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068 A Syrian refugee family (that went to The Netherlands)

When I arrived in Turkey almost four years ago, the Arab Spring was over and new conflicts had emerged, especially in Syria. The tragedy of Syria is chilling, figures sadly speak for themselves: almost 9 mln internally displaced people, over 13 mln people in need, 4,8 mln refugees of which 2,7 mln that went to […]

066 What will the economy bring Turkey in 2017 (and 2018)?

“A predicted economic crisis always comes later than expected, but when it finally arrives it will happen much faster than anticipated” Introduction Predicting the direction of the Turkish economy in the coming few years is not an easy task. Turkey is a multi-layered country on the crossroads of three continents, finding itself not only in […]

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065 Resilience index 2016: Turkey ranking #1

Turkey is unlike stock exchanges. Results of the past are no guarantee for the future, as any broker will always warn you. This seems not to apply to Turkey, a country that has been through many difficult periods, situated in a region with endless conflicts. Standing in the shoes of Turkey one has to acknowledge […]

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063 Sinterklaas: liefdadigheid (anoniem)

De zomervakantie van 2016 brachten mijn vrouw Kim en ik door aan de zuidkust van Turkije. Voor een week verbleven we in Patara, een plaats die op de kandidaatslijst van UNESCO werelderfgoed staat. 2500 jaar geleden was het een grote havenstad; het was een centrum van de Luwische beschaving en de plaats van de eerste […]

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063 Sint Nicolaas/Sinterklaas: “charity anonymous”

2016 summer holidays: off to the magnificent south coast of Turkey. My wife Kim and I stayed a week in Patara, a candidate UNESCO world heritage site, a major port city 2,500 years ago, a center of the Luwian civilisation and home to the first representational assembly in the world. Today, what remains of Patara […]

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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 […]

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042. Renewed Istanbul infrastructure boom (3): Urban Development and Real Estate Projects

Without much ado in greater Istanbul a series of multi-billion dollar infrastructural projects is being implemented putting Istanbul on the first spot when it comes to new infrastructure in Europe. Some projects are controversial (third airport, the canal), others too long delayed (the expansion of the metro network), but one thing is for sure: their […]

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039. Soccer: the most effective instrument in bilateral relations?

Each time I meet Yusuf, my local Turkish grocer, he refers to my nationality. ‘Kuijt! Kuijt!’ he says, while pointing to his blue shirt, adding ‘Fenerbahçe!’, not realizing yet it seems that Kuijt is going to leave for Feijenoord . His colleague usually joins the conversation by challenging his workmate with a firm statement; ‘No. […]

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025. A Health(y) Business: Dutch Medical Tourists to Turkey

A few months ago, while travelling by bus, a man asked me: ‘Do you know where I need to leave the bus to reach Taksim Square?’ His accent was clear, so I answered him in Dutch. He looked confused and lost. I asked if he liked Istanbul. He didn’t: too many people and too noisy. […]

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022. Christmas Trees in Istanbul

Christmas shopping at IKEA Istanbul might be a dream outing for some, but it can definitely be a nightmare for others. However, Kim and I had to go, as in this largely Muslim country real Christmas trees are rather rare; I had promised ourselves a real tree this year (in a pot, do not worry) […]