Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Dear Colleagues
Do you ever remember the first time you saw a piano? I remember I saw a piano first time in my life, in Ankara Opera house when I was 12 years old. It was an extraordinary instrument with huge keyboard, black and white. I envied the players, and the artists who are playing. In order to be in Ankara Opera house, we were supposed to take 2- hours bus drive from my small town. Later in time, we moved to Ankara, and my mom and pa took us to State Philharmonic Concert hall. Very small hall. Anyhow I was so excited to listen to piano concerts. 

I got married, we had our first child; we had no further concern other than his health, and proper education. When we had our second child, again a boy, we moved to a better environment where there were many other possibilities to give to our newborn, such as music. We purchased a small cheap ORG, for him to play. He was very capable in playing. Then one day, we were asked if we wish to have piano teacher to teach playing piano to our 6-year old son. He was pre-school age, in kindergarten, even not literate. Anyhow it was an experiment, teacher was in the university, for his post graduate studies, he was looking for a small boy, at pre-school age, with  reasonable parents, us. He was charging a symbolic figure for once a week teaching. So my son learnt musical before he learnt the alphabet. 

Then we applied for child choir to sing. He was elected to sign in first Tosca, 1st act, 3-minutes in children's choir. In order to participate to that performance we had 6-months of training. In every opera performance, we were supposed to be in the Opera 2-hours earlier to heat up the voice, get dressed, and some more rehearsals. After the first Act, we were staying and watching rest of the Opera. 

Then the next year he was selected to sing in LaBoheme, again Puccini. In children's choir in the second act. Once every month, sometimes twice a month, we were supposed to be in the Opera hours. Money, no way. You are getting training, free-of-charge. Then he lost his voice when he was at 12.  

Our teacher, master, scholar, he advised us to go back to piano, and  purchase a piano, or similar instrument so that he stays close with  music. OK, why not a simple instrument, a flute, a guitar. One of my school friends, he was a venture capitalist, a small civil  contractor, I heart that he placed some money and together with a close school friend of ours, they opened up a piano shop, somewhere close to our house. 

One day, with no intention of buying, we paid a visit to his shop. We saw at least 20 pianos, Chinese or Korean imitations, German license pianos, plus some from East Europe and  Russia. Good quality western pianos were very expensive. say 10,000  or 20,000 US dollars range. We were looking for something with reasonable price, but later. He asked my son to play piano. He played a favorite simple Mozart. He liked and said, "He deserves a  piano, we are in general economic crisis, and I cannot sell any piano. I will give a reasonable piano, today direct to your house, and we talk later the payment terms", I said "You are crazy, I am not ready to pay anything" He responded, "No problem, pianos are staying here like buffaloes in the swamp. In your house at least your son will be playing. He needs it." 

In that afternoon, a big special lorry arrived to our house. Two special porters carried the piano into our living room. By the way, it was our new house, and we had very difficult time to pay the down payment. In our living room, we had no furniture. So piano was our first furniture. My son continued to take piano lessons from a conservatory teacher, once every week. 

Then after 2- months, I got a call from my vendor fried. "Look, I am selling this piano for 2100 US Dollars in the market. It is OttoMaister Germany license, made in China. It is 1700 USD reduced price. I will additionally make my sacrifice and reduce 100 USD more. So it is 1600 USD for you. Pay back in 1-year as you  wish." I was surprised. Anyhow within 6-months I paid them all. He had a piano. And my son got lessons. He is a good piano player now.   I am proud of him. As long as you invest in your kids, they pay you back. That is the major investment in your  lifetime.

