Thursday, April 16, 2009

New anti-Islam film in the making...

If one is not enough, rightwing Dutch MP Geert Wilders has told the Dutch De Telegraaf newspaper that he is planning to make a follow-up to his controversial anti-Islam film, Fitna. The maverick MP and leader of the opposition Freedom Party says his new piece will deal with the negative effects of what he calls 'the advance of Islam' in Western countries.
He hopes to receive help from professional film-makers in the United States and says the new film should be ready next year.
A court in Amsterdam last year ruled that Mr Wilders should be prosecuted for inciting hatred and discrimination. Fitna (the word means 'strife' or 'ordeal' in Arabic), is being cited as part of the evidence against him.
I'm not sure what his real purpose is, but if will create some uproar again...

Day Opening - April 16

...spring is coming...
By Belgin Zeytin

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Statement #15

The Dutch are cultural magpies. They keep a beady eye on other people's cultural trends, and are swift to snap up sparkling new fashions. This means that rather than producing an indigenous culture, they have become voracious consumers of everybody else's - true Europeans, whose cultural fads and fancies know no borders. The Netherlands acts as a giant cultural sponge.

From a Bluffer's Guide to Dutch.

Day Opening - April 15

Madrid Wedding

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Computer problems

Last week Thursday my notebook shut down...suddenly.
Can not solve the problem until today. Therefore I am using an old computer which I bought in Miami 2002, which is slow...
Entrecard users: sorry I cannot drop by that often...
Comments here: later.
Thank you for your patience.

Iran accuse the Netherlands of anti-Iran conspiracy

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is accusing the Netherlands of 'a conspiracy' against the Iranian government. In an official statement, the Guard has said the Netherlands is paying millions of euros to internet sites and radio broadcasters, such as the Amsterdam-based Radio Zamaneh, that are hostile to Iran.The Guard is the protector of the ideas of the Iranian revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. Its statement has been printed in several Iranian newspapers.The Dutch support for more diversity in the Iranian media is the result of a parliamentary decision in 2005. Reacting to a proposal by the Green Left and conservative VVD parties, parliament decided to spend 15 million euros a year to set up an Iran-oriented satellite broadcaster. When that plan fell through, the money was directed to other media initiatives run by Iranian exiles, in cooperation with Press Now, the Netherlands-based organisation for the improvement of press freedom. Yep, Iran wants to teach the Dutch a lesson in 'freedom of expression'...

Day Opening - April 14

Madrid Streets: 'a way to make money'.
By Belgin Zeytin

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Statement 14

It is a sad truth that while men can stomach sparkles of intelligence from a woman, they find too much intellect indigestible. Intelligent women are a threat... It was a man who ruefully admitted: 'Women are more intelligent than men. They have to be, to convince us so often that the opposite is true'.
From: Bluffer's Guide to women.

Happy Easter

To All Our Readers: Happy Easter

Day Openıng - April 12

Photo by Belgın Zeytin

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Dutch parliament objects against radical army İmam

Dutch Deputy Defence Minister Jack de Vries is reconsidering the appointment of an imam from the Moroccan community as an army chaplain. MPs have criticised the Islamic cleric's appointment.The imam is said to have called Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende a hypocrite and to have said he was worth less than a doormat. He is also alleged to have said that Christians are still at war with the Muslim religion. Many MPs believe he is not a suitable candidate to become an army chaplain.Mr de Vries will now hold talks with the parties involved to find out whether the appointment should go ahead. The imam was due to start his new job on Thursday together with a colleague from the Turkish community, who is an active member of the Turkish Milli Gurus association, or NatıionalView! Which is highly controversial in Turkey.
The Ministry of Defence has spent five years trying to select suitable chaplains, but up to now has been hampered by disagreement between different Islamic organisations. Iim really curious what for example the Turkish militairy thinks about an army-Imam of Milli Gurus...
The Dutch army is a professinal one; militairy service is volontairy. Another problem is that Dutch citizens of Turkish descent, when choose to become Dutch soldier also mus fullfill his militairy service ın Turkey. Which is of course to ridicule for words.

