Saturday, December 12, 2009

Facing Reality

Dear Colleagues
Your writer tries to write articles on local energy issues to evaluate the ongoing events, energy news, assess problems in energy projects, try to share formal information, and even sometimes informal news based on face-to-face conversations, site visits, plant observations.

Your writer writes in English in order to have an international response as a local voice so that you may use these articles in your own daily work in letters, memos, reports, responses to international counterparts, if they match your views.

Your writer sincerely wonders if our colleagues are interested in these open letters, if they share the similar responses, if they share the information with other colleagues, if they share articles with peers in their companies, or they base these articles in their reports, or they use articles in their evaluations in feasibilities, annual reports, in-house evaluations, or receive any reference from overseas, such as from financial institutions, banks, engineering companies.

Your writer will be too pleased if you would recommend any new topic on energy, thermal power plants, basic design softwares etc. Your writer will be too pleased to receive your feedback, comments, clarifications, contributions. All your responses will be kept confidential.

Please do send your comments to e-mail;

Friday, December 04, 2009

Energy Forum in Iskenderun on 5th December 2009 Saturday

Dear Colleagues,
Ongoing privatization applications in local electric and energy markets in free market model and further restructuring without proper early planning created poverty in our daily life for electricity services which are an essential element of human life today. We are organizing an "Energy Forum" special for Hatay region, to evaluate energy generation and consumption potential, to examine the current problems, to propose solutions, to bring recommendations to the region as well as to our country for better energy policies in future. We shall be meeting in Iskenderun Municipal Council Conference hall on Saturday, December 5, 2009 as organized by the Chamber of Electrical Engineers (EMO) Adana Branch, with EMO representatives of Antakya, Iskenderun and Osmaniye. All interested parties are welcome. Participation is free-of charge.


Monday, November 16, 2009

‘Aida' returns to Ankara Opera House

The classic opera “Aida” is set to return to the Turkish capital after a 13-year absence during which time it was staged annually at Antalya's Aspendos International Opera and Ballet Festival.

A new production of Giuseppe Verdi's 1871 classic will open this Saturday at the Ankara Opera House, the Anatolia news agency reported.

A 250-strong cast and crew from the Ankara State Opera and Ballet (ADOB) are currently putting the final touches on the production, which will be directed by Italian stage director Vincenzo Grisostomi Travaglini.

Travaglini, who from 2000 to 2002 headed ADOB as general manager, will be joined by maestro Rengim Gökmen, the current head of ADOB, in the orchestra pit, conducting the Ankara State Opera Orchestra during the performance.

The costumes and sets were designed by veteran ADOB set designer Savaş Camgöz, who also designed the costumes and sets for previous productions of “Aida” 14 years ago. The set and costumes used in the Aspendos production are currently being tailored to fit the smaller Ankara Opera House stage, Camgöz told Anatolia on Monday.

This grand opera, famous throughout the world for its glorious second act, has four acts that will be made “even more magnificent with a new lighting design we're currently working on for this season's Ankara run,” Camgöz said. He stated that the modern and aesthetic lighting design will make the performance “more impressive.”

The next staging of “Aida” by the Ankara Opera is scheduled for Nov. 14.

20.10.2009 Arts & Culture TODAY'S ZAMAN

Chagall’s Colors of Love


ISTANBUL - When the wintry wind and rain descend on Istanbul, it’s great to head indoors for a dose of warmth, color and even romance. All three can be found at the recently opened exhibit, “Marc Chagall: Life and Love,” at the Pera Museum (Mesrutiyet Caddesi No. 65; 90-212-334-99-00;; closed on Mondays).

The exhibition, which marks the first time that works by the Russian-born modernist have been displayed in Turkey, includes paintings, drawings and prints, 160 of which are on loan from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

In addition to Chagall’s typically color-saturated paintings (”When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what color really is,” Pablo Picasso reportedly remarked in the ’50s), there are etchings he made for books written by his wife, Bella, including tales of their own romance, as well as drawings he made to illustrate an edition of the Old Testament, which he called “the greatest source of poetry of all time.”

The exhibition runs through Jan. 24. The Pera is a relatively small museum, but be sure to allow enough time for a snack at the in-house Pera Café, where the menu includes seasonal chill-chasers like pumpkin-walnut ravioli and hot mulled wine.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Bonding With Grandparents

If you've ever turned to your parents or your partner's parents for help and support with child-rearing, you know how wonderful grandparents can be. Although physical distance and parenting differences can come between grandparents, their children, and their grandchildren, encouraging a close relationship can benefit everyone involved.

The Benefits of Bonding With Grandparents

Establishing a bond with grandparents can benefit kids in many ways. Grandparents can be great role models and influences, and they can provide a sense of cultural heritage and family history. Grandparents provide their grandkids with love, have their best interests at heart, and can make them feel safe. Grandparents also encourage a child's healthy development. Overnight trips to Grandma's house, for example, may be less traumatic than sleepovers with peers and can help kids develop independence. Another benefit — grandparents may have lots of time to spend playing and reading to kids. Such dedicated attention only improves a child's developmental and learning skills.

Tips for Staying in Touch

In today's world, though, families may be scattered across the country, and jam-packed school and work schedules may interfere with regular time with grandparents. Despite physical distance or busy schedules, you can encourage your kids to develop a closer bond with their grandparents. Try these tips:

Visit often. If your child's grandparents live nearby, make an effort to carve time out of your busy schedule for regular visits. Encourage grandparents to drop by your home, too. Plan regular trips to see out-of-town grandmas and grandpas. Even if visits are infrequent, anticipating and planning the next trip can help your child regard that time as special.

Stay in touch with technology. Use the telephone and email to talk, write, and send pictures and sound files of your kids to grandparents. If they don't own a computer, send videos of the kids in action. Or have a grandparent record a reading of a favorite story and play it for your child at bedtime.

Say cheese. Post snapshots of grandparents in your home and point them out to your kids often. Or keep family pictures in a special photo album and page through it while naming the family members.

Sound mail call. Kids love receiving mail. So send grandparents a box of stationery and postcards and some stamps and ask them to write regularly. Another way to encourage communication is to have your child write letters every week on the same day — both kids and grandparents will anticipate the regular communication.

Pass it on. Many grandparents have hobbies or special skills — such as knitting, woodworking, or cooking — that they'd love to pass on to their grandchildren. Provide kids with the time and tools needed to learn these skills from their grandparents.

Chart a family tree. Both younger and older kids enjoy learning about their ancestors and relatives. Encourage grandparents to share stories of their families. You can even provide paper and drawing supplies so they can chart the family tree.

Safety Away From Home

Whether grandparents live nearby or you're planning to visit, don't forget to make safety a priority. Grandparents may not be accustomed to having young kids in the house, and the presence of household dangers could mar visits with trips to the emergency room.

