Saturday, October 31, 2009

Married in a Palace.

Today no politics but simple some facts about our wedding in Turkey, my second home country.
As a participant of the World Surf Day, with the theme 'Holidays and Celebrations'...I will take you where Ö and I are married, a former Ottoman Palace: Ciragan palace!
Ciragan Palace, on the back ground, and Ciragan hotel - the view upon their swimming pool - are close connected. Only the Palace is accesible for sightseeing or marriage!
Ciragan palace from the Bosphorus view. And we had that for one day. If you marry there, the wedding suite is for you.

They say that Ciragan Palace belongs to the 10-top hot-spots for marriage...could be!

The main entrance, from the Bosphorus. In our case, the exit for a 3 hour boat trip over the Bosphorus after the wedding and Cocktail Prolongé.

I must admit that it was some kind of fairy-tale wedding in enchanting and exotic Istanbul! So we didn't need a honeymoon.
FYI: Only Civil Ceromonies are legally recognised in Turkey. So, a representative of the local government came over to the palace. We didn't had to go to the city hall.
This procedure takes at last approximattely 5 to 10 minutes. And the ceremony is conducted in Turkish. The only thing I had to say was 'Evet' means 'Yes'.
In contrary to common belief abroad, a Relegious marriage is not legal in Turkey, only with a civil Ceromony.
In the seven and half years that I live in Turkey, I never heard of a Religious wedding of one of our friends.
Lately, a wedding in Turkey become popular. I understand why.)!
Go to the next participant of World Surf Day here...another expat in Turkey, Catherine with the Skaian Gates...and complete the World tour...with expats in many countries!
And thank you Sher of Czechoffthebeatenpath for again organizing this WorldBlogSurfDay!!!

(for privacy reasons no pictures of our wedding here)

Day Opening - October 31

FontaineBleau...near Paris, France

Friday, October 30, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World Prosperity Index etc.

Aki sent me the following interesting links

The 2009 Legatum prosperity Index has been published. News here:

The top 10 most prosperous countries are: 1) Finland 2) Switzerland 3) Sweden 4) Denmark 5) Norway 6) Australia 7) Canada 8) Netherlands 9) United States 10) New Zealand

At the same time the World Economic Forum has published the "gender equality index. Here are the news:

Top five: 1) Iceland 2) Finland 3) Norway 4) Sweden 5) New Zealand and Turkey? 129 place out of 134!!!

The Nordic countries and Oceania are doing prett well!

Day Openıng - October 28

Work in Pogress, Madrid, Spain

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Too many sites on Entrecard are full of virusses, probaly caused by illegal software or whatever.
Today my brand new HP notebook crashed and refused to start again after I dropped on a site which was difficult to open for some time.
Maybe time to stop this insane habit. Earlier this year my DELL notebook stopped working after 1 years and 9 months.
He, my HP was protected against WW3, not against some sites which bear proudly all kind of virusses. I am pissed off!

Day Opening - October 27

Barcelona, beginning of the night

Monday, October 26, 2009

Burglars also have rights!?

A burglar in the Netherlands has complained to the Lawbreakers Union (BOW) - no, this is not a joke, it does exist - that police in county of Drente violated his right to privacy after a video of him breaking into the home of an 88-year-old woman in Emmen was uploaded onto the internet.

The Lawbreakers Union, which works to protect the rights of prisoners, former prisoners and suspects (...), has officially complained to the national Dutch ombudsman. A BOW spokesperson tells the paper, "The man in the film says this is out of all proportion. He says he did go into the house but that this shouldn't be allowed".

One of the residents of the house hung cameras up after a series of break-ins and when they realised they had caught someone ransacking the house, they handed the videotape to the police. In an attempt to catch the thief, police put the video on YouTube. The BOW says "it's not clear if he actually stole anything and the police response is out of all proportion to the crime".
Please, your opinion...

