Friday, August 31, 2007

You got this one?

They run this ad for 10 years now, down there in the USA.

The 8 stages of Genocide

There are stages through which the causes and conditions for genocide develop and gradually end in manifest genocide, as developed by Gregory H. Stanton. Assuming that the government is authoritarian or totalitarian, such stages are as follows.

1. Classification: People are typed, categorized, and classified into different groups, such as whites, blacks, Asians; or into Christians and Jews; or into communists, leftists, or rightists.

2. Symbolization: Different groups are given names, such as Chinese, Jews, Hindus, or Marxists." Particular clothes, (like a Turban), food eaten (like rice), physical characteristic (like long noses), or behavior (like inscrutable) may become ways of stereotyping the group's members. Classification and symbolization are common to all societies and while necessary for genocide to occur, do not foretell that it will; or that the next stages will follow.

3. Dehumanization: Members of the out-groups are dehumanized, as in calling them apes, monkeys, cockroaches, parasites, rats, vermin, and the like. In this way, members of the out-group are made to appear clearly outside of "our" moral universe. As vermin and such, members of the out-group have been stripped of the moral in-group protection against extermination.

4. Organization: Officials, sympathetic in-group leaders, and intellectuals organize to repress, murder out-group members, or entirely destroy the dehumanized group. Weapons are stacked or handed out; militia, security forces, or military are selected and trained; preliminary plans are made.

5. Polarization: Officials, extremists, propagandists, or demagogues undertake a systematic campaign to maximize the social, psychological, and moral distance between "us" and "them." In this stage, moderate intellectuals and leaders are silenced either through intimidation, beatings, arrests, and outright assassination.

6. Preparation: All is ready for genocide and the final step is to tag those to be killed. They may be forced to wear identifying clothing, symbols on their clothing, or be segregated in ghettos. Lists of those to be killed may be prepared for killing squads, and the out-group may be systematically deprived by law and weapon roundups of any weapons. Those who might lead the resistance to genocide, such as young males, may be conscripted into the military and segregated for subsequent execution, or simply jailed.

7. Genocide: For whatever motive, the final decision is made to attack and destroy those in the out-group, or to destroy the group as such. It may be justified as a righteous campaign to exterminate vermin or cleanse the society of filth, to recover ancient greatness or save the nation's race, to revenge past wrongs, and so on.

8. Denial: The final stage is the perpetrator's denial of their genocide. They destroy or hide the relevant official evidence, burn bodies, leave unmarked graves, or invent a reasonable rational for the killing ("they were in rebellion," "were killed during the civil war," or "were helpmates to our enemies."). Moreover, the perpetrators may harass those who claim that a genocide occurred. The most coherent and far reaching official denial today is that of the Turkish government that the murder of over a million Armenians during World War I was genocide. According to the Turks, they died as a result of a civil war, an invasion by Russia, and the attempt of the Young Turk government to deport potential and actual hostile Armenians to a different part of the country for their own protection.

Adding blogs

Some more blogs are added as links on this blog.
One is of Jessica, who recently moved to Istanbul for a 2 year job.
Interesting to follow her 'being' and 'doing' in Turkey.
You can find her here.
She is from Detroit USA...not used to a 3 month period without rain..))

At work?

Fire fighters 'at work' in the Netherlands....

Hands up in the air

Japanese way of advertising.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Professor Erik-Jan Zürcher and Turkey

The Medal of High Distinction award of Turkey was presented to him at the Turkish Embassy in The Hague by Ambassador Tacem Ildem.

Erik-Jan Zurcher has been a Professor in the Netherlands of Turkish languages and cultures since 1987. His book: 'Turkey, a Modern history' is well-known in Turkey.
In 2005, he received the Medal of High Distinction from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an honor which is rarely awarded.

Hürriyet, Turkish mainstream bourgeois newspaper runs a story about R. Fisk, and are misusing the views of Erik-Jan Zurcher about the Armenian Genocide, suggesting that Prof. Zurcher are on the denial side...

Let's have a look at some extracts, links etc. about Erik-Jan:

"But apologies are not a matter for discussion," says Erik J. Zürcher, professor of Turkish linguistics and literature at the University of Leiden. "It is not realistic to make the present Turkish Republic responsible for the murders of 1915. The Turkish government could, however, express finding the events tragic." This is not to be expected. Turkish pride and fear for an Armenian claim to "Wiedergutmachung" come in the way of normalization.

Here is the article. VPRO is an outstanding TV station in the Netherlands.

"At the same time, the feeling that what had happened should never be allowed to happen again; that Anatolia should not go the way of the Balkans and was in a very real sense the “Turk’s last stand” was certainly instrumental in the decisions to embark on the wholesale extermination of the Armenians and the expulsion of the Greek Orthodox"

Here is the article.

Introducing Taner Akcam professor Erik-Jan Zürcher, professor of Turkish language and culture at the University of Leiden, mentioned that Akcam is one of the scholars, who presents “the state of the art” in his field of research. He combines in his research Armenian scientific publications, documents from Ottoman archives and Turkish Military Tribunal of 1919 as well as documents found in the German archives. After Akcam’s speech many Turks stood up to protest rather than ask questions, but Akcam peacefully and effectively managed to give clear response and at the same time tried to pacify the Turks by repeating the statement: “we have to learn to talk”.

Answering a question about the Turkish proposal to Armenia to form a joint commission of Turkish and Armenian historians, professor Zürcher said that a dialogue is necessary, but that the proposal is not as innocent as it seems, because of the conditions put forward by Turkey. Turkey wants the historians to be appointed by the governments and also all political discussion on historical subjects to be suspended during the work of the commission. It should not come as a surprise that Armenia cannot accept the proposal under such conditions.

Here is the article.

I agree with the research of Erik-Jan in contesting misconceptions and prejudices about Turkey. But Hürriyet did a lousy job: Professor Zurcher endorsed the Armenian Genocide claim. But he encouraged in his books, interviews, and seminars etc. reconciliation.

Looking on the 'mathematical' side of things

I need some help here. I am a computer scientist, more on the mathematics side than the software side.. I teach mathematics at the university. And nowadays I have problem in understanding something. There were some elections. Some party got about 47% of the votes. So, it means that 53% of the voters did not vote for them, right? The party that got 47% of the votes chose also the president of the country, saying that their candidate is chosen by the people. Now. This is what I cannot understand: according to mathematics 53 is bigger than 47. Hence, 53% of "something" is also more than 47% of "that-thing" . That would mean that the president is loved and wanted by less than half of the population of the country. But this is not what they are claiming. I think either they don't know mathematics or they are using some other modulo in their calculations, like modulo 50, which would result in 47 being bigger than 3, and proving them right :-)

Anyway, I am no politician and I cannot even say that I like politics. I love trying to explain some social situations using mathematical theorems though.. Here is an article that does exactly the same thing. Enjoy!

The Myth, the Math, the Sex

Published: August 12, 2007, in Week & Review, NYTimes

EVERYONE knows men are promiscuous by nature. It’s part of the genetic strategy that evolved to help men spread their genes far and wide. The strategy is different for a woman, who has to go through so much just to have a baby and then nurture it. She is genetically programmed to want just one man who will stick with her and help raise their children.

Surveys bear this out. In study after study and in country after country, men report more, often many more, sexual partners than women.

One survey, recently reported by the federal government, concluded that men had a median of seven female sex partners. Women had a median of four male sex partners. Another study, by British researchers, stated that men had 12.7 heterosexual partners in their lifetimes and women had 6.5.

But there is just one problem, mathematicians say. It is logically impossible for heterosexual men to have more partners on average than heterosexual women. Those survey results cannot be correct.

