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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 […]

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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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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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]