Statement 13

The firm basis of government is justice, not pity!

Day Opening - April 11

A friend in a Maltese Villa; looking like a princess
Picture by Belgin Zeytin

Friday, April 10, 2009

Turkey's clumsy Foreign policy

While most Turkish political commentators are still in some kind of euphoria about how good the interactions are now between Turkey and the USA (after 2 days Obama in Turkey.. Sic!) they simple ignored the fact that during the divers summits of last week; European leaders and the American administration are on one line again and act and talked accordingly. And when everybody in Turkey was completely focused on Obama’s visit, and blinded by that, there was suddenly the debate about the selection of Rasmussen to the position of Secretary General of the NATO. While most European leaders were attentive about this post, Turkey tried to sell it as ‘a coup; ‘it was a last moment appointment’ and ‘we got several messages from our Arab friends that this appointment would harm NATO’s reputation’.
My question is still out there; ‘since when epitomize Turkey the Arab world and the Islamite world at large in the NATO’? And I already mentioned here that Turkey is confused about its own position in Europe, within the EU and the NATO…
I shall spare you all the negative editorials, comments in the European press (I’m talking about the French, Danish, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Dutch, Greek press etc. as far I could read them in their native languages) of last week, but all raised the same question; ‘will Turkey act like this when it’s a member of the EU’? And ‘is Turkey representing itself or its Islamite allies’. Sarcasm and irony was what Turkey’s foreign policy received. If Turkey wants to join the EU then it has to act from an EU perspective and from its on national interest. Not from an Arab’ point of view. Today, Barcin Yinanc summed it all up pretty well. It looks like that Turkey EU membership is further away than ever since Europe is now fully aware that Turkey foreign policy is based upon religion, not upon its own interests. And that sounds silly, or not?

Day opening - April 10

Sarajevo Kiss

From Flickr

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Milan, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Venice

(not exactly the map of the trip, but it give an idea)

Yes, O. and I decided to make a road trip. Not only by car but plane and train as well.
Our last real road trip was in January 2007 (after a long flight from Istanbul to San Fransisco)when we drove in 5 days from San Francisco to Phoenix, Arizona, from there to Albuquerque, New Mexico and from there to Las Vegas in Nevada and back to San Francisco.
This time we will fly to Milan, where O. has her annual meeting with GM’s of her company world wide. And their partners, mainly women…. We will have some good days in the Ritz Milan, I can guarantee that. From there we will drive to Lyon and Paris in France, stay there a couple of days and travel to Brussels and Amsterdam where I have some business to do. Then we drive back to Milan and take a day train to Venice. And fly back to Istanbul.. O. has been to many European countries and places in the America’s and the Far and Middle East, but she never made it to France, Belgium and Venice Italy. Yes, she traveled to Rome and Florence on a cold winter day during Christmas when everything was closed! For me is it since 2002, to see, the countries where I lived in the past, France, Italy, Belgium, back. And the Netherlands? Didn’t have been there since May 2007, and that’s a long time if you compare it to my visits to my home country between May 2006 and May 2007: 8 times, among other foreign trips. I guess I wrote and blogged too much!

America Cannot Do a Damn Thing

Blogfriend 'Plateau of Iran' sent me the following blog entry to publish it here. I am glad to help him/her out. Enjoy!
April 3, 2009 - A message to Barack Hussein Obama:

Sir, your predecessors, their lack of robust policy, regarding Iran, resulted in their failure. You may feel self-aware, but your perceived optimism, cleverness & your inexperience are also seen as notable obstacles, by many. I hope you will have well thought-through, and informed surprises in store.
You may bow your head to the Saudis; most know about Saudi financial investments in the USA, and the consequences should the relationship sour. President George W. Bush, and his father knew the constraints too well. – ”I saw President Bush lower his head to have a medal placed on around his neck [by Saudis] which is very different from a supplicating bow of greeting.” - Here
Other references to USA/SAUDI relations: One - Two - Three - there are numerous other documentations, pre and post September 11, 2001.
In relation to Iran, you are at crossroads. I do not think your administration, in the next 4 years, unless exceptional circumstances, would resolve any issues with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
At the end of the day, to many Iranian People, even those who are US citizens, you are just another American President working to successfully see your legacy through in American Politics. Your administration is another hindrance for the Iranian People, but a facilitator of the Iranian Islamic Government. You are not seen by many Iranian People to be able to make a real, pro-democracy & freedoms difference in a Mullah-ruled, dictatorship called The Islamic Republic of Iran - Nor will you or your administration try to do so. Much luck to you, Joe Biden and your administration.