It is about time for mathematicians to set the record straight, said David Gale, an emeritus professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley.

“Surveys and studies to the contrary notwithstanding, the conclusion that men have substantially more sex partners than women is not and cannot be true for purely logical reasons,” Dr. Gale said.

He even provided a proof, writing in an e-mail message:

“By way of dramatization, we change the context slightly and will prove what will be called the High School Prom Theorem. We suppose that on the day after the prom, each girl is asked to give the number of boys she danced with. These numbers are then added up giving a number G. The same information is then obtained from the boys, giving a number B.

Theorem: G=B

Proof: Both G and B are equal to C, the number of couples who danced together at the prom. Q.E.D.”

Sex survey researchers say they know that Dr. Gale is correct. Men and women in a population must have roughly equal numbers of partners. So, when men report many more than women, what is going on and what is to be believed?

“I have heard this question before,” said Cheryl D. Fryar, a health statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics and a lead author of the new federal report, “Drug Use and Sexual Behaviors Reported by Adults: United States, 1999-2002,” which found that men had a median of seven partners and women four.

But when it comes to an explanation, she added, “I have no idea.”

“This is what is reported,” Ms. Fryar said. “The reason why they report it I do not know.”

Sevgi O. Aral, who is associate director for science in the division of sexually transmitted disease prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there are several possible explanations and all are probably operating.

One is that men are going outside the population to find partners, to prostitutes, for example, who are not part of the survey, or are having sex when they travel to other countries.

Another, of course, is that men exaggerate the number of partners they have and women underestimate.

Dr. Aral said she cannot determine what the true number of sex partners is for men and women, but, she added, “I would say that men have more partners on average but the difference is not as big as it seems in the numbers we are looking at.”

Dr. Gale is still troubled. He said invoking women who are outside the survey population cannot begin to explain a difference of 75 percent in the number of partners, as occurred in the study saying men had seven partners and women four. Something like a prostitute effect, he said, “would be negligible.” The most likely explanation, by far, is that the numbers cannot be trusted.

Ronald Graham, a professor of mathematics and computer science at the University of California, San Diego, agreed with Dr. Gale. After all, on average, men would have to have three more partners than women, raising the question of where all those extra partners might be.

“Some might be imaginary,” Dr. Graham said. “Maybe two are in the man’s mind and one really exists.”

Dr. Gale added that he is not just being querulous when he raises the question of logical impossibility. The problem, he said, is that when such data are published, with no asterisk next to them saying they can’t be true, they just “reinforce the stereotypes of promiscuous males and chaste females.”

In fact, he added, the survey data themselves may be part of the problem. If asked, a man, believing that he should have a lot of partners, may feel compelled to exaggerate, and a woman, believing that she should have few partners, may minimize her past.

“In this way,” Dr. Gale said, “the false conclusions people draw from these surveys may have a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.”

As the sage continues

Joost Lagendijk, Chairman of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee.

...Wordpress blogs are still blocked in Turkey.

Here is an update by Matt of wordpress. And here are some good comments (especially the comments of Nihat).

One suggestion is to write to my fellow Dutch man Joost Lagendijk, who is Chair of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee. You can reach him at


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Inquisition in Egypt

According to many Egyptian writers, intellectuals and bloggers, there is a real witch hunt going on in Egypt. Lawyers like Nabih el-Wash, try to prosecute everybody and everything who is not praising Allah and see the poems of the Egyptian poet Abdel Moati Hegazi (picture above) as sacrilege. He, Abdel Moati, compared the arch conservative 'sjeikh' Yusuf el-Badri not as a scholar but opportunist, who wants to make easy money. Yusuf el-Badri is one of the the people who filed complaint after complaint. In the mean while he is getting rich with the money he gets by the court decisions.

Yusuf el-Badri after a court case with one of his fans.
The lawyer El-Wash sees the highlight of his career when an Egyptian movie producer was convicted to 80 whip layers when she stated that many girls were not virgin anymore.

Ten years ago, the academic Nasr Hamid Abu Zeid and his wife were forced to divorce since he was not a 'Muslim' anymore, so he can not be married to a Muslim wife. One of the complainants was Yusuf el-Badri. In the end, Abu Zeid and his wife asked for political asylum in the Netherlands. Currently he works as a Professor at the university of Leiden and Utrecht.

Kareem is imprisoned since he discussed and criticized the Egyptian government.

Australia lends a hand to Greece

The fires in Greece have made a huge impact across the world. On Monday the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard announced that the Government of Australia will offer $3 million in assistance. Governments are also responding at a state level with the government South Australia sending money and perhaps more importantly sending bushfire experts to help fight the fire.

As was highlighted by Panagiotis, many Greeks are turning their attentions to solutions and what to do now. In this spirit, now is the time for the Greek administration to accept help and not try to reinvent the wheel. Best practice in fire fighting techniques from Australia, the US, well wherever it exists should be adopted. The knowledge is out there, now is not the time for ego to get in the way.

Viewpoint: Turkey's soul unveiled

by Elif Shafak

Internationally acclaimed writer Elif Shafak says women's bodies have become a battlefield for competing views of modern Turkey.
Here she comments on the impact of Abdullah Gül's election as president. Mr. Gül is a former Islamist whose wife controversially wears the headscarf.
Ms. Shafak was tried last year - and acquitted - on charges of "insulting Turkishness" in her novel, The Bastard of Istanbul.
In the history of every country, there are certain periods when time flows more quickly and perhaps more painfully.
The year 2007 has been one of the most turbulent years in recent Turkish history.

Turkey's pop music reveals its close identification with the West.
And yet, Turkey has an amazing capacity to rapidly normalize things and generate stability out of commotion.
Now, after months of mass demonstrations and rising political tension, Turkey has finally chosen its president.
Much to the dismay of the conventional secular elite, the former foreign minister, Abdullah Gül, has become the new president.
In fact, very few people have a problem with Mr. Gül's personality. He has been a successful, pro-EU diplomat and a mild and moderate voice within his party.
His public support for journalists and writers on trial has also brought him close to intellectuals.
Today, in addition to his own electorate, he has the empathy and support of many in the intelligentsia and business circles.
Interestingly, it was less Mr. Gül himself than his wife who has been discussed and challenged - if not rejected - by the country's mainstream elite.
Read the article here.

Anne Frank

Anne Frank's history

The official site

...of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

Karel Appel NL

The Crying Crocodile.
Guggenheim Museum New York.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Speech of Ataturk - January 27 - 1920

At the session of the Istanbul military Mustafa Kemal stated the following about the Young Turks:

Those pashas committed unprecedented, unspeakable and incomprehensible crimes and for their personal interest they brought the country to its present state. They have committed all kinds of violence, they have organized deportations and massacres, they have burnt infants with petroleum, they have raped women and girls in front of their husbands and parents, they have stolen children from their parents, they have confiscated the real estate and property of Armenians, they have exiled Armenians to Mosul in deplorable conditions, they have drowned thousands of innocent people in the sea, they forced people to change their religion, they made starving old men walk for months and work, and they have forced young women to submit to dreadful brothels never encountered in the history of any other nation”.

Source: Britannica, Armenia Genocide Museum, USA Historical archives, and Turkish scholars

A question from Greece

Panagiotis VASSILIADIS -

Fires in Greece! -

What can be done to prevent this in the future with modern technology?
Dear all, I am a Greek national and deeply hurt from the actual situation of my home country. I am fed up just complaining about the situation and do nothing about it. This is why me and some other friends are forming a group of people who is interested in working as a consulting body to our public administration and influence the development of our country’s infrastructure in this domain.
Therefore, I would like to ask your opinion in terms of technological solutions for monitoring and preventing forest fires (from cameras, to water bombing etc...) Any expert in the topic who is willing to help on this is welcome to contact me. Thanks all for your help and I hope no other country suffers the same distraction that Greece is actually going through.