Day Opening - October 26

The Historic Centre of Riga, Latvia, boasts the largest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe. Between 1896 and 1913, the city expanded and a housing boom followed. The style which developed in Riga was influenced mainly by German, Austrian and Finnish architects. Mikhail Eisenstein is one of the most famous proponents of the style in Riga. After the revolution of 1905 a distinctively Latvian variation of Art Nouveau developed, known as National Romanticism. Architects started to use traditional Latvian folk elements and natural building materials. Typical elements were steep roofs, heavy structures and the use of ethnographic ornamental motifs.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

State of Denial - Turkey?

In my opinion Turkey and the USA has a lot in common. I keep on saying that. Both are political polarized, both are dominated by religion. Both have a tendency to be aggressive and both have many allies and enemies. Both are well known for their service and hospitality and both are hard working countries. And both have a boulevard press: in the USA FOX network and in Turkey the Dogan group. Both manipulate and both don’t do their country a favor with their biased uncultivated journalism. But there is one difference, the USA have a track record of independent journalism and Turkey not. in Turkey the exception. And Orhan Kemel Gengiz, a human right lawyer, is one of those columnists who open write and open up their minds. Although still moving around with a bodygurad!
Here his latest article. I would rather call it State of Denial. In fact he writes down the words what so many Turks told me face to face...

Denial, confrontation and a recipe for disaster by ORHAN KEMAL CENGİZ

Turkey’s confrontation with the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has been a unique experience which has never been fully understood nor has it attracted the attention it deserves.


Everyone knows that Turkey has been one of the most frequently condemned countries by the European Court of Human Rights. Some know that it was Turkey which had been found guilty by the ECtHR for the first time in its history of some “specific human rights violations.” The first judgments with regard to torture (Aksoy), rape in custody (Aydın) and village destruction (Akdivar) were delivered against Turkey.

The facts were denied, institutions were denied and practices were denied. Victims talking, giving incredibly detailed accounts about the activities of JİTEM (an illegal extension of the gendarmerie), but the Turkish state denied the very existence of this organization. These cases brought before the ECtHR covered a small portion of the atrocities committed in the Southeast. There are 17,500 unsolved murders and 3,000 village destructions attributed to JİTEM and other “deep state elements” in Turkey.

Read here the full article.

Some facts about education in the Arab world

A recent research, study and survey by the American Association of for the Advancement of Science in the Arab world shows the following results:

- Barely a third of the Egyptian adults have ever heard about Charles Darwin.

- Only 8% of these Egyptians think there is evidence to back up Darwin famous theory.

- At a private university in the UAE only 15% of the faculty members thought there was good evidence to support evolution.

- State primairy schools in Saudie Arabia devoted 32% of the time to Islam, only 20% to math.

Day Opening - October 25

Iceskating in Morzine, France

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Food flags and 'Turkishness'

These lovely works of art are a delicious twist on edible culture. The food flags shown here are not only astonishingly accurate depictions of national flags from around the world, but they’re also created using dishes popular dishes from those parts.
The food flags featured here include Italy (-see above -made of basil, plain spaghetti and fresh tomatoes)

Japan: a white plate with nothing but a circular cut of raw tuna nigiri.

France: made of blue cheese, brie and red grapes.

India: curry, rice and spinach.

Greece: olives and feta.

Switzerland.:prosciutto and —what else?—Swiss cheese.
Korea: kimbap rolls.
Vietnam: litchis and starfruit.
The food flags are part of an ad series promoting the Sydney International Food Festival, a creation of WHYBIN/TBWA, Australia. And they probably skipped Turkey, afraid of being prosecuted by some prosecutor over insulting Turkishness. Read here about the latest...

Arash's World: The “Neck Verse” or Why Medieval Gangsters benefited from Literacy

Arash's World: The “Neck Verse” or Why Medieval Gangsters benefited from Literacy

Day Opening - October 24

Bordeaux, France

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Stalker is back

Our stalker is back with his favorite words: you are a Queer, Jew, Rabbi lover etc.
Back on moderation again.
Also, the last days I-net connection is going up and down, highly frustrating as you can imagine!

