Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Sometimes it is almost agonisingly fun to watch the continental Europe suffocate in the extreme conservatism it is headed, from this very island that I stand on. As the colours of parliaments all across the continent started turning black throughout the last decade, some argued that this will only bring about a new wave of reaction to conservative politics in the public opinion, sooner or later. It seems as if the sooner has not happened yet. In deed, the widespread seizure of European politics by its conservative politicians have meant, in the least and in its earliest, stronger tools of manipulation and scare politics. We are now increasingly talking about a Europe that is, once again, betraying its very own 'fundamentals' on issues of human rights, 'democracy', openness and tolerance.

I was driving through the Swiss mountains into Geneva on Sunday night as the results of the referendum on banning construction of new minarets in the country were being released. As it turns out, a double majority (majority of total votes and majority of cantons) voted for the ban. Geneva, along with Neuchatel, Vaud and Basel are the only cantons voted against the ban, with the first 3 all being French speaking cantons. Sadly, Bern had a clear majority for the ban, too. The capital of this very country seems to be living back in the mid-20th century, or shall we say, this is the new century already and we are living in some ancient times now? Us being those who have a problem with the outcome of this referendum.

There is a lot to be discussed about Swiss politics that will go beyond my knowledge, Swiss intellect and will but a double-majority system seems to be highly controversial given cantons like Innen- and Ausser-hoden both count as separate cantons with mere populations of 52654 and 15471 respectively and yet the former has highest rate of ban supporters, the latter seem to have a less clear majority on approval of the ban, and they contribute 2 out of the 23 cantonal votes (although Switzerland has 26 cantons, 6 of them are 'half-cantons' and their votes are counted half-votes).

It is then a good idea to look at what other people have had to say about this whole issue. During the build-up to the referendum, Ulrich Schlüer, a member of the rightwing Swiss People's party and one of the leading promoters of the anti-minaret initiative is reported to have said:
"The Islamic religion is intolerant, but we do not want to limit freedom of religion, we want to outlaw the political symbol"
In the same news article, as you scroll down to the comments, you read the following two comments from a Swiss user in Switzerland, and a Pakistani from the US, respectively:

Matilda, Switzerland:
I wonder if these people that are so upset about the outcome of the vote ever experienced how it is like to be a woman in a Muslim country. Have you ever considered, e.g., Pakistani women freedom? That freedom for which many are willing to leave behind friends and family and start a new life abroad. They are trying to escape the mentality of the country, which unfortunately is imposed by religion. What do you want to offer them, the same cage in a different scenery? This is about mentality. I admire Swiss people for having the courage to keep their country theirs, with the freedom they have fought for and gain over centuries.

Columbia University, Pakistan:
I am a Pakistani woman who has lived her entire life with freedom. The claim in one of the comments below about Pakistani women wanting to escape their country in search of freedom is an outright lie - you know NOTHING about our lives! And to clarify, I attended a Christian school despite being a Muslim - that is how tolerant we are in Pakistan about other religions. My parents did not have a problem with me attending a school which had a beautiful church in itself - today, a Swiss would never allow his/her kid to attend a Muslim school! And another fact: Pakistan, a Muslim country, is FULL of CHURCHES! Hindu temples exist everywhere too! AND the white color in our flag REPRESENTS CHRISTIANITY IN PAKISTAN so if you don't know the facts, please refrain from making idiotic, untrue comments. Clearly, my point proves that other Muslim countries welcome and respect other religions. Switzerland is an exception who has now proven to the world that almost 60% of its citizens are intolerant and completely uneducated about Islam and Muslim cultures. Maybe it's time for you to pick up a book and read about it so the next time you open your mouth to attack someone, you know what the hell you're talking about.

As expected, the results of the referendum incited huge criticism from the right and the left of politics across Europe and elsewhere. Some were in the form of criticising the way in which Swiss politics work. I do not necessarily agree with those coming from this point of view. Those who claim referenda have no space in true democracies because the public opinion can be manipulated easily is nothing but fear of public opinion. It is a call for greater legitimisation of representational politics and considering those who support this idea are those who also support high turnout in election polls and believe every single vote should count as one regardless of what social, educational or economical background the voter comes from; it sounds like a hypocritical idea to oppose popular referenda. I do agree though in Switzerland, when you have tens of referenda every year, it is difficult to get a pleasing turnout that represents the opinion of the whole country and it is even more difficult to convince those in larger cities to vote each time despite their voting ballots are mailed to their homes. What is the ideal way, I do not yet know, and have not heard any convincing proposals.