Panos Vassiliadis

A Quote

“The first job of a true patriot is to question the Government”

Thomas Jefferson
(special for Idil)

Third time lucky: A new President: A new Turkey?

As voting started today at 3 PM EET, it's almost for sure that the current minister of Foreign Affairs, A. Gül, will be inaugurated as the new Turkish President.
I don't have any doubts about the qualifications and capacities of him, but with a President, a Prime-Minister and a speaker of the Parliament, all from the ruling government party the AKP, there is no balance in Turkish political spectrum anymore. 53% of the Turkish people are completely left out in any decision-making process. The winner-takes-it-all shows that this only will polarize a country, as you can see in the USA.
Because of the highly controversial opposition policy by the CHP in the last 5 years, putting Turkey in crisis all the time, this is the final result. Part of Turkey is happy, the other part not.
The Turkish military ousted 4 governments, but never a President...

Turkey in action

Turkey helps Greece 48 hours after disaster strikes

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

DUYGU GÜVENÇ, ANKARA – Turkish Daily News

Turkey announced yesterday that it is sending a firefighting plane to Greece to contribute to its neighbor's struggle against the raging forest fires, which have already killed more than 60 people.

The government's decision follows a series of criticisms leveled at Turkey's inaction to the raging fires in Greece despite the solidarity shown between the neighboring countries during the 1999 earthquakes that hit both countries.

“Turkey is ready to send a firefighting plane. We are waiting for your permission to take off,” said Forestry Minister Osman Pepe in a message to his Greek counterpart Evangelos Basiakos yesterday. In reply, Basiakos welcomed Turkey's offer to help and officially requested the aircraft. Minister Pepe then instructed that the four-and-a-half ton water carrying JL 215 firefighting aircraft, Turkey's top firefighting aircraft, to be sent to Greece.
Full article here.

Replica of Noah's Ark in Rotterdam, Netherlands

A half-sized replica of the biblical Noah's Ark has been built by a Dutch man, complete with model animals.
Dutch creationist Johan Huibers built the ark as testament to his literal belief in the Bible.
The ark, in the town of Schagen, is 150 cubits long - half the length of Noah's - and three storeys high. A cubit was about 45cm (18in) long. It will be transported through Amsterdam to Rotterdam where the World Port Days will be held between 7-9 September. During these days visitors can have a look at this Ark, made by one person.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Turkish army issues new warning

Turkey's powerful armed forces chief has warned that "centers of evil" are trying to undermine the secular state.
Gen. Yasar Buyukanit did not name those who were "trying to corrode the secular nature of the Turkish Republic".
His statement comes a day before MPs are expected to elect Abdullah Gül, a former Islamist, as president. His candidacy remains highly controversial.
The army sees itself as the guardian of Turkey's secularism. It has ousted four governments in the past 60 years.
This is the second warning issued by the army in recent months.
In April, it expressed its concern after Mr Gül - the ruling Islamist-rooted AK Party candidate - only marginally failed to gain enough support from MPs to become president in a first round.

Abdullah Gül has pledged to respect Turkey's institutions.

The following stand-off between the AKP and secularist parties in parliament sparked a political crisis that led to early elections in July.
The AKP won those polls convincingly, and again nominated Mr. Gül, currently the foreign minister, for the post of president.
Mr. Gül - who has failed to gather enough votes in the first two rounds - is expected to be elected in the third round on Tuesday.
Turkey's military and secular establishment have voiced their opposition to Mr. Gül, a devout Muslim who, they believe, has an Islamist agenda.
Mr. Gül denies that, and has vowed to remain loyal to the country's secular constitution.

Source: BBC

Two articles of Turkish journalists today

As I don't have energy to write something today, I put below two articles related to Armenia and Greece.
It shows that at least the Zaman and TDN are maturing. Open for all kinds of views.

Time to say new things on the ‘genocide’ issue

Time to say new things on the ‘genocide’ issue, by Ömer Taspinar

The Anti Defamation League’s recent decision to acknowledge that the Armenian “massacres” of 1915 were tantamount to “genocide” has created a political storm in Turkey. Seen from Washington, such Turkish resentment is counterproductive. It only confirms the fact that Turkey needs to come to terms with its own history. When you have prominent leaders of the Turkish Jewish community writing letters to the ADL reminding them that the Turkish Jewish community’s well-being is jeopardized, this does not exactly come across as a ringing endorsement of Turkey’s democratic maturity.

What the Turkish body politic and public opinion fail to understand is that the genocide issue is already a lost battle in the West. This battle is lost partly because of Turkey’s own behavior and stern, uncompromising image. The official Turkish narrative on the question of “genocide” displays all the symptoms of an authoritarian state that has created a taboo. The education system, nationalist press and bureaucratic reflex are all symptomatic of a totalitarian way of thinking where even a slight departure from the official line creates mayhem. How else can one explain efforts to undermine academic conferences on this issue, or the disgraceful treatment of Orhan Pamuk by most of the nationalist press after he was awarded the Nobel Prize?
Read the full story here.

A deafening Turkish silence as Greece burns

Looks like Turkish pride is again a big obstacle....

For a good update visit Vassilio's blog.

A deafening Turkish silence as Greece burns
Monday, August 27, 2007

ANKARA – Turkish Daily News

As nearby Greece continued yesterday to face walls of flame killing scores in the country's worst series of forest fires in history, aid from across the Aegean was largely symbolic despite a legacy of mutual assistance borne of the 1999 Turkish earthquake to which Athens was the first responder.
“Turkey is missing the chance of solidarity with Greece due to internal politics. They are all busy with the presidential elections,” said yesterday retired ambassador, Özdem Sanberk to the Turkish Daily News.

The only direct assistance and help was offered by Turkish Red Crescent to the Hellenic Red Cross, through a phone call late Saturday. Tekin Küçükali, president of the Turkish Red Crescent called his counterpart and said they were ready to extend any means of help.
Küçükali, in an interview with the TDN yesterday, said they have already sent two trucks full of tents, blankets, food and medical supplies to İpsala border gate adding “But we need a permission to enter Greece. The Hellenic Red Cross should make a call to Geneva where the international Red Crescent and Red Cross organizations headquarters is, to declare the need of international help. When this call is made our trucks will enter Greece”.
Asked why Greek institutions seem not very much willing to get help from its neighbor Küçükali replied that two countries shared even bread during World War II. After World II, the then-governor of Istanbul, Lütfi Kırdar, organized a campaign of assistance of food and other aid to help Greece during widespread famine. “I would condemn them if they are suspicious of our help” said Küçükali.

Scene was different in 1999

But the case in 1999 was far from this. After the deadly earthquakes in both countries, not only the governments but the nongovernmental organizations of the two countries moved to help before any officials appeals were even made. This solidarity resulted in a rapprochement between two countries and introduced a new term to the lexicon of international relations: “seismic diplomacy”.

Things are different now today: What Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and probable-president-to-be Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül have done so far has been limited to written messages of sorrow and condolences to their counterparts, Kostas Karamanlis and Dora Bakoyannis. But their messages were lack any offers of help.

Greece should demand help
The Foreign Ministry officials who were trying to explain this unmoving stance of the government to the TDN yesterday said that the Greek government did only ask the European Union countries help. “We cannot offer any help since there is not any call from Athens for an international help, they have to make a call,” said foreign ministry officials.
But Israel, which is not a member of 27-member union, did not neglect Greece and has dispatched three helicopters to fight with fires.