Continue reading herreee

Day opening - April 9

Canyon overview somewhere in USA

Creator: Rory Gallagher

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Rasmussen and Turkey

The narrowly avoided row over the appointment of a new Nato secretary general touched on a larger subject: the difficult relationship between the West and the Muslim world.

Turkey considered the Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen unfit to lead the alliance because of his role in the 2006 crisis over the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Fogh Rasmussen had refused to apologise for the publication of the cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005, which caused widespread and sometimes violent protests in the Muslim world.
It was nothing personal, said Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but how could a man like that represent Nato in the Muslim world - especially at a time when Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran are at the top of Nato's agenda? Erdogan said several Arabic countries had voiced their concern to him.

Turkey's price

In the current climate it didn't take long before this reaction led to a counter-reaction. Since when can anyone dictate who the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation does or does not appoint as its leader? some people said. Have we become so afraid of the Muslim world that we are ready to give in to any perceived sensitivities of undemocratic regimes in the Middle East? Now more than ever it is time for Nato to stand up for a man who defended the freedom of expression in the face of Muslim protest, Fogh Rasmussen's defenders argued.
And thus what started as a human resources issue - albeit on a very high level - risked growing into a major new chapter in the so-called 'clash of civilisations': the succession of emotional, political and religious skirmishes since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

During Friday night's working dinner in Strasbourg, the succession issue took up far more time than was expected or intended. The alliance was at an impasse: against the consensus among 27 of the 28 member states stood the lonesome opposition of Turkey. "The question is what it will cost for Turkey to give in," said one cynical diplomat who was unimpressed by Turkey's supposedly principled stand on behalf of the Muslim world.
After much negotiating, it became clear on Saturday what Turkey's price was. After talks between US president Barack Obama and Turkish president Abdullah Gül, Erdogan announced that Ankara had been given guarantees that Fogh Rasmussen would appoint a Turk as one of his deputy secretary generals and that more Turks would be given top jobs at Nato's military headquarters. Some Turkish diplomats even claimed that France and Germany were made to promise to be more lenient in ongoing talks about Turkey's accession to the European Union.

It was with considerable relief that De Hoop Scheffer and Fogh Rasmussen appeared before the media on Saturday with the announcement that a unanimous decision had been reached about the succession. A crisis was averted. Fogh Rasmussen said he understood Turkey's concerns. "I made clear I will reach out to the Muslim world and I will make sure [Nato] will co-operate closely with Turkey," he said.

A friend of Bush

It remains to be seen whether this is enough to make Fogh Rasmussen an effective Nato leader, and to overcome possible opposition from the Muslim world.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen (56) is known as "a friend of Bush". He supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003, signing a letter together with seven other European leaders in which they backed the removal of Saddam Hussein and called for solidarity with Washington. It earned him an invitation to president Bush' Texas ranch where they went mountainbiking together - just like the outgoing secretary general De Hoop Scheffer before him.
In Denmark, Fogh Rasmussen's appointment was met with a mix of pride and relief. Uncertainty about Fogh Rasmussen's appointment had all but paralysed Danish national politics. Rasmussen will be succeeded as prime minister by the current finance minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

On Monday, there were indications that the cartoons row might not be quite over yet. The Turkish media widely reported that Fogh Rasmussen would issue an apology during a speech in Istanbul, and that the apology was one concession offered in order to get Turkey to withdraw its opposition.
But the Danish news agency Ritzau quoted Fogh Rasmussen as saying there would be no apology. "Listen. In Denmark we do not apologise for having freedom of speech," Fogh Rasmussen said. "You all know that a Danish prime minister cannot apologise on behalf of a newspaper."
Fogh Rasmussen was in Turkey on Monday to speak at a United Nations conference on intercultural dialogue and understanding. As secretary-general of Nato he may have to continue the intercultural dialogue, in one form or another, for some years to come. But he didn't apologize!