Much criticism came naturally from the Muslim world. 'The 2009 Davos Hero', Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan called
the vote a "sign of an increasing racist and fascist stance in Europe". He is joined by the Iran's Al-Vefagh and Jordan's Al-Dustur newspapers in terms of his tone, but those like the Egyptian Al-Akhbar and Palestinan Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah raise a different issue that is usually overlooked by those in row of harsh criticism towards the west. That is precisely what I usually think is the biggest and the most cynical mistake that is being made: Implementing and understanding on the 'other' through a discourse that barely does justice in your own territory. That is euro-centricism/occidentalism on the orient and more. European conservatism has long been headed this way.

Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf "sought to reassure Swiss Muslims, saying the decision was 'not a rejection of the Muslim community, religion or culture'". This is only short of what some other people in other European countries have been bold enough to say: "We do not want you, and if you are not happy, go home":
  • In an October session of the famous BBC broadcast, Question Time, the head of the British National Party, Nick Griffin claimed that all non-white-English-origin should leave the country. When confronted by a Pakistani-origin British citizen who has lived all his life in Britain about whether he should leave the country he loves, Griffin somehow decided that he could stay.

  • Not surprisingly, a big go-home sayer, the leader of the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, has welcomed the ban and called for suit in his home countryconcerns over the arrival of the racist politician. before taking off for a controversial diplomatic visit to Turkey that has already raised
  • Denmark joined the generous host countries that are paying its immigrants to go back home. The coalition partners, Danish People's Party secured an agreement to pay 'anti-social' foreigners 100,000 Danish Kroners in bonus if they accept to leave Denmark. I remember my Danish Politics course during my exchange year in Aarhus and how proud the Scandinavians were (maybe Swedes more so) in setting an example of how well their immigrants are integrated and they did not have to go through the troubles the Germans have been going through in the last couple of decades.
Is it then all about the money? Are the Swiss more and more worried about sharing their welfare with 'those Muslims' who do not belong in this isolated land mass? Daniel Cohn-Bendit from the Green Group at the European Parliament suggests the wealthy Muslim stakeholders to withdraw their money from Switzerland. Fed up with the lack of co-operation by the Swiss Cohn-Bendit blames the egotism of the Swiss who 'turned down those who fled the Nazis from their own borders during the 2nd World War', and who would 'only understand the consequences of their guilt only if they see the economic sanctions brought with it'. A good one to put us back into perspective, those who enjoy rather lax migration policies here on the island:

The UK has had a long tradition of imperialism and built its wealth on trading end-products cheaply produced with the cheap raw materials accumulated from its colonies. Post-imperial Britain relied on the cheap and qualified labour force brought into the island with open-door immigration policies, who would then supply the necessary infrastructure for its service-based economy. Are we about to see the major shifts taking place in continental Europe to find its way here as well?

Later on in the debate at the Question Time (mentioned earlier), the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw almost succumbed to the pressure by other guests and the audience on the immigration policies of the Labour Party in the last decade and the rising concern over an Islamic take-over of many neighbourhoods across Britain. He tried to get away by claiming that the Labour Party's immigration policies were right, at best, somewhat miscalculated, and that they would not even think of applying a cap limit to the number of immigrants allowed into the country each year. This was not welcome by many in the audience there. With the general elections in the UK fast approaching, it may as well not be so much more fun to sit here and watch the new episodes unravel on immigration policies as well as to see how Europe cope with what it once built its great pride on. After all, one wonders how much are each of these 'values' worth?

Friday, October 30, 2009

iyi.. kötü..

bu gece tam 4 kere denkleştik kendileriyle.

1.sinde, "buraya bırakamazsın" diye başladı, altı üstü büfeye uğrayıp bir şey alacaktım. sonra "tamam, çabuk ol diye buyurdu" hazretleri.

2.sinde gerekli belgelere baktıktan sonra "buyrun, devam edin dedi"

3.sünde ehliyetime 6 ay el koydu, arabayı da kenara çekti. toplam 600 tl ceza ödemem gerek. hayatımın en önemli dönüm noktalarından biri bu, ama buna odaklanmayacağım bile.

sonrasında eve geldim. arabayı geri almaya gidemem, çünkü araba üzerime değil, babama kaldı. borcum neyse ödeyeceğim kendisine ama o nakit için atm'ye gidip para çekmem lazım. sokağa çıktım, köşedeki atm'den para çekeceğim. işte o sırada 4.sü yaklaştı

"beyefendi bakar mısın? kimlik lütfen"

"ne var, niye soruyorsunuz?" dedim. diğeri de pişik: "sizin iyiliğiniz için" dedi.

