Sunday, January 28, 2007

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

Dear Colleagues

A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that, in being made, actually causes itself to become true. Although examples of self-fulfilling prophecies can be found in human literature as far back as ancient Greece and ancient India, it is 20th century sociologist Robert K. Merton who is credited with coining the expression "self-fulfilling prophecy" and formalising its structure and consequences. In his book Social Theory and Social Structure, Merton gives the following definition:

The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behaviour which makes the original false conception come true.

Let us evaluate the latest situation and if this is "Self-fulfilling prophecy" or Strategic Investigation of the existing situation?

Further to my notes on latest Presidential Elections which is scheduled in late April 2007, we had a workshop in METU Alumni premises today to evaluate the various aspects in order to reach common wisdom on the subject.

We all agreed on that there will be no early general elections other than the regular scheduled election on November 2007. Normally we expect an early elections after a serious economic crises as happened twice before. There is no such case at this time.

On the other hand, a serious financial crises is expected in early 2007 in the local market due to the fragile social atmosphere. That will create a difficult time for the people in Turkey in the short run. We cannot estimate how the management in power will handle these difficult times.

We understand that Soldiers had already had that brainstorming within their ranks and they have reached a certain inside consensus which is not yet made public.

On the other hand, there is no response from business circles, no evaluation nor any statement from local Industrialist & Businessmen Association nor from local Chamber of Commerce. They all are seemed to be so silent, appearing to accept the statu-quo. We really need to know what they know that we do not know at this time. Are we in METU Alumni, too sensitive? Are we exaggerating the situation?

In a recent study created by Mr. Alim TELCI of Ak-Investment in local SABANCI group of companies, he evaluates various scenarios and in his final scenario the existing chairman of the ruling party becomes the next president with almost 70% probability, and the next general elections create a coalition between two right wing parties.

We understand that all related parties have a certain consensus not to create too much social tension, nor any interference during election period. Foreign experts reinforce above brief analysis as in the latest reports of Morgan Stanley and Standard & Poors.

Reputable foreign correspondents who are stationed in Turkey, and those who are very competent in analyzing the local politics, are also surprisingly so silent. They are seemed to be unable to evaluate the silence in the local intellectual environment

In our workshop today in METU Alumni in Ankara, we evaluated all parameters with the available information already made public, and decided to form an Alumni Council in February 2007. We also wish to bring together all interested NGOs in our premises in a workshop. We shall then release public statements to inform the public what we feel and think and advise. Please advise if above is still "Self-Fulfilling Prophecy" Your comments are always welcome.

It is snowing in Ankara

Early this morning, it is snowing in Ankara. The season’s first real snow. The city is putting its white clothes on slowly, calmly. Children rushing here and there in the snow. Well, it is not enough to build snowman or ride sleds. But it is falling, and snow on the trees and children in the snow is enough to compose a beatiful picture and lead to flashbacks.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

La Bohéme in Ankara Opera House

For many, a sophisticated new French name plus a bunch of books in the library plus dirty living quarters occupied by empty cheap wine bottles is equal to "Bohemian." On the other hand legendary names like Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, William Burroughs, Toulouse-Lautrec, Jackson Pollock and Picasso have been pinned down as famous bohemians. Sometimes they were applauded as free spirits seeking a spiritual fuel when the world seems a barren place and sometimes despised as aliens rejecting the conformist mindset and culture of the era. Yet it's hard to catalogue and neatly package the nature of bohemians. Emerging in the 19th century, "bohemian" was used to describe artists, writers, and disillusioned people of all sorts who wished to live non-traditional lifestyles.

Fashionably speaking, bohemian was defined as a class of its own. It flourished in many cities, in Schwabing in Munich; Montmartre, Montparnasse and later the Latin Quarter in Paris; Greenwich Village in New York; Chelsea and Soho in London. As it now no longer exists anywhere, we will now take a trip to the Latin Quarter to visit Puccini's four Bohemians. In this trip our guide will be famous opera director Flavio Trevisan, who is staging Giacomo Puccini's most famous and popular opera as well as one of the most performed operas in the standard operatic repertoire, "La Boheme," whose gala debut will be held tonight at the Ankara State Opera and Ballet.

