Wednesday, 30 June 2004

The Tarkan Concert Explained

For the last 3 or 4 songs of Tarkan’s concert on Sunday night I walked around the vicinity of the venue. The concert was held on a dirt soccer pitch next to the main Mersin stadium and across the river from work.

The stage was huge with the speaker stacks to the left and right lifted up by cranes. A giant screen or two allowed the ladies to examine Tarkan’s hairstyle and clothing up close.

From my count, there were 9 semi trailers and 3 tour buses patiently waiting behind the stage to take the stage and crew to the next concert destination.

The petrol company and Koc subsidiary Opet are sponsoring Tarkan’s “Full Force” concert tour with Full Force being an Opet brand name. The Full Force banners were, dare I say it, in full force around the concert perimeter. When people bought 60 million TL of petrol at Opet service stations they received a free ticket. Commercialisation of Turkish music is quite common and it seems there is no such thing as ‘selling out’.

With the petrol/ticket offer and the low price of 15 million TL for tickets bought separately it was no surprise Tarkan fans completely filled the pitch. The fans were largely female of course. I don’t know if his female ‘worshippers’ realise Tarkan ‘plays for the other side’, so to speak.

Fans were also watching from the top of the stadium stand, the upper-level apartment balconies, across the river and on the bridge behind the stage. Across the river near the military base there were hundreds of people. One of the soldiers standing at guard was even jiving his hips.

More police than a NATO summit (well, not quite) surrounded the concert. The riverbank closest to the concert was blocked off to all but police and a selected few children. I guess those children were their sons and daughters!

The concert covered the usual hits and I could recognise (but not name) most of the songs. Tarkan’s latest single ‘Gunduz Gece’ is a cover of a Turkish classic. I guess his svengalis found it difficult to produce another original hit.

At various times pyrotechnics, glitter and fancy lighting decorated the stage.

The second encore completed the concert. Shortly afterwards two vans sped from the backstage area and a few minutes later a white sedan cruised away. I guess Tarkan was in one of these vehicles. I’m sure his management have the after concert escape sequence well and truly proficient by now after several years of practice.

The shops near the stadium sold record amounts of drinks and associated products. Huseyin abi’s shop sold out of small bottles of water and certain brands of cigarettes and nearly finished off the cans of coke.

That was the Tarkan experience. I have now seen Turkey’s most famous living human in person. I will let you guess Turkey’s most famous dead person… I don't plan on seeing him, well, at least for several decades!

Tuesday, 29 June 2004

It is amazing how people find this page

A week or so back I added the 'Meme Tracker' to the bottom of the sidebar. The Meme Tracker tracks the Google search terms used by people to find my website.

One of the recent search terms used was 'marijuana' 'in' 'turkey'. It turns out this website is currently ranked 1st out of almost 65,000 matches for this set of search terms.

For those who want to know, I'm sorry but I can't help you look for marijuana in Turkey proper, only in cyberspace.

On an unrelated matter, tomorrow I will write my observations from outside the Tarkan concert Sunday night.

Monday, 28 June 2004

Ostrich Iskender and Adana Kebabs II

I am writing about the kebabs as promised previously, whilst the the music from Tarkan’s support act (some cover group) is in the background.

On Thursday I received a telephone call from Hakan. He informed me the AIESEC Adana summer tour was starting tomorrow and asked if I wanted to join. The tour was to visit Adana on the first day followed by Sanliurfa and Mt Nemrut.

Because of the very short notice I could only go the first day. Besides, I had already visited Urfa and Nemrut previously. I was mainly interested in meeting and having fun with the trainees AIESECers.

After taking the train, I first chatted with Buket at work’s Adana office.

The Adana part of the tour involved Ataturk House, the Omer Sabanci Cultural Centre, the Sabanci Mosque, Adana kebab for dinner and the evening at ‘Flame’ nightclub.

As an old trainee and one who had lived in Turkey for a few years, Murat asked me to give a few speeches to the entourage that mainly consisted of foreign trainees. At Ataturk House I spoke about Ataturk and at the restaurant the subject was Adana kebab. My last words were “Kebab is Adana and Adana is kebab”. One AIESECer in the nightclub actually asked if I was a guide- very flattering!