Day Opening - October 22

Valle Stretta, Western Alps, Switzerland

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And they don't pay tax

The Netherlands is “the biggest tax haven in the world”
But they could all retire early apparently, if the Netherlands finally closed the loopholes which allow multinationals to get away with paying tax on their profits. Now the Dutch are still deliberating if the retirement age will be increased from 65 to 67 years.

Dutch newspapers reports on the findings of a Dutch documentary programme Zembla, which was broadcast on Dutch television on lst Sunday evening. According to tax law expert Geerten Michielse, the Dutch treasury misses out on 16 billion euros in revenue every year. Based on figures from Statistics Netherlands, well-known Dutch companies such as Shell, Akzo Nobel and Philips only pay six to seven percent tax on their profits, whereas they should pay 25.5 percent. He concludes that the Netherlands is a tax haven. In May, the Netherlands was included on a list of tax havens compiled by the White House. The accusation was hastily withdrawn, however, after fierce protest by the Dutch Foreign Ministry. In a government report this year, Norway called the Netherlands “the biggest tax haven in the world”. Several foreign companies also use Dutch addresses to get around paying tax. They include multinationals like Boeing, Walt Disney and US Steel. According to Zembla, 8,000 billion (!!!) euros are processed through the Netherlands to avoid paying tax. That is a tenth of world trade.

The reason for the loophole is that tax laws were made in the 1920s and do not take globalisation into account..)))
Shall we organize a Tea Party in the Netherlands?

Turkey needs to express itself better to the world

I found the links of the serie of articles I wrote as guest columnist for Turkish Daily news (now Hurriyet Daily news) between 2007 and 2008. Today no. 5.
Turkey needs to express itself better to the world
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Hans A.H.C. de Wit

What Turks miss is that the promotion of a country is most effectively done by its individual citizens. Turkish patriots would do a better job if they stopped hacking Greek and Kurdish Web sites, and start launching their own blogs that will give the taste of Turkey to foreigners.

Turkey might not have diamonds but it sits on silver, gold and bronze: Many civilizations have left traces in Turkey. However, it looks like the Turks are the last to acknowledge it, or simply they don't care. Turkish history books are heavily focused on Atatürk. Yes, Atatürk was a visionary, but Turkey should focus on its real culture and heritage. There is a lot to discover without falling into political debates all the time, damaging once again Turkey's image by sending out dualistic and schizophrenic signals.

The land of Turkey, of course, existed much before the establishment of the modern republic. While Europe, the Middle East and many other parts of the world were reshaping their borders in the beginning of the 20th century, Turkey was in the center of turmoil. After its victory in the War of Independence, and after establishing the Republic of Turkey, it forgot much of its heritage. It seemed to deny that civilizations are never built without foundations. Just like a wall made of bricks, they are all established upon former civilizations.

continue reading herrreeee

Day Opening - October 20


Arash's World: Humanity first - Rules and Regulations later

Arash's World: Humanity first - Rules and Regulations later

Monday, October 19, 2009

Expat site banned in Turkey

First I though ‘there is something wrong with my connection’, but no, the expat site is banned in Turkey. Banned for ‘administrative measures’ reports Bianet, the only independent newspaper (on line) in Turkey. Administrative measures, some kind of euphemism for ‘insulting Turkey or Turkishness’? Did someone write there some bad words about Ataturk or about Turks in general? I never read something like that there. Some Turkish prosecutors are getting insane. Maybe this blog will be banned one day, although I self-censor myself already. But you never know.