Use a household safety checklist and collaborate with the grandparents to childproof the home, ensuring that dangerous items and substances — such as cleaning products, medications, razors, and knives — are out of reach or locked in a cabinet. Consider walking through the home with the grandparents to address any potential safety hazards. They may not realize that small or breakable items pose a choking or safety risk.

Taking these precautions ahead of time can free kids and grandparents to make the most of their special time together.

by: Steven Dowshen, MD, May 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Leaders we deserve

Dear Colleagues

Your writer would like to note the following information of educational backgrounds of the leaders of the countries we have relations with.

Former Prime Minister of Greece Mr. Kostas Karamanlis could speak three languages. He had PhD degree. "Kostas Karamanlis, a nephew of former Greek President Constantine Karamanlis, was born in Athens and studied at University of Athens Law School and at the private Deree College, continuing with postgraduate studies in the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in the United States, where he gained a master's degree and a doctorate in political sciences, international relations and diplomatic history."

New Greece Prime Minister Mr.George Papandreou, can speak also three languages, Greek, English and Sweden. He has post graduate studies in Harvard USA and in Sweden. "He was educated at schools in Toronto, at Amherst College in Massachusetts, Stockholm University, the London School of Economics and Harvard University. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Amherst and a Μaster's degree in sociology from the LSE. He was a researcher in immigration issues at Stockholm University in 1972-73. He was also a Fellow of the Foreign Relations Centre of Harvard University in 1992-93."

Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – Iranian president, studied civil engineering as an undergrad and mastered in the same subject. Before embarking on his career as a public official, he also earned his PhD. in transportation engineering and became a member of the faculty at Iran’s Science and Technology University.

In Germany Prime Minister Mrs. Angela Merkel has PhD in "Quantum Chemistry". She speaks Russian fluently, and communicates in English in her daily life. "Merkel was educated in Templin and at the University of Leipzig, where she studied physics from 1973 to 1978. Merkel worked and studied at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin-Adlershof from 1978 to 1990. She learned to speak Russian fluently, and earned a statewide prize for her proficiency. After being awarded a doctorate (Dr. rer. nat.) for her thesis on quantum chemistry she worked as a researcher"

In France, Prime Minister Mr. Nikolas Sarkozy has Post Graduate degree in Law. He speaks English but tries to avoid public speaking due to his high French accent. "He enrolled at the Université Paris X Nanterre, where he graduated with a Master in Private law, and later with a DEA degree in Business law. "

In England, Prime Minister Mr. Gordon Brown" has PhD in Economics. He speaks French with high tone of English accent. "Brown graduated from Edinburgh with First Class Honours MA in 1972, and stayed on to complete his PhD (which he gained in 1982), titled The Labour Party and Political Change in Scotland 1918-29"

In Italy, Mr. Sylvio Berlusconi has degree in Commercial Law. He gives public speeches in English where and when necessary. "He studied law at the Università Statale in Milan, graduating with a thesis on the legal aspects of advertising in 1961"

In Russia, "Putin graduated from the International Law branch of the Law Department of the Leningrad State University in 1975, writing his final thesis on international law" He speaks German as if German is his mother tongue. He takes English speaking training non-stop

Mr. Barrack H. Obama attended Occidental College, transferred in 1981 to Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations and graduated with a B.A. in 1983. Obama entered Harvard Law School in late 1988, graduating with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991. He speaks only English. Obama says “I don't speak a foreign language. It's embarrassing!”

In Turkey we had Prime Ministers with Engineering degrees in the past, all of them could speak foreign languages, most of them were fluent in English. On the other hand we have overall national average of 3.9 years in education, 5.1 years for population above 15 years age (as of year 2008 Ref.WorldBank).

Everywhere in the world, Voters choose the politicians with same qualifications as themselves. Masses are governed by the politicians they deserve. We need to have better terms than "One minute" impromptu initiatives. Religious preaching is one way to influence the masses but not sufficient nor best of all in the long term.

Your comments are always welcome.

Haluk Direskeneli

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Blazer Team of Newport News, Virginia

Uncle Haluk feels that, the youngest and the best player is "Murat Erim (8)" sitting at right bottom in the picture,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wedding in METU, Ankara

Dear Colleagues,

It was a very special and also first of its kind wedding ceremony which took place on a Saturday afternoon in September 2009 in the Middle East Technical University (METU) Social House courtyard in an open-air green field environment.

Your writer took some notes to help the newcomers for a new wedding concept country style if they wish to repeat and/or continue in future.


One Bride- Graphic Designer, One Bridegroom – Engineer,

One Mother-in Law, Architect Academician, in charge of concept developer, and basic designer of every detail

One Mother-in Law, Retired Architect from Ministry of Public Works, in charge of cost control, project management and project execution

Two Fathers - in Law, with low profile, as lowest as possible (i.e. yours truly)

Project Finance by Grand Mothers/ Grand Fathers

Basic Design Concept

Arrange comfortable and sufficient number of seats for elders to be seated. Fresh fruit juice- water- tea- coffee to be served for them non-stop

Arrange lots of standing space for the young professionals, academicians, guests of both parties, to enable them to make networking.

Serve best local wine only, white, rose, red dry Kavaklidere Çankaya, Rose, Yakut.

Order lots of Canapés, tapas, pastries, cheese balls, plus three types of grapes, in yellow, green and red color.

Use the natural stairs at the site for the bride and bridegroom to enter wedding platform and to start wedding ceremony. Live music is recommended.

Arrange amphitheater table seating on the green grass for the wedding ceremony.

Let Guests standing, while making an informal circle around the wedding table to enable guests to take unlimited number of digital photos, videos.

No official welcoming, nor any ceremony while leaving, all casual.

Keep the number of guests between 300-400.

Put Road direction warnings to let the guests to arrive to the parking lot of the wedding ceremony.

Special warning is to be given to both security gates, to welcome the incoming guest drivers.

Password to pass the security gate would be the names of bride and bridegroom.

Big parking space is necessary for the cars. That was secured in METU.

Make contract with a reputable reliable photo agent to take professional photo shots and video recording. Call 0312 223 9424 Bado Photography in Ankara

Order a normal fruit cake as the wedding cake. It is tastier for sure.

Order fresh white flowers for the wedding ceremony table.


Best timing for such an important family occasion is a Saturday evening in September prior to new semester in the University, appropriate after summer vacation for all guests.

Choose a historical date such as 9/11, 12 Sep, etc. to remember easily.

Pray to your Creator for clean sky and no rain during wedding ceremony. Prepare sufficient number of umbrellas. Warn your guests to bring theirs.

Start wedding ceremony at 1630 hours, and finalize at about 2000. Film music of “Space Odyssey- 2001” is good choice.

Dress code

Business dress code for gentlemen, black suit, white shirt, necktie recommended, Saturday casual is also tolerated. No dress code for the ladies.

Recommended Music

Chamber Orchestra, violin, cello, accordion, non-stop playing light pop and pop jazz. Call Mr.Bekata Kemal Ozen, Cellular 0542 483 9131 or 0312 447 8349


No fireworks, no sugar packages, no balloons.

