and since my immune system doesn't work well, took some time to recover.
In the meanwhile, didn't feel well at the same time. Mentally. So my doctor told me to take some anti-depressive. Which I never used even once in my life, since vit B (especially the vit B 6 and vit B 12) are more than helpful when you feel depressive. Anyway, in a weak moment, I told him, 'give me some'. Also since I sleep badly.
So I got my anti-depressive tablets, and after using it for 2 days, I feel completely numb.
Doctors in the Netherlands always warned me that Turkish doctors are subscribing medicines as cookies by the tea.
A good and smart diagnose would be more appreciated in the future. But that is sometimes impossible in Turkey.

Poem Four - The Girl with a Lily Neck

The Girl with Lily Neck
(Zambak Boyunlu Kız)

öpüştü, sesti, dudaktı,
zambak boyunlu kızın
ayasındaki sözdü: tutulunca
aşk, üflediğinde kadın

dildi, yanaktı, boyun.
suya gitti kadın
sesine zambağın

yoldu, anneydi, baba
gözdü, göze kaçan toz
servi boylu şiirlerden
çekilip seçilen pozdu
yanaklarda emilen tuz

bir dik bir açılı
gölgeydi kuma çakılı
aşağı giden su, yukarı ateş
göktü yüzü, sarıydı kız

biri çok, biri kısa andı
sevişmekti, sevilmekti,
sevmek: sonrası dalgalı

denizdi, derindi, dere.

Nurduran Duman

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Telephone costs

When you travel often to EU countries, the roaming costs are incredibly high.
Finally the EU parliament took action today and requires that telephone operators, carriers etc., have to reduce the costs up to 75%.
All within the EU block of 27 countries.
One of our clients Amatus, already watched this issue and is offering a special product for their clients.
Turkcell was not happy with this idea.
The law is there to protect customers for unfair prices. In Turkey you pay still too much for regular and land line calls. International costs are decreased but still not in line with the EU. It's in the best of the Turkish businesses and the general public that they further privatize the telecoms sector and allow carriers for cheaper deals. There is still not such as an Ombudsman in Turkey, protecting Turkish consumers.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Rome anno 100 BC, and Iraq/SE Turkey 2007 AC

This is one of the more than 100 stories in the last month of how young children are killed, stoned to death, hanged, etc. by the guardians of their religion and/or culture. And still, we are waiting for answers from their so called 'imams' or sheiks.
Pictures are shocking, but this is Daily Life in Northern Iraq and SE Turkey.

Click here for the story. Elif Safak wrote about it as well. But all the political parties in Turkey put their heads in sand as usual.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Miami living

Started this blog exactly 2 years after I moved from Miami to Istanbul. A big move! Loved the city of Miami for living and the healthy fresh air. Although I have some height fear, lived in this building on the 19th floor for 2 years with a spectacular view over the ocean.

Yes, and this was the swimming pool on the 5th floor. Just above the parking spots. On the other side there was a tennis court. Used the swimming pool daily. Only in the summer it was far too hot!

And what about the gym. Used it exactly one time in 2 years. Never used the indoor squash area either.

I made, in fact, hundreds of photos while living in Miami. Especially during road trips to Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, New York, Kansas and all in between since we traveled by car.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The old secular middle class

I found the following article in the most prestigious Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad. Unfortunately, it's in Dutch.
In this article several people are interviewed. The interesting thing is that most of them have said that 'corruption' and 'unemployment' are the driving forces behind these rallies. Mainly supported by the old middle class of Turkey. They feel left alone, in the cold. Not profiting from the economical revival. And they are angry that Erdogan let slip many things out of his hands.
So, it's not only about secularism and Islamism. But yes, indeed the CHP (btw, no information about this party available on Internet) is playing the fear-card.

By the way, I like the black and white picture!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Greek Name Days

St. Constantinus and St. Helen.

Greeks have 'name days' besides birthdays as nearly each day of the year is dedicated to one of the Christian saints.
So, the day you are born means: you have a birthday and a name day related to that Saint of that particular day you are born on.
Although birthdays became more common, name days are still celebrated.
Yes, the Greek Orthodox religion plays a significant part in the lives of the Orthodox Greeks.
Click here for a list of name days. Or this more specific list.