Barack Obama is following who?.)

Hi, Hans A.H.C. de Wit (Helianthes).
Barack Obama (BarackObama) is now following your updates on Twitter.
Check out Barack Obama's profile here:

Day opening - April 7

Airplane in Bahrein

Picture: Eva

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Does Islamization means:

...when a Muslima pharmacist refuses to sell the morning-after pill or condoms, when a Muslim doctor refuses to treat aids patients or perform abortions, when medical students refuse to carry out those parts of their curriculum they claim are in conflict with their faith, when Muslim taxi drivers refuse to transport blind customers and their guide dogs because their faith tells them dogs are unclean, when it becomes almost impossible to criticize Islam or Muslims without being threatened; when youth welfare agencies have to enlist the help of imams to be able to do their job among Moroccan families, when municipal officers refuse to shake hands with women, when female teachers and other civil servants represent Islam during their work by wearing their headscarves when they should be representing the state; when Fortis bank scraps the little piggy bank they used to give to children as a present because it is an unclean animal to Muslims; when museums take down photographs and refuse paintings because they fear Muslim reactions, when it is no longer allowed to hang posters of classic nudes in the metro stations – and the list can be much longer.
These are all incidents that occurred in the Western world in recent years, also in the Netherlands. And they are all signs of the progressing process of islamization. Is a political party allowed to warn society against it?...

Source: Nahed Selim

Day opening - April 5


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rasmussen new Secr. Gen. of NATO

The Danish PM Rasmussen is just appointed as the new Secr. General of the NATO.
Turkey's President 'bargained' at the end: Turkey can appoint an Deputy Secr. General!

al-Bashir, the ICC and PM Erdogan of Turkey

Erdogan and al-Bashir

At first, the request for the arrest warrant against Sudan’s President al-Bashir, the first official charges against a serving head of state, had provoked dispute among the 5 permanent, veto-wielding members of the Security Council but also for Turkey, a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

How works the ICC and how is it ruled, and what can they do?

The ICC is only allowed to prosecute 4 types of crimes:
-War crimes
-Crimes against humanity
The last one worries countries such as Israel, Russia, China, USA etc. The reason that none of them recognizes the ICC.
It’s important that ‘aggression’ must be nailed down properly!

The ICC brings charges only against individuals, not states! And the ICC’s rules allow it to take cases only when other courts, national or regional, cannot or will not do so.

Despite its absence from the ICC, America has done more than most, financially and diplomatically, to establish and support the tribunals for Yugoslavia, Rwanda ad Sierra Leone and recently the investigations into a tribunal for Lebanon.
Of the Arab countries only Jordan is a member of the ICC. Of the ‘Muslim’ countries, only Djibouti and Jordan are members.

The Security Council and the ICC are at loggerheads over who could trigger an investigation; the Council, supposedly the body with prime responsibility for international peace and security (and where Russia, China, and the USA all have vetoes) or the prosecutor and judges of the ICC? In my opinion the latter.

Turkey is asked by Arab and some African coutries to ask for a deferral of the case, and it looks like Turkey is using its power, as it is a close ally of al-Bashir.

PM Erdogan of Turkey was in a fight with the Nobel Price winner for Peace, President Peres of Israel but is willing to shake hands on a friendly way with al-Bashir. It's crystal clear, also with Turkey subborn attitude against the appointment of Rasmussen as Secr. General of the Nato, religion aka Islam, is the parameter of the foreign policy of contemporary Turkey.

Day opening - April 4

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Update; new site etc.

The next 10 days, Eva will take care about the Day Openings; she will present some nice pictures she made on her trip to Nepal last year among other interesting pics she found.