No high heels for the ladies. All on green grass.

Invitation Announcement Recommendations

Make three invitation announcements during preparation

The first is to be released at about one month before tentative wedding date to announce the tentative date, hour, place to your close friends by email, and get their confirmation to attend or advise their participation status.

The second announcement is to be made two weeks before the wedding date via email and hardcopy invitation cards to follow.

The third announcement is to be made via cellular phone SMS on the wedding date early morning.

All types of flowers, well wishing messages, telegrams, unlimited opportunities for digital camera shots, video recordings welcome

Recommended tipping

Lowest paper money in circulation for the messengers, floweriest etc.

Second lowest paper money in circulation for the restaurant workers/ servants.

Never tip wedding officer unless otherwise there is clear indication for expectation.


Keep one spare black suit, white shirt, shoes and necktie for the bridegroom and
one spare white summer dress and one pair of white shoes for the bride in the car for any last minute inconvenience.

Post wedding

Post wedding party would be in the nearby Uptown Café, in the university campus, within a few minutes walk from the wedding ceremony.

Two tables reserved one for the elders of the both families, the other for close friends of the newly wed couple.

FaceBook group formation and twitter access are highly recommended for future documentation. That is the responsibility of Brothers- in Law

It was a real challenge to organize, execute and finalize this wedding occasion.

If I had to live my entire life in just one day,
I would choose my wedding day.
If I had a dream to fulfill,
It would be this day.
If all my wishes were to come true,
It would be this moment.
If luck should shine in my life,
Its now.
My wedding day..

Our best wishes of happiness to the newly married couple.

Your comments are always welcome

Haluk Direskeneli, Ankara based Wedding Analyst

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Meet the Writer- Mario Levi

Mario Levi will be with his readers in Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Istanbul.

On Thursday August 13 2009, Mario Levi will read passages from his recent novel, "Where were you in the dark",

Meeting with the author will take place on 13 August 2009 Thursday, between 19.00-21.00 hours in Çırağan Palace Kempinski Palace, Mabeyn Hall.

Participation is free of charge; Please make your reservation earlier to participate. Call 0212 245 44 06

Leonard Cohen in Istanbul

Three hours at the top of the tower of song, by ÇETİN CEM YILMAZ, ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News, Thursday, August 6, 2009

Legendary poet/songwriter Leonard Cohen lights up Istanbul with his brilliant three-hour set at the Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Concert Hall. The singer heartens his 4,000 fans not only with his astounding melodies and timeless lyrics on love, politics and life, but also with his gentle, humble stage persona

Leonard Cohen is not getting older; he is only getting better.

Since the Canadian poet/songwriter ended his 15-year concert hiatus in 2008, Western critics have been hailing his comeback performances as the best of Cohen’s career. His first concert in Turkey, held Wednesday at the Harbiye Cemil Topuzlu Concert Hall in Istanbul, showed that the pundits were not exaggerating.

Before showing their skills on stage, Cohen and his band proved their punctuality: It was only seconds past 9 p.m. when the band broke into the first notes of “Dance Me to the End of Love.” A popular pick for wedding ceremonies, the song stands among one of the favorite Cohen tunes of Turkish fans, but it could hardly fulfill its crowd-pleasing potential since about the quarter of the spectators were still trying to find their seats. The same went for “The Future,” “Ain’t No Cure For Love” and even the fourth song, “Bird on the Wire,” as the singer’s Turkish fans apparently did not share his punctuality.

But to give credit where it is due, once seated, the spectators did their best to become a part of the act, adding extra rhythm to the songs with their handclaps and singing along so subtly that it sounded as if they were afraid of breaking a spell.

Cohen too acknowledged the fans’ participation. “Thank you for your warm and hospitable reception,” he said in his deep baritone voice. “Tonight we will give everything we have.”

This they did, not only the great songwriter himself, but his entire nine-piece group. Take the long, breathtaking solo performance by guitarist Javier Mas, for example. The musician from Barcelona, who Cohen hailed as a “virtuoso” several times, delivered an inspiring passage that lasted approximately three minutes before the band slid into the beautiful “Who By Fire.”

Mas’ solo was no exception; Cohen made way for his fellow musicians many times, refusing to see them as simply a back up band. Each of them performed a solo sometime during the three-hour set, and Cohen showed a delicate respect every time, taking off his hat and standing utterly motionless to the side of the performer.

For a music legend whose name is carved into history as a solo performer, minimizing his ego to that degree took a lot of wisdom. Cohen had that, of course. He also had many praises for his band members and was generous in giving them deserved accolades – “impeccable” and “incomparable,” to name just two.

But, of course, no matter how amazingly capable and perfectly harmonious the players were, Cohen outshined them all. With his elegant looks, gentle talk and delicate moves, he proved to be the perfect gentleman of rock and folk music. One wonders how he can knock the listener down, as in a deadly punch, with that velvet glove. In a magnificent trio of “Suzanne,” “So Long, Marianne” and “Hallelujah,” Cohen delivered some of the best-written, most heartbreaking songs of all time, and added the betrayal-themed “Famous Blue Raincoat” as one of his encores.

His catalogue was not limited to love songs, though. Cohen stung with politically charged lyrics, too, on songs including “Everybody Knows,” “The Future,” “The Partisan” and “Anthem.” The singer once famously said, when he was asked about his feelings after Sept. 11, that he had said it all before in those songs. He was right; what can be said about conflicts, wars and violence is perfectly encapsulated in their lyrics.

The 74-year-old singer also let loose his more unruly and impish side on numbers like “I’m Your Man,” which was backed by a massive sing-along by fans.

Every time the artist hailed the spectators to conclude his show, bowed out and then danced his way off the stage, he was called back again. Cohen made four encores and played for almost three hours, but even at the very end, the audience had not had enough of him.

The words this inspirational musician brought from his very own “tower of song” were as revelatory as they have been over the past four decades. After being enchanted by his lyrics and melodies through recorded materials, Turkish fans were finally honored by Cohen’s presence. For many, that was the end of the “waiting for a miracle” – a miracle that was the man himself, along with his wonderfully penned songs.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

New Thermal Power Plant investment in Tekirdag Saray

Dear Energy Professional, Dear Colleagues,

Your writer is happy to learn the announcement of new thermal power plant investment in Tekirdag to utilize nearby Saray low LHV local lignite mine.

We understand that Lahmeyer Engineering Company of Germany has prepared the bankable feasibility study for the new investment project to attract foreign funding. IMC Mining Consultants are also preparing the bankable feasibility for the Saray coal mine.

Local investor has acquired 30- year concession rights for exploitation of Tekirdag Saray lignite mine reserves, comprising the sectors in EdirKoy, KucukYoncali and SefaAlan, with estimated lignite reserves of 129 million metric tons. The mine is located 150-km north west of Istanbul.