At the nightclub a full boat race (drinking game) actually occurred. This is the only time I recall a boat race competition reaching a conclusion. It was nowhere near as professional as at Australian AIESEC events but it was fun anyway. My team was knocked out in the first round.

That night or, more accurately, that morning, we stayed in dormitories, men and women in separate complexes in different neighbourhoods. At 6:30 am I woke up and left for Mersin.

The highlights of Adana were meeting the trainees and AIESECers. It is great to mix with a group of young people from many different parts of the world. I met and chatted with many people including Aaron from Sweden. Just last week he was at a meeting with Loz. It’s a small world!

On Saturday my boss was generous enough to shout me lunch. He took me to ‘Devekusu Doner’ restaurant, literally, ‘Ostrich Doner’.

There we both ate Devekusu Iskender. This consisted of sliced ostrich doner meat on pide bread with yoghurt and fresh tomato on the side.

The ostrich was delicious and tasted slightly different to anything I have eaten before. I will go back again in the future. That is if the restaurant is still around. Restaurants with different or exotic food don’t often last very long in Mersin as the locals are usually fussy when it comes to non-Turkish tastes.

To top my Saturday off, after lunch I shook hands with the Mayor of Mersin. He was visiting the office to discuss his son’s foreign education.

See related entry.

It's all Happening!

The most famous/infamous person in the world arrived in Istanbul, Turkey's most famous entertainer (most famous living person?), Tarkan, is about to start a concert 200 metres away and the oil-wrestling in Edirne was on TV today.

Saturday, 26 June 2004

Ostrich Iskender and Adana Kebabs

Yesterday I joined the first day of AIESEC Adana's summer tour. Over dinner I gave a speech on the Adana kebab.

For lunch today I ate Iskender kebab made with ostrich meat.

I will elaborate on both of these experiences soon.

Thursday, 24 June 2004

Breaking News: Some Action in the lead up to the NATO Summit

An explosion in Ankara and at least 3 people die from bomb blast in Istanbul. BBC article.

From Reuters, here is a chronology of the bomb explosions in Turkey since May 2002:

LONDON, June 24 (Reuters) - A parcel bomb exploded in Turkey's capital on Thursday near the hotel where U.S. President George W. Bush is due to stay shortly, injuring three people.

Following is a chronology of explosions in Turkey over the last two years:

May 13, 2002 - A bomb rips through a park near the luxury Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the centre of Istanbul, with no reported injuries or fatalities. No group claimed responsibility.

Aug 27, 2002 - Two unidentified people throw a pipe bomb at an Istanbul office of the far-right Nationalist Action Party (MHP), damaging property but causing no injuries or deaths.

April 3, 2003 - A small explosion is heard outside the British consulate in Istanbul in the early hours but there are no reports of damage or injuries.

May 20, 2003 - A woman belonging to the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) detonates a bomb at a cafe in the centre of Ankara, killing herself and injuring another person.

June 11, 2003 - A Turkish man throws two grenades at U.S. consulate in Istanbul, shattering windows but causing no injuries. Authorities suggested he was mentally disturbed.

June 11, 2003 - A percussion, or "pop" bomb, is set off outside the U.S. consulate in Turkey's southern city of Adana.

Aug 1, 2003 - Two explosions shake a Turkish Justice Ministry training centre in Ankara, injuring 17 police officers, two of them seriously. No one claims responsibility.

Nov 15, 2003 - 30 people are killed and 146 wounded when car bombs shatter two synagogues in Istanbul as worshippers celebrate the Sabbath. Authorities name two men from southeast Turkey as the suicide bombers, saying the attack bore the hallmarks of the al Qaeda network.

Nov 20, 2003 - 32 people are killed and many wounded in two explosions in Istanbul. One blast destroys part of the HSBC Bank headquarters and the other damages the British consulate.

March 17, 2004 - A Molotov cocktail is thrown at the British Council's office in the Turkish capital, causing no injuries but some damage to property.