Today the G-20 will held its summit in London, and decisions will be made, tough ones. I promised for some time now to write something about Social Banking aka Social Finance, and yes, that will be published tomorrow, finally!

By accident, today, I discovered the blog of a Dutch journalist in Turkey. She writes for a dozen Dutch newspapers and magazines. Her opinion is refreshing and she is added to Internations its blog roll.
Eva and I wrote last year an article: ‘Istanbul, European Capital of 2010; a Bridge too far’.
I’m dealing with it since and never saw a suitable outlet to publish it. If Zaman Today runs it, it’s okay. I don’t expect that much of other English dailies in Turkey. Otherwise it will be published here on Internations, which gets a good rating and more visitors every day.

And...that's all for now!

Day opening - April 1

Child playing in a train

Picture: unknown

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It makes me smile

Made in Nepal...

The Hague ready for Afghanistan Conference - follow through Twitter

Welcoming Hillary Clinton (picture by the Dutch minister of Foreign Affairs, Maxime Vergagen - through Twitter)
The Afghanistan Conference will be held today in The Hague, the Netherlands, in the city's World Forum. The air space above the city has been declared a no-go area and around over. Both the Afghan President Hamid Karzai and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend among 72 Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The ministerial discussion will be co-chaired by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Rangin Dadfar Spanta and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Maxime Verhagen.
Five organisations are being allowed to demonstrate at designated locations in the city. They include an anti-NATO coalition, an anti-imperialism platform and a group of Afghan refugees.

Day opening - March 31

In the dining room.
Photo by Belgin Zeytin

Monday, March 30, 2009

Twitter in crisis situations

During the immediate aftermath of the controlled landing of US Airways flight 1549 into New York’s Hudson River, Twitter really came into its own. By 4:16pm ET there were already hundreds of messages posted about the crash. Ten minutes later, links were being shared to photos taken by eyewitnesses, including the definitive image of the crisis taken by a ferry commuter that was posted at 3.47pm, just minutes after the incident. By contrast, there was no dedicated online crisis response channel from US Airways until around 5.00pm. The same happened when a Turkish Airline plane crashed in Amsterdam earlier this year.

Had the company been monitoring Twitter for brand mentions, they could have set up a dedicated feed and been responding to the conversation for at least 45 minutes before their own response site was in place. They could have even prepared for the eventuality by defining keywords and bots to follow/respond with important information well in advance of any crisis hitting.
As the communications environment in which we operate becomes even quicker and the expectations of consumers from those involved increases, Twitter is certainly going to be a key communication channel in times of crisis and there is absolute no reason why companies can’t – and shouldn’t – be incorporating it into their crisis response plans. Voila!

Busy in the antartica...

...and he was not breaking the ice...

Day opening - March 30

Like in the old Turkish movies, the wedding of my cousin...
Photo taken by Belgin Zeytin

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Early election predictions Turkey

Yesterday, I told Ozlem, my wife, that today’s elections for municipalities, which is seen as general elections in Turkey, the leading AKP party will fail to get more than 40% of the votes. My predictions of this morning which I wrote down, but could not publish due to a failed I-net connection, is below:
AKP: 38%
CHP: 16%
MHP: 11%
DSP: 7%
DTP: 11%
SP: 5%
BBP: 3% (sympathy votes)
Other: 8%
Trend watching is an important semi-science within communication management, but often not taken seriously. Early indicators of tonight, I am writing this here down at 08.30pm, looks like that the AKP is not doing well. But the CHP is still a party which can not lead the opposition against the AKP. What would happen if the CHP leader, D. Baykal, was not their party leader anymore?