Average Humidity in the available lignite is 42%, ash is 24%, suphur is between 1.1-1.8%, LHV is between 1700-2000 kcal per kg. Coal mine average thickness is 3 meters at about 40 meters average dept.

Local reputable Turkish local company is planning to install a new thermal power plant to generate 2x 150 MWe electricity based on CFB technology and sell the generated electricity in IPP scheme. They have already received their investment license from the Local Regulatory Board, EMRA.

However EIA permission is not granted yet. Prior to their EIA application, they will be organizing "Public Information Meeting". Details are in their web site.

Your writer feels happy to get such news on new energy investments in our local energy market, provided that

- They are environmentally friendly,
- They have completed all obligations for Environmental Impact Assessment Reports,
- They receive their license from the Local Regulatory Board,
- designed by local engineering companies or in-house engineering department as much as possible,
- fabricated in the local fabrication plants as much as possible,
- installed by our local contractors,
- commissioned and supervised by our local engineering power,
- operated by our own local staff, and
- Regularly checked by our own Labor force in programmed maintenance.

Your writer sincerely feels that energy investors deserve all our support to complete those power plant investments. They deserve since they risk their own property in order to get proper "Corporate Financing" at reasonable interest rates, and payment terms.

They will be investing 480 million USD equivalent money, which is a huge sum to finance.

Hence your writer also tries to avoid them to make any technical mistakes in their power plant design, furthermore to avoid incorrect selection of the necessary equipment, wishes them to operate the plant for many years, to generate electricity which will push our economic prosperity.

After reading the Project Information in their web page, we feel that they are prepared quite good on their behalf. However there are not much project details; only already known general information is disclosed.

We learn that the output capacity is 2x150 MWe. From the video in their web site, we understand that they will install air cooled cooling system. That means they will not use much underground water. That is good for nearby ongoing agricultural activities. As a matter of fact, water is scarce at the neighboring site.

We do not know details of manufacturer for the selected steam turbine, CFB technology, cooling system, heat balance diagrams, fabrication, construction, site installation contractors, whether they are local or foreign, details of budget figures for each item, the timetable for project execution.

It is your writer's humble feeling that we should help and warn the investor not to repeat negative past examples in Antalya, Denizli, Bandirma, Amasra, Yatagan, Yenikoy, Kemerkoy, Afsin.

Foreign investor should be comfortable here that we are ready to help them. We should warn that they should not involve any corruption for speeding the public procedures, getting licenses, getting EIA approvals.

Local investor should feel comfortable that we shall be warning them in proper design, sourcing fabrication, site installation, logistics, and public approvals.

We all expect that these energy investments will bring prosperity, employment and peace to the site. Maximized manpower, maximized engineering/ fabrication/ site installation capabilities will be employed.

After brief review of the project, we feel that we need answers to the following question,

- We need to learn the origins of the basic equipment, steam turbine, CFB steam generator, condenser, cooling tower.

- What are the budget figures? When are they going to be delivered to site? How are they transported from which sea port?

- Who will be designing (CFB, CMEC China?) , who will be the fabricator , who will be the construction company for site installation?

- It is our understanding that they have not applied yet to EIA certification or to the Local regulatory board for licensing.

- There should not be any deviation of the information they will be declaring in the local information meeting and the information they will be furnishing to the public administrations.

- We would be too pleased to learn the details of CFB design, supplementary firing burners, burner management systems, emission controls. Local emission limitations are not so stringent. They should be all in compliance with EU standards.

- We shall be too pleased to learn where they will be purchasing the cooling towers, air cooling system design and equipment.

- We need to know who will be the site constructor, what is the budget figure? They should be local companies. Local labors will be at the site. If you promise to have employment for 1500 workers, and then you should avoid to bring Chinese workers.

- We need to know the project period, the importance milestones; we expect that 36-40 months could be a reasonable period.

- We need to know who will be making and paying the new 380 kV transmission and new natural gas incoming pipeline to the site.

- We need to know when the major equipment land transportation will be made; do we have sufficient roads for that transportation, which will be making the road reinforcement to enable the transportation?

- Do they have long term electricity sale agreements with TETAS?

- Do they consider any capacity extension in the long term in 10-20 years time? Do they have enough space/ land for that extension??

- Do investors consider any IGCC application in future by gasification of indigenous lignite mines based on clean coal technologies?

- Will there be any option for "BioMass Cofiring" of the Saray lignite with nearby municipality Saray, Tekirdag refuse after recycling?

- Generally we observe that after plant construction and generation of income in 3-5 years, the foreign party decides to sell her shares to the local partner and leave the project/ country. That was the case in Enron in Trakya, selling all her shares to her local partner, Steag in Sugozu. How is the long term policy of the investors in this case?

- Could Local Chamber of Mechanical Engineers organize annual technical tours for members and ME students to the site in future?

- We will be too pleased to learn if the local party will be thinking to create local engineering department to carry out necessary basic engineering in the long term.

Your writer hopes all the best, and the success to the investors in their new venture

Haluk Direskeneli, Prinkipo based Energy Analyst

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

One Day in Prinkipo

Dear Colleagues,

Your writer is in Prinkipo. Our family clan is planning to meet at Hagia Yorgi peak on Sunday. Hagia Yorgi peak is the highest point in Prinkipo island, 202 meters above sea level. It is on the second hill. The monastery is built in 19th century on top of remains a holy ruin back from 10th century. It is a holy place for all religions.

There is a ritual to climb and you should strictly follow the centuries old rules. It is 970 meters from the starting point in lower end, the merry-go-round square. Once there was a merry-go-round fun place in the 19th century, which was demolished long ago but the name still stays.

You should start with a certain pace, slow but non-stop. You should not speak, nor talk to anyone. All your failures, despair, missery, are left behind. All your failures, despair, misery, are left behind. Hope, success, happiness are at your front. Do note that future is shaped by expectations. So pray for the best.

It is 1700 steps for me from the starting point till the main gate of the monastery. It takes 15-17 minutes to climb. When you reach the upper point, take your time, change your t-shirt, bring towel and bottled water with you.

Enjoy the view, Sea of Marmara, sunrise in the morning or sunset in the evening. Light a candle in the monastery and pray to realize all your wishes. In the end you will feel relieved, comfortable, free from all your worries, family matters, global warming, financial crunch etc.

Have some time, ask tea or Turkish coffee in the nearby cafe. You may also have country lunch, green salad and kebab with young red dry local wine, or local beer. While going back, you will feel refreshed and wish to come back.

It is daily routine for me when I stay in Prinkipo close to Hristos Monastery from early May to mid- November.

Almost every morning, at the town center you will see your humble blog writer with undercover local fisherman appearence with some thick beard in High Café (Yuksek Kahve) reading his daily local newspaper Cumhuriyet while sipping Turkish coffee with no sugar... Occasionally he may be seen as trying to type a few lines for this blog on his laptop PC.