May 17, 2004 - Four small bombs explode outside branches of British bank HSBC in Ankara and Istanbul, hours before British Prime Minister Tony Blair is set to visit Turkey.

June 18, 2004 - Two small explosions apparently caused by percussion devices go off in Turkey's western coastal city of Izmir. There was minor damage and one person was slightly injured.

June 24, 2004 - A percussion bomb goes off near the hotel in Ankara, two days before U.S. President George W. Bush is due to stay. Two policemen and a third person were hurt.

For a large country of 65-70 million with a colourful political past and bordering many countries, including Iraq, this is not that surprising. As you can read, most of the explosions were minor causing no or slight injuries.

I hope people do not cancel their trips to Turkey because of what they see on the news. I feel perfectly safe here and would not move unless the situation became infinitely worse.

Odds of winning the lottery are still far, far better than the chances of being injured or killed by a bomb in Turkey. The greatest danger here is still the traffic. That hasn't changed...

Tuesday, 22 June 2004

A Hilarious Translation

Today at work I viewed a poorly translated document. It was an A4 table of different projects supposedly translated from Turkish to English. One of the columns detailed the type of project. Instead of "type" the column was headed "sexual"!!!!

In Turkish, 'type' means 'cins'. However, 'cins' also means genus, sex, breed, gender, etcetera and somehow the translator chose "sexual" instead of "type". Tomorrow I will try to scan and post a copy of the table if I can.

UPDATE [22 June 2004]: As promised here is the scan of the relevant section. More accurate construction project heading translations are:


Turkish Job Ads

Yesterday I purchased the ‘Hurriyet’ (‘Freedom’), one of Turkey’s leading newspapers. I bought the paper to:

a) practice and improve my Turkish
b) keep up to date with what’s happening in Turkey; and,
c) have a preliminary look at the job ads in case I need to find another job in the future

The top story concerned a whirlwind in Ankara province tossing cars in the air and killing 3 people. If my understanding of the headline is correct, this was Turkey's first fatality-causing whirlwind.

Other stories concerned yesterday's OSS exam and the upcoming NATO summit in Istanbul. One of the NATO stories profiled two people who will be protesting at the event. They were holding "BUSH GELME" ('Bush don't come') signs. For those fluent in Turkish, a quick Google search of this phrase brings up almost 500 results.

Although tabloid in content, the Hurriyet is of better quality than most other Turkish newspapers. It is broadsheet in size and probably would be regarded as broadsheet quality in this country of low media standards. Perhaps the only non-tabloid content newspaper is the "Cumhuriyet" ('Republic').

The Turkish job ads are different to the Australian ads in many ways:

*Age and gender preferences are often explicitly requested. 'Must be between 28 and 35'. Most ads requesting ages, requested young people. I guess they could then pay a lower salary.

*Many requested for male applicants to have completed their military service obligation. For males with an outstanding military obligation, it is almost impossible to be even considered for a professional position. Employers do not want someone who may be called up and taken away at any moment by the military.

*‘Be able to move freely’ is a requirement for some ads. In some conservative Turkish families, certain female members (for example: those divorced) are restricted in their movements by their families. These restrictions may encompass living in another town or staying overnight somewhere else.

*More jobs require fluency in another language (generally English) besides Turkish. Several of these ads were written in Turkish and 1 was in German.

*Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan were listed as job vacancy destinations. The last two were in the classified section of the ‘Cukurova’ regional supplement. This supplement covers the Mersin, Adana, Gaziantep, Antakya and Sanliurfa areas and contains region-specific news.

*No salary ranges were mentioned.

*There were no government job ads.

If I ever look for another job in Turkey, my Turkish CV will be very different to my Australian resume. Besides the work experience and references tailored to each country or job position, the following will change:

Saturday, 19 June 2004

Anniversaries, Exams, Conspiracies

Happy Anniversaries to me

This week in 2001 I first arrived in Turkey. This week i 2003 I came to Turkey for the second time. Much has changed in this time, particularly the prices.

The University Entrance Exam

Tomorrow, almost 2 million Turkish students will be taking the University Entrance Exam (OSS). A fellow employee and my boss's daughter will be amongst them. The exam is very cutthroat. Some students have studied full-time for the past year just for this exam. Their whole future will be determined by this 3-hour exam. Some details on the exam are here.

