Thursday, June 30, 2005

CN Tower in Toronto

In Toronto late evening,
with my younger brother, Haldun,
4 years my junior,
together with my school-friend Onder for many years,
who also happens to be
my business colleague
in the same company.

First we were
in Cambridge Ontario
for business meeting
in cooperation
with Babcock & Wilcox Canada
for engineering partnership
in order to design,
fabricate, and construct
the first Blast furnace gas firing,
big industrial steam boiler
in Erdemir Iron & steel mills,
the biggest enterprise in Turkey

We had reciprocal company presentations,
how wonderful company we are,
how wonderfull company they are,
lots of talk,
tough negotiations
for engineering work,
scope definition and scope sharing,
and too tight timetable,
similarly tight scheduling.

Nothing scaring,
Nothing difficult,
No problem,
All fun, all joy.

After we completed
our business meetings,
courtesy activities,
we left Cambridge
arrived to Toronto.
We had two days
to have sightseeing.

First to Niagara water falls,
so much water,
so many beautiful sceneries.

Then Toronto China Town,
to see a modernised China,
although so much Americanised,
or better to say Canadian China.

Then at mid-night
we had some more sightseeing.
It was snowing day & night.
We saw homeless people
on top of hot air channels.
Drunks, street people.

My companions were
much interested in seeing
Toronto TV tower.
I said "No way!
I have high anxiety!
I cannot climb that high!
It is almost half a mile high.
Observation tower is half of that,
and it is still too high for me!".

I should be more careful.
They would make a trick
to take me up there.

We walked around a lot,
without me knowing where I was.

Somehow, somewhere
we turned a street corner,
there it was,
the Toronto TV tower.

It should be very expensive
to take the elevator.
We were short in money.
We could not go.
But no, it was free at that time.
Like happy hour.

It was Saturday evening after 5 o'clock PM
Happy hour,
and it was free
for all visitors.

Since it was free,
we should take the elevator
and go upstairs,
no other way.

If it is free,
You must take
And accept the offer whatever since it is free.

The first time in my life,
that high, almost half a mile up.

We took the elevator,
climbed to the observation deck
in a few minutes.

And then I had that high anxiety.

You would ask
how I board an aeroplane.
Aeroplane is different.
I do not have any fear,
since it is pressurised,
closed controled environment

This was different.

I lied on a couch and
stayed there
no joy,
until my brother
and my school friend
had enough time
to visit the upper deck.

Could I see the beautful scenes what are they?
Yes, but all scaring,
All difficulty,
All thrill,
No joy, No More.

Also this story seems
to be about the fear of heights
and the Toronto CN tower,
the rest is just an introduction--
I wonder if you really need so much there.

You may ask why I have this set up
in a poetry format,
but it reads like a story.

As a story, let me tell you more.

If you saw beautiful scenes on CN tower,
what are they?
How can I explain?
I saw nothing,

Also this story seems
to be about the narrators fear of heights
and the Toronto CN tower,
the rest is just an introduction--

I wonder if/ why I really need so much there.

Also, let me bring you
into my anxiety attack,
How to slow it down--
It is all with me.

That brings me into
my anxiety attack,
To slow it down--
You would't want to
have the attack with me,
The same when I return to the tower at home.

Take my word,
Do not take anything,
If it is free, when it is said to be free,
Nothing is free,
Nothing is FREE !!

Your comments are welcome !!


We didn't know it
But you are a poet
How nice
Or Peacock
Birds of the same feather
Goldberg, Iceberg
What's the difference?
You couldn't have perched
On CN Tower
Cause if you were Shakespeare
You would have been
Locked up
In London Tower
Hausun Suyu von Terkosen
Only in Turkei,
They say
Oo, what a pityy!
Haus kaputt
Su kaputt
Gaz kaputt
Trafik sehr kaputt
Kaput ist kaputt, auch
That's why there're so many velets
In der Turkei
Avrupa Birligi pisshikk diyor
Everything's free in Canada
Except the money
That's why we call it
The lousy dollar
Monopoly money for sure
And Yanks discount us
More and more
But what the heck love is free
As long as you pay
Through the nose
For the dinner
Next time you feel like a bird
Try being a duck
Float in your bathtub
And good luck
Haner, Haldun, Haluk
There's a big difference
But you guys don't climb Mt Everest
Without assistance
You are Turks!
Be proud!
Go to the mosque and pray
Or shop at the Bay
On Yonge Street
Not over the cloud

Ata Guven, Vancouver, Canada

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Is it fair??

