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 […]

IMG_1143

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 […]

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 […]

Social Media

052. Social Media, diplomats and Turkey

No tweet, no result; no picture, no meeting; no #hashtag, no professionalism. Blogging is hip, infographics are already mainstream and every respectable company has a CDO (Chief Digital Officer). I turned ‘social’ some years ago; a colleague of another Consulate in Hong Kong urgently needed donors with a special blood type. He phoned around and […]

047. World Press Photo

047. World Press Photo: a partner in Dutch human rights policy

Who doesn’t know the picture of a man standing in front of a tank at the Tiananmen Square or the one showing a little girl running away after a napalm attack in Vietnam? Both of these photos where once winning contributions at the annual World Press Photo contest. World Press Photo is a Dutch non-profit […]

fiets

043. Turkish Investments in the Netherlands: On The Move

“Turkish take-overs of Dutch companies are rare.” That’s what the Dutch Financial Newspaper ‘Financieel Dagblad’ wrote on the 22th of July. I disagree with the title of that article, since Turkish business interests in the Netherlands have been growing rapidly over the past year. Direct investments increase while more and more Turkish take-overs of Dutch […]

Iftar at the consulate

041. ‘Iftar’ at the Dutch Consulate General

All over the world, Muslims are celebrating Ramadan. This holy month is observed by many Muslims with fasting, spiritual reflection and solidarity with the poor. Just before the sun sets and the ‘azan’ resounds from Istanbul’s innumerable minarets, friends and families gather around their dinner tables. The streets and squares of the city fill up […]

wc

040. How Dutch investments, polarization, Turkish politics and toilets meet.

The days that we diplomats “did not speak about cheese” are of course long behind us. Economic diplomacy has been a key pillar of our Dutch diplomatic work for many years; a world city like Istanbul is an ideal place for active economic diplomacy and as diplomat one has to be prepared to do show […]