Happy Merger? Happy Marriage?

This doesn't look like a happy "collaboration". And the two guys don't look happy at all. I am curious if they have ever heard about 'campaign strategies', or 'communication management'. Looks like these people still believe in the 'communistic strategies' instead of listening to their voters.
I simply can not understand why this kind of politicians attract voters. And for your and their information: the Cold War is over! Looks like they bring this war within Turkish borders...

The ongoing debate

On the ongoing debate in Turkey about which party is reliable and which is not, the following article is interesting, click here.

The author is a former member of the General Assembly and Executive Board of the CHP.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mrs. Gül

She said that she had noticed the anger on the faces of the people at the mass "republican rallies".
"When you look at the past of these angry people you notice that they grew up without love. This is why I am not angry at them. Life is short and beautiful, why are we consuming it with these arguments?"

Mrs. Hayrünnisa Gül

In an interview with Sabah, published in Today's Zaman, Mrs. Gul makes a statement unworthy for a possible first lady by denigrating other people their views.

Strange sounds...

According to a survey released this weekend, only 28% of the Dutch are in favor of a possible Turkish membership of the EU. And 67% are against. This has more to do with the rapid expansion of the EU with 12 countries in 3 years. Believe me.
The day before this survey was released the Minister of Justice in the Netherlands, Hirsch Balin, (this is another article) issued a statement that the EU must be aware and respect the 'special role' the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) are playing in the Turkish society. While the EU is urging that the TSK must stay out of politics.
And on the same day the Somalia-born-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali, now a Dutch citizen, told in an interview with the German newspaper Der Welt, that the Turkish Army can keep Europe safe of Islamic extremism....oink...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Something in the air..

Tomorrow another demonstration. This time in Izmir. The most liberal city of Turkey.
I don't see these demonstrations as only anti-government but also anti-establishment.
In fact, the atmosphere of the long hot summer of 1967 of Europe and the USA, merely Paris, Amsterdam and San Fransisco, which was dominated by anti-establishment, first feminist move and anti-consumptism, is in the air.
With the upcoming elections in July, this will be an interesting spring and summer for Turkey.
As they say that this demonstration will be the last one, I have my doubts. I foresee some uproar. Hopefully peacefully.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

An interview with Nurduran Duman

For those interested in Nurduran Duman, the poet, and her work, today's Cumhuriyet Kitap Eki (Cumhuriyet Book Addition) published an article and picture, another one than the two which I use. She looks a little Holy in these ones..))
And I am sorry, can not provide a link since Cumhuriyet is still not in the digital time frame.
Old socialist who became reactionary.

Poem three - Sea Language and Literature

Deniz Dili ve Edebiyatı
(Sea Language and Literature)

müjde. gün döndü güle bakanlar
yaşasın! uzun yıllar var bahçeme
düşmedi kötü niyetli yaprak
Düşse de, yıkadım uykumda geceleri
yaktım koyu mavi çizgidendi direği
çürük, yelkenleri yamalı.

şimdi tüm ırmaklar denize!
kan, sinir uçları hepsi
böbrek taşları hep denize!

suya bakan yüzler gördüm
anahtarları iki kaş arasında
iki orman ortasından geçiyor yolları
kalbime. Kalbim susma sakın
bu çırpıntı, bu aşk!
Hey sevmesini sevdiğim…
Hadi denize.

Nurduran Duman

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Just bad propaganda

Putting this picture on the front page of TDN is a pragmatic choice.
It shows his bad side: a populist. And that he is a fanatic believer in France Grandeur. His 'finger' shows: remember! Also: 'remember and be warned'.

On the other side, Turkey is so obsessed with who is in charge in France that it thinks he is the one who can be blamed for Anti-Turkism...
But let's be reasonable: his primary goal is the liberalization of the old socialistic French republic. I don't think Turkey is high in his agenda.
It looks like, according the Turkish press, that only Germany, France and sometimes the UK have a say in Turkey's EU bid. They are deadly wrong.
Turkey simple doesn't understand the consensus policy which dominates the EU. A policy which can be more efficient than any other system.