Haluk Direskeneli, Ankara 13 August 2003, All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Dear Colleagues, 
YouTube is created in 2005 by three university students, now it is owned by Google. Similarly FaceBook is a simple business enterprise created in year 2004. Today they have successful business, tomorrow they will be replaced by some other company. They both have huge security leaks. Commercial companies do not stay in the market forever. Today they are IN, tomorrow they are OUT. If they wish to continue to make business in our environment, they should comply with our rules and regulations and laws. They should have respect to our prevailing written/ unwritten values. On the other hand, YouTube is an ignorant company. YouTube obeys to rules and laws in the USA and EU but does not care the rules and laws of our country.  There are many ways/ proxy pages to have access, if you insist to have access. Move on, no problem. You learn details of PC/ Internet/DSL changes. We should keep in mind that companies are not equals of national states. Sovereign states cannot tolerate their unlawful initiatives, and states can take all necessary measures, as in the case of USA vs. Wikileaks, Germany on Pro-Nazi releases.  It is your writers sincere feeling that your country has the right to stop the unlawful/ unnecessary activities.  If a business enterprise (a thermal power plant, a solar plant, a wind energy company) has certain displease to any article in the web, any threat to their business interest, then the web owner has to retrieve the article upon request.  If I write an article and a business enterprise feels uneasy and declares so, I feel that it is my responsibility to delete that article immediately. There is no shame/ no disgrace. YouTube in Turkey is similar to WikiLeaks in the USA on security concerns. This is a matter of cost and benefit calculation within company management. So company does not want to spend some extra money to stop unfair/ unnecessary/ mostly childish insults/ threats where they take  these insults/threats seriously in the USA and European Union.  It is nothing to do with freedom of expression.  It is simply restriction profanity and extreme  bad manners  in social network of the cyber space. We do not care whether the world is laughing at Turkey because of these legal proceedings.  The world is also laughing at the USA and European Union for various reasons. Anyhow who remembers the mighty companies of the past, IBM, Xerox, DeutscheBabcock, VKW etc?  Your comments are always welcome. 
Haluk Direskeneli

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Tosca in Ankara Opera House

On Monday we were in Ankara Opera House to watch Tosca Opera  composed by Giocomo Puccini first premiered at Roma in 1900.  The performance in Ankara was great.  Italian embassy in Ankara sponsored the Italian artists to put the opera on stage.  Opera was completely full, some audience were left standing on aisles.  We found no space for our car in the parking lot, the security advised us to drive to the main gate, we found an open space on left side of the main gate, and left our car there. After waiting in the long ticket queue, we received our internet tickets, entered the opera house, found our seats at the last row of right hand corner. 
I admired the tenor voice of Ihsan Ekber who was playing romantic painter Mario Cavaradossi. Chief of Police, Baron Scarpia was played by magnificent baritone Eralp Kiyici.  Beautiful Soprano Feryal Turkoglu as Floria Tosca was a bit cool  in the first act to my surprise,  but she warmed up her voice in the second act and sung her songs with high volume and created wonders.  
In the first act,  the role of the church children's choir is played by adult choir singers. In 1995 my youngest  little son Mehmet was in the same choir.  Then conductor Antoni Pirolli insisted that "Children should play the role of  children choir in Tosca"-  so I got the stage father responsibility, to drive my son to each opera performance and watch the complete opera performance for two seasons.  So today I had some confidence to write about new Tosca opera.  
Italian director VINCENZO GRISOSTOMI TRAVAGLINI  and,  conductors TULLIO GAGLIARDO VARAS   and  ALESSANDRO CEDRONE  were exceptional.  I would say that  décor was amazing, costumes were excellent, especially the very well designed costumes of leading roles Tosca, Mario and Scarpia. 
In opera Tosca we watch rape. We see murder committed by bloody knife. There is torture, and in the end  there is execution by firing squad beyond the castle wall. There is  suicide. In  1995, players were not touching to each other. Now there is rape in the second act, on a large sofa publicly.  Torture of Mario is explicitly exposed.  Tosca repeatedly knifes Scarpia, blood is soaked in her hands. In the past, torture was behind the stage, we could watch the voices, here it is displayed on the stage. Firing squad fires on  Mario Cavaradossi, Mario takes bullets and dies of bullet wounds.   While soldiers come to capture Tosca, she commits suicide by throwing herself over the castle walls. The opera was over, we long applauded the players / singers / directors, and all contributors while standing. If you miss last performance of  Tosca, it is on stage on October 13 and 23 in Ankara,  live performance at the opera so bloody, so fantastic, so extraordinary.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Local Reactions to Dam Construction in Turkey


Dear Energy Professional, Dear Colleagues,

We had that long-term concern for locals who could react/ respond in rouge way  since state/ public institutions are doing the same- See the report from Milliyet below.

