Thursday, June 07, 2007


Last year the New Church Amsterdam organized an exhibition The Sultan and the City. The exhibition was opened by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and many art pieces were shown until April the 5th of 2007. Topkapi palace gave a helping hand.

The two main sponsors KPMG and Fortis held a symposium, for relations of the 2 firms, just days after the opening. Mainly Turkish banks and business leaders. I was there as well.
After the interesting speeches a cocktail, and by leaving, you got a present: a book about Istanbul, with an introduction by Mr. KoƧ, Minister of Tourism. But there was a problem: the Turkish government didn't allow that in the book the name of Constantinople was mentioned, and that Armenians lived in the area. After a lot of threats by the the Turkish government, KPMG removed the names 'Constantinople' and 'Armenians'. But as revenge, they put a map of Constantinople anno 1410 inside the cover.
That the Turkish government censors in its own land, a la, but that it wants to dictate its views on countries like the Netherlands is offensive.


super hero said...

perhaps we can start to understand each other after all, if you can see the bottomline here.

yes it is offensive for any country to dictate her views to another country. so then, why do you consider it not offensive when a country like netherlands or any other try to dictate their views to turkey, even though they dont seem to have anything to do with the issues they regard?

and about the constantinople thing, i guess you pretty much know that turkey has a policy of naming the city "istanbul" and i dont know what is the big idea in challenging it all the time?

and about the armenians, it would be really silly to censorship the information about armenians in the city. it is too absurd and hard to believe that there is not an exaggration in that. perhaps it was something else the goverment felt disturbed and wanted to be corrected, which you might not be told. but ok, lets say there is a foolish banning in that, so isnt Mr. Koc a member of AKP, the champion liberals of turkey, who are fiercely advocated by europeans? it is weird that they did such a thing isnt it?

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

First of all, I know the guys and girls who are running these 2 companies. Secondly, Constantinopel is history, you can not re write that between 300 ac and 1450 ac there was a place called Constantinopel.
Third: the Netherlands never imposed a rule on Turkey, but Sezer gave our Queen 'a warning' 2 months ago tete-a-tete that the Turkish people in the Netherlands must be educated in Turkish!! Can you imagine?
Armenians could not be mentioned.
And regarding the Turkish politics fanfare, as long as there is not a norml social-liberal party, I don't have faith in the Turkish politics. But at least, AKP brought some stability.
But if Turkey goed back in their inwards looking policy, I jump in a plane and be in Athens.

Anonymous said...

I remember a Turkish Female Student being very upset, when we talked about whether anybody could call Istanbul, Constantinople. She believed it meant that Greeks wanted it back. BTW, I am a Turkish fellow, too.

Regarding Armenian issue, I believe that it is again foolish to attempt to suppress any information of them. In any case, they were immigrants to city after all and did not have much of a claim to it.

Still, Turks presently believe that they are under siege. There are very few nations whose land is coveted by so many neighbours. Combined with the persistent inferiorty complex formed over the centuries of defeat, loss of territory and having been expelled from the lost territories, Turks became very sensitive.

Regarding Sezer's chiding, Dutch response has been really ugly and xenophobic. Right-wing MPs asking Turkish ambassador to shut up, is hardly the behaviour of a self-assured liberal democracy. After all, what we are talking about the education of Turkish citizens' children and our government should be able to express its opinion.

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Look, Istanbul is Istanbul, and Constantinople was Constantinople.
Some claim that Istanbul was conquerod by the Turks..))

Armenians are in Anatolia for 3000 years....

You are right about Turkish behavior, but also count them for their wrong doings...

Sezer is presidenet of Turkey, not of the Netherlands. The Turkish ambassador is a nice guy, but helpless.

You mean the far right PVV? They are of the same taste as MHP, altough the PVV have one issue: anti immigration and the MHP many: violent superior way of thinking

Anonymous said...

Armenians were in Anatolia for very long time, but they were in Eastern Anatolia. After the rise of Greeks, their church's split from Greek Orthodox church, they had a very testy relationship with the Byzantines.

They emigrated within Byzantine Empire and of course, to Constantinople. Nonetheless, they were a small minority in the city in 1453. It is interesting to note, many Greeks and some Westerns claimed for centuries it was the Armenians who opened the city's gates during the fall of the City. For them, Turks could not have done it alone.

Regarding the far right parties, you are right about MHP and I should admit that I don't know much about PVV. Still, when I read the way they responded to the Ambassador's comments, it reminded me our chaps.

I might be in the Netherlands in the coming weeks for a couple of days. It might be interesting to compare it to UK, a country I know much better of.

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Interesting facts.

I never see the PVV attacking the Turkish ambassador in the Netherlands. Dutch lacks nationalism, therefore this PVV party is more an anti-immigration party than a nationalistic party. If you need someone in the Netherlands, let me know.
You can always 'google' me..))