There are so many hidden and not-so hidden gems in and around Istanbul, away from the usual path. And the pureness, innocence, and beauty of the Prince Islands is definitely a gem for all Istanbulians and tourists to enjoy...

Haluk Direskeneli, Prinkipo based Energy Analyst

Friday, July 24, 2009

Turkish foreign policy - Dreams from their fathers- Economist

Jul 23rd 2009, ANKARA - Turkey’s canny foreign minister seeks to pursue delicate diplomacy all around

WHEN the official result of Iran’s contested presidential election was announced last month, Turkey was one of the first countries to congratulate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Set against the repression (and deaths) of Iranian protesters in the streets, this raised eyebrows in Europe and America. It even provoked the tired old question of whether Turkey may be turning its back on the West.

“People see only one side of this story,” complains Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, in an interview. He does not elaborate. But Turkey’s friendship with the Islamic republic has also proved useful to the West. Its behind-the-scenes mediation was instrumental in securing the recent release of British embassy staff in Tehran. And it can play both ways. Five Iranian diplomats detained by the Americans in Iraq in 2007 were freed earlier this month at Turkey’s urging.

The ease with which Turkey juggles different worlds, be they Arab or Jewish, Muslim or European, prompted Hillary Clinton to call it an “emerging global power”. Its strong relations with Israel matter to both countries, as became clear when they cooled during the invasion of Gaza in January. The Turks have just had a high-profile spat with China over its treatment of Xinjiang’s Uighurs, whom they regard as kinsmen. It was understandable that one of Barack Obama’s first presidential visits to a foreign country was to Turkey.

Some credit is due to Mr Davutoglu, who was a foreign-policy adviser to the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for seven years before becoming foreign minister in May. This spry former academic is seen as the architect of Turkey’s soft power, which blends realpolitik with a fierce pride. A pious Muslim with a moralistic bent, Mr Davutoglu has been among the most influential foreign ministers in the history of the Turkish republic.

His approach rests on two pillars. One is to have “zero problems” with the neighbours, many of them troubled or troublesome. The other is “strategic depth”. This calls for a Turkish zone of political, economic and cultural influence, primarily among neighbours (many of them former Ottoman dominions) in the Balkans, the south Caucasus and the Middle East.

None of this detracts from Turkey’s determination to join the European Union. Rather, it enhances its appeal as a member, says Mr Davutoglu. He seems unfazed by the hostile noises from France and Germany. Both Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel are lobbying for a “privileged partnership” instead of full membership for Turkey. Mr Davutoglu suggests that they are merely playing to their respective electorates. “Instead of complaining, of being angry, we should work together,” he says. For Turkey that means reviving the flagging reform process that won it the opening of EU membership talks in 2005. Mr Davutoglu is hopeful, for example, that the Greek Orthodox seminary on the island of Halki off Istanbul will soon be reopened.

But EU diplomats say none of this will let Turkey off the hook over Cyprus. Mr Davutoglu agrees that decades-old peace talks between Turkish- and Greek-Cypriot leaders should not be open-ended. A deal really needs to be struck by the end of this year. For that to happen the EU and America must tell the Greek-Cypriots to get serious (though, as EU members already, they have little incentive to help). A settlement would avert the possible train wreck in Turkey’s relations with the EU that might otherwise come in December. In theory Turkey has until then to open air- and seaports to the Greek-Cypriots, but it refuses to do this until EU trade restrictions on Turkish-controlled north Cyprus are lifted.

Might France and Turkey’s other enemies use this as an excuse to freeze the EU membership talks altogether (eight chapters have already been suspended)? Turkish leaders like to believe that Europe needs Turkey more than Turkey needs Europe. It has become even more crucial as a potential transit route for Europe-bound natural gas from energy-rich Azerbaijan and Central Asia, as well as from Iraq (and eventually Iran). Mr Davutoglu points proudly to the recent signing of an agreement between Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria on the Nabucco pipeline that is meant to carry gas through these countries, reducing Europe’s dependence on Russia.

Yet some say that Turkey is overplaying its hand. Its energy dreams are tightly linked to its ethnic cousins in Azerbaijan. Relations between these Turkic allies took a dive in April when Turkey unveiled a draft agreement to establish diplomatic ties and reopen its border with Armenia. In a dramatic shift, Turkey even dropped its long-running precondition that Armenia must withdraw from the territories that it occupied in the 1990s after its war with Azerbaijan over the mainly Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

An infuriated Azerbaijan promptly threatened to turn to Russia. In June it signed a deal to sell gas to the Russians from 2010 onwards. So Turkey did another volte-face. Mr Erdogan declared that friendship with Armenia was no longer possible unless it withdrew from Nagorno-Karabakh. Mr Davutoglu insists that Turkey wants peace with Armenia. But one Western diplomat says that “rapprochement with Armenia is on its last legs.”

This has raised the spectre of a row with Turkey’s most powerful ally, America. Armenian-Americans want Mr Obama to honour his election pledge to insist that the massacre by Ottoman forces of more than a million of their ancestors in 1915 was genocide. In a fudge in April Mr Obama said that he had not changed his views on the matter; yet he spoke only of the Medz Yeghern (“great calamity” in Armenian). He did not want to torpedo Turkish-Armenian rapprochement by using the G-word.

Turkey’s strategic location had once again proven decisive. As American forces withdraw from Iraq, Turkey is seeking to avert a looming conflict between the Arabs and the Kurds, especially over the disputed city of Kirkuk. Turkey urged Iraq’s Sunnis not to boycott elections in 2005. Mr Davutoglu is again lobbying to ensure that all Iraqi groups take part in the parliamentary election in January 2010. “We have excellent relations with the United States at every level,” he says. And, notes a Western official, “when it comes to Turkey and Armenia, Turkey wins every time.”

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cinema: Last Chance Harvey - Heartfelt romance- Independent

Cinema: Last Chance Harvey - Heartfelt romance

Academy Award winners Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man) and Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility) reunite in Last Chance Harvey, a heartfelt romance that celebrates new beginnings—at any age. The film is written and directed by Joel Hopkins (Jump Tomorrow).

The supporting cast includes Dame Eileen Atkins (Cold Mountain, Gosford Park), Liane Balaban (Definitely Maybe, Happy Here and Now), James Brolin, (Traffic, Catch Me If You Can), Kathy Baker (The Jane Austen Book Club, Edward Scissorhands) and Richard Schiff (The West Wing). John de Borman (Serendipity, The Full Monty) is director of photography, with Jon Henson (The Wind In The Willows, I Could Never Be Your Woman) as production designer, Natalie Ward (Death At A Funeral, Breaking And Entering) as costume designer, and Marilyn Macdonald (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Good Shepherd) as make-up and hair designer. Producers are Tim Perell and Nicola Usborne. Jawal Nga is executive producer.

New Yorker Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) is on the verge of losing his dead-end job as a jingle writer. Warned by his boss (Richard Schiff) that he has just one more chance to deliver, Harvey goes to London for a weekend to attend his daughter’s (Liane Balaban) wedding but promises to be back on Monday morning to make an important meeting – or else.