"bugün yeteri kadar sizinle uğraştım, al bak bakalım, bir şey görecek misin" dedim.

diğeri de "ne iş yapıyorsunuz, nerede çalışıyorsunuz diye" arkadaşça yaklaşıyor. hani olsa olsa o "iyi" olanı.

"kötü" olanı konuştu gene: "nerede oturuyorsun".

içimden konuşuyorum biraz: "...... ......, senin kendini bildiğin süreden beridir ben bu mahallede yaşıyorum, daha dün gelmişim geri memlekete"

buna mı anlatacaksın derdini. 20 dakika önce ehliyetimi vermişim 6 aylığına, anca beni tanıyanlar bilir bunun bendeki acısını.

gelmiş öbürü de ukalalık yapıyor. bir tanesi de "iyi" gibi.

4 tanesine rastladım bu gece. hepsi "bizim yararımız"a çalışıyor ya.

"ecdadını ........... ...... ." bayrağına küfrettiresiciler. iyisi, kötüsü mü olur bunun, alayına ....... .

...... ......... . siz kendinizi iyi biliyorsunuz. nitekim yıllarca bu ...... ............ üzerine eğitildiniz, kendini eğittiniz. al yanaklı suratına ....... o al alevle yanan kızılı.

Monday, September 21, 2009

completely freaked out

Someone sent me an email today with his CV, he would like to work for the post-conference research (if there will ever be one) of the Urban Age Conference that I am working for...

We were born on the same year, went to same high school, went to the same university, did the same undergraduate course, went to the same university in Denmark for exchange, did the same programme there (only he is 2 years after me in University), worked for the same NGO in Istanbul... We both speak the same 4 languages, natively, fluently, intermediate and beginner level, respectively... and play the same musical instrument (if you can count me ever playing that)

He probably is reading this, too...

Damn, it is difficult to confront one's alter ego so abruptly! I am not kidding... I am rarely scared, but now I am completely freaked out.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

And tonight she's my guide as I go on alone
With the music up above

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

queen anne winked at me...

or so I thought. but it did not matter. then i turned left, walked through the square, and in between the modern bricked animated building on the left, and the modern glass and steel building on the right, the dome of the st. paul's shone through the moon light. the clouds waned away. then i walked through an alley way. england pushed forward down the left flank, the croatian defense struggled. they were the first people in the last 15 minutes, voices of whom i could not hear, figures of which i could not choose. the blue light disappeared and i was gresham street. king street met guildhall and there stood noone but a beautiful silence of the City in a breezy autumn right. coleman street leads to Great Swan Alley, only if you can follow your feet. the wind will fill your light red jacket, a row of desktop computers in well-lit, empty office buildings will keep you warm, because you are away from their cold. he looked puzzled in front of the 2 Copthall Avenue, the fluorescent moonlight blue did enough to draw him near and i was bemused by the building behind. abundance of redeveloped office space, a masoleum of ivory loneliness. turned right on the end of the street to greet tower 42. moorgate runs a few late evening cabs, a guaranteed same day delivery of bonds and equities to their studio homes up in the north. they are all going home, but i have just arrived to one. swerve through austin friars and in through pinnar's passage. let them go their way, the suits on the x axis, and the tower spines on the y axis. just take a lonely walk, an unexpected one, through the City, on any evening or a dull Sunday. sit on the stairs of the cathedral, love London, and send my regards to queen anne.

Monday, August 31, 2009

aimee und jaguar

A few days ago, I was cycling back home from work, at a rather unusually slow pace and in a much missed feeling of appreciating my surrounding. It was a warm summer evening. I cycled through small streets and alleyways opening up to main roads passing by families and strollers looking at them from a slightly elevated view. It was then I realised I missed traveling across the city on an overground train observing the life on the streets from the perspectives of buildings.

Then I missed taking the S-bahn in Hamburg between Sternschanze and Altona or in Berlin cutting all the way from the east all the way to the west. Observing the people in the train, reading their newspaper, talking to their friends, thinking about getting back to their homes. At the same time, I could see people walking when we approached stations, taking a left turn into the small street with that man, or taking my child into my lap like that woman. Contrary to what many people think, I never lived in Germany, maybe for that reason, I always attached myself into those stories that I could so easily observe or create. I have rarely taken an overground train in London, especially in the evening. Only when I lived for a few months in Streatham Hill, last winter, I would take a train from Farringdon, swim through the endless estates of South London, gaze upon the misty Brockwell park through a winter evening's fog. A few days ago, I felt I missed cruising over the city, watching my fellow citizens...


