Monday, November 27, 2006

Eskisehir, The best City to live in Turkey

On last Saturday morning at about 0800 AM we departed from METU Ankara campus, 6 teachers, 18 students of Arch-301 course from Architecture Department.

Tour was headed by Prof Aydan Balamir and her co-supervisor Architect Kadri Atabas, both of METU Faculty of Architecture.

We had first stop in SivriHisar town, 150 km west of Ankara, for breakfast. We had linden soup.

We saw "Armenian Church" at the far end of SivriHisar town. We noted that we should organize another tour for that point.

Then we had a stop in "Seyit Battal Gazi" Castle, an extraordinary ancient structure.

We had lunch in nearby local restaurant-
operated by Ayfer-Turhan Yayla couple, named "Soup Maker".
Delicious Soup and meatballs. (0222- 671 2363)

Then we arrived to Kutahya, at about 1500 hours,

and visited The Grand Mosque which took its name from the 14th century mosque in the early Ottoman style (with many columns and no dome). The first mosque was later demolished and rebuilt in the late 19th century as a huge domical structure in the classical Ottoman style

plus other educational structures, and museum.

Last stop was Germiyen Mansion (0274- 2245552) which was operated as a coffeehouse. We had tea- coffee and various deserts

Later in Kutahya we had a half hour stop at “Gurallar porcelain factory”, and we had purchases at reasonable prices. Students preferred various coffee mugs.

We arrived to Anatolian University YunusEmre Campus Guest house at about 2100 hours, for unloading our personal belongings and get refreshed

We had tne dinner in a small buffet near Train station, we had soup and meatballs

Then we went to disco named "222" earlier named "Doors" converted from a small fabrication plant which were producing flour earlier. Entrance fee was 20 YTL per person including first drink. We preferred one glass of red wine Doluca. Mainly Turkish pop in huge volume, live performance. We then returned to our guest house at about 0200 hours early Sunday morning.

Open buffet breakfast on Sunday Morning. Campus tour. Japanese gardens.

City tour in OdunPazari (Wood Market) ancient city, recently renovated.

We visited Kursunlu Religious building structure. 16th Century.

Ministry enforcement of 80% facing application of brickworks. Good application.

Then we had in-city tour along Porsuk river,
on pedestrian paths, new bridges over the river, new statues

Light rail public transportation to reach fast anywhere in the city.

We had Lunch in Tatar restaurant- special Tatar raw borek / pastry

Visit to “Art Museum” in Campus

“HayalPares” Disco structure, converted from machinery plant

New Shopping mall "Haller" converted from a vegetable indoor marketing hall.
"Shakespeare Cafe Pub Restaurant" was extraordinary. (0222-320 2525)

On Return we had stop again in SivriHisar, beans- rice- yogurt

Arrival to Ankara at about 2200 hours, home by taxi.

We had an extraordinary tour. We felt like living in a medium size Mid- European city in EskiSehir.

It is not incorrect to state that Eskisehir is the best city to live in Turkey.

We congratulate Eskisehir Municipality and the extraordinary Mayor Prof Yilmaz Buyukersen.

Also many thanks to our Organisers.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Student Advisor Program in METU Alumni Ankara

Dear Colleagues

We would like to share the photograph we have taken during our "Student Advocate/ Advisor" program on 11th November 2006 for joint meeting of graduate advisors and their reciprocal METU students for orientation and training in METU Alumni Association premises in Visnelik Ankara.

Thank you for your participation to the event.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A letter from 1992

Ankara September 28, 1992

Dear Brother,

After we left you two in Klassis, we drove on E-5 to home. Haner slept in the car all way back home. It was 0300 hours we reached home. We have been stopped by the traffic policemen on the same spot. All other drivers were paying fines due to high alcoholic consumption. I was the only one without any drop of alcohol despite of the fact that I was in the marriage ceremony of my brother. Before our departure for Classis, your father-in-law was worried about Istanbul night time traffic, and said us to be very careful. I told him that I consumed no alcohol that night other than the liqueur which was recently brewed by your mother-in-law hanim at 1800 hours which I could not refuse. Policemen allowed me to go. I was not drunk but tired. next day till 0900 hours we all slept in the house. Then had our breakfast (or brunch lets call it). I left the house at 1200 hours, drove carefully, had my dinner at Filiz restaurant at around 1800 hours and arrived Ankara at 2100 hours. Highway was Ok but certain sections were not finished yet, and we had to drive with the same speed as the heavy truck at around 50 km per hour. Back home, Dilek and Aydin were in theater played by Kenters, and Mehmet was together with a neighbor family in Kurt swimming club. I was tired and slept.

Next day I went work quite late. That evening I was talking to a friend my mine, who is actually a client for further opportunities. he invited me to join him to visit Cerkezkoy plants the next day. I reluctantly agreed to join him. On Wednesday morning I drove to airport early in the morning at 0500 hours. Streets were empty. I left my car in airport parking place. Took the early flight to Istanbul at 0645 by Airbus 320. It was a pleasant flight. Plane landed at 800 hours. He was waiting for me to drive to Cerkezkoy. We drove 1 hour on the same E-5 which we used on Thursday.