Harvey arrives in London only to learn his daughter has chosen to have her stepfather (James Brolin) walk her down the aisle. Trying to hide his devastation, Harvey leaves the wedding before the reception in hopes of getting to the airport on time, but misses the plane anyway. When he calls his boss to explain, Harvey is fired on the spot.

Drowning his sorrows at the airport bar, Harvey strikes up a conversation with Kate (Emma Thompson), a sensitive, 40-something employee of the Office of National Statistics. Kate, whose life is limited to work, the occasional humiliating blind date and endless phone calls from her smothering mother (Eileen Atkins), is touched by Harvey, who finds himself energised by her intelligence and compassion.

The growing connection between the pair inspires both as they unexpectedly transform one another’s lives.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nabucco in Ankara Opera House

Dear Colleagues, Dear Energy Professional, Dear Sir/ Madame;

I am very happy that the Nabucco pipeline agreement is already signed on 13th July 2009 in Ankara. It is for sure that if there is demand for any product, there is always supply to satisfy that demand.

Although we have some doubts to get gas to fill in the pipeline, we witness that the countries are making statements to supply.

Today they are Iraq, Turkmenistan; tomorrow we shall see Azerbaijan, Egypt to join.

If Syria can generate we can see her to join the upstream supplier countries, as long as gas is so expensive in Europe. That is because Russia artificially pushes the gas prices up.

What I wished to see was the State Opera House performance of Nabucco Opera. A simple CD playing in Hotel Lobby was miserable. That was not a good show.

We need meeting rooms with high ceilings as in Palaces. There are similar facilities suitable for such important occasions. An Ankara commercial hotel room with low ceiling was not appropriate for such a great ceremony.

It would be extraordinary opportunity to show world that Ankara Opera House is no different than Wien Opera House and our opera singers, chorus, the orchestra all are no less match. In future, Ankara State Opera House should be ready for such performance by all means, by having all self sacrifice from summer holiday.

All my life I wished to see world famous Opera houses, and after 35+ professional works, I had the opportunity to see most of the reputable ones. I am sure that Ankara Opera House is small, humble but one of the best in quality. Nabucco pipeline agreement ceremony was a great opportunity to prove her extraordinary artistic value.

That was a missed opportunity. However in future we should not miss that opportunity.

For each milestone of the Nabucco pipeline project execution, We should have Opera performance to prove that Turkey is a great country, I am sure Turkey is

Your comments are always welcome

Haluk Direskeneli, Ankara based Energy Analyst

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bodrum TurgutReis Welcomes Great Composers and Masters of Rendition

Dear Music Lovers,

This is the fifth year the D-Marin Turgutreis International Classical Music Festival has been sharing with you since it was created by the Doğuş Group as a musical event that has been a mecca to its audience for the last four years with its classy, compelling billings, its impressive stage performances, and its intellectual content; calling out to tens of thousands of people with the melodies it released to the firmament; and boasting the unique title of the planet’s “only classical music festival that takes place in a marina.”

As your growing interest encourages us to do better each successive year and to come up with more and more attractive offerings, our confidence in the quality of the programs we shared with you over our four-year history is refreshed by the admission of our festival to the European Festivals Association (EFA).

Geared to an intellectual theme every year, the festival in 2009 will focus on four composers to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the demise of the German/English composer George Frederic Handel, the 150th anniversary of the passing of the Austrian composer Franz Joseph Haydn and the birth of the German composer Felix Mendelsohn-Bartholdy, and the 80th anniversary of the birth of the second-generation Turkish composer Ferit Tüzün.

Hence, part of the repertory of the festival that lasts four nights and seven concerts has been devoted this year to the works of these composers each of whom holds a respected position in the history of music. Additionally, we’ll be sharing with you outstanding examples from the baroque period and from our modern times by treating you to a feast of “1001 Nights in the Harem,” the violin concerto completed late 2007 by Fazıl Say, one of the prominent figures in today’s global musical arena, as Handel’s “Music for the Royal Fireworks” is being performed.

On the first night of the festival, the İzmir State Symphony Orchestra conducted by İbrahim Yazıcı will accompany Fazıl Say and Patricia Kopatchinskaja. The second night will open with Hande Dalkılıç’s (piano) recital at sunset, followed by the İzmir State Symphony Orchestra conducted by the Azeri Maestro Yalçın Adıgezalov accompanying Sun Huang, the true virtuoso of the traditional Chinese instrument erhu.

We will witness together the first rendition ever in Turkey of some of the most popular and equally challenging works in the literature of the violin with this instrument. The first concert of the third night, devoted entirely to the music of the baroque period, will come from İzmir Barok at sunset, to be followed later in the evening by the world-famous chamber music ensemble I Musici di Roma.

On the fourth night, following Zeynep Üçbaşaran’s (piano) recital at sunset, we’ll bring our already traditional festival to a close with a concert devoted exclusively to Austrian composers by the Symphonieorchester der Volksoper Wien (the Symphony Orchestra of the Viennese Public Opera), one of the leading orchestras of Central European school of music of the classical period.

I wish you all pictures of happiness framed in music as we redecorate the star-crowned Bodrum nights with melodies in the hope of sharing many more half decades with you in the future.

Artistic Director

Saturday, May 16, 2009


10 June 2009 Wednesday Ankara State Opera and Ballet
AIDA Opera G.Verdi

12 June 2009 Friday Ankara State Opera and Ballet
AIDA Opera G.Verdi

16 June 2009 Tuesday Ankara State Opera and Ballet
GISELLE Ballet A.Adam

19 Haziran 2009 Friday İstanbul State Opera and Ballet
CARMEN Opera G.Bizet

23 June 2009 Tuesday Prague State Opera and Ballet
TOSCA Opera by G.Puccini

26 June 2009 Friday Antalya and Mersin State Opera and Ballet

30 June 2009 Tuesday İzmir State Opera and Ballet
ROMEO & JULIETTE, Opera by C.Gounod

03 July 2009 Friday Doğuş Kids Symphony Orchestra

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Hagia Yorgi in Prinkipo, Istanbul, Turkey

Dear Colleagues,

Hagia Yorgi peak is the highest point in Prinkipo island, 202 meters above sea level. It is on the second hill. The monastery is built in 19th century on top of remains a holy ruin back from 10th century. It is a holy place for all religions.

There is a ritual to climb and you should strictly follow the centuries old rules. It is 970 meters from the starting point in lower end, the merry-go-round square. Once there was a merry-go-round fun place in the 19th century, which was demolished long ago but the name still stays.

You should start with a certain pace, slow but non-stop. You should not speak, nor talk to anyone. You will pray all the time while walking, for whoever/ whatever you believe in. Orthodox believers climb barefoot.