On another evening, I came upon a film called Aimee and Jaguar at the Prince Charles Cinema, a central-London favourite. I went home and downloaded it, to go back to it this morning. It is years 1943-1944, Berlin. Aimee married a Wehrmacht soldier at the age of 20, and has 4 kids from him. Her husband is away at the Eastern front, trying to keep hold of Berlin against the Soviets. Aimee seeks re-vitalisation in her life and enjoys small gifts from a flirt with another army general.

Jaguar is a Jew and she is working under disguise at a Nazi sympathetic newspaper assistant editorial. She is in love with words and poetry, and an adventurous, almost a carefree lady who is bitterly sarcastic at the unfairness of life, yet tries to secure an escape for herself and her close friends from Germany at the height of the Jew hunt by the Gestapo and the SS.

Ilse is Jaguar's girlfriend and she provides shelter for Jaguar until one evening when Ilse's communist father decides he will not be able to help a Jew hide in his house when he realises that Jaguar is a lesbian and that his daughter Ilse is in love with her.

Jaguar seduces Aimee, who is at first skeptic but is in search for a 'new feeling' after having been deprived of love that was never there through her marriage with Günther. Aimee seeks new friendships with Jaguar and her company, Ilse is more and more frustrated at losing Jaguar to Aimee and is worried that Jaguar will throw away her chance to escape Berlin, incapable of leaving Aimee behind.

The love between the two women grow when Jaguar finally reveals to Aimee that she is a Jew, and Aimee, in whom a deep insecurity has been embedded, draws closer to Jaguar, possibly succumbing under the responsibility of being the wife of a Nazist soldier, added to her tender emotions to Jaguar and the emerging chance of 'taking care of someone' she loves.


Berlin, 1943-1944, the city is rapidly being destroyed. Once the dreamland of Germania, the city is under constant mist, smoke, smell of burned flesh, blood, mortar and explosives. Everyone is dressed in brown, even the most exclusive hotel gatherings have a darker shade of grey overcasting the golden glamour. The city looks fatally beautiful even in its destruction. A beauty under depression, or the beauty of the depression. Ones who created the metropolis are now causing its total destruction. None stranger than Deutsche Bank (the funders of the research project I am working for) have sold the golds of the Jews to traders to 'neutral' countries, none stranger than my home country, Turkey, to provide more funding to the fascist regime and its army, the Wehrmacht. Those, who made, destroyed and re-made Germany.

A romantic ideology, suppressed by contemporary Germans for decades, one that created the 'fatherland's soul, its philosophy and its rich cultural heritage; that has recently been borough back to drama by films such as Aimee und Jaguar and many others. Aimee und Jaguar is an impressive, touching film about a real story that took place during one of the most cruelsome events of the recent past, is being told by a cast and crew that is dominating the contemporary German cinema industry with its familiar directors, producers and actors. Juliane Kohler (Aimee) was Eva Braun in der Untergang, in which also Ulrich Mattes was cast in a much more significant role as Goebbels (the SS who arrested Jaguar in Aimee und Jaguar, a 1999 production). Johanne Wokalek (Ilse) is Gudrun Elssin in the recent der Baader Meinhof Komplex, in which Martina Gedeck (Ulrike Meinhof) made worthy of her performance previously in das Leben der Anderen

Familiar faces, and familiar feelings. A warm Sunday morning brought back memories that I had just recently been missing of places that I associated with. Stories that once were, long forgotten, now re-lived. Traumas re-visited, coldness re-shivered for. I felt like I did the anticipated city-gazing over the rail tracks, following Aimme and Jaguar's love that was a fable, glimpse of a possibility in the impossible.

24-31 August 2009, London.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


As Niyazi watched the sun set over the Princes’ Islands, the sea of multiple storey concrete apartments merged into the perspective. With no formal planning or architectural education, the Kartal representative of the Platform for Istanbul’s Neighbourhood Associations was now speaking a language that could bargain in the negotiations with the Kartal and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipalities, as well as the landowners and a UK-based architectural office on behalves of his 10,000 fellow residents of Hürriyet neighbourhood, located on the hills behind Kartal. He knew most of the residents, who settled through mass migration in the 1970’s, fought hard to obtain “amnesty registry” for their illegally constructed houses, started off as single-storey houses, now turned into multi-storey extended family and relatives living spaces[i]. Now, he was part of the negotiations during the development of the famous Kartal redevelopment project. Soon, Niyazi’s perspective could alter completely, overlooking a wavy sketch of glass and steel towers with a luxurious yacht marina on its tail.