"Turkey's extraordinary opera tradition"I wish Ankara had a stage proper to the capital of Turkey," said Trevisan. "Everybody works hard, most of them dedicate their lives to the art in Ankara but it's not enough at some point. There are lots of problems to be solved. But despite every hardship, being in Ankara is a great experience for me." The director added that the opera tradition of Turkey shouldn't be disregarded. "When we look at the biographies of opera stars, almost all of them appeared on the Istanbul Opera House stage. This tradition has to continue. Turkey, unique in the Oriental world, is the door to Europe," he said.With stars in his eyes, Trevisan told of his friendship with Leyla Gencer: "One of my best friends is Leyla Gencer. Do you know how she is called in Italy? Legend? Turkish diva? No, none of them. They call her 'majesty' since she performed all queens of opera history. When she was on stage she didn't need to do something special, her holding her hand was enough to be mesmerized by her aura; people shouted, 'There she is, her majesty!' "

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's “Idomeneo,” the opera which caused a debate when it premiered at Deutsche Oper, a Berlin opera house, in late 2006, had its Turkey premiere last month at the Izmir Opera House. The Izmir State Opera and Ballet performs the three-act opera accompanied by the orchestra under the baton of musical director Winfried Müller. The opera, which Mozart is believed to have said was his favorite, is based on an epic story titled “The Aeneid” written by Publius Virgilius Maro (70 B.C.-A.D.19), which centers on the Trojan War. It is set in Crete in about 1,200 B.C. The libretto was adapted by Giambattista Varesco from a French text by Antoine Danchet, which had been set to music by André Campra as “Idoménée” in 1712. In Izmir Opera House, the director is Mehmet Ergüven and the set design belongs to Tayfun Cebi, while costumes were designed by Sevda Aksakoglu. In the leading roles are Arda Dogan, Aytul Buyuksarac, Birgul Su Aric, Linet Saul, Ahmet Baykara and Oguz Çimen. Deutsche Oper's revival of “Idomeneo” featured a scene in which the Prophet Mohammed, Jesus and Buddha were beheaded by Idomeneo, and this caused fears of backlash among the Muslim community in Europe and thus the opera house decided to cancel the production. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for the production to be staged by highlighting the dangers of “self-censorship out of fear.” The play was performed in December in Berlin and the German police stated that they saw no threat in terms of security. In the Opera booklet, IZDOB director Alparslan Mater said in a statement that “Idomeneo” actually was set in the 12th century B.C. and the Deutsche Oper rendition was based on the director's interpretation. Furthermore he said the IZDOB would stick to the original plot. Mater said the opera's main message was that “anybody who fights back against the divine force should be ready to pay a price for this, sooner or later.”

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Literature Club

Dear Colleagues

We have organised a new club event in our ODTU Alumni Premises. That is "Literature Club" to gather the interested Alumni members. Here are our early preparations. We wish to have your comments and further contributions in certain loose items, which we do not know how to proceed at this time

Here is the preliminary structure of our Literature club in our Alumni Association in Ankara

We shall initiate evaluations of the novels from the early days to the contemporary creations with certain selection criterias in our minds. Our preliminary novel list will include local and international books

We shall evaluate the writer and his/her period

The evaluation of his/her period in the history, social, political, technical (famine, war, plague, economic crises, industrial developments, social revolutions, cold war, drastic changes in social life, change in country ruling etc)

Evaluation of other writers in the same period

Plot, theme, language, structure of sentences, wording organisation in the subject novel etc

From time to time, Invitation of a contemporary writer to our Alumni premises to review his books

Meeting every 2-weeks in our Alumni premises (Thursday at 1900 hours) Review of the selected books prior to bi-weekly regular meeting by members