It is 1700 steps for me from the starting point till the main gate of the monastery. It takes 15-17 minutes to climb. When you reach the upper point, take your time, change your t-shirt, bring towel and bottled water with you.

Enjoy the view, Sea of Marmara, sunrise in the morning or sunset in the evening. Light a candle in the monastery and pray to realize all your wishes. In the end you will feel relieved, comfortable, free from all your worries, family matters, global warming, financial crunch etc.

Have some time, ask tea or Turkish coffee in the nearby cafe. You may also have country lunch, green salad and kebab with young red dry local wine, or local beer. While going back, you will feel refreshed and wish to come back.

It is daily routine for me when I stay in Prinkipo close to Hristos Monastery from early May to mid- November.

Almost every morning, at the town center you will see your humble blog writer with undercover local fisherman appearence with some thick beard in High Café (Yuksek Kahve) reading his daily local newspaper Cumhuriyet while sipping Turkish coffee with no sugar... Occasionally he may be seen as trying to type a few lines for this blog on his laptop PC.

There are so many hidden and not-so hidden gems in and around Istanbul, away from the usual path.

And the pureness, innocence, and beauty of the Prince Islands is definitely a gem for all Istanbulians and tourists to enjoy...

Your comments are always welcome

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Day After 24th April 2009

Dear Colleagues,

On 24th April 2009 Friday morning, it is most likely that the new US President will make an unavoidable and regrettable speech on so-called genocide, to put fuel on an 100-years old sad historical story in order to please his Armenian voters and to repay his election debt.

The day after, we may read that Incirlik Air Base is closed to all foreign access.

After every US presidential elections, Turkish Ministry of foreign affairs, Turkish armed forces, Turkish media, and Turkish intellectuals have an important task. When the winner is a democrat candidate, we should start to educate the newcomer, and his/her staff/ advisers, what they can expect, what to say, what not to say.

If they wish to be comfortable in the region, they should agree that Turkey is the key member of the alliance; hence Turkey is an indispensable ally. One should not declare any direct statement nor have any direct commitment on Armenia, Northern Cyprus, and Northern Iraq without prior consent of Turkish side. The outcome of the contrary is not so easy to foresee or to comprehend. Both sides pay consequences dramatically.

It is your writer’s humble observation that Mr. President has given free misfortunate speeches with no obligation, on above sensitive issues during his campaign.

It is our sincere feeling that his staff, his advisers has to give clear briefing what he can say, what he cannot say on these critical issues.

We all agree that there is now a clear consensus on the world superpower in this financial turmoil. One should accept that there is no superpower in the world but there are regional powers in every region.

In the east corner of Mediterranean sea, Turkey has certain substantial gravity. Similarly, Turkey also has certain governing gravity on the north Iraq. Armenian and Cyprus questions are too important, too sensitive issues not to be left to selfish Diaspora in USA.

Campaign speeches which are already spent the US Internal politics can not be continued in the International Affairs.

One should recall that Ronald Reagan had the same speech only once at the beginning of his 8-year Presidency period,

On April 22, 1981, he said "Like the genocide of the Armenians before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it . . . the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten."

However he had never consumed any similar speech again thereafter, since he and his staff understood that it is too expensive for the US taxpayers.

We all know that the new President is a very clever intellectual, who deserves to rule 2- consecutive terms, and we hope that he will. We also hope that he will get that early briefing in the shortest period of time.

On the other hand, We Turks should have our own story to tell instead, and we Turks should start by quitting blaming others for our own lack of ingenuity...

Haluk Direskeneli, Ankara based Energy Analyst

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Merry Widow (German: Die lustige Witwe) by Lehar, in Istanbul

The Merry Widow (German: Die lustige Witwe) is an operetta by the Austro-Hungarian composer Franz Lehár. The librettists, Viktor Léon and Leo Stein, based the story — concerning a rich widow, Hanna Glawari, and her attempt to find a husband — on an 1861 comedy play, L'attaché d'ambassade (The Embassy Attaché) by Henri Meilhac.

It is now on Stage in Sureyya Opera House in Istanbul, Turkey

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Energy and Power in the Northern Cyprus

Dear Energy Professional, Dear Colleagues,

Your writer was in Northern Cyprus on sacrifice holiday. He stayed in Guest House of Middle East Technical University (METU) Northern Cyprus Campus. Within his limited time and in his humble capacity, he tried to bring together his firsthand observations of the daily local life from his own perspective, and presented his upfront impressions as well as an overview of energy and power in the following story given below.

At first, your writer admired the effective camera recordings applied at city boundaries to avoid speed limit violations and fine when necessary. It is an important application for 24/7 surveillance of the roads at all times with minimized number of public employees, free from any corrupt practices. That is a great practice which has to be copied in the mainland.

With professionally minded attitude, your writer first inspected the available electricity generation and distribution facilities of the Northern Section. At 15 kms east of Girne/ Kyrenia city center, Teknecik Thermal Power Plant has 2x60 MWe oil fired Conventional Thermal power plant. New 4x 17.5 MWe Diesel oil fired Diesel Engine generators are also in operation for peak loads.

Northern Cyprus Electricity Generating Public Company KIBTEK has further plans to purchase new generators to add 100 MWe more. There are also many stand-by emergency generators of various manufacturers, mostly by Aksa of Istanbul Turkey. There is a new EU fund available for alternative energy, simply speaking solar and wind. There is a huge solar and wind capacity in the Northern Cyprus.

The existing 2x60 MWe oil fired thermal power plant was in full operation when we were in the nearby Turtle Shores; however the stack dust emissions were intolerable. They need to upgrade the stack emissions and make necessary dust control emissions urgently.

Northern Administration should also put a milestone to install nuclear power plant with a small size 50-100 MWe output capability, even on barge mounted for future electricity requirements. These will be available from USA and Russian sources in near future. METU Cyprus mechanical Engineering Department should also start educating the nuclear engineering careers for future operations, design and construction. There is no need for complete denial of the nuclear technology in foreseeable future, since there will be better controlled nuclear power plants with less waste soon in our backyard.

When we were in Guzelyurt/ Morphou town, we asked the grocery man if this city is called Guzelyurt/ Morphou (Beautiful City), he replied “So-called”. It was quite an irony to explain the prevailing cruel reality. Guzelyurt/ Morphou and its surrounding region is faced with severe drought for the last decade. They depend on mostly underground water from the nearby mountains in wintertime. Summer time is like a hell with limited collected water.

Since practically borders are opened for the locals on the both sides, they pass to the other side and first they visit their former houses left after 1974 dispute. Home visits were nostalgic, sad. They met their old school friends, saw their old villages. Historically and genetically, people on the North and the South are the same people, speak both languages, have the same life style, and give the same responses. Only religions are different. However in new times, North is more liberal in religion views, whereas South seems more rigid.

There is a chronic dispute on land ownership, who owns what. We visualized many churches in renovation, and new churches are available to visit as “icon museums”. The 1000 years old monasteries, cathedrals, abbeys are cultural heritages of the long past since Crusaders. The religious sites in South are not so lucky since South demolishes the minarets of the Mosques first to erase their religious identity. They are so-called ethnographic museums.