Kartal lies in the southeast of Istanbul, stretching from the Marmara Sea in its south, with an elevation up to 500 metres towards its water and green reservoirs surrounded by the TEM highway to its the north. The district encompasses over 68 km2; decades of growth rates near 50% saw the population reach 427,156[ii] that consists of white-collar workers, small-scale tradesmen and industrialists. Like many other peripheral districts in Istanbul, it has grown immensely since the 1950’s with incoming migration into its heavily industrialised areas; and lack of implementation of development plans saw 85% of the housing stock made up of poor concrete material, many of which is illegal, and 25% of the population still live in gecekondus[iii].

It is connected to the rest of the city and beyond via the E-5 and TEM motorways, the suburban railway and the municipal and inter-city ferries from the Kartal pier. The planned Kadıköy – Kartal metro extension and the completion of Marmaray and upgrade on the suburban rail are aimed to make Kartal a major transport hub. With its close proximity to Sabiha Gökçen Airport and attraction areas such as the Istanbul Formula 1 track, the newly developing Pendik ‘silicon valley’, and Sabancı University, Kartal has become a natural candidate to be designated as a new sub-centre, a major tool of Istanbul’s de-centralisation policies. Creating a new CBD in Kartal aims to alleviate the pressure from the city-centre and its northern axis, whilst creating 100,000 new employment and affecting a grand population of 2 million in the region[iv]

Around 550 hectares of the derelict industrial area was part of an urban design competition, won by Zaha Hadid Architects in 2006. This regeneration plan, consistent with the city’s ambitions of bringing in signature architects, sits alongside one of the more ambitious projects in Europe, scale of which resembles the likes of HafenCity in Hamburg.

Kartal redevelopment project is championed by many as the first large-scale redevelopment project in Istanbul that involves all the necessary actors during its realisation: the respective municipalities, the landowners/developers, the master planners and architects; as well as the local residents. Initiated by the IMP, it has created its own landowners’ association, formed by some 26 main landowners who pursue negotiation via a designated urban negotiator whose job is to maintain the communication between the actors involved. The larger scale masterplan was approved by Kartal municipality, governed by an AKP Mayor prior to 2009 local elections, but the construction could not have started before 1/1000 scale, local development plans came into place.

In the meanwhile, Kartal, a district traditionally voting social-democrat, re-elected a Mayor from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in March 2009, ending the short spell with the AKP. This halted the ongoing process for the preparation of 1/1000 local development plans for the regeneration project until the lead actors have convinced the new mayor Dr. Altınok Öz. As of July 2009, the IMP representatives were hopeful to get the plans approved and the construction to begin by next year[v]. As the financial gloom has yet to dissolve, main landowner developers such as the Eczacıbaşı Holding is yet to confirm the start of the construction[vi]. It will take at least another few years of bargaining before the Kartal skyline changes, but what will remain will mark its signature as a new way of urban redevelopment in Istanbul. Until then, who will be the residents in Kartal in due time to see these effects, shall remain as a mystery.

[i] Interview with Niyazi Şahin, Kartal representative for the Platform for Istanbul Neighbourhoods Association, August 2008.

[ii] Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality

[iii] Kartal District Mayorship (http://www.kartal.gov.tr/?Mod=2&icerikID=131)

[iv] Zaha Hadid Architects, Kartal Masterplan Design Brief Document, 2006.

[v] E-mail correspondence with Mr. Özdemir Sönmez at the IMP, July 2009.

[vi] Interview with Mr. Mehmet İmre, the head of Eczacıbaşı Construction, July 2009.

Monday, August 10, 2009

2 wheels on 3D

Regent's Canal. For some reason, I tend to believe, is one of the more underrated features of London. It is beautiful to walk along it, even more so to cycle alongside it. You can see the changing city-scape of London from one end to the another whilst being close to the water at all times, a feature you will always miss if you are from a city like Istanbul.