The ride of my life! A roller coaster...

Just back from an exhausting trip of 42 hours to Amsterdam and back to Istanbul.
Beside the discouraging information my Turkish friends and partners faced, they had still fun, although we all almost fell asleep during a dinner on Monday night..!!!
But our flight yesterday back to Istanbul is another story. It started good; we were all upgraded to business class.
The captain told that the trip would be quick. Clear view, no delays expected.

Flying to Turkey means flying over Hungary, and there the troubles started: lots of turbulence first and then suddenly coffee and wine was flying around in the cabin and people became really afraid; the plane hit a bubble in the air. Just in an area with a lot of thunder and light. So, the pilots started to climb over these nasty clouds, which took 30 minutes.
But compliments to the captain who kept all the time the passengers informed.
In the end, we arrived 30 minutes before planned arrival time in Istanbul.

Turkey for sale? Turkey submissive?

Sorry to say, but I see more and more comments in the Turkish press and on blogs that the AK government is submissive to the EU...
To help everybody out this fable: Turkey is the only country since the establishment of the EEG (former name of the EU) which tries over and over again to change the criteria of a club they want to be a member of...the Copenhagen Criteria, Treaty of Maastricht, Treaty of Nice...and even the CA, the 'constitution' of the EU..

And then, you have these people who are saying that this government is selling this country out, while Turkey has the most restricted rules of the greater European area regarding foreign investments and buying property.
And did Turkey not confiscate property of 'their' foreigners over the last 100 years?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

KLM, the Reliable Airline?

Will fly tomorrow morning at 5.30 am (!) to Amsterdam. I don't like this flight, it means that I have to wake up at 2.30 am, on my way to the airport by 3.00 am and check-in at 4.00 am.

Will be in Amsterdam by 8.00 am, local time, and will have the first meeting at 09.30 am, and the last one that day at 8.00 pm (dinner). Not something to look forward to.

KLM is using the motto: The Reliable Airline. Here are some comments. You can make up your own mind.

How to address a Nation III

As in my former posts, I promised to write about Mr. Erdogan's speech which he delivered last Monday, April the 30th.
I see this not from a political point of view, but as a foreigner who is living in Turkey.

Honestly, Mr. Erdogan's speech was bad from the beginning until the end, from my observation as an international communication manager.

Why? I shall explain this in detail.

First of all, there was and is a mini-crisis in Turkey. Which means that either the President or the Prime Minister has to ease the tension! To avoid speculations about 'who did what', simple: tell what is going on.
Instead of a clear explanation about the increasing tensions, the Turkish nation saw a bad 30 minutes promo about how well the economy is doing. No words about the social standards of the average Turks and nothing about the their struggle for life, neither about the tension with the military nor with the EU. Not one word to the people about what really is going on. Only empty words about: Let's Unify.
Nothing wrong with promoting what you did, but don't use your time as a Prime Minister by what you and your party have achieved, while ignoring the tensions and protests in the streets and the country.
Also, Turkey became more polarized while the PM was asking for unification. And in this speech there was no sign of consensus or compromise. It was party politics as usual. And that's exactly what you don't do in this situation. Addressing the Nation means being above all parties.

Second: it takes 5 minutes for an ordinary statesman to highlight his or her mission.
30 minutes of preaching will have a boomerang effect. You don't get your message understood.Listeners will get confused. And all the facts you want to bring over will fade away as a leaf, blow away in the wind.

And last but not the least: the footage.

If you address a nation which is in crisis, don't use the propaganda tool. Be fair. Don't misuse the situation to broadcast a bad promo. And don't compare Turkey now with Turkey in 1923. The facts which were shown are hilarious. Also, it's not good to broadcast all the time short shots of people applauding for you, which leave the impression that a new cult was created. A new cult, but this time about Mr. Erdogan. Are we serious?