Some explained the lack of robust action with the fact that Turkey has its hands full on many fronts of its own. “We are dealing with the disastrous flood in Samsun, the earthquake in Bingöl and the four forest fires in Turkey now. We don't have enough equipment to send Greece,” argued a source in the Prime Ministry Crisis Management Center sources contacted yesterday by the TDN.

“The priority should of course be internal fires and flood but Turkey cannot stand still in the face of the fires in its neighbor” said Sanberk, whose last diplomatic post was as Turkey's ambassador the United Kingdom..

Where are the NGO's?

Not only the government and official institutions but the nongovernmental organizations also performed badly in helping to Turkey's neighbor in its fight against the fires. Even the well-respected Turkish search and rescue team (AKUT) didn't make any preparations, said the General Secretary Saydun Gökşin to the TDN.
Gökşin told that they talked to the Greece Special Forces and Hellenic Red Cross but they did not ask for a rescue team.
“Greece only requests aircrafts and helicopters and we can only go there if there is a request. And furthermore we need to go there by a military plane just like in the 1999 earthquake” noted Gökşin. He added, however, that AKUT has rescue teams at the ready in Bursa and Marmaris experienced in fighting forest fires and that Turkey has nearly 50 firefighting aircrafts and helicopters.
"We have teams," Gökşin said."And we can mobilize them."

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ancient Olympia in Flames - Update

As fires threaten the ancient site of the ancient olympic stadium and its museums the government is casting aspersions that the fires were the result of 'political extremists'. Without specifying WHAT he means by this theories regarding the 'culprits' of the fires are spreading like the fires themselves. The latest is that a new American Laser is causing these fires.
Thank God for America, if it wasn't for them, we might have to look for the real culprits.

Going to Armenia

Today, my wife and I made a decision: we will spend our first Bayram of this year in Armenia.

We are looking forward to meet Myrthe and do some sightseeing as well.
As my wife is Turkish, she really wants to talk about what happened in Anatolia between 1890-1923.
As a foreign Turkish student in the USA, she often was harassed by Armenian people only because she was Turkish. In my opinion we call this: racism.

But she and I are looking forward to talk with other human beings, in Armenia.
My only concern is a visa: I, as a Dutch, can go there without any problems, but it looks like that Turks need a visa.
Anyway, we made our decision, so we will go.

Islamic Fundamentalism

The Taliban, 2007

A conference about women and Islam, London 2007.

Children trained for the Unholy war.

Below a posting of me....a year ago.

Islamic fundamentalism
In the Dark fundamentalist scheme the world constantly decays and has constantly to be re-created. The only function of the intellect is to assist that re-creation.

It reinterprets the texts; it re-establishes the divine precedent.So history has to serve theology, law is separated from the idea of equity, and teaching is separated from learning.

This doctrine has its attractions; To a student from the University of Karachi, from perhaps a provincial or peasant background, the old faith comes more easily and is more simple to swallow than any new-fangled academic discipline.

Fundamentalism these days takes root in the universities; and ironically 'deny education' can become the approved educated act for men against women.

How different this was in the days of Muslim glory; Islam opened itself to the learning of the world. Now fundamentalism provides an intellectual thermostat, set low. It equalizes, comforts, shelters, and preserves. Independent thinking can become a crime.

In this way the faith pervades everything, and it is possible to understand what the fundamentalists mean when they say that Islam is a 'complete way of life'; their Life!

But what is said about Islam is true, and perhaps truer, of other religions--like Hinduism or Buddhism or lesser tribal faiths--that at an early stage in their history were also complete cultures, self-contained and more or less isolated, with institutions, manners, and beliefs making a whole.

But the Islamic fundamentalist nowadays wish is to work back to such a whole, for them a God-given whole, but with the tool of faith alone--belief, religious practices and rituals!

It is like a wish--with intellect suppressed or limited, the historical sense falsified--to work back from the abstract to the concrete, and to set up the tribal walls again!

It is to seek to re-create something like a tribal ora city-state that--except in theological fantasy--never was.

The Koran is not the statute book of a settled golden age; it is the mystical or oracular record of an extended upheaval, widening out from the Prophet to his tribe in Arabia!!

Arabia was full of movement; Islam, with all its Jewish and Christian elements, was always mixed, eclectic, developing. ...The West, or the universal civilization it leads, is emotionally rejected. It undermines; it threatens. But at the same time it is needed, for its machines, goods, medicines, warplanes, the remittances from the emigrants, the hospitals that might have a cure for calcium deficiency, the universities that will provide master's degrees in mass media.

All the rejection of the West is contained within the assumption that there will always exist out there a living, creative civilization, oddly neutral, open to all to appeal to.

Rejection, therefore, is not absolute rejection. It is also, for the community as a whole, a way of ceasing to strive intellectually. It is to be parasitic; parasitism is one of the unacknowledged traits of Islamic fundamentalism.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

As Turkey is obsessed by a headscarf...

...Greece is burning.
France and the Netherlands sent this morning planes and helicopters to help extinguish the fires.
No 'official' statement made by the 'de missionair' Government of Turkey.

This picture is made by a British tourist in Athens. In the background the Acropolis. The picture above shows the fury which threatens NE Athens.
In the meanwhile, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, claims that political extremists set the fires.

Greek Tragedy (by Metin of Talk Turkey)

Metin wrote an excellent post, read it here.

And from BBCworld.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Adnan Oktar, Intelligent Design and Wordpress

Charismatic? Yes.
Lust for Money and Power? Yes.

Adnan Oktar, the Turkish cult leader, thinks that he knows what Intelligent Design means, or 'Creationism'.

Through the ages many of these cult leaders appeared and disappeared, over and over again. You can recognize these fake 'prophets' by 3 things:
'Their Lust for sex';
'Their Lust for Money';
and 'Their Lust for Power'.

Always they turned out to be fake. Go to the Southern Belt of the USA, the Amazon in Brazil, Haiti, Philippines and so on.

Besides this, they always change history according to their own interpretations and are using religions for their benefits. In this case Adnan Oktar is using Islam in his fight with all kinds of religions: and with a little knowledge he explains the whole world.

For him and his followers, Intelligent Design (ID) is something new...but it is as old as Rome. Only it had a different the Greeks already made a link between the Universe and Mankind...

Following these cults for 30 years, I am astonished how many of them can freely operate in countries like the USA, Brazil, and in Turkey. But more astonishing is how they can influence the legal systems. See how wordpress was shut down.

First of all: ID is dealing with 'conscience science', introduced a long, long time ago.
Adnan Oktar and his followers need first some lessons in philology.

Regarding the law ban on wordpress: it's only the defendant who can do something.

Regarding A.O. and anti-Semitism; there is the ECHR ...

A.O. acts in a grey area of the law...but I would like to face him in a live debate!

New writer on this blog

As I wrote in my post of beginning of August, Vassilios, an Australian / Greek, living now in Athens will contribute regularly to this blog like Yasemin, our Turkish writer in Florence.
Today his first excellent posting here! See the post below this one.

Blogs - to be feared or abused

While access to wordpress sites have been banned in Turkey, across the Hellespont in Greece, blogs are increasingly being seen as a political tool by the major parties. Numerous leaks to the media have revealed that political parties will use blogs to circumvent laws banning the publishing of Opinion Polls two weeks prior to election day, and this way publish polls showing how 'popular' they are and thereby influence public opinion. Since blogs are based... well where ARE they based, wherever its servers are, they can publish outside local restrictions and anonymously.

If this subversive co-opting of blogs does go ahead this will drastically change the perception of blogs. No longer will they be seen as individual expressions of thought but rather people will have to judge them more critically, the same way the other media is scrutinised. It may also turn people off blogs altogether.

