Iftar

062 Iftar diplomacy summer 2016

The always vibrant city of Istanbul calms around sunset during Ramadan. A golden glow covers the city, pleasantly few cars on the road, the ferries are out of sight, and the Bosporus has become unruffled. Traditional Sufi or Turkish music plays, and the city is waiting for the firing of the Ramadan cannon. And then […]

Blog World Heritage

061 World Heritage

It is thanks to Turkey and Asian tourists that I started to better appreciate the UNESCO World Heritage Sites’ concept. Asian tourists often let these sites inspire them for holiday itineraries, an example that I now fully embrace myself. World Heritage Sites gloriously reflect world history and universal beauty, described in UN language as being […]

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060 Terror and emotions

Post-July 15 coup. Apart from lively ‘marches for democracy’ ending very late every night over the past two and a half weeks, Istanbul remains subdued. Superficially one has the impression that regular life returns after each terror incident. Below the surface however there is anger, embarrassment, concern and great weariness, especially after the failed military coup […]

Erosion

059 Erosion of emotions

17th February: the staff of the Consulate was preparing a farewell dinner for the CFO of Unilever Turkey. As usual they smiled, but their minds were clearly somewhere else. An hour earlier a bomb had exploded, in Ankara. 28 deaths and many injured. In my broken Turkish we talked about terror attacks, children and their […]

Karagoz and Hacivat

058 Humor (and politics)

Jokes, humor and satire: essential in order to cope with life. How would Soviet citizens for example have survived their darkest years without great satire? Humor relieves tension, jokes can contain harsh messages, but in a more pleasant wrapping and therefore more acceptable (as many managers know). Turkey has a long tradition of cartoons and […]

Sustainable-supply-chain

057 Contributing to a just world/elimination of extreme poverty

Sustainable Development Goals, the post 2015 development agenda, involvement of companies, John Ruggie, UN and where Turkey and The Netherlands team up.   Why does a person have a job, why do we want/need to earn money? Paying one’s mortgage, taking care of one’s loved ones and/or self-development, all worthwhile reasons. One could also use […]

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056 Kapalıçarşı/The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul

Almost 100 mln visitors per year and a rent of 3,500 usd per month per m2: this truly is Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, in Turkey known as Kapalıçarşı, the oldest shopping centre in the world and world’s most visited tourist destination. Its construction was ordered by Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1455, two years after his conquest […]

2016

055 The Turkish economy: what will happen in 2016?

The future is the most difficult part of forecasting. An old joke, true as ever, especially in Turkey. Herewith an overview of some macro-economic developments in 2015 and my (partly) personal predictions for 2016. And some observations on the structural road ahead. Summary/base scenario: Turkey is set to become one of the five largest economies […]

Ecomotive_Blog

054. Turkey innovation week Istanbul/Holland partner country I

Top -5’s: to be in the top of any of the globally comparative lists seems to be a (well hidden) objective of the Dutch. We might be known as to be an egalitarian society, where no one should stick his/her head above the ‘maaiveld’ (as then it will be cut off), but as a collective […]

Blog_Bursa

053. What diplomats do – Trade mission to Bursa 12 and 13 October

Nothing beats the happy faces of a business delegation that has to leave very, very early in the morning, but then is offered fresh coffee. As part of the Holland Turkey Business Tour 2015, a large group of mainly local Dutch business people and colleagues went to Bursa on 12 and 13 October. On the […]