The Answer to my Previous Printer Conspiracy

Tom, on his excellent blog, has pointed out this brilliant speech on Digital Rights Management (DRM) given by Cory Doctorow to Microsoft executives. Amongst many other things, Cory helps explain the conspiracy I experienced earlier in the month:

We have companies like Lexmark claiming that their printer cartridges contain copyrighted works -- software that trips an "I am empty" flag when the toner runs out, and have sued a competitor who made a remanufactured cartridge that reset the flag.

DFAT have updated their travel advice for Turkey

Suprise, suprise, Australian citizens are still recommended to defer all non-essential travel to Turkey.

Previous related post

Friday, 18 June 2004

Nuclear Mersin

In news just in:

The Turkish government is reviving plans to build a controversial nuclear power plant at Akkuyu, close to Mersin. This power plant has been in the planning for a long time and was last dropped following in early 2001 following the economic crisis. This is actually the first time I recall hearing about the plant.

Turkey Revives Plans for Nuclear Power Plant

Akkuyu plant details (not up to date)

A previous international campaign against the plant

Thursday, 17 June 2004

Snake II: New Record: 1736

Last night, whilst watching the Russia-Portugal Euro2004 game, I made a new personal record for the mobile phone game Snake II: 1736. This beats my previous best of 1597 detailed in this post.

I am licensed again!

Today I received my replacement South Australian drivers licence in the post. I had lost my original one several months again.

To obtain this replacement, I:
a) requested the sending of a form
b)visited the embassy in Ankara for a witness to my signature; and
c) sent back the completed form along with a credit card authorisation for AUD$11

The funny thing is the diplomat's signature at the embassy cost AUD$20, almost twice as much as the licence itself!

Wednesday, 16 June 2004

Toygun has returned!

Last night I saw my friend, Toygun, for the first time in several months. In early November 2003 we visited Anazarbus and in December he started his compulsory military service. 6 months later he exited the army. Toygun described his military service as very boring as he didn't have much to do after his initial training period.

Turkey is moving towards a more professional army with less reliance on poorly-trained military service conscripts. Compulsory military service is a huge waste of money and the resources used should be put towards far more useful purposes. Having said that, military service in Turkey does provide a great discipline and development tool. Toygun himself acknowledged the military turns boys into men. He now wakes up earlier and keeps his room tidier than before!

PS: Both yesterday and today the ADSL Internet access is very intermittent, making surfing the web or sending emails extremely frustrating. I can't complain too much, though, I could be doing military service!

Tuesday, 15 June 2004


The Israeli High Court suspends the ban on pork sales in 3 localities. I would love to go there to celebrate by eating some bacon or roast pork or ham or...

The funniest and saddest part of the article is this quote from one of the local Jewish fundamentalists:
"The High Court has driven a central nail in the coffin of Jewish identity in the state"

Pork is not banned in Turkey and is freely available where there is a demand for it, including the tourist resorts and in large supermarkets of the major cities. Unfortunately, it is not easily accessible in Mersin. I do miss pork but not enough to go out of my way to find some.

Summer has Arrived!

Saturday, 12 June 2004 is the day summer belatedly arrived in Mersin. It was not a sudden, drastic arrival, but an incremental increase of 2 or 3 degrees, making day and night ever so much more muggy and uncomfortable. The peak of summer has not yet arrived, but it is summer nevertheless.

Sunday, 13 June 2004

A sympathetic version of a pathetic old scam

A variation of the 'move my money' scam. This is the first email I recall attempting to garner the sympathy vote by the sender writing he will die soon. This scam doesn't get my sympathy.