It does illustrate a difference in attitudes in the two different countries. Turkey is following old school methods by restricting access to them, a method which ultimately draws more attention to them and raises their importance to the public and people will always find ways around restrictions making it a futile gesture.

Whereas Greece's co-option brings blogs to the same level as government propoganda, disenchants the public and ultimately turns people away.
The question then is, which is worse?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Toastmaster? What the heck is this..

Today, I found in my inbox an invitation to join Toastmasters online. Since I have never heard about the word, the meaning of 'toastmaster', I checked some sites.
Basically, it's all about arts of speaking, listening, and thinking--vital skills that promote self-actualization, enhance leadership potential, foster human understanding, and contribute to the general betterment of humankind. And it's all about "learning-by-doing". This sounds good or not?! But I know a club of 550 here in Turkey to whom I pass this invitation....

An example

Jimiyu, (left) the newest member of Australia's Taronga Zoo giraffe family, makes friends in Sydney after being transported from Western Plains Zoo in New South Wales.

Source: BBC

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Erkan in action to find out the truth...

As long as the sage continues (looks like nobody in this country knows what really is going on) several people are trying to find out what is going on. And why the ban on wordpress is still there.
One of them is Erkan. Here some points.
Looks like a lot of people are still suffering with no access...

Modern Romantic Art

Morning Angel - all paintings by Aleksey Grunski

Aravian Amazone

Satyr and Angel

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


There are so many people writing around, full of anger, full of hate, with one goal: create a hysteria about the USA. Anti-Americanism flourishes on Turkish soil. I will write in detail why and how.
Is there a law that protects 'Americanism'?

More about Wordpress

Why was banned in Turkey- reason unveiled

Aug 20th, 2007 by turkishdigestEdit

As many of you may have heard, last Friday the 17th, it was revealed that access to all sites from Turkey was banned. When I first heard about it, I asked my friends to check my own website We are the Turks hosted by Wordpress, to determine whether this was true. They told me the following was coming up on the screen:
"Access to this site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2007/195 of T.C. Fatih 2.Civil Court of First Instance"

I did some research and did not find much over the weekend regarding the reason, but finally this morning the mystery curtain was lifted.

Matt Mullenweg, the founding developer of WordPress made this announcement, where he's asking the opinion of Wordpress community as to what they think should be done?
Apparently this is what happened: the attorneys of the cult leader Adnan Oktar aka Harun Yahya, a 51 year old former interior design student known in Turkey as "Adnan Hoca", who founded in 1990 the foundation known as BAV (Bilim Arastirma Vakfi-Scientific Research Foundation), had applied to Wordpress for removal of what they described as "unlawful statements regarding their client". "As most of our attempts were unanswered" alleged the attorneys, they applied to Turkish judicial courts "to stop the defamation executed through Wordpress services". Hence, by the decision of Fatih 2nd Civil Court of First Instance, number 2007/195, access to was then blocked in Turkey by TTNET, an Internet network that covers all Turkey.

We learned that the sites which Adnan Oktar's attorneys wanted removed are run by an Islamic Reformer Edip Yuksel, who wrote an article criticizing Oktar and his movement where he seems to be trying to expose Oktar and his followers as a fundamentalist movement with dark secrets. Edip Yuksel published this message of rebuttal.
Started as a religious cult that preyed on wealthy members of Turkish society, the BAV has appeared in lurid media tales about sex rings, a blackmail prosecution and speculation about its charismatic leader. But if BAV's notoriety has been burnished by a sensationalist Turkish media, the secretive group has earned its reputation as a prodigious publisher of inexpensive ideological paperbacks. BAV has put out hundreds of titles written by "Harun Yahya" (a pseudonym) on various topics, but most of them are Islamic-based attacks on the theory of evolution. His book, Atlas Of Creation, decrying evolution is now aggressively promoted well beyond the borders of Turkey to the Middle East, Europe, and even the United States. The book is turning up, unsolicited, in the mailboxes of scientists and members of the US Congress, and at science museums around USA. In France, the Harun Yahya book offensive led the government to issue a warning for schools to be on the look out for the "Atlas" before it makes it into their classrooms. Meanwhile, the increasing European activity of BAV, as well as of Christian creationist groups, recently prompted a committee of the Council of Europe – a 47-nation group that acts as a kind of continental watchdog – to issue a report strongly warning about its dangers to education.

The lavishly illustrated 800-page book is one of the most significant creationist challenge to Charles Darwin's theory, which Yahya calls a feeble and perverted ideology contradicted by the Koran. The books are slick, but BAV has had plenty of help. Creationism in Turkey got key support in the 1980s and 1990s from American creationist organizations, and BAV's Yahya books resemble the same sorts of works put out by California's Institute for Creation Research. Except in Yahya's books, it's Allah that's doing the creating. Unlike fundamentalist Christian creationists, Oktar does not claim the earth was created only a few thousand years ago. Instead, he argues that fossils show that creatures from millions of years ago looked just like the creatures of today, thus disproving evolution. Also, Oktar's brand of creationism is not only religious, but political and even messianic, seeing most of the world's ills – terrorism and fascism among them – as stemming from Darwin's theory of evolution. In 2001, Science magazine called BAV "one of the world's strongest anti-evolution movements outside of North America".
Edezu'scomment to Matt's post, really sums the man and his works:


I'm writing from Turkey and thought that some info on this person may be helpful.
Adnan Oktar is a religious zealot who launched a campaign against the Darwinian theory of evolution, maybe a decade ago. He has written a number of books, which, despite being worthless and even funny by scientific standards, attracted the attention of religious people. In those fundamentalist circles, he is revered as the "destroyer" of evolutionary theory as the majority of islamists consider Darwinian evolution as a refuted theory thanks to his books.
As expected, his books and the ideas in them are worthless, mistaken, false, consisting of arguments refuted even by Darwin himself 140 years ago. Alas, he is a wealthy and powerful person, thus capable of reaching many people, by sending free copies of his huge books to every school, teacher, and university. Sadly, as the public he tries to reach is mostly uneducated, his words are taken to be the truth.
As a result of this, Turkish intellectuals and those of us lucky enough to get a secular education, with an understanding of what science is, and what an argument is, are giving his ideas what they deserve. He is respected in religious circles, but ridiculed in the Internet.
This person's current strategy is to block all the sites which attacks him and his ideas. A few months ago, he made a similar move and blocked "eksi sozluk", an open dictionary which is, in my opinion, a bastion of free speech in Turkish online media, with more than 10.000 writers and about 2.000 entries each day.
Adnan Oktar is taking advantage of the gaps in Turkish laws on the Internet, which are sadly on their infancy, to silence all the voices against him. Internet poses a real threat to people like him, where ideas are exposed, and people read them!
As a philosophy graduate who take active interest in evolution-creationism debate, and as a Turkish citizen with the ideal of freedom in the online world, I suggest NOT to cooperate with this person.

We will reach our blogs anyway

All similar fundamental movements are run by extremely wealthy men, which leads to
speculations as to the source of their wealth. Another such character is Fethullah Gulen, but we'll look into his activities in another post. Incidentally, all these Islamic fundamentalist movements gained importance after AKP came into power. More reason for secularists like myself to worry about the future of Turkey.

Another painting by Iman Maleki

Iman Maleki himself.

Turkey bans Wordpress blogs

Turkish Internet users have been blocked from accessing sites on the hosting service after a court in Istanbul ordered the site be blocked after lawyers complained that a number of blogs hosted by Wordpress were libellous of Islamic creationist author Adnan Oktar.
Here more.