I had a meeting in Cerkezkoy together with Mehmet Ozata, General manager of Aken (Aksa Autoproductive Energy Inc) on September 23, 1992 Wednesday between 0900-1600 hours. Dinckok and Altinyildiz Group of Companies had a board meeting on September 22, 1992, and there they fully authorized Mr.Ozata to execute the necessary measures for the investment for Combined Cycle plant in their plants situated in Cerkezkoy Organized Industrial Zone. Cerkezkoy Organized Industrial Zone is approximately 100 km far from Istanbul Ataturk International Airport. There are 3 factories which are Aksu (blankets, various wool products), Dinarsu (wall- to- wall carpet), Akkim (chemicals for the textile industry). There are also many industrial plants owned by other companies (AEG, VW, etc).

We met with upper management of these factories in Aksu meeting room, while I shared the same side of the table with Ozata. We have been informed that on the previous day Board of directors were not happy in truth of the electricity and steam estimations and they asked Ozata to investigate and finalize the actual requirements as required by 1994 without any safety margin. This combined cycle plant will have estimated 30 million DM overall cost, or approximately 300 billion TL equivalent in 1995. Aken is very profitable company and will finance the overall project from its own sources. Ozata explained that Turkey will have an critical energy shortage starting from 1995-96.

The plants in the European side of Turkey in Thrace will be effected most since it is very far from Hydraulic Dams all in the east, and moreover electricity transmission lines are not reliable. Therefore these plants need urgent self sufficiency in electricity before that shortage. After that long explanation of Ozata supported by my further explanation, the plant managers understood the vital importance of this investment. The initial requirement was 17 MW for Cerkezkoy plants, and 10 MW for Altinyildiz. Altinyildiz and Elboy (4) plants are situated in Yeni Bosna which are very near to airport. An assistant has visited these plants on behalf of Ozata on the same day. After explaining our purpose to be there, we understood that by the end of 1994 Aksu will need 6.4MW, Dinarsu 5.0 MW, and Akkim 2.0MW peak electricity demand. That gives us not 17MW but approximately 13.4 MW overall demand. He is aware of a package prepared by Mitsubishi for Turbomach which is identical to Aksa Gas Turbine. An identical AKSA Gas Turbine Mitsubishi MF111 may also cover Altinyildiz electricity requirement from Cerkezkoy. We also asked the plant managers where to locate the new combined cycle plant. They agreed to allocate an empty space on the open field which is very far from expected new plant (warehouse etc) extensions. They mutually agreed to give that empty space but only after approval from the big boss Omer Dinckok.

Ozata, in our informal talk during car drive, expressed his pleasure to be invited to Paris Cogen meeting where he had opportunity to meet competent and responsible people to work with. He thanks BWG for being informed. He also declared that he will be pleased to join any similar HRSG, Cogen seminar in USA if prepared by B&W. I assured him that there are similar seminars, and I will let him know the details.

Other than Dinckok group of companies, Boyner (plus 4 factories of Enboy) owned by Boyner group also interested in the project and joined to these board meetings which took place on September 22, 1992 Tuesday in Akhan, Aksa Istanbul head quarter. Dinckok and Boyner groups want to work together for joint effort to solve their energy problems in near future. Both groups have same individuals in their Board of directors with different percentages of company shares. Board members of both company groups have all agreed to initiate the investment and authorized AKEN (Ozata) to make all necessary actions for the combined cycle investment of both company groups. Overall steam requirement for all three plants is 40-45 tph with two different pressures 21 and 6 bar respectively. 6 bar steam output is required for the existing process and 21 bar(approx.15-17 tph) is needed for Steam Injection for higher electricity output as well as lower NOx emission.

It was calculated that the payback period would be less than 3 years in Aksa group and this fact is acceptable for the members of the Board of Directors. On the other hand, the other industrial group Altinyildiz consumes approximately 6.5 MW electricity and 15 tph steam.There may be one additional Combined cycle plant to be erected next to Altinyildiz plant for their individual energy consumption or alternatively its electricity requirement can be produced in Cerkezkoy and delivered to national grid and received from Altinyildiz through TEK's transmission lines. 25 bar natural gas pressure is required for the gas turbine firing whereby the existing natural gas pressure reducing station only delivers 20bar/and 4bar. Therefore pressure adjustment is necessary in near future. Ozata also asked plant managers their suggestions how to handle the man power requirements. He would like to have a number of local labours already working in Cerkezkoy plants to be transferred to Aksa for on- the- job training period then later to return to Cerkezkoy as qualified GT operators. In principle, plant managers agreed to give these boiler operators to Aksa for gas turbine operation training.

He left me at the airport at 1600 hours. I had my dinner there and booked for 1715 flight. I came to Ankara at 1800 hours, took my car from parking place, drove back home.