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, June 10, 2004 5:51 PM

>> Dear sir,
>> As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for
>> me, because, I believe everyone will die someday.
>> My name is Saeed Ahmed a merchant in Dubai, in
>> the
>> U.A.E.I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer .
>> It has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and
>> right now I have only about a few months to live,
>> according to medical experts.
>> I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I
>> never really cared for anyone(not even myself)but my
>> business. Though I am very rich, I was never generous,
>> I was always hostile to people and only focused on my
>> business as that was the only thing I cared for. But
>> now I regret all this as I now know that there is more
>> to life than just wanting to have
>> or make all the money in the world.
>> I believe when God gives me a second chance to come to
>> this world I would live my life a different way from
>> how I have lived it. Now that God has called me, I
>> have willed and given most of my property and assets
>> to my immediate and extended family members as well as
>> a few close friends.
>> I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul so,
>> I have decided to give also to charity
>> organizations, as I want this to be one of the last
>> good deeds I do on earth. So far, I have distributed
>> money to some charity organizations in the U.A.E,
>> Algeria and Malaysia. Now that my health has
>> deteriorated so badly, I cannot do this myself
>> anymore.
>> I once asked members of my family to close
>> one of my accounts and distribute the money which I
>> have there to charity organization in Bulgaria and
>> Pakistan, they refused and kept the money to
>> themselves. Hence, I do not trust them anymore, as
>> they seem not to be contended with what I have left
>> for them.
>> The last of my money which no one knows of is the huge
>> cash deposit of eighteen million dollars
>> $18,000,000,00 that I have with a finance/Security
>> Company abroad. I will want you to help me collect
>> this deposit and dispatched it to charity
>> organizations.
>> I have set aside 10% for you and for your time.
>> God be with you.
>> Saeed Ahmed.
>> E-Mail Address:MATGRA2005@NETSCAPE.NET

Saturday, 12 June 2004

A Swedish Adventure is beginning

Loz, a friend and fellow UniSA AIESEC alumni is now on her way to Sweden to spend a year on the Swedish AIESEC national committee. Her blog, A Swedish Adventure, has just started. The only problem with the blog is one has to be a member of the actual blog to post a comment. Maybe that is a good thing...

Pancakes with a unique Turkish twist!

A few weeks ago in Ankara, Betul had a wonderful idea to cook banana pancakes, inspired by her South East Asia trip. For the pancake base we ended up using 'gozleme', a large (about 60cm in diameter), round and very thin bread popular in Turkish cooking. The banana was wrapped in the gozleme and slow dry fried. In combination with either honey and lemon juice or peanut butter, the pancakes were delicious and well appreciated by the house residents except for two traditionalists, Beyza and Ozgur, who insisted on have white cheese (Turkish style) in the gozleme instead of the infidel banana.

In the past two days I have gone several steps further.

On Thursday night I made 3 different pancakes:
a) banana & chocolate
b) strawberry & Nutella, and
c) banana, strawberry, apricot, chocolate & Nutella.

Last night I devised a savoury version with barbequed chicken, yellow cheese, tomato and green chilli wrapped up in the gozleme. Dry (no oil or fat) frying in a saucepan is a great alternative for a kitchen with no oven or grill.

Gozleme pancakes will now be a regular addition to the menu at the Joe's Ramblings bachelor pad.

NOTE: Sliced pitted black olives makes a great addition when added to above savoury version.

Friday, 11 June 2004

Some interesting people were born in Mersin...

"...Gabriel Debbas was once the "prince of Beirut," a powerful Lebanese banker who married a celebrated Hungarian ballerina. He founded Lebanon's stock exchange and developed the world-famous Casino du Liban, a favorite haunt of Saudi Arabian royalty. He rubbed shoulders with presidents and prime ministers."

Later in the article:
Debbas was born Dec. 31, 1909, in Mersin, Turkey, then the Ottoman Empire. The Debbas family was prominent, tracing its lineage to 800 A.D., with landholdings throughout the Middle East.

Read more at Prince and ballerina love story survived war, loss, move

Thursday, 10 June 2004

A milestone in Turkey's history occurred today

Today, for the first time ever, Turkey's official broadcaster, TRT, broadcast a television program in the main Kurdish dialect. This program is part of a series in minority languages, including Arabic and Bosnian. The Kurdish language broadcasting is the most important because the Kurds are by far the largest minority and 'the Kurdish issue' is arguably the biggest issue in modern Turkey. In 1998, if someone had claimed there would be Kurdish programming on Turkey's national broadcaster they would've been laughed at (or thrown in prison for subversion).