Rent-a-Bike Amsterdam

For more

Monday, August 20, 2007

Teach your Children well...

Sunday, August the 19th, late at night:

I had an interesting conversation with a German acquaintance of mine. He is in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, according to him, and she is the most lovely person he has ever met. And she is Turkish.
Lots of comments at home in Germany. From his family, his friends, and schoolmates. But he follows his intuition and his feelings and is still planning to marry her.
I congratulated him since I am married with a Turkish woman as well.

Suddenly he asked me how Life in Turkey would be for him, as a German. I told him as a Dutch: 'Es ist bis zu Ihnen', up to you! This is German language btw, but I am Dutch..

Suddenly, he threw a question on the table, which was so striking:
'Hans, you are from the Netherlands, you can help me...'
My friend continued: 'When I was in xxxx, I asked my love, "why is the military so powerful in Turkey?", and she replied to me: "Because the Greeks wants to invade us". "We have to be strong against the imperialists".'

Take a breath...

Yes, I know that down here in Turkey, children at the age of 6 are taught about the 'internal and external enemies'...Only, is this the way how you raise up your kids?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The court order, ban, fatwa, whatever

What I simply don't understand is why nobody knows why this court decision is made. Looks fair to me that when a court makes a decision, it issues also a statement why the decision is made...or am I wrong? Now leaving so many people in limbo, it also creates space for speculations, conspiracy theories and gossip. I think that after 5 years, I still have a lot to learn about how Turkey is ruled, but this court issued rather a fatwa than a decision...

The latest news about the fatwa...on wordpress

Below a message of a person who claims that everything is alright...
His claim is false. His claim is put on the blog of Matt of wordpress.
There are a lot of smart ICT people out there in Turkey, but with this kind of fake advice, they are burning themselves up. ... wordpress is not available in Turkey at the moment.

This is a bad joke.

As we have stated here in Turkish:
the issue is about some government officer (military related) spreading some information. This critical situation led to a fast court order and the district attorney issued a written order to TTNet, the main Internet and ADSL service provider of Turkey. They had to obey this legal order but some inexperienced technical employee blocked the whole domain in the DNS servers which led to this mess. In a few minutes a technical middle manager realized the situation and took required action. Within a few hours the domain was available (except the problematic blog which is still being blocked due to legal orders). The inexperienced employee is about to leave the job.
This is the situation now, provided FYI.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My worst trip: Miami - Istanbul, but final destination

When I left this daily sunset in Miami behind on August the 17th, 2002, heading for Istanbul, I knew that my life would be different, totally different in Istanbul.

It's now exactly five years ago that I moved from the 'Capital of Latin America, Miami' to Istanbul; the cultural and business Capital of Turkey and of so many other things and in fact of nothing, because it still denies its heritage.

Anyway, between 2000 and 2002, I was traveling extensively between Europe and the USA and within Europe and America. And earned so many Air miles (Skymiles of Delta, Air France and British Airways), that I was able to make at least one inter-continental trip each year for free. So, my last flight from Miami to Europe was a free one. With some stop-overs, but who cares, if the excitement of going to live in another country got me head over heels.
Anyway, the free trip was: Miami-Atlanta-Milan-Paris-Istanbul.

The flight from Miami to Atlanta was a flight which I took so many times. But from there it was always Amsterdam as final destination. Now: Milan (not Malpensa). There I had to wait for 10 hrs. for a flight to Paris, from where a direct flight to Istanbul was booked for me.
The flight from Atlanta was an overnight flight: leaving on Friday at 6 PM, local time, and arriving the day after, Saturday the 18th of August at 8.00 AM in Milan. And then: niente.
Waiting, with three heavy suite cases for my flight to Paris. But... my flight to Paris was canceled at the last minute at 3 PM. So, how could I reach the people who were waiting for me at Atatürk Airport? Thanks to Air France, which allowed me to make a phone call to Istanbul for free (my credit cards and mobile phone where left behind in Miami, as you understand).
But then, more important, how could I make it to Istanbul? And again, with a lot of help of employees of Air France and Alitalia, they booked me on a flight to Vienna with Lauda Airlines. Don't think that this is some kind of charter: it's first class only. In Vienna I had to wait 2 hrs. before Austrian Airlines took off at 11.30 PM for Istanbul. An Airbus with...12 we were all treated like Royalty...))
At 2 AM, Sunday,I landed already safe in Istanbul. An exhausting trip of 32 hrs.
He, am I bored in Istanbul? No way, life is never dull my trip from Miami to Istanbul.

I think, I know

Why they banned wordpress in Turkey: because it's today exactly five years ago that I moved from Miami to Istanbul, so I get some more attention..)) Just kidding!

I found on Matt's blog (the guy behind wordpress) the following comments:

"If we’d knew the exact reason, we’d comment about it. But it’s obvious that the banning is because of an insulting or a contemning blog article about someone. (Who I guess is Harun Yahya which known as Adnan Oktar)
This person is related with previous banning of the popular sites like Eksisozluk and Antoloji in Turkey"

kahveisteyen17.08.2007 @ 4:41 pm
We, citizens of Turkey are not even worth of an explanation. Still some say we have democracy I think only the last letter is true. TYRANNY…

Hans18.08.2007 @ 4:15 am
Dear Ozkan,
Are you telling that because of one person his article they banned wordpress. (People get quick insulted down here)
It’s a court decision, and I am pondering why they don’t give a reason.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Access to Wordpress blogs suspended from I-net in Turkey

Looks like access to all the blogs of wordpress worldwide are suspended in Turkey. Get all the time the following screen shot:

Bu siteye erişim mahkeme kararıyla engellenmiştir.

T.C. Fatih 2.Asliye Hukuk Mahkemesi 2007/195 Nolu Kararı gereği bu siteye erişim engellenmiştir.

Access to this site has been suspended in accordance with decision no: 2007/195 of T.C. Fatih 2.Civil Court of First Instance.

Survey on perceptions of quality of life in 75 European cities

Looks like the citizens of Istanbul, Napoli and Athens are the least satisfied.
Athens has another thing in common with Istanbul...)
Read here the full report.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Gizeh (Cairo), Egypt and Teotihuacan, Mexico

Reading books about history and mystics, I was always intrigued by the pyramids.
I visited
Gizeh in 1977 and Teotihuacan in 1983. Just 21 years old, since they told me if you visit both, you will be part of a Golden and Heavenly triangle..))
Will put pictures of Gizeh, Asam (Egypt) and Sudan later here. And will ask a German photographer to allow me to use his beautiful pictures taken in Mexico on this blog.
I have still some nice stories about Mexico to tell.

The Last Stalinist: read and Judge.


While Erdoğan is often accused of mismanaging the presidential election process, the total fiasco of Baykal is just ignored.

By Yusuf KANLI

It must be peculiar to Turkey. Is there a similar situation anywhere else?
Sure, in a democracy people may oppose certain policies of the leader of their party. They may have a very strong position about certain practices undertaken by their leader. But I do not think there is such a widespread “Voting for my party despite my leader” feeling anywhere else. With this huge success, perennial opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal must have earned a distinguished place for himself in the Guinness Book of Records. If he was not given a place in that book, he has all the right to complain of being subjected to a gross injustice.
The Turkish electorate sent a very strong message to the CHP back in 1999 by keeping it out of Parliament for the first time in the history of the founding party of the modern Turkish republic. It received only 8.7 percent of the votes. The message was loud and clear: Change and get rid of the antagonistic mentality, conservatism, and live up to the heritage of your and the republic's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk by converting yourself into a progressive force. Another message was that members and supporters of the CHP wanted a rejuvenation of the party. They were against their party becoming a Jurassic park of geriatric dinosaurs.
Read more here.