About Kemalism

Kemalism has been a very formative ideology for the Turkish state and society, the effects of which are still felt today, said a prominent Dutch academic at a roundtable discussion in Istanbul.
Nonetheless, there is a need for more dispassionate debate on the topic. When discussed, Kemalism should be placed in its own historical context and away from today’s “blame game,” said Professor Erik-Jan Zürcher (see picture), a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, who attended a roundtable discussion on secularism and modernization in Turkey at Istanbul’s Bilgi University. The discussion was organized by the ARI Movement, an Istanbul-based think tank
In Zürcher’s view, based on his speech titled “A Modern and Civilized Nation – The Brave New World of the Kemalists,” Kemalism is the key to understanding Turkish modernization. In order to trace the modernizing tenets of Kemalism, he analyzed the content of Kemalist periodical “La Turquie Kemaliste,” which was published between 1934 and 1941 and later in 1947-48. “La Turquie Kemaliste” was a monthly journal written mostly in French and occasionally in German or English and addressed to European readers. Zürcher argued that the content of “La Turquie Kemaliste” allows us to see how intellectuals from the 1930s were conceptualizing their ideas and how they envisioned the future of society.

Day Opening - October 19

Millau viaduct, Millau, France

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Turkey in the waiting room, Croatia full speed ahead

In its yearly progress reports about candidate countries, the European Commission is positive about the progress made in Croatia and Macedonia. It remains critical of Turkey. The five remaining Balkan countries also want to join the EU, but the Commisison doesn't think they're ready for the EU 'waiting room' yet.

Each year the European Commission publishes progress reports about countries wishing to join the EU. These reports can determine whether the accession process will be speeded up or slowed down. Below are the main conclusions about the three countries currently in the EU 'waiting room'.

Turkey – The Commission praises Turkey's stabilising role in the Caucasus and its efforts for peace in the Middle-East. But there is also harsh criticism. The Commission is 'concerned' about press freedom in Turkey (especially after the huge fine imposed on the media company Dogan by the Turkish tax department), freedom of expression and religion, and the position of women. The Kurds are still waiting for concrete measures to protect their rights. Turkey has done nothing to improve its relations with Cyprus: Turkish ports and airports are still closed to ships and planes from Cyprus, despite earlier promises. Yet the Commission is not proposing sanctions against Turkey.
Progress report Turkey (pdf)

Croatia – The country is very close to EU membership. Accession negotiations will likely be finalised next year. But Croatia still has to improve collaboration with the Yugoslavia Tribunal, further reform its justice system and better protect the rights of minorities.

Progress report Croatia (pdf)

Macedonia – The Commission's recommendations are favorable. The country has a functioning democracy; a state of law is being built, guaranteeing fundamental rights, and this year's presidential and local elections were fair. The report says nothing about beginning starting accession negotiations with Macedonia because of the continuing dispute over the country's name. Greece is opposed to the use of the name Macedonia by what is now officially called the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia because it fears the country may later claim the Greek province with the same name.

Progress report Macedonia (pdf)

The remaining five Balkan countries would also like to join the EU. The EU wants them to join eventually, but they are not candidate countries yet.

Albania – The Commission wants Albania to step up the fight against corruption urgently.
Progress report Albania (pdf)

Bosnia – There has been insuffucient progress on political, economic and EU-related reforms. The political climate is worsening, the functioning of the state institutions is under threat, and inflammatory language is still part of the political discourse.

Progress report Bosnia (pdf)

Kosovo – The country only gained its independence in February 2008. It needs to work harder at fighting corruption and organised crime and protecting minorities. Surprisingly, given the fact that not all EU member countries have recognised Kosovo, the Commission is recommending waiving EU visa duty for Kosovans on certain very strict conditions.

Progress report Kosovo (pdf)

Montenegro – The Commission is demanding 'concrete results' to show that Montenegro wants to be a state of law.

Progress report Montenegro (pdf)

Serbia – The Commission feels that Serbia has proved that it really wants to belong to Europe. It also deemed Serbia is now cooperating sufficiently with the Yugoslavia Tribunal to deserve an economic and political cooperation agreement with the EU – a first step towards accession. The Netherlands is blocking such a deal because it thinks Serbia can still do more to cooperate with the tribunal.