It is yet to be seen whether this weekly broadcast will remain a token 30-minute effort to please the European Union or if it is the start of a major philosophical change.

Personally, I would like to see all Turkish people learn Kurdish, Arabic or another minority language as a second language at school, similar to the system in Switzerland. Every school student learning Kurdish (or another second language) would help demystify 'the issue', give greater recognition to all people in Turkey and assist in removing any basis for the PKK or similar terrorist groups. This would be a revolutionary change and I doubt it will happen for many years.

Some news reports concerning the Kurdish broadcast on TRT:
Associated Press
BBC again
Al Jazeera
AFP via EU Business

Addendum [12 June 2004]: An interesting Economist article on the broader Kurdish debate is here.

Tuesday, 8 June 2004

Spring, oh beautiful spring!

We are into the 2nd week of June and the summer weather has not yet arrived!

The children are on school holidays but the maximum temperature each day is still in the late 20's to early 30's centigrade. Many afternoons the stiff sea breeze often pushes open the door at work. With the high humidity the comfort factor is not a perfect 10, but I'm very happy to accept 8+1/2 every day!

Summer, with its 35-40 degree centigrade days, has usually reared its ugly head by now. Hooray for good weather!

Don't worry, I will write when summer does come!
Click on the "Mersin's Weather" link on the right hand side to find out the latest forecast.

Monday, 7 June 2004

Weekend Tidbits

On Friday night I bought my first ice cream from Ali's and Derya' shop. Every summer they set up in the same location. A cone topped by 6 different flavours of ice cream (vanilla, chocolate, melon, pistachio, strawberry + 1 other) and dipped in desiccated coconut is still 500,000 TL. This is the same price as 2003, possibly even 2002, amazing for Turkey, given the country's tradition of rising prices. As well as devouring an ice cream myself, I gave one to Huseyin abi, my shopkeeper friend.

Saturday evening I spent at Hanifi amca's place. Along with my neighbour was his nephew from Nizip, Gaziantep and two other visitors. It was a good night of meze and accompanying alcoholic beverages. One of the visitors had spent 8 years in Chechnya. To shoe for tis time, he spoke Russian and had two bullet-hole scars- one on his inner forearm, the other on his torso.

Yesterday, after a Turkish breakfast, again at Hanifi's, I walked upstream along the river. To my joy, I 'discovered' another weekly bazaar. At a few places along the river boys were playing in the water. I guess the boys have a good immune system. The river water at the start of summer (when the level is low) and this far downstream can't be very healthy.

I brought my bazaar-purchased plastic containers, tea holder, tomatoes, eggplant, strawberries and melon back along the river home. By the time I came home I was thirsty. I made a delicious soda-ayran yoghurt drink in my 1 litre Efes Pilsen beer mug. Directions: Shake up 400 gm yoghurt, water, ice and a few shakes of salt. Pour into the glass. Add 300 ml soda water. Enjoy! The soda water creates frothy bubbles and gives the ayran a zing.

Yesterday evening I strolled to the yacht harbour in the beautiful late afternoon light. Near 'Luna Park' there are three tea gardens: the Luna Park cafe and two further gardens. I drank tea and wrote about my aims and goals for the present and future. This is something I should do more often. When almost home, I smelt marijuana in the night breeze. It probbaly came from a nearby tea house. Unless my memory is hazy, this is the first ever time I have smelt (or noticed) marijuana in Turkey. I know it exists, but I never want to get mixed up in it.

Saturday, 5 June 2004

Photos from pre-invasion Iraq and more

Today I received a non-spam email sent to my previous Yahoo! account. It was from Mattias, a Swede I met in Dogubeyazit, far Eastern Turkey in December 2002 and coincidentally, again in Damascus 1 month later.

In Dogubeyazit, Mattias was coming from Iran on his way through Syria to meet up with a group in Jordan for a tour of Iraq. Prior to Dogubeyazit he travelled through Russia to China and back west through the Central Asian Republics. By the time I met him he was sick of travel and required something special to excite him. The Iraq tour, only 4 months before the US/UK (plus token allies) invasion, was that something special. When I bumped into him again, after the tour, in Damascus, his friend showed me photos of Iraq.