My first trip to Mexico - 2

Detailed view of Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, Mexico. It is 70 meters high and is the third largest pyramid of the world! More later...

Yazidis and G.I. Gurdjieff

Yazidis are members of a small religious group. Their religion is little known to outsiders, but contains elements of Judaism, Christianity and Islam and also includes the veneration of Peacock Angel, as shown above.
They were attacked yesterday, Wednesday August the 15t by Al-Qaida, and probably the most violent attack after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

As they believe in a Supreme God, they don't believe in hell, sin or the devil.
The Yazidis' cultural practices are observably Kurdish, and almost all speak Kurmanjî (Northern Kurdish), with the exception of the villages of Bashiqa and Bahazane in Northern Iraq, where Arabic is spoken. Kurmanjî is the language of almost all the orally transmitted religious traditions of the Yazidis. Thus, religious origins are somewhat complex.

The Yazidis, perhaps because of their secrecy, also have a place in modern occultism. G. I. Gurdjieff wrote about his encounters with the Yazidis several times in his book Meetings with Remarkable Men, mentioning that they are considered to be "devil worshippers" by other ethnicities in the region.

G.I. Gurdjieff is a Greek Armenian thinker who spent some time in Istanbul in the beginning of the 20th century.
And he is most notable for introducing the Fourth Way, while he is also recognized for introducing other concepts, such as the Enneagram.
His mystic teaching influenced management theories in the last decade of the 20th century.

Gurdjieff's teaching mainly addresses the question of people's place in the Universe and their possibilities for inner development. He also emphasized that some people live their lives in a form of waking sleep, and that higher levels of consciousness, higher bodies, and various inner abilities are possible.
Gurdjieff taught people how to increase and focus their attention and energy in various ways, and to minimize daydreaming and absentmindedness. According to his teaching, this inner development in oneself is the beginning of a possible further process of change, whose aim is to transform a man into what Gurdjieff believed he ought to be.

It's sad that Yazidis, although known about the stoning of Du’a Khalil Aswad in April of this year, were victims of this brutal attack.

That French thing...

We came back from France last Thursday evening only after 10 days of touring around. I will write more about our tour in my blog, but here I want to report my first observations.

- The cities on the French Riviera are not that special except for their esplanades.
- I didn't see many beautiful French women. Are they all hiding up in Paris, or their beauty is hidden to the eye? :-P
- I don't want to hear anybody complaining about the way we Turks and/or Italians drive any more after seeing how the French are driving. They are crazy. They drive fast on highways, in the cities and, worst of all, inside the parking houses. They do not obey most of the traffic rules and if you point out their mistake they get angry and they always have a finger ready to show you where the sky is. I don't even want to comment on how the women are driving and behaving in traffic...
- If you have a SUV, stay far away from the parking houses in France, because they are made for tiny little cars. On many occasions we were afraid to enter these houses with our car since the max height was most of the time 1.80 meters (and in two of them even 1.70 meters)! Once we parked our car in a parking house but were not able to open the trunk because if we did, it would have touched the ceiling!
- You eat very well in France but you also pay quite much for what you eat. And those crepes... How much we ate.. We even looked for an open crepe shop (most of them were closed for vacation) for over an hour under rain in Lyon, waited for the girl to prepare our crepes for about 20 minutes and ate them again under the rain.. with no umbrella.
- It was very strange to find more than 90% of the churches closed. We love going inside churches, studying their architecture (not that we know anything about architecture, but it is fun) and trying to find some elements, symbols that hint the presence/influence of the Templar knights, Freemasons, Mary Magdalene etc. Do not miss out the cathedral in St. Maximin if you also like that kind of stuff.
- What is it with the French and their love for lingerie? I have never seen so many lingerie shops on one single street in my life.
- I have been stopped by people that were asking for directions many times. They thought I was French. I am not sure whether this is good or bad... that I look 'French', I mean... :-)
- All in all France is a beautiful country definitely worth many other visits. But beware: it is not a cheap touristic destination.
Now I have to pack, again, since me and by sweety are off to Austria this Saturday. We will be relaxing on the mountain in a spa hotel for a week.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Consensus, compromise and collaboration

Now that probably A. Gül will be the only candidate for the president vacancy in Turkey, some columnists are already stating that he is not a consensus-candidate. Yes, he is not. But is a consensus-candidate needed? With a party which has gained 47% of the votes, for sure, if there was presidential elections with a popular vote, he would win. And is Deniz Baykal a consensus and compromise like minded CHP party leader? More a dictator...

In my opinion, Turkey needs a compromise-candidate. But without any input from the opposition, how can this be achieved? The anti-government stance of CHP, in all that the AK-government is doing, brings themselves out to the spotlight and out to the true democratic decision making process. The fact that they already announced to boycott the elections in the Turkish parliament, shows only how a-democratic they are. And they will boycott all kind of events when A. Gül will be president, ensuring that there will be more tension in Turkey, paving the way for the military.

Dialogue and debate are two major pillars in a modern democracy. That's what is lacking in Turkey. If the CHP which has the word of 'republicanism' in their banner, they really must understand what Republicanism means: it's the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, with an emphasis on liberty, ruled by the people, and the civic virtue practiced by citizens. Republicanism always stands in opposition to aristocracy, oligarchy, and dictatorship.

It's time that the CHP begins to collaborate, in the true spirit of democracy.

Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis

Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis has an exotic name, and an interesting and impressive background.
What I don't understand is why he, as an intellectual, is using all kind of inappropriate language to get his message across. His writings in the American Chronicle are sometimes good for a laugh. But most of the time, it's irritating to see a person of this caliber falling in platitudes.
Here is the last part of his three pieces: "The Impossibility of Muslims’ Integration in Europe".
I am just waiting for the day that he will come with some solutions instead of random accusations only.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dutch Courage

Looking at this picture, and reading the entry below of Walksfarwoman2007, makes me proud to be a Dutch person who is part of Europe. I hope one day that my Turkish friends come home with the same stories. Turks are great in stories, and can contribute to the European system....
Please find below an amazing story:

By Walksfarwoman;
I had a lovely holiday in the spring. I drove to Newcastle and took a leisurely 12 hour overnight ferry to Amsterdam. My cabin was on the bow deck, at first I thought I was in the movie Titanic….the reality was I couldn’t see anything but the bow and the two men who ceremoniously came and took down the flag when we left port and then raised it again just before we entered the visiting harbor. But it was a peaceful and enjoyable trip, the sea was so calm and with the gentle motion you felt like a babe in arms being rocked to sleep, it was such a restful experience.
During my trip I met the most wonderful human being, a transsexual named Emma. I adored her on sight. It was obvious she was male but her taste in clothes and accessories, her style, her deportment and her manner and grace would put many women in the shade. She was on the guided tours I had signed up for so we mixed with many other British tourists some of whom I was deeply ashamed of.

They made comments loud enough to be heard by everyone but Emma looked the other way. They rudely stared at her large hands and firm legs but she carried on with such dignity that it moved me to tears. On one occasion I was on the point of making my feelings known in a very belligerent manner but realized that to do so would only bring attention to a sensitive situation so I linked my arm in hers and off we strolled into the magnificent Dutch Royal Palace, we were soon chatting like old friends and inseparable the rest of the trip.
Over the ensuing week, many of my fellow travelers came around to a different way of thinking. Emma was good at telling jokes and had the most contagious laugh. She knew so much about Dutch history and was riveting to listen to. She was caring in the way she took the time to listen to everyone without interrupting and never made complaint even though she had due cause. When she finally had the courage to open up, her personality was awesome. She was shining her light!