Women under strict religion; abuse

As gender roles have shifted in society and in many religions, most Christians are re-evaluating their historic positions. Over the last 50 years Christian egalitarians have increasingly argued for equal roles for men and women in marriage, as well as for the ordination of women to the clergy.
Beyond generally accepted social standards which are continually shifting, Christianity sets a moral standard—the attitudes toward and treatment of women by Jesus. There is no recorded instance where Jesus disgraces, belittles, reproaches, or stereotypes a woman. Examples of the manner of Jesus are instructive for inferring his attitudes toward women and show repeatedly how he liberated and affirmed women.
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity has become a major focus of this contemporary gender debate. In 1977, George W. Knight III argued in a book about gender roles that the subordination of women to men is theologically analogous to the subordination of the Son to the Father in the Trinity. The current pope strongly condems all violence against women: "disturbing is the crushing yoke of discrimination that women and girls so often endure, not to mention the unspeakable practice of sexual violence and exploitation which causes such humiliation and trauma," Benedict told an audience of government leaders and foreign diplomats this week in Angola and mentioned that especially in the USA, where many clergy abused women and children in the past, needs more investigations.

In Judaism, the past 30 years, have seen a revolution in how reform Judaism views women as well. Judaism now believes in the equality of men and women. The reform movement rejects the idea that halakha (Jewish law and tradition) is the sole legitimate form of Jewish decision making, and holds that Jews can and must consider their conscience and the ethical principles of Judaism when deciding upon a right course of action.

However, the status of women and for example their testimony in Islam is still disputed. Some jurists have held that certain types of testimony by women will not be accepted. In other cases, the testimony of two women can equal that of one man ( although Quran says 2 women and 2 male are needed but if a male cannot find another male he may carry this testimony out himself). The reason for this disparity has been explained in various manners, including women's lack of intelligence, women's temperament and sphere of interest...and sparing women from the burden of testifying... but more worrysome, the Qur'an has left open its quantity, nature, and other related affairs to be defined by social custom and tradition. See here the current problems. And now I refer to an article about an Imam in Bosnie who raped a your girl. Read it herreeee

Moral: where sexual abuse and voilence against women in religious circles are discussed and condemned, most of the Imams worldwide don't want an open discussion on the matters!

Day opening - March 29

Carrot Love

A friend of mine found these carrots between her groceries...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Banners, flash and other annoying stuff

A lot of money is made via internet. Nothing wrong with that, it makes the existing of good websites possible. But it can be pretty annoying when you've to read a lot from a computer screen and an add is flashing next to the text or it's interrupted because of some new facial cream.

Fortunately Mozilla Firefox created the add-ons for its internet browser. The add-ons are extra tools you can download to extend the possibilities of using the world wide web.

There are two add-ons that are unmissable when you work with internet. The first one blocks most of the adds that are integrated in websites. It's called Adblock Plus. It comes with a package you can choose from and most of the adds are blocked. Flashblock is the second one. It prevents all the flash files on websites from popping up. You've to click on the pictogram to play the flash instead.

Another nice addition, is the dictionairy that can check your spelling in many languages.

Good bye to all the adds, welcome easy readable websites. If you want to check out more add-ons, the recommendations on the Firefox website are worth a look as well. Every country has its own recommendations.

A tip (if you already use Firefox you might know this already, but for those who don't): if you want to see a new web page, but you don't want to leave the current one, press the right mouse button on the link and choose 'open in new tab'. You can open a new blank tab using the command ctrl t or for Mac users command t.

World Blog Surf day - From Turkey

If you had asked me ten years ago that I will live in Turkey one day, married to a Turkish woman and living in Istanbul, I would say: ‘you are crazy’. But now, 2009, I’m living a happy life with my Ozlem in Istanbul. And do I like it? Yes.
Life in Istanbul, Turkey is interesting and I can only describe it with two notes; ‘Everything is possible’ and Turkey has still that ‘Overwhelming service-attitude’.
Turkey has not one face, and for sure not one identity, its unpredictable. Which makes it for expats so interesting.
And yes, I’m still rocking here! In fact, Burak Bekdil wrote yesterday an interesting article about Turkish people, which you can read here...
Turkey is not European, not Asian, not African, not Middle East, Turkey is on its own, its a life-long experience...
For amazing pictures about Istanbul go herrreeeee
Turkey is not like Greece but they have a lot in common as Dayflyer explains; British expats in rural Greece. As this post is part of the world wide chain of expats, go thereeeeee and travel all aroud the world.
This entry is part of Golden Prague’s World Blog Surf Day where 25 expats are writing today about their experiences in their host countries.

