Thursday, June 29, 2006

Latife HANIM

Wife of the nation's father
Jun 22nd 2006 | ANKARA
From The Economist print edition

A new book on an old taboo

NEARLY seven decades after his death, Kemal Ataturk, the westernising founder of modern Turkey, remains a near-deity for millions of Turks. His steely-grey eyes stare out of portraits hung in every school and government office; his sayings are etched on monuments and even mountains. Insulting Ataturk can bring up to three years in jail. Changing that is one of many tough requirements on Turkey's road to the European Union.

An encouraging if modest step comes with a new biography of Ataturk's wife, Latife Ussaki, by a veteran journalist, Ipek Calislar. Ever since Ataturk divorced her in 1925, Turks have been fed images of a shrill, bossy and ugly woman, who lacked the will and wiles to manage her heroic husband and was therefore to blame for the collapse of their stormy two-year marriage. Mrs Calislar's diligent research and testimony from friends and family paints a different picture of the plucky, unveiled 23-year-old, who won the heart of the nation's ruler.

The daughter of a rich merchant from Izmir, who had studied law in Europe, Latife played a bigger role than has ever been acknowledged in helping to shape Ataturk's vision of a modern Turkish state. A vocal feminist, she pushed hard for the laws that enfranchised women in Turkey long before France or Switzerland. Ataturk was so proud of Latife that he would tour with his unveiled bride throughout Anatolia, touting her as a role model for Turkish women. So what went wrong?

Latife never told her side of the story, mainly out of loyalty to Ataturk but also out of fear. The shroud of mystery was set to be unveiled when a 25-year-old court order banning the publication of her diaries and letters kept in the vaults of Ankara's Turkish History Foundation expired last year. But the family refused to
publish the papers so as to protect Ataturk's image.

One issue may have been Ataturk's nightly drinking sessions with his chums, which were widely known but rarely discussed. They clearly played a part in the break-up. So did the sudden appearance of Fikriye, Ataturk's former mistress, who shot herself in the grounds of the presidential palace. But Mrs Calislar hints at another reason: for all his westernising zeal, Ataturk was ultimately unable to cope with a wife who insisted on being his equal. "He was", notes Mrs Calislar, "a man, after all."

Monday, June 26, 2006

Bodrum night by the seaside with Mozart

My wife has small all-girls clubs. In One of many, they are the girls of Architecture departmnent of Ankara Academy who were together from Alumni year 1973.

They come together and enjoy every week in of their houses.

Now one of them (Guler) offered to meet in their summer house in Bodrum, in a small but a luxury summer house in Nagme housing complex in the south of TurgutReis, by the seaside, in the openair outdoor garden overlooking the seafront to Kos island

We were invited. Me and my youngest son were the only male companions, so shy and so silent all night.

Girls had the scene, and the all activity, extraordinary hosts

I felt like in one of movie secants of famous Movie Director Ferzan Ozpetek, in one of his famous Italian films.

Lots of Flowers and candles, delicious food, lots of special quality wine and spirits.

At the background on CD player, we had opera "Die Entführung aus dem Serail", K.384 (16.7.1782 Burgtheater, Vienna) by Mozart.

Girls of my past, some 30 years of history were together that night, speaking, telling memories, jokes and stories of their youth, in an extraordinary environment

It is a pitty that we man do not have that spiritual gatherings, although I would prefer to watch worldcup 2006 somewhere, anyhow that was also a good opportunity to have access to female secret world of bondage

Sunday, June 18, 2006



All my life I loved my father best of all.
The way a child sprouting like gorse from a cliff,
With legs bowed - about to tumble any minute -
Would run in the trail of a giant,
That's how I loved that philandering father of mine.

What neighbourhood we lived in, he could never say:
Always busy, in a rush; if he dropped by, he'd dash away,
I'd look up in my atlas the places for which he'd depart:
That way I learned exile and longing by heart.

How I'd fly with joy: sickness was the best ...
If my fever zoomed past 40, they'd call him to Istanbul,
After all, wouldn't he want to bid farewell to his son?
Ours was a love game: when typhoid fever struck, I won:
I said Ohh, and buried my nose in his chest.

Until he went on the inspection tour that was his last,
I ran after that giant flying to heaven,
For other kinds of passion, for loves so vast
My breath opened up, my mind, my inmost soul.
All my life I loved my father best of all.

Translated by Talat HALMAN

Thursday, June 08, 2006

PowerGen Europe 2006

I participated to latest PowerGen Europe Conference in Cologne Germany between 28 May and 1 June 2006. It was a great experience. I met with many international key figures of the Energy business as well as key figures of the Turkish energy business. I work as marketing consultant of various international energy companies in my environment. It was a very good opportunity to meet with these key figures, to learn more about new developmets especially in renewables and nuclear sector. I recommend all my colleagues to participate to the next conference which will take place in Madrid Spain between 28-30 June 2007.