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The 4th and 5th of May in the Netherlands

The Dutch remember the victims of the Second World War on the 4th of May. At 8 o'clock, two minutes of silence. It's always an impressive but sober moment, especially in the Dam Square in Amsterdam. Normally very noisy but then complete silence.
The Queen and her son, in military uniform. Read my article about why he is in military uniform by clicking here.

Also the Dutch Prime Minister addresses the country, with a short speech. Not like T.E. Erdogan, which was this week a promo-speech of 30 minutes!

The 5th of May is Liberation Day, celebrating the end of the Second World War in Europe (in the Far East the Japanese whee still at war). There are celebrations throughout the Netherlands. But in the last years it became more a 'theme day', with this year the theme of Freedom, the rights of the Constitution and security. Also a traditional reading (or lecture) by a prominent Dutch person this year, the former Minister for Development Cooperation and the former Special Representative Secretary General of the United Nations in Sudan, Khartoum, Prof. Jan Pronk.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

How to address a nation II

More than 80% of our communication is non-verbal. And therefore propaganda is a dangerous tool as I stated in my article of Wednesday, April 24th.

Enfin, wanted to write down here why T.E. Erdogan missed a Golden Goal this week Monday when he made a speech on Television. But my computer is not listening to me anymore. Will bring it to the Laptop Hospital tonight.

Until later!

Festivals for free

One of the things I miss of the Netherlands are the festivals, which are for free. Not only on Queen's Day but also random. And especially with the Uitmarkt in Amsterdam, the opening of the new cultural season at the end of August is 4 days fun.
The Boulevard of Broken Dreams started there.

It's all so double

Two years ago, I think, I spoke with a Turkish-Armenian and recently with a Greek Orthodox. But I asked a simple question: "How is life for you in Turkey?". And both gave the same answer: more relaxed.
But when I talked with several Christians here, they started to complain, and were scared. And had the feeling that it became not easier for them under this regime.

Being other than a Muslim and expressing this openly became a big deal. Being other than a Turk is another case. Life is easy. But it's again religion which divides us, while the purpose of religion is joy and bringing people together.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

How to address a Nation

Yes, it was the BBC which brought the news first that the Prime Minister of Turkey would address the nation at 20.15 local time on the 30th of April. The Turkish media were slower. Either they don’t have the equipment, or they lack the courage to bring Flash news.

With this I mean: news which is news worthy. No speculations. I see too often the ‘?’ sign above articles and comments. Which leads always to speculations. The first trap for the reader.

Anyway, I am a foreigner, and therefore suspicious, especially when I talk or write. But I don’t want to get mangled in Turkish politics. But I can assure you that the Turkish politicians from right to left, from conservative to liberal (are there any?), are the reasons that Turkish image vanished upon today; which makes life not easier for Turkish people when they want to go abroad for personal reasons, or, simply, to do business.

More later about my professional view regarding T.E. (no, not E.T) Erdogan's speech. And the opportunity of a Golden Goal, which he missed by the way...sleep well!

The reputation of a headscarf

It takes 10 years to build a respected brand reputation, but you can destroy it in 5 minutes.
The Internet coup by the military was a start, but now it looks like that Turkey cannot get enough of all the negative images they are sending out! They are in the spotlight of the international media, and they don't want to leave the stage.

And..will the tourists come back this year? Good for the hard valuate.

Never heard that a country is sending its government away because it developed a rising economy, reshaping the social structure for its people, and last but not the least: was finally on track with what it promised before it came into power.
And this all because of a headscarf... Explore your senses, is what they promise in Greece...

I am knocking my head to the wall since I can not understand it anymore...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Where do you want to be on Labor Day...

In Istanbul, where on Labor Day, the police clashed with demonstrators...(this time not a demonstration organized by the retired generals and officers..)

Or being on the beach at Scheveningen (La Hague) where it's unusually warm for the time of the year....

Click here for another interesting article about the developments in Turkey. Yes, these are exciting times for news reporters!

Orange in The Netherlands, Red in Turkey...

While the streets of Istanbul colors red with Turkish flags everywhere, the Netherlands celebrated under a beautiful blue sky Queen's Day, and everything turned into orange, party color of the Dutch...