Dear Colleagues

My youngest son is in the third year of university EEE department. This semestre he decided to take a graduate course although he is in undergraduate studies. He worked hard, enjoyed the course, learnt a lot. At the end, he was to prepare and submit a term paper. He delivered the paper expecting the high grade. Just the opposite, his proffessor called him and accused him for copying the term paper contents from various internet sources, making "copy & paste", just because his wording is extraordinary, his presentation is good, his details are perfect. Department assistants were assigned to find where he coppied the contents. He is a bright student, first in IB studies in High School. So it is normal that his English capability is so good. I asked him if he made any serious offense, he refused any misbehaviour. Moreover I checked his term paper and found nothing so abnormal. It is a standart undergraduate term paper. Instead of getting a high grade "A", he received the lowest "F". Is it fair? He will go to the professor and explain the situation. How should he respond? What do you think??

Your comments are always welcome.


Hi Haluk.
Difficult to answer without being in possession of all the facts. "Stealing the term paper contents from internet sources" Now what exactly does that mean.If the term paper was illegally made available to students by simply entering the URL and copying
the result, that is tantamount to cheating and gaining an advantage over those without internet access. However, if your son used the internet as a source of reference to better understand his subject matter, that is to be encouraged in
the same way as checking a dictionary for the correct spelling of a word. If we were to be honest and truthful, I expect many of us would put our hands up to having used a crib at one time.Maybe scribbled a formula on the palm of our hand.But when the paper is laid in front of you,You've taken so much trouble to write it, you now know the formula by heart. There is a great feeling of achievment to be gained when you see an 'A' against your name on the results board.

I was once awarded an impossible 105% in a science test. The whole class was in the 85% plus bracket but my paper was considered way above average. And no, I didn't need to cheat for it was one of my favourite subjects. I should mention here, the course tutor was a woman and I think she had a soft spot for me. Which raises another point: You say your son's professor was a friend of yours. I fail to see the relevance to this unless you are suggesting a form of negative nepotism.

In your shoes, I would take my son aside and say."Now let's talk man to man. No recriminations but I need you to tell me if the content of the paper was sent to you by internet. If it was then the source needs to be reported to the authorities. If it wasn't, I will fight your corner with every fibre in my body to get this result reversed.

I talk from experience,for many times I have had to take to task,tutors and principals of my sons' schools of learning, Even going over their head to the minister of education. I have twice been threatened with legal proceedings for endeavouring to obtain the best for my children.

If you are certain your son 'played the game honestly',It is your duty to stand by him and insist on a re-take of the paper in the presence of official ajudicators.

Wings, UK

Dear Haluk,
I would like to comment on this issue. Being a college student myself at this time, I understand the temptation to copy from the Internet. The Internet is a wonderful resource with a wealth of information at the click of a button. I would have to spend days at the library researching and taking notes. Now I can just type in the subject and read. In my country and my college, copying text directly of ANY source
constitutes plagiarism which is not only against the school guidelines, but also can result in fines or even jail time for the student. Now I'm certainly not going to get in the middle of your son's debate with the school, however, when I write a term paper, I must cite all my sources including any websites (URL) used for each paper, listed generally at the end of my text. As a result, my professors can easily check the websites against my paper. If your son has a list or cites all his sources, in my opinion, he should be allowed to defend his paper to his professor, or perhaps the head of the department, dean or someone in a higher position. This may clear up the issue for you and him. Good luck.
Carol, USA

You can select parts of the report and run a search. If the paragraph or sentence you run comes up verbatim then that's plagiary (if the source isn't cited). I think teachers are gun shy of the Internet and I can see why. It's easy to "cut and paste." They also have a hard time occasionally, fitting in the idea that young people can "think" today, and articulate their thoughts in clear and cohesive ways. This has happened before in other cases. I'd challenge the teacher to prove plagiary, not just arbitrarily assume it. You know, "Show me, and if you can't---reconsider that grade." If you don't every time your child writes a brilliant assignment it will be suspect and it could follow them throughout their school career. Children need to get credit when it's due and blame when proven guilty, not when guilt is just assumed. Question authority (after you investigate yourself).