On Thursday our refrigerator was out of order. Motor has been replaced with renovated one. It cost us 450,000 TL. Yesterday we went to ODTU swimming pool for Mehmet. He is a very good swimmer. He has been selected for the team. It was a wonderfull facility. I will join them as graduate member soon.

Today at 1000 hours, I talked to energy coordinator of Koc Holding, about their new Combined Cycle plants to be erected in Otosan (Ford automobiles) and Tofas (Fiat autos) in order to reduce the energy dependency to national grid. He knows that Turkey will enter an energy shortage in 1995 and Koc Holding is making necessary preparation for energy investments. They will come to Ankara to meet the officials in TEK, Ministry of Energy and State Planning Organization to learn and carry out the necessary bureaucracies to implement such investment. Both plants need electricity plus process steam, they both can be furnished through combined cycle plants. He promised me to visit our head office during his time in Ankara to investigate our capabilities for HRSG's and further collaboration wherever possible.

Today at 1430 hours, I talked to project coordinator of Canakkale Cimento (Cement plant) for their new 60 MW cogeneration investment. He informed me that they secured 200,000 US$ from US Trade and Development Agency and the treaty has been signed recently both by Turkish Treasury and US Ambassador to Turkey. In accordance with AID Handbook-11 regulations, the invitation to prequalification for the feasibility will be advertised in the magazine "Business and Commerce Daily", a sort of unofficial periodical of AID procedures, then the applicants will be screened for to be prequalified. In order to receive this donation, the selected consultant company should be an US company or an affiliate or JVC in Turkey. Cogen plant will utilize nearby Can lignites which is very famous with its high sulphur content (7-8%). Boiler will be pulverized or fluid bed coal fired steam boiler (+lime injection to reduce SO2 emission) coupled with steam turbines. The price of the feasibility is fixed 200,000 US$. Mutual meetings by €anakkale and interested US parties in USA will be arranged within 2 months.

Your Colleague was here on Thursday. He had a feeling about working atmosphere in our office. I don't feel that he may come back to Turkey. All his activities are in USA, he has nothing to do here, not to mention any financial satisfaction. I explained him that a newcomer received not more than 1000 US$ whatever he has wonderful qualifications. We had a dinner in our Pink House. Its best time is lunch hour. He is Ankara TED 1974 graduate. Did you know that?

Dilek is very busy with Ankara Philharmonic concert Hall Architectural conquest. She is one of reporters who makes the necessary preparations for the jury. We go together even on Saturday and Sundays. I hope everything will be finalized by the end of this week. Aydin is very happy in his new school. He works hard, prepares his homeworks without any complaint.

My mother and father left for Bodrum on last Saturday night. They should now be in Odak summer house. They are going to call me later. I hope they like the place. In June time it is wonderful to stay, now I have no idea how it is. I hope they enjoy.

Today I received the official wedding pictures. You both are beautiful. Send the negatives so that we can have one complete set of photograghs for ourselves.

You may wonder why this English letter is all about. Please note that most of the part was prepared as interoffice memorandum and it was easy to merge all together to create a new English letter to you. It is not to prove how terrible I read and write English. The actual reason is very simple. Last weekend I borrowed the office laptop computer in order to work at home for preperation of latest marketing reports. This letter was also drafted there in English because there was no Turkish letter code in that laptop. You have to read this letter which was written in your brother's Pilgrim English. Be sure that next letter will be in Turkish. Keep this letter for yourselves.


Your brother

Greetings of the Season and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year

How do they celebrate Christmas in Turkey? Simply put, they/ We don't!

But the New Year is recognised with greetings, decorations, gifts, and parties, so you would be forgiven if you thought that it was Christmas that was being celebrated. Christmas Day is a normal workday in the office, so expatriates have to take vacation if they don't want to work that day. The only holiday is New Year's Day, but people do take an extra day or so to extend that.

However, there are quite a number of expatriates from Western countries in Ankara who do celebrate Christmas. Christmas trees are available for purchase, along with decorations to go on them. The bigger hotels have special Christmas menus, and Santa Claus has been known to visit. As St. Nicolas was a Bishop in Myra, Turkey, this seems appropriate. Children from the German School and the British School give carol concerts in the Hilton on successive Sunday afternoons, and the choir and band from the American High School sing and play in the Sheraton. These hotels, and others, have Christmas trees, and the Sheraton also has a gingerbread house six feet high.

The expatriate community holds parties, dinner dances, and celebrations large and small. The Anglican Church connected with the British Embassy (St. Nicolas again!)has a Nativity Play put on by the children. Also a Carol Service, followed by mince pies and mulled wine; a Midnight Communion on Christmas Eve; and a family Service on Christmas Day.

So, although there is no public or official recognition of Christmas, there is enough going on that it is not too different from home.

Finally, from all in Ankara, Turkey:

Saglik ve Mutluluk Dileklerimizle Yeni Yilinizi Kutlariz !

which means

Greetings of the Season and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year