Unskilled and illegal influx of labor force from many parts of the world, mainly from mainland Turkey poses a great problem to the Northern Economy, as well as her social life.

On the other hand there are high number of middle aged retirees in the North who receive multiple number of retiree salaries. Administration should avoid that practice and erase the multiple payments leaving the highest single salary in effect.

There are three major business activities in the Northern Cyprus. These are Villa/ Summer House construction, Casinos/ Night clubs/ money laundering enterprises and Universities. Construction boom is now ceased due to ongoing global economic turmoil.

“Gambling involves simply sterile transfers of money or goods between individuals, creating no new money or goods. Although it creates no output, gambling does nevertheless absorb time and resources. When pursued beyond the limits of recreation, where the main purpose after all is to kill time, gambling subtracts from the national income.” (Nobel Laureate Paul Samuelson). Gambling also increases crime rate. Therefore Money laundering casinos should be eradicated, since they are no value-added activity and furthermore they obscure public income generation with no-tax privileges. Offshore banking and offshore financial institutions are of the past. You cannot rely on these not-real, virtual non-existed operations.

Varosh (Marash) region near GaziMagusa/ Famagusta is to be demolished as soon as possible. There is no point in keeping that much large size land empty. It has no more negotiation/ no bargain value, nor any commercial meaning at this time. Rotten apartments, old hotels, old buildings are to be completely bulldozed down and a new industrial fair ground, an exhibition and congress center have to be placed.

Northern Cyprus has a young President now, Ankara METU EE 1972 graduate Mr. Mehmet Ali Talat. Since he graduated from the university he earned his life in his own local repair/ service business in Girne/ Kyrenia without having any public post all his life apart from his political activities.

It is your writer’s humble observation that in order to have solution on the island, Turkish mainland economic might should dominate the both sides of the island with all types of industrial products, such as household equipment i.e. refrigerators, TV sets, PCs, washing machines, air conditioners, all types foods, as well as automobiles, transporters specially produced with right hand drive for left hand traffic, at competitive prices made with lower sales/ custom taxes.

METU and other Northern Universities will also ignite that initiative with more young university graduates to create more Northern surplus production in food and industrial products. METU in the North is a great opportunity with a sound educational tradition in Ankara, having engineering and social science faculties. METU campus is well positioned in the Northern Cyprus. Campus architecture is well organized; buildings are comfortable, big, and spacious. Library is functional. Accommodations for academicians, student dormitories are extraordinary in design, and in comfort.

METU Cyprus has the full support of the Mainland center in Ankara. METU Cyprus Academic program is well organized with major engineering disciplines and key social science departments i.e. economics, management, public sciences and international relations. Their value added educational/ professional capability will certainly accelerate the local industrial output and overall wealth of the Northern Community in the long run.

METU Cyprus International Relations Department is in the natural war zone to practice their education. In Northern Cyprus, people walking on the street in Lefkosa/ Nikosia, people working on the citrus fields of Guzelyurt/ Morphou, the grocery men in local Lemar Supermarket, waiter in Niazi’s Restaurant, barmaid in Kybele Restaurant in BellaPais Abbey, driver working for Rent-a-Car Company are all IR experts of the ongoing sectarian dispute over island. They are better than the respective academicians elsewhere in their ivory towers.

It is our sincere feeling that there is an incorrect understanding in the North for superiority of South. That is incorrect perception/ myth for sure. South is a miserable region in reality, all tied up to foreign support, name it Greece in the past, now European Union. One can only admit that South is strategically located to the Middle East and to south east of Mediterranean.

The Northern part should ignore the South administration for a while since there is no solution at this time, and seems there will be no solution in the foreseeable future. It is your writer’s sincere feeling that it is not important to take the South Administration too seriously. All their approach and game plan is based on simple refusal to all negotiation proposals until they receive any advantage. There is no point to try to negotiate with a counterpart with no flexibility, nor any ability to compromise in their activities.

The existence of British Community in the Northern Cyprus is a great opportunity for the region. They have frugal, decent, modest life style, positive, concrete, constructive un-biased criticism for better-off of the Northern community they live in. They have their own Churches, Charity Organizations, Special/Private public services, their own FM radio, TV Channel, internet groups. However these activities are not enough. They should participate in academic studies in the nearby local universities. British Seniors are not local voters in general elections for sure, but they have huge economic purchasing power and intellectual capability. In Northern Cyprus, there is a high percentage of English speaking local population to help and serve them.

Energy and Power are in education. Northern Cyprus should keep in mind that higher education is a real booster for the real sector and investment in human intellect is the most important ingredient for development of the society. Your comments are always welcome

Haluk Direskeneli is a Ankara-based Energy Analyst

Sunday, January 04, 2009


GREEK CYPRIOT PARLIAMENT SPEAKER'S SHAME, Milliyet DailyNews, Greek Cypriot Parliament Speaker Marios Karoyian, returned the new year gift basket sent by the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Mehmet Ali Talat. Karoyian sent the gift basket back because a label on one of the wines in the basket reads it was produced in TRNC.


Although Cyprus has some 5000 years history of winemaking there is no doubt that amongst wine-lovers, the perceptions of the quality of the island’s wines is generally very low. Indeed, in Northern Cyprus there has never been a quality wine producer. Many said that it was not possible to make fine wine in the north. Until present day.

Geçitköy is perhaps not the prettiest village in the area, but after years of detailed research and advice from international wine consultants, this was the site chosen by Mustafa and Sengul Seyfi brothers to be the home for the wine registered as Chateau St. Hilarion.

Although the island has several indigenous grape varieties, including Mavro and Xynisteri, they are not suitable for high quality wine. So the vines chosen for Chateau St. Hilarion are the finest clones of international varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

The vines have been planted according to the latest viticulture practices, and the annual cultivation programme is built around restricting yield and enhancing quality. A new state of the art winery has been built, and equipped to the highest specification. Top quality temperature controlled fermentation vats were imported from Italy, along with every necessary piece of high specification equipment. But the most important import has been: Knowledge.

Mustafa has studied accredited wine courses, and has travelled to many of the world’s classic wine regions to learn how they achieve individuality and excellence. He is ably assisted by expert consultants from UK and South Africa, but Mustafa is the first to admit that producing high quality wine in a country that has no history of production poses serious challenges. For example, all winery equipment, spares, yeasts and agents have had to be imported, and there are no experienced, qualified technicians available. The project has taken 12 years to come to fruition and has involved considerable investment in both capital and time. But brothers wanted to show that this glorious island could be home to a world beating wine.

Last note for my readers, One bottle (red or white) of St.Hilarion costs 27.50 TL in the local Lemar supermarket, whereby you will be charged 35 TL in Niazi's Kebap House in Girne. Winery is closed in wintertime.