Evaluation of the pre-selected book-of-the-week

Here is the draft list of the recommended books (novels)
Hay bin Yakzan- Ibni Sina-Ibni Tufeyli (Middle Eastern- Middle Ages)
Robinson Crusoe- by Daniel Dafoe
Portrait of Dorian Gray- Oscar Wilde
Novel in Industrial revolution 1800-1900 - Queen Victoria period
La Condition humaine, 1933 (Man's Fate, 1934) André Malraux
China and far east in 1900s
Erich Maria Remarque- A Time to Love and a Time to Die
A wedding night- by Ms Adalet Agaoglu (Turkish)
47's- by Ms Firuzan (Turkish),
One day all alone- by Vedat Turkali (in Turkish)
Only hot ashes remained- by Ms Oya Baydar (in Turkish)

That list will continue since there are many good books to review

So here is our draft announcement for Alumni members

"We have a new Literature Club in our Alumni premises. We expect you to participate to our Thursday night regular meetings in every two weeks at 1900 hours. We would like to read, review and evaluate in our Literature hour. Please do join us on 25th Jan 2007 Thursday night at 1900 hours"

I would like to ask my Blog readers to advise me written document(s) how to organise and how to apply what procedures for such a gathering in our club premises.

Any sort of comment, evaluation, any document will be very helpful. Thank you in advance

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Next Presidential Elections

Dear Colleagues

In April 2007, we shall have our next Presidential Elections in our parliament. It is general expectation that the existing ruling party will nominate their Chairman as the next President for next 7-years. There are certain sides that the elections are all over, and the next president is already known.

However since there are certain evidences that the existing majority party Chairman has his past record against the historical constitutional secular principles, there will be huge opposition for his elections for the top post.

If the ruling party Chairman or any other leading nominee from his party will become the new President, he will certainly push the country with all measures, legislations, appointments towards a new environment as moderate Islamic republic in the region. So all secular forces are to defend the existing Western Democratic system to prevail.

So let us try to foresee the elections what if we can do or cannot do in future regarding the elections in April 2007. Upon his election, the new president will enforce all measures, appointments, legislations against constitutional secular law. There will be huge legal and civil reaction. There will be mass demonstrations in the Capital City. Maybe one or more millions of ordinary citizens will walk on the streets of the capital city to declare their opposition. Will it work? It worked in Venezuella.

All types of sarcastic and even humiliating/ ridiculating jokes, stories against him will be created, as was usual practice in the past. His own life will be under magnifying glass at all times as well as his family members, and there will be no immunity in that respect. All his past commercial transactions will be evaluated/ criticized/ severely scrutinized. On the next general elections his party may not have majority in the Parliament and if so then he will be courted and maybe released from his post. That will be a very humiliating experience in our parliamentarian history.

On the other hand, a serious financial crises is expected in early 2007 in the local market due to this fragile social athmosphere. That will create a difficult time for the people in Turkey in the short run. We cannot estimate how the management in power will handle these difficult times.

It is our understanding that our Military Upper Management has already had that brainstorming within their ranks and they have reached a certain inside consensus which is not yet made public.

This election process is a very good opportunity for ourselves in order to have more brainstorming and intellectual contribution to think on “The best election process for Presidential post in Turkey. What should be the qualifications of our President? How should he/she be elected?”. We can further organize panels, seminars. The Middle East Technical University's Alumni Association has created a new working group to review the local Presidential election process in detail in their Ankara premises.

This review is written in English so that we invite all international interested readers to review the issue and put their intellectual contributions. It is not incorrect to say that there is almost limited or no application of local penal law if a document is written and released in a foreign language. That is a fact that we always feel the difficulty in "Freedom of Expression" in your own language.

Article 26 of the Constitution of Turkey guarantees the right to "Freedom of Expression and Dissemination of Thought". Moreover, the Republic of Turkey is a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights and submits to the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. The constitutional freedom of expression may be limited by provisions in other laws, of which Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which outlaws insulting Turkishness.

This article will also be a test of "Blogs" against written local Media sources which are under close control of certain commercial interest groups. Your comments are always welcome. Thank you & best regards