As construction preparations initiated on Thursday with the soil drilling operation of the dam in Tunceli Munzur Valley, the nearby local environmentalists gathered in the region to prevent the construction, and they attacked the workers and the  drilling machineries.

Local Mayor Mrs. Edibe SAHİN (BDP) said, "We shall have no pity/ no mercy/ in no way to engineers, workers and laborers who would come here to work here. Because we will not be so patient, "she said.
Munzur Valley Dam construction is initiated in the region by bringing the drilling machine started to run. A private security company is employed to avoid the possible reactions and also local Gendarmerie teams in the region took action.

At Dedeagac village centre which is situated 10 miles from Tunceli, a group of environmentalists moved to the region. By using voice broadcasting, public announcements in the city centre were asked to go to the region.

Upon call on the region, the number of those environmentalists reached to 700 in number. People gathered at front of drilling machine and tried to shut down and prevent the operation, and even tried to destroy the machine. Those groups are blocked but military police did not intervene against demonstrators.

Mayor of Tunceli Mrs. Edibe Sahin came to the region to meet with company officials. Company officials informed that they will retrieve their drilling machinery and the demonstrators calmed down upon their commitment to stop drilling work.

Mayor Mrs. Edibe Sahin said that they will not allow the construction of hydroelectric dams on Munzur Valley. She said "People of Tunceli are in one body in this regard to stop any construction activity."

 "We appeal here that we are committed to stop this dam construction. We shall not let anyone to build any dam in Dersim /Tunceli). Today upon news, people gathers in 5 minutes to react any drilling activity for construction of dam in Munzur valley. If people are quiet and calm so far, the reason is due to promises given to us. We are advised that the situation will be reviewed for Munzur Valley, for construction of the hydro the dams in the region. People of Tunceli are told that dams will be built if necessary.  Our people are waiting with hopes that dams will not be built. Our patience should not be  tested any more. Today the situation here is a reflection of accumulated public anger. Everyone in Dersim (Tunceli) is organised, and we are all in one body, together we shall respond. After all, we shall have no mercy/ no pity / no other way here for those who would come here to work in dam construction as engineers or workers. After all, we shall not so be patient. Here each dam construction will create new immigration; we shall not let any more immigration, no more displacement again. In our history, we had that experience. Today new dams will not be constructed, we will not migrate, and we will not let local people to migrate. In order to do this, regardless of anyone who would come here, every one of employee should consider that. People's patience is about to end, and local people may never so reasonable. "

The well-known local environmentalist lawyer Mr. Baris Yildirim who opened court cases, said that all the dams on the Munzur Valley are not legal.

He said, “All dam construction which is planned in the Munzur Valley area of national park is illegal. We presented those facts to the public in reports. Ministry of Environment and Forests, officials within Munzur Valley National Park were not aware of any of the dams as stated in an official letter to us.  Without long-term development plan which would be prepared, reviewed and approved for the valley, ministry can not allow the construction of these dams.  This is not legal. State should protect and defend the national park. On the contrary we advocate as citizens against the state. Where in the world there is such a thing? No matter what will come out, we shall no  let dams constructed in Munzur Valley. "  

This is a new era of local environmentalists to respond to rogue state initiatives.

EIA approvals, environmental controls are too important and should not be left only to the care and regulations of the government agencies. 

Turkey's energy policy should not be “more energy and electricity generation no matter what the cost to the nearby environment” as the public institutions have now been implementing.  

Our energy policy should be, “to generate energy and electricity in respectful to the environment, with maximized use of local fuel, with best local design engineering, fabricated with maximized local participation by creating local employment, installed by the local contractors, with local labour, built at environmentally appropriate areas”.   With best regards

Haluk Direskeneli