Matt Lamoreux

Does your son considered himself to be an expert in the
subject matter he wrote about? Unfortunately, College
professors don't consider students to be experts in
their field at that point in their lives. So, a topic
needs to be researched and sources cited.

I once wrote a paragraph in a term paper about my job.
I lost points on the assignment. the teacher annotated,
"what's the source?" Looking back, I should have built
up ethos in the paper prior to using any of my personal
experiences. still, the teacher probably would have
docked points as she wanted us to include quotes obtained
through interviews. I did not qualify as an interviewed.

Part of a College writing assignment is to prove that a
student knows how to research and cite sources. If your
son didn't reserach the subject and cite sources, he
did not prove to the professor that he masters this skill;
hence, he lost the points associated to that criteria.

He should approach the professor and argue that the
grading criteria were not explained. Of course, your
son is also responsible for not asking (or not understanding)
the grading criteria.

N. Barring

Friday, June 10, 2005

Investment Climate in Turkey

Dear Colleagues,

Today, On June 10th 2005 Friday evening, I participated to a conference as prepared by a reputable local economic and strategic studies foundation for an highly intellectual local audience of more than 100 distinguished guests in Ankara at about 1900 hours.

Speaker was a senior Foreign Service Officer of a Western Embassy in Ankara in charge of Economic and Energy affairs. He started the presentation with his broken Turkish as courtesy to local culture but continued to speak in that manner as if he was checking our nerves. It is good to have foreigners speaking our language, as a courtesy for short period time, but one should warn them that we are not so comfortable to witness someone to play with our holy language so terribly.

Anyhow we are so polite as usual, and we stand firm that situation. Normally if one would do the same with English language, nobody would listen to him/her.

Speaker repeated the same latest energy situation, although we all know the details very well. Anyhow he intelligently pronounced the same energy issues as if they were new. All good news, BTC pipeline, El-Paso offshore , and Chevron inland oil explorations. All were nothing new. However he slightly, and brilliantly but clearly stated that existing investment conditions are not favourable for international investors. There are arbitration disputes in energy projects (BOT, TOR etc) ongoing, corruption is still on, there is less transparency. Local Laws are ever changing etc., and not reliable for longterm investment. All true.

As an experienced foreign diplomat working for the Embassy Economy Section, he said that the Caspian resources, which are crucially important for the world and the region, are exagerated.

He said that the Caspian is not El Dorado and that it will not be a solution for the energy needs of some countries. He reported that the Caspian has a total of 33 billion barrels in oil reserves and that this figure is equal to the oil reserves in the North Sea and the US.

We all thank to him, however the followup questions were so simple or odd that there was no point to continue. So our polite moderator stopped the event and then he invited the guests to the open buffet cocktail at the roof. We were on 10th floor of the prestigious building next to TOBB in Kizilay.

In our one-to-one personal conversation, I asked our speaker why International investors are not coming to Turkey anymore. He clearly stated that there is less interest in investing in Turkey since there are many other countries to invest and get more return.

I also expressed my wish that the ambassadors would be more commercial oriented rather than political. I asked him if it was because of the nearby war and the indifference at this end, and invader expectations were not returned. He noted positively. I also advised him that Turkish companies are handling all logistics of Iraq, paying high cost of human sacrifice. Moreover Turkish companies are handling the reconstruction activities in Iraq although there is high risk of terrorism.

Our guest speaker was not so interested in continuing that conversation, since he explained all his feelings to the highly influencial local audience towards ever cooling mutual cooperation expectations in future.

It is my feeling that we should all understand that it is too distant to expect anything for investment or further cooperation opportunities from the others, and we should work hard, and depend and trust ourselves in order to stand firm, and survive at this very difficult geography.

Your comments are always welcome!!


I can guess which ambassador you're talking about.
Denying the U.S. passage during the Iraq operation was a big strategic and tactical mistake for which they will make you pay through the nose in the coming years. The fickle U.S. foreign policy has now shifted to alliance with the Kurds and the new satellite states in the area, and is aiming at downgrading Turkey's strategic and economic importance. A U.S.-backed Independent Kurdistan is a virtual reality. You have played into the hands of the game designed by, you know who.