Day opening - March 28

Istanbul, Istanbul: 'I love it and I hate it'.
By Belgin Zeytin

Friday, March 27, 2009

Guess who are these two hippiezzzz

The HillieBillies...

A sound from Utrecht

Hello dear readers,

It has been a while since you heard from me and it makes me feel ashamed. I actually love to write on this blog, but my investigation at the moment is quite time consuming. Researching all day from 9 o'clock in the morning till 10:30 in the evening makes me tired. So when I come home I put my computer aside and the first thing that's switched on, is my stereo. For these last few weeks Room Eleven gave me back energy and put me in a mood to swing, shake off all the counting, fighting for information and difficult conversations about things that are technical and bring up more questions than they answer.

The friendly voice of Janne Schra is surrounded with pleasant jazzy influences, cheerful tunes and powerful sounds. The songs cover the wide range from breakable guitar music to the power of a brassband. All played by four skilled musicians: Arriën Molema on the guitar, Tony Roe plays keyboards, Lucas Dols wheels the bass and Maarten Molema is responsible for the rithm since he's the drummer. Janne Schra sings in every song of which many they've written themselves. With funny lyrics and sometimes serious songs she exposes her own capasity as a singer. But the covers are pleasant to listen to as well, since they have a completely different sound than the original ones. Take 'Bitch' for example (originally from Meredith Brooks). They made two versions and it took me a while before I recognised them as being cover songs. Not every song is as pleasant as the jazzy Brooks cover or one of my favourites 'Swimmer'. A song that got banned from my list is 'Looking At My Feet' and 'Hey, Hey, Hey', about holiday missery is one I often skip.

Last weekend Room Eleven played in the Royal Theatre of Carré in Amsterdam; a dream of many artists. Pleasant for the ears and for me it's one of the bands that can cover the label easy listening. A welcoming start of the end of the day.

Update - Important one

Lately I had a nice telephone conversation with Bea, who wrote about several issues here. She left Turkey early 2008 after spending some 20 years in the country. She is now settled down in the Carolina’s and busy with setting up her business. Because of her lack of free time she will not be a co blogger on Internations anymore, but she will write here once and a while. Anyway, thanks Bea. The good news now is: Kıvanç ERGU, who works as a consultant for Eurohorizons, joined the Internations blogger group. In case we will stumble upon some hot EU-Turkey issues, always nice to have someone here who daily work is related with the EU-Turkey accession process. Kivanc is also the first Turk living in Turkey who will join Internations (Seda lives in Greece). Anyway welcome!

Another adjustment will be the ‘look-of-Internations’. Some Canadian designers offered to restyle the template into a professional design where Internations will provide them with some banners and back links. Let’s see how this works, I am always cautious since we get so many offers. This site will be professionalized, without a doubt, but to put it full with ads is not the idea behind this blog-project.

In the meantime, 4 more sites are added to the blog roll of Internations:
Cher, an American living in Prague; GP, a German living as well in Prague, Martin, an Englishman in Bulgaria and a French blog of Mirabella, her blog is bilingual: French/English and she has a photo blog there as well. I recommend all four sites.

I hope today to write something about Social Banking (or Social Finance) as I promised Sam. If not today, for sure tomorrow. But tomorrow I will also write something about Turkey; my life as an expat in Turkey since I participate in World Surf Day (expats from all around the world).

Day opening - March 26

By Belgin Zeytin

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dutch support total smoking ban in all, incl. their own cars

While in Turkey a smoking ban is implemented in taxi's (and not always succesful - some drivers smoke in their cars and let passengers some as well) a survey conducted by the organisers of the Dutch AutoRAI car in Amsterdam show has revealed that almost 60 percent of the Dutch support a ban on smoking in cars. Those surveyed said it was irresponsible and dangerous.

