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067 Istanbul–Ambassadeurs-conferentie 2017–Istanbul

Deze zaterdag vertrek ik naar Nederland: jaarlijkse ambassadeursconferentie en werkbezoeken. Ik kijk er zoals altijd naar uit, juist met de veelheid aan media, de videoconferenties en de overvolle inbakken is het essentieel om de klokken gelijk te zetten en waar nodig de temperatuur van de Nederlandse politiek en samenleving aan den lijve te voelen. We […]

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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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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 […]

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037. IDAHOT in Istanbul

When the first Dutch ambassador in Constantinople arrived in 1612 he had a double assignment: to sign economic treaties and to free Christian slaves. Working like me for the Dutch foreign ministry in 21st century, it is reassuring that these two main pillars of our foreign policy have remained the same during all these centuries: […]