Progress report Serbia (pdf)

Day Opening - October 17

Coliseum, Rome

Friday, October 16, 2009

My view about Blogging, Commenting and Social Media ethics

Some of us bloggers read other people’s blogs. And often the case we’re advised to leave our digital footprints in the ‘comments section’. Hoping by doing so, while gaining some link juice (from the-Do-And-I-Will-Follow-You-Blogs), the author or visitors will be kind enough to, maybe, return the favor. That’s the general idea of commenting as one of the traffic-magnet and relationship-building strategies, or not?

I am NOT someone anymore with the highest ability of commenting, but just how serious we should take blog comments? I know there is a need among some of us to be succinct so we could have links spread on 100 new blogs daily…right.)

However, what if all the efforts went down the drain just because we didn’t apply QC in our commenting? How foolish. More problems occur when blog owners simple don’t know to find the blog moderation button, but play the intrigue game in the hope to create media scrum, and attention when the blog owner doesn’t know how to moderate a discussion? Look at what happens here.

Blogging supposed to be fun, supposed to be social media. But when I'm the situation that I only can say: “Gosh, I can only do the ‘You’re great’ type of commenting!” then I’m in dilemma – shall I comment at all? No. Not anymore! When bloggers are there for one reason, narcissism and to ridicule others without being funny, blogging is not social media anymore, it became anti-social and incommunicative.

Bloody Turks (2) by ORHAN KEMAL CENGİZ

The first steps of reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia are facts. But I didn’t see that much interesting coverage of the signing of the protocols last week in Zurich neither about the soccer match between Armenia and Turkey last Wednesday. But today I see an op-ed of my friend, Orhan. Here some excerpts:

''Part one of this article, which was published in this column on Sept. 18, has provoked quite a passionate and long discussion among readers, especially among Armenians.
Maybe I should have written this second piece much earlier, but I did not want to interfere in this long ongoing debate. ''

''When I read all the endless discussions among Armenian readers, I became quite pessimistic about any chance of possible reconciliation. Some reactions made me think that it is almost impossible to say anything on this subject. On the one hand we have Turks who do not remember anything, and on the other are Armenians who live as if the events of 1915 happened just 15 minutes ago. How on earth will all these people come together and talk? The tone and content of some discussions made me really very pessimistic.''

''In my previous piece I discussed that some Armenians, believing everyone in Turkey is a murderer, are actually racists since they stigmatize all Turks. I have since received very tragic messages that challenge me and discuss how “Turk” equates to “barbaric,” “rapist,” “killer” and so on. My “racist” critique met with a textbook example of pure racism. These people are not aware that they have a huge potential of being perpetrators themselves. They are the soul twins of the massacre perpetrators from which their ancestors suffered.''

''There were some objections to my claim that Turkey has been suffering from memory loss. Some Armenians believe everyone in Turkey remembers what happened but just pretends to have forgotten. Turkey has not only lost its memory about 1915, it has also totally lost contact with its past. I will discuss this subject in another article.''

''Why do you expect me to identify myself with Talat Paşa? I reject his heritage and am disgusted by his gangs. As long as you see all Turks as Talat Paşa and as long as Turks identify themselves with him, we will continue this vicious cycle. When both Turks and Armenians condemn him and his criminal gangs together, when we cry together for our loss, for being condemned to live as separate peoples, then we will all start to heal.''

''When I speak to Armenian nationalists, they only block my feelings. They make me numb. However, when I come across Armenians who speak from their heart, I feel tremendous pain. Everything will start by feeling the loss, not with words and not with hate mongering. Everything will start by feeling the pain of one single individual. Then, bodies will be buried, memories recovered and we, both Armenians and Turks, will start to mourn together -- and for a long time. ''

It's a shame that Orhan only can walk around in Turkey with body guards, still!!