Also a 64 percent majority of the interviewees expressed support for an anti-alcohol lock on cars! It would prevent more people from driving under the influence, they said. The survey also revealed high expectations for alternative fuel for cars. Many people said they believed not just in electric cars, but also in cars powered by water and 'bio' fuels. Confidence in the continued use of petrol ranks fourth. I guess that soon all the cars in the Netherlands have an anti-alcohol lock and smoke detectors in their cars...

Day opening - March 26

Sleeping; whithout a home?
Picture made in downtown Prague
Photography by Belgin Zeytin

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A reward for avoiding Rush Hour...

In an experiment aimed at reducing the length of traffic jams around the Dutch central city of Utrecht, 1000 car-driving commuters will next year be eligible for a bonus of up to 1200 euros if they avoid driving during rush hours, which can be for Istanbul - with one of the worst traffic jams in the world - usefull as well!
Reports in the Dutch press say that businesses and local authorities have agreed on the trial, which aims to keep drivers off the major motorways at busy times. Traffic jams are generally held to be harmful to the economy and the environment! Exactly what I noticed when I came over to Turkey in 2002; time consuming and therefore expensive.
The electronic devices in participants' cars in the Netherlands will check how often the driver uses the motorways in the Utrecht area. The lower the use, the higher the bonus will be. The premium will be paid for by the road user's employer, who in turn will be granted a tax reduction and a subsidy, which I think, must be a a priority for the upcoming elections in Turkey. But who cares.
Earlier experiments in the Netherlands, three years ago to discourage driving during the rush hour between the city of The Hague and its satellite town of Zoetermeer yielded a 50-percent reduction, which can be set as an example how Turkish Municipalities can deal with the immense traffic chaos in Istanbul.

Day opening - March 25

"light of love'
Photography by Belgin Zeytin

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Statement #13

Some people believe that there is intelligence on other planets, but I have my doubts if there is intelligence on planet Earth...
Above picture can be described as: Intergalactic humiliation, for the quick offended among us...)

Day opening - March 24

From Istanbul to one of the Islands
Photo by Belgin Zeytin

Monday, March 23, 2009

A blogger died in an Iranian prison

Our friend Hamid Tehrani has told us that Omid Reza Misayafi has died in prison in Iran. Omid was sentenced in December to two and a half years in prison for “insulting” Iranian religious leaders.
“(T)he reason for his death,” says Hamid, “has not been announced but he was in very bad psychological condition.”
Considering torture and other types of mistreatment are par for the course for free speech prisoners in Iranian prisons, Omid’s death may well have been a direct result of Iranian government actions. Considering the government usually places bloggers in prison with the most dangerous criminals, his death may only have been an indirect result. Either way, the men of the government of Iran and its prisons have a lot to answer for.
In the meantime, for what it’s worth, our heartfelt condolences go out to Omid’s family. They’ve killed one of us.

Turkey's 'religious foreign' policy.

The NAVO will decide on its summit of April 3 and 4, who their next secretary-general will be. Most NATO countries with heavy weights such as France, Germany, the UK and the USA support the Danish prime-minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. The only country which complains about this possible appointment is Turkey. They accuse Rasmussen of an ‘objectionable’ approach to billions of Muslims and for his remarks in 2003 that Turkey never can be an EU country. What was his ‘sin’? He refused to apologize for the cartoons, which sparked riots and attacks on Danish embassies all over the world and speaking out against a Turkey in the EU, not in the Nato! How can a PM of a country be held resposanble for its independent press? Yes, Turkey doesnt know this phenomen of a truly independent press organ. And the NATO stands for a non-religieus North Atlantic Treaty Organization of democratic states, and the current government must know this.
But the Turkish quasi-democratic and religious government is likely to use its veto, as the only of its 26 members. Will this be seen as a ‘bow to Mecca’ or Turkish right on vetoing, based on religious’ motives? Turkey becomes religious and bigot in its foreign policy.

Day opening - March 23

Dawn over the Marmara sea, Istanbul.
Picture by Belgin Zeytin.

Sunday, March 22, 2009