Another summer's evening... A fine one, maybe a rare one in London's sake, as you rarely get 3 dry days in a row. This time, on my own. Just practicing the usual: rolling down the hills, taking care of the narrow pavement when a pedestrian comes across, bowing my head when a low arch happens to be own my way, and whistling for attention (because my bike bell is broken) each time I cycle through an overhead or a bridge that overshadows the canal. The scenery is as pretty as it can be. A Monday evening, by far the calmest evening on a London day, with a few passers by and lovers strolling down the canal, with virtually the rest of the way left for wanderers like me to take the most out of.

Housing estates of multiple storeys rise and sink on my left as the new developments by the canalside show their timber framing in elegance on the right hand side. Some textile workshops and abandoned factories go on a window-display, as I pay attention to roll down on my 2 wheels, a little tipsy, and shooting up to the stars.

Feeling joyful and happy, a rare notion for a London evening, recalling the last call of the pints at the bar with the pub quiz, of which I was only able to guess a few Oasis songs that made #1, that was the Question number 8. As my Danes stroll onto their usual 7th round of drinks in their Scandanivian style, I head home, passing by shiny road workers down through City Road, confronted by numerous churches, whose existence I only appreciate, and send a salute to their mid 2nd millenia glamour, and as soon as I find the Regent's Canal connection on my way, I make my way down into it.

K. had crashed my bike into a wall here severly injuring herself, only to fix the broken parts of my bike to make it even better than what it was when I gave it to her last year. As she is now ordering a new pint for herself with A., S., T., A2. and R. around, I think of sweet D. with whom I was just meandering through the same routes last night, making a short stop at a lovely pub for a burger and a beer before heading home.

The canal, presenting its unique opportunity to experience a different perspective of London, is a strong feature that reminds of the a lot that you can take out of this city... Well, only if it's not raining again as it usually does. And for rest, likes of D. and others make it an experience that one rarely appreciates, but should give its worthwhile justice.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

HH oder...

Hamburg Flughagen-the new S1 extension-Schlump-Schanzenturm-ex-Kafe X-tapas and sangria-Rote Flora-Kicker-Altona, Rathaus-H.&S.-Elbterasse-I.&F.-B.-Ferries an der Elbe-Speicherstadt-Kees Christianse-Hafen City-Elbphilarmonie-Herzog & de Meuron-Landungsbrücken-Rathaus-St. Nikolai Kirche-75.38 M.-S31-Taverna Sotiris-ouzo & souvlaki-Fabrik-Övelgönne-watching the ships get loaded across the harbour at 2 AM's silence-S.'s model ship-Strand Perle-Elbe Promenade-Altona-Ottenser Hauptstrasse-Zeisen Kino-Sabah Avrupa, Yogitee, nouss-nougat croissant-back to Sternschanze-Hamburger Berg-Reeperbahn-St. Pauli Theater-Gerhardstrasse-Herbertstrasse-meat-market (prostitutes) and window display-mexicana, tequila, b52-hardcore, heavy metal, minimal-Altona, fish market (literally)-fish breakfast at 5 AM in the morning-bei der Apostelkirche-Lange Reihe-Alster-A.&F.-a 9-month late delayed trip...

Es war super geil, wieder in Hamburg für ein paar Tage.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

acting dumb can make you look smart, at times when you least want it

I missed my flight to Hamburg. I was supposed to be at the airport at 5:30 AM, therefore having to wake up really early. I thought of not going to sleep at all, but then fell asleep eventually around 2 AM. By the time I woke up the clock was showing a sinister 6:05 AM. No way to make it.

I bought a new ticket for 3 PM. Cost a bit on my wallet... Then decided to go to work to make up for some of that money and get some work done before leaving the city to the airport in the afternoon. Never been as early as this to work before.

My bag was packed from last night, and the nice shirt and the trousers and the shoes of my suit were hanging on the wall. I wanted to wear them for the flight even though the wedding is tomorrow, so that they won't get creased even worse.

The outcome: I have repeatedly claimed that I will not be dressing smart, heading to work really early and look like one of those irritating businesspeople. Here I am at the office at 7:30, looking at my emails with a nice bordeaux shirt, a slick pair of black trousers and shoes while the Hispanic-origin cleaners are still cleaning the floor where the office is located. Life always gives you a good fix, whether you want it or not.

Monday, June 22, 2009

at the gates

- The city I live in.
- The city I grew up in.

- The city I live in.
- The city I love.

- The city I earn in.
- The city I yearn for.

- The city I am going back to.
- The city I will eventually go back to.

- The city that feeds me.
- The city I want to feed-back.

- The city I am fed up with.
- The city that has fed me.