For the full article clıck here

Day Opening - October 16

The Cappadocia and the Goreme valley, Turkey

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oversized food

For some reason unknown, there is always one person who wants to take things too far and either makes an object bigger or smaller like these ridiculously oversized food items.

Why settle for a three inch rice crispy square when you can make one the size of a microwave? Why would you go for a regular sized burger when you can have one that would feed the entire Duggar family?

These ridiculously oversized food items are a fantastical feat of both creation and consumption.

Anyway, size matters... not for everyone...

Day Opening - October 15

Some Western women...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Al Qaida hurt by financial crisis

Top universities in the world

1 Harvard University US
2 University of Cambridge UK
3 Yale University US
4 University College London UK
5=6 Imperial College London UK
5=6 University of Oxford UK
7 University of Chicago US
8 Princeton Universit US
9 Massachusetts Institute of Technology US
10 California Institute of Technology US

Here the top 200 according Times Higher Education.
All Dutch universities made it to the top 200, not one Turkish university.
Sjanghai university distributes once a year the top 500. Last year only Koç University made it to place 497.

Dutch, Turkish ministers open investment agency in Turkey

Good friend is in charge here.

The Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade Frank Heemskerk and the Turkish Minister for Foreign Trade Zafer Çağlayan met Monday in Istanbul for the opening of the Netherlands Foreign Investments Agency.
"With the opening of the agency we are targeting the development of bilateral economic relations and expanding knowledge of Netherlands,” said Heemskerk, speaking during the opening ceremony. "The visit of [our] trade and investment delegation shows once again that the Netherlands has much confidence in the recent economic and financial reforms implemented during the past few years in Turkey.
"Last year the trade volume between the two countries was $6.2 billion. However, this volume has seen a 35 percent contraction due to the crisis," said Çağlayan.
"In Turkey there are 700 Dutch companies and the total investment of these companies is $14 billion. On the other hand, there are 139 Turkish companies investing in the Netherlands with a total capital of $4 billion," Çağlayan said.
"Turkey is full of opportunities," said Heemskerk, adding that during this visit he will also go to Ankara to meet Turkish officials and trading partners.
"Infrastructure and environmental investments are expected to increase in Turkey within the economic modernization that the Turkish government is going through," he said. "That's why it is really important to evaluate the potential of the Turkish economy. The incentive programs by the government also provide an opportunity for Dutch entrepreneurs."
Source: hurriyet daily news

Day Opening - October 14

The Nabatean city of Petra, Jordania.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

EU - Turkey report 2009: bad news!

Look here for the report.
Expected? Yes.

My Queen visits my Country

I found the links of the serie of articles I wrote as guest columnist for Turkish Daily news between 2007 and 2008. Today no. 4.

My queen visits my country

Thursday, March 1, 2007
Hans A.H.C. DE WIT *

As a Dutch man living in Turkey, the visit of my queen here is highly symbolic. First I should drop a note to other Dutch men and women who will be accompanying Her Majesty and thus visiting Turkey soon: Don't fear the taxi drivers. They are my best friends in Istanbul. They don't act like the “Taliban” – the common nickname for the taxi drivers in Amsterdam – instead they treat you with respect. Yesterday I took a cab; it cost me just 4 YTL and before I left the car, the driver told me to wait. Then he suddenly walked around to open my door. Yes, before my queen arrived in Istanbul, I was treated like royalty here.

Few people have noticed that Turkey and the Netherlands have had diplomatic relations for almost 400 years. These relations were never strained after the signing of an agreement in 1612. And, in the 18th century, they looked quite similar to each other in an interesting way: Both thought that they were masters of their time. The Dutch thought that they ruled the world, since they were the bosses of the seas. Hence they still call the 18th century their “Golden Age.” Similarly the Ottomans thought at the time that they were the very center of civilization.

Continıe reading here

Day Opening - October 13

The Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day Opening - October 12

The inca city of Machu Picchucountry, Peru (click on pictures to enlarge)