Pre-invasion photos of Iraq and many, many other countries are displayed on his fantastic photography website: I hope you enjoy them!

Click to a Random Blogger Blog

If you are ever bored with my blog, impossible that this maybe, and want a bit more randomality in your blog surfing click on the link below. The link will direct you to another Blogger blog. Click on the link again and you will visit a different blog.

Cartridge Conspiracies

Recently work had a problem involving the Lexmark X125 fax/copier/printer/scanner/telephone.

We mainly use it for faxing and it replaced an old fax-paper fax. A few years ago I suggested getting a plain-paper fax machine. Before this my boss had never heard of a plain-paper fax.

Anyway, the interface started displaying "ADD RIGHT CART.". We could receive faxes but they could not print. We changed the current black & white cartridge with another one. The problem remained. I remembered a similar problem we experienced previously. On that occasion I followed the instructions from the support website and the machine fixed itself. This time, the problem remained, even after the 3rd and 4th attempts to fix it. For a short time we even resorted to using an ancient, last resort, fax machine.

Sevil telephoned Lexmark support in Istanbul. They suggested we should try with a new cartridge. The next morning Serkan brings a new cartridge and, wham, bam, thank you mam, the fax printer is operational again!

You may ask, where is the conspiracy in this?
The conspiracy is a new, genuine Lexmark X125 cartridge costs 50,000,000 TL whereas an unofficial cartridge refill is 5 times cheaper. What a fraud! I do not know how the fax machine differentiates between the cartridges. I do bet Lexmark spent time and $$$ ensuring the machine did differentiate.

The conclusion: printers and other ink consumers are not designed to be sold at great profit. It is the ink cartridges where the money comes from!

The GuestMap as it now looks

After the latest posts from Jen, Tom Gara, Christopher, Deniz and Ebru (thank you all) this is how the GuestMap currently looks. As one can see, there are 21 smiling cuties from 13 different countries.

Thursday, 3 June 2004

A Lesbian Muslim's Thinking on Islam

In this article, Irshad Manji's perspective on Islam is very interesting. If ever her ideas were implemented properly there could be many positive effects including reducing the violence detailed in the previous post by better empowering women. I have not read the book yet so I can't make a proper judgement and I doubt her ideas would be widely implemented by the Muslim world in my lifetime anyway.

Irshad's official website is here.

Violence Against Women In Turkey: An Amnest International Report

A disturbing new report from Amnesty International concerning violence against women in Turkey is on their webpage.

Back from Ankara

I now have my Iranian visa and hope to visit Iran in August :-)
The Iranian Embassy is open Saturdays as they are closed on Fridays (Iran's Muslim holiday) and Sundays (Turkey’s secular holiday). Normally an Iranian visa is valid for two months. As I wanted to go in August I asked them to extend the validity and now my 30-day visa is valid until 28 August. As banks were closed the official accepted the USD $50 payment in cash after originally asking me to place the money in an account. As Iran does not require visas for Turkish people the embassy is quiet. I believe this is the main reason I was treated so well and why self-serve tea, coffee and water were available. I don't think the German, American, Australian or other embassies of countries Turks require visas to treat their guests so well.

In other news from Ankara:

- I visited the Cankaya weekly bazaar on Sunday. This provides the same function as the Mersin bazaar described here. However, the Cankaya bazaar:
*Is under a permanent shelter in its own space as opposed to the ‘tent verandas’ on Mersin’s street. I don’t know if the Cankaya bazaar space is used for the other 6 days.
*Has a greater number of suppliers selling a larger quantity of a larger variety of fruit and vegetables
*Features artichokes (enginar) much more than Mersin bazaar.
*Fruit and vegetables are generally of a higher quality but at a more expensive price. Cherries were up to 8 million TL per kilo for the best ones.
*Creates a far bigger rubbish pile by the end of the night.

- On Sunday night there was an amazing sunset combined with an occasional lightening strike – I wish I had a good time-lapse camera and there were no apartment blocks in the way.

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