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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 […]

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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 […]

matra-collage

064 MATRA-program: social transformation in Turkey

MATRA: for the average citizen a completely unknown abbreviation, but for insiders the MATRA-program is one of the most successful and effective instruments of Dutch foreign policy. We in Ankara and Istanbul very much like our MATRA-program with its small scale interventions, that often have a substantial policy impact. MATRA-projects never stand on their own; they are […]

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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Kapel

049. The Chapel at the Dutch Consulate General in Istanbul: a place of work and worship

Strolling down the busy Istikal Caddesi, as every day 1-2 million people do, you might not notice a small chapel hidden behind the walls of the Dutch Consulate General, part of the intriguing history of Istanbul, city of Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders and Ottomans. This beautiful chapel on the Consulate grounds is not only a church, […]

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 […]

Tourism

046. Tourism in Turkey: more than meets the eye

We ourselves are tourist. Discovering the world is in our DNA.  Sometimes we just wish to be away from it all, leaving one’s home country and enjoy the country of one’s (distant) neighbour. Last year, travel and tourism directly and indirectly contributed to almost 10% of the worldwide GDP, employing over 260 million people. These […]