This morning at 6.30, I was sitting on the corner of Switzerland, France and Germany. Across me was the gate to the flight bound to the airport that was actually called "The City" airport of London. Besides me was a longer queue of people waiting to get on board on a budget-airline flight to Istanbul. Rows of people passed by me, almost all holding a blue passport with golden logos and writings on them, in two languages. The first of one which the language that belongs to my hometown. The other one that comes from my residency.

Istanbul flight should have already left at 6:30 but the boarding had not even started yet. People with multiple hand luggages were probably trying to convince the EasyJet operators or were ripped off due to extra hand luggage, a policy which budget airlines rely their profits heavily on. I was among others who each held red passports, were extremely calm and had small bags or suitcases with them, mainly in suits or some sort of well-looked-after shirt and trouser combinations.

"Come here, otherwise I will leave you and go on my own, and you will be stuck here", the mother said in Turkish. The boy started crying. I looked into his eyes. He saw me. The mother also saw me.
"Look, the man is looking at you, don't cry!" she ordered.
I smiled at the kid.
"You cheeky little bastard. What the fuck are you crying for, spoiled kid?" I thought, in a rather friendly way.

Ahmet was his name, and he was a blonde little kid. He looked more Swiss or European than many others in the queue for the London flight. He was curious about these other blonde man, too, and wanted to go through the gate with them.

The day was just dawning. I was just driven by 2 friends from Zurich to Basel around 5 in the morning, through a beautiful Swiss landscape under the dimmest of lights that hardly dinstinguished the shades of green of the trees nearby and the magnificient river Rhine.

I slowly got up and walked through a few people, with whom I shared the same humiliation at the border control, of being questioned where I live and where I am going for what purpose. They were trying to go home. I was trying to go somewhere where more interrogation was waiting for me.*

I made my way into the airplane with the red-passport people. The lady at the gate with the red Swiss Air suite checked my boarding pass and passport and said "you need a visa, uhhh, here it is, OK, thanks" and smiled back at me. I just realised I hadn't said a word since about an hour. I walked into the airplane and had a final look behind. Ahmet and others were waiting. The boarding had not yet started and there were waiting in yet another long queue, instead of sitting down on the benches around them and wathcing the sky.

* Here, I am referring to the UK Border Control customs that are usually extremely annoying. This time, however, I have to admit I was being checked by a really friendly officer whom I had a chance to have a chat with (rather than being asked only to "answer" and "not talk back"). This does not improve the general unfriendliness and human-rights violation of non-EU and non-UK citizens at UK Border controls.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Urban Age Award Istanbul 2009

Here are a couple of links where you can find information on the $100,000 worth Urban Age Award that will be given to an architectural project realised recently in Turkey that had significant effect to its surrounding environment and population with respects to improving the quality of life and the physical form whilst engaging the community in decision-making in their cities.



http://www.alfred-herrhausen-society.org/en/1083.html (Turkce)

Friday, May 29, 2009

grumpy reality

I said "yes, if I had lived in the 60's, I might have been as grumpy as him". I guess I thought I would be as expressive or explicit as him, or anyone of that era. Then I was told "yeah, that's what you always think about older times"... Dylan looks so sharp that he knows he is not a lost soul. If he ever were one, would he have lived until his balls came licking the ground and still tour around the world as the grumpiest and most boring live musician? One thing is certain that he kicked ass in his time, and he did not give too much a damn. He cared about himself, though... We all know the picture, where he is almost patiently waiting for the ship to come. He was patient with the rest of the world, that is why he is still alive. But he has never been patient wih himself, as grumpy and as in-your-goddamn-face as he can be. And yes, whatever others may think, I think "I'm Not There" is one of the coolest films out there...

And then we strolled down the long, thin corridors where Tante Marianne was waiting for us with her distorted reality, crooked looks and with the tainted love from the child on her lap... She was with Renate, in a proper 60's version of a Jim Jarmusch scene. Probably Dylan was holding his stomach not to throw up a disgusting fish soup he had in a British town on his live tour. The beautiful children of Liverpool and the plastic smile of Betty.

We looked through the mirror and saw no clean brush strokes or a slight distortion and artistic escape from reality. With my growing weight, I looked as ugly and as real as I could be. It was a nice short, evening visit to the National Portrait Gallery...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mark was looking down...

Mark was sitting awkwardly on his usual spot. Today he had a bit of a crumble on his fair hair. He was looking down more often than he usually does. He seemed uneasy to look up to the eyes of people passing by. He did not even say "hi', nor did he give the comforting feeling of "I'll look after your bike, don't worry". He was indifferent. It was fair. People were usually indifferent to Mark.