During our time together I learned that in her former life, she’d been privately educated to a high standard and traveled the world in a professional capacity. I was curious as to why she’d want to mix with a bunch of tourists some of whom were blatantly aggressive. She said… "Life is not living if you have to isolate yourself for fear of offending others or getting hurt yourself. I’m the same person I always was only my appearance has changed. For my own sanity I need to become the person I need to be and to do that I have to take the rough with the smooth, I just want a little acceptance and a shot at some kind of normality."
Our last night was in Arnhem scene of the tragic battle in WW2 and recaptured in the movie ’A Bridge Too Far’ - how strange that it should also be the place where Emma found peace. There was a resolute table of 4 who would have been more suited to a tour of penitentiaries, who glared and whispered mouth to ear in give away furtiveness - I now felt sorry for them. The rest of the party filtered over to Emma between courses and thanked her for making their trip so much fun, some hugging her with genuine warmth. She broke down and cried, even feeling the need to stand up in that crowded restaurant and tell us all how we had made her feel so happy.

She was wearing a stunning black dress that suited her tall, lean figure and was bedecked with a dazzling array of fine crystal necklaces. She them off one by one and gave them to the ladies sitting at our table as a token of friendship. She was bowled over when we discreetly revealed a package from under the table. She’d made such an impression upon us that we’d clubbed together to buy her a gift as a reminder of her trip.

Money, position, power mean nothing if you don’t have the opportunity to be your true self. We have no right to judge another, we have no right to deny anyone their place in the world. There are no ’terms of existence’ we are each free to live life the way we choose as long as it doesn’t harm or encroach upon our neighbor. Too often we dwell on the negative and classify minorities into clumps of rejected undesirables. We need to look at people as individuals and if we can’t…we need to look at ourselves.
© WalksFarWoman 2007

The Milky Way...

And...are we alone, or are we together...this big question remains unanswered.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Nailed down

This is the first time in my whole life that I feel completely numb.
Nailed down by some Turkish nationalists, I only can cry. The hate and nasty remarks by them, shows that some parts of the Turkish society (a minority but a powerful one) attacks those who don't have an opinion like them.
Raised up in a family culture, where respect for other religions means: practice the words but also the deeds.
Raised up in a country where respect for other race still is in our constitution and our hearts, it's sad to say that some people in Turkey think otherwise: Read the comments here.

A Romantic Evening in Istanbul (by a fellow Dutch)

Michael P.F. van der Galiën

A Romantic Evening in Istanbul
Aug 8th, 2007 by Michael P.F. van der Galien

Imagine the following: you are greatly in love with a young woman who is 20 years old (you are 23). You love each other to death and know that the only thing you want to do with the rest of your life… is to spend it together. Imagine that you both believe that the two of you were made for each other.
Imagine that the girl is Turkish and you are Dutch. Imagine that the love you feel for each other makes it possible to have a relationship while the two of you live thousands kilometers away from each other - and you can only visit each other a couple of times, a couple of weeks, per year. Imagine that, although it is difficult, extremely difficult and that, although your heart is broken every time you say goodbye to each other, you can overcome all the pain in the world because your love for each other is so big.
Imagine that.
Now imagine that, one night, on Tuesday August 7, 2007, the two of you go to a place in İstanbul called Ortaköy (also see image above to see what it looks like by daylight). You are the Dutch young man. You have something in your pocket: a small, very small, box. The two of you go to Ortaköy walking hand in hand. You kiss the girl you love on her forehead and on her cheek. You look her in her eyes and tell her how much you love her and how happy she makes you.
Then the two of you sit down, looking out over the Bosphorus. A magnificent picture: the light on the other sides, the Bosphorus itself, the Mosque in front of it (with lights) and, of course, the Bosphorus bridge with all of its lights: now the color of the light is blue, a little later it is red, again later it is yellow… it changes constantly.
Imagine sitting there.
Imagine telling the girl - that beautiful Turkish girl - that even death cannot destroy the love you feel for her. Imagine telling her that you never thought you could feel this for anyone. Imagine her looking into your eyes when you talk to her, sitting next to her: her big brown, loving eyes and that beautiful sweet smile warming your heart.
Imagine falling on your knees - even though there are many other people sitting at the coast as well. Imagine taking that box out of your pocket and imagine you asking her, “benimle evlenir misin?”
“Will you marry me?”
And then - imagine the girl saying, softly but very happy, “yes.”
Now imagine that the boy was me and the girl my Turkish girlfriend. Do that, and you know what we did yesterday...

Live from Iraq, by Mohammed in Bagdad

"I have received this email from a friend of mine who lives in Syria, I'm not sure of its credibility but this is the third time I hear about such things, so I thought to share it." (Mohammed)

Large groups of Al-Mahdi army has infiltrated Syria for the prosecution and the killing of the Sunni Iraqis who had fled from the militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Iraq to save their lives. He said, "We have received reliable information from Damascus that militias are roaming in alleys, parks and gardens, especially in November park and Al-Zohoor Park ... trying to capture images via mobile phone to whom they want to eliminate in order to be sure of the victims prior to pounce upon them after they check it with their leaders, Riding a white GMC car licenced 5083-Wasit"….etc.

The Maliki and The US withdrawal

In the context of the debate on the possibility of reducing American forces, Al-Maliki said the Iraqi government is able to take the responsibility in the event of a "reduction or sudden withdrawal of the international forces." Maliki also talked about the escape of Al-Qaida members to the neighboring countries due to the success of the security plan!!!!! I don't know how does this man think! Where did he feel the success, in the increasing number of the unknown dead bodies thrown in the streets, or maybe he felt it in the almost non-stop explosions and bullets, I think I have lost my senses, I can't feel it, I don't know why. Nuri al-Maliki said, "We are able to take over full responsibility in the security file at any time that the international forces withdraws," but re-affirmed that his country's troops are still needed further rehabilitation and weaponry, My advice for him that before you think about rehabilitation and weaponry why don't you think about how sectarian your forces are? Why don't they have the loyalty to Iraq why are they loyal to Iran, why don't you teach them how to follow the law not the Mullah and Imam?.
At the same time the American Secretary of Defense Robert Gates pointed at the elements of the Iraqi police as sectarian in nature, as the American army launched a raid yesterday left 13 people dead, including six police members (working as militants also) east of Baghdad, here I can see how his forces are ready to take control. Gates said that "the training and capabilities and credibility of the Iraqi security forces is uneven and in some areas a source of great concern." The commander of the American forces in northern Iraq Benjamin Mixon said that Washington might begin to withdraw its troops from the northern region in nest January. Mixon pointed out that he had about five or six brigades under his leadership and that the number might be reduced to half in 18 months, on the condition that the security situations improve and the Iraq forces are ready.

Another dead photo-journalist

Security and medical sources announced the killing and wounding of dozens of Iraqis in a series of attacks yesterday in parts of Iraq, there have been violent clashes between the American army and members of Al-Mahdi Army in Al-ameen neighborhood in south-east Baghdad following the fall of a number of mortar shells.Nearby hospitals received the dead bodies of at least 13 people from the area of clashes, in addition to about twenty injured. US troops called for Air Force support during the fighting, among the dead is Reuters photographer and a driver, there was conflicting reports on the circumstances of the death of the photographer Namir Noor Al-Deen (22 years) and the driver Said Shmag (40 years). Eyewitnesses and the initial report of the police said that they were killed in the indiscriminate bombing by the American with nine other civilians by a rocket or a missile on a minibus carrying the wounded in the confrontations. Noor Al-Deen was taking pictures in almost the same time as American helicopter fired a shot at the bus. The American army announced the opening of an investigation and confirmed that both of them died during clashes with the militants.
Read here.