Transforming Turkey from a secular state into a controllable, moderate Islamic Republic was an idea hatched in Washington 15 years ago. This is now being successfully used as an excuse both by Europe and the U.S. to further the plans of creating Europe's Mexico, a buffer state betwen The West and the Islamic World, a second-class client at the whim and the mercy of The West. Yes, you are now too Islamic to be European, and too anti-American to deserve consideration as an investment haven. Islam, a deified form of Medieval Communism, is incompatible with the West's capitalistic values. Islamic countries are doomed to economic extinction unless they have a resource that can be exploited by the West. As we all know, Saudi Arabia's GNP would be zilch if they did not have oil, and who would ever invest in an Islamic desert kingdom?

Americans have traditionally invested in countries where political stability is guarded under the force of arms if necessary, and they don't really expect foreigners to fall for their own rhetoric about democracy, etc. A reliable military government is always preferable for them to a wishy washy democracy, especially one where the fundamental national consensus has not been achieved.

Even a few weeks before the Iraqi operation your diplomats did not believe the U.S. would invade Iraq. That's a serious lack of foresight. They had no idea how the Americans think. The same can be said for the U.S., but they hold the cards. You have no professional political lobby in Washington to speak of, and no economic lobby at all. The Bush Dynasty takes loyalty very seriously, and they take things personally, but decision making in Washington is still a complex process. Things can change, but it takes salesmanship, a word that Turks generally do not understand. That's your biggest problem. Best Regards
Ata Guven, Vancouver, Canada

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Partnering in Sheffield UK

Dear Colleagues,

Today between 10-13 hours, I participated to a marketing conference in METU Technopark KOSGEB premises which was organised by UK Trade Agency UKTI and NorthEast Development organisation of UK.

They had well prepared powerpoint presentations, how wonderful incentives and low taxes they have, how low their labor manhour rates are (14% less than UK average), how well positioned they are, how close to reputable universities.

However I feel that if we replace the name "Sheffield" with "Ankara", "University of Sheffield" with "METU" (Middle East Technical University", plus a few names more, we can present the same presentations on behalf of METU Technopark companies in NorthEast part of UK.

In METU, we have the best university in Turkey, and the best functioning Technopark inside. They speak mother tongue English by birth, whereby we speak text book English which is understood by everyone better.

We have more than 100 new companies in METU Technopark, and more than 1000 brilliant young engineers, software experts. So we have overlapping software products on both sides.

Therefore we feel that instead of selling their products here, and our there, we need to investigate how to make cooperation, how to work together, how make partnering, in selling joing software products, in North East of Europe through NorthEast region UK, and The Middle East, Central Asia, Eastern Europe through METU Technopark.

At this time, we do not know the future of European Union after polls in France and Holland. Mr. Tony Blair decided not to go to polls for new EU constitution, since he can predict the outcome. Therefore we need to have "B" plan without EU and investigate possibilities of more cooperation between similar industries.

We work in energy business. We have different software companies in cooperation, the most of them are from North America or Continental Europe. We work in renewables, green energy, more utilisation of natural gas, CHP, CCPP and conventional fossile fuel fired steam power plants. We always need software for new power plant contruction.

Softwares are intellectual work intensive outputs. An engineer may receive 100 Euros per manhour in the North east of UK; whereby we pay only 10 or so per high qualified engineering manhour in METU Technopark.

Similarly the lowest rate per manhour of unqualified worker could be around 20-25 Euros equivalent in UK, whereby it is around 2-3 Euros in Turkey.

So pricewise METU Technopark could be cheaper, hence more competitive, and better positioned in marketing.

Therefore we appreciate the time, money and effort that our UK collegues have spent in this mission, we feel that we better try to investigate how to work together to sell similar overlapping software products together in our respective markets.

Your comments are always welcome.


Dear Haluk...I read this through twice and failed to find any connection to the subject of writing. Have I missed something, or have you gone off on a tangent?
Suzianne, Nebraska, USA
**** Plan C: BUY AMERICAN **** (LOL)

I hope you will receive some response to your brilliant suggestions for marketing cheap Turkish human beans with the help of Brits.