The Afr0-Caribbean guy walked in through the door as I was trying to pick up the mozzarella I had dropped on the floor. Hunger was getting to me and I was a bit dizzy by then. By the time I was at the mushrooms basket on the veggie shelves, the Afro-Caribbean went back on the street to collect some more rubbish. He did not look quite happy neither. Was it the weather?

It was a warm spring's night. Overcast as usual but warm, not as good as it was on the weekend. Possibly the strong headwind had them bow their heads? The guys in the local shop were on verbal abuse towards a drunken or a natural-born-tipsy lady. They were usually accommodating towards Mark and the Afro-Caribbean, though. Mark had a shelter under the tree from which he watched the knee-level cruelty.

I don't know the real name of Mark. I just made it up. I probably call him Mark now, because he clearly marks the spot where you can pass by him everyday. He does not ask for much, he is usually taken care of in one way or another. If anything, Mark has his place in this world. I didn't want to call the Afro-Caribbean guy anything, this has got nothing to do with any racial prejudice. He was a ruthless wanderer. Him and Mark were only a couple from the ruthless face of London, and of the warm ruthlesness that mixed so well with the warm spring breeze that touched my legs as Mark looked down once more. At knee-level.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Londoner moment

I have repeatedly been claiming that London is not one of the cities I feel myself completely attached to, like I do with Istanbul, Berlin or New York even, recently. However, today, I felt once again that I have somewhat become a Londoner in the last 2 years. It was not an instant of someone asking me directions and I could say it right away, no, I've been having them quite often. It was a much unexpected situation.

I was riding my bicycle from the LSE, where I work, towards Bermondsey, to attend the screening of the docu-drama "The Age of Stupid" held on a boat near a wharf, one of these converted agglomerations by the beautiful Thames riverside, where used to stand large warehouses and shipping facilities. D. had invited me to this event, held by the new ecomonics foundation. I am hoping to write on another entry about my complicated feelings and thoughts over the whole 'green' issue as well as issues of reformation and revolution... However, let me go back to my mini-story here.

I decided to cycle from the north side of the river and take the atmospheric Tower Bridge to cross over the river. It is always a joy to walk over Tower Bridge, but cycling on it is another experience. Thanks to the nice weather and long summer days, I was to have a really nice view passing over it, too. Only a few minutes before I would turn into the bridge 2 cabs almost crashed into each other in front of me, making one maneuver right in front of me, causing me a full stop, followed by a huge truck that could not anticipate my stop and passed my unprotected vehicle and self right at my ear level. After recovering from the shock, I noticed the huge queue of cars before the bridge.

As I switftly rode past the cars, I realised that the bridge was open to allow possibly for a ship to pass and people, cars, and bicycles alike have all stacked on each side of the open bridge. Just by when I got to the bridge the platform closed, the barrier between them lifted and cyclists, in front of all the cars, started pedalling through the bridge. The cars, ever impatient, started taking over some cycles, pedestrians walking on and running away from all vehicles, and tourists taking picture of all of this mess.... And there I was, in the middle of it, cycling through it as this happens every day. I saw so many tourists being so excited about this. Polish tourists (or residents alike) who never dreamt of setting a foot in London years and years ago, Italian kids as they pop up from everywhere, an Indian descent or a south American wanderer. Everyone was taking pictures of what looked like a Tour de France, or a mayhem of cars-cycles, or a mass protest, rolling down Tower Bridge, whilst the sun was setting in the west, over London Bridge, and dying beams of it reflected through the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf in the east.

Unfortunately I do not have any pictures, as I was being taken pictures of. But at that moment, in the middle of all this excitement, I was milly enjoying being observed, keeping my cool and perfect timing of getting on the bridge and trying to make it to my desired place on time. I was like a proper Londoner for that instance, and I have to admit, I liked it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Find the 7 bombs in the pictures

New York, New York... I cannot be any humble on this, as at last, after years of anticipation I got to spend 9 beautiful days with my friends in this amazing city. Not even the bad weather, a mix of crazy humidity, a lot of rain and freak thunderstorms could ruin it. All in all, I could easily say I felt at ease most times with the New Yorkers and had a smooth time with the officials alike. However, there is one incident, maybe the only negative story I'll share in here among many good ones, that I'd like to scribble down before I do the honours later with other blog posts.

On Saturday, 9 May, I woke up to a beautiful morning around Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Before heading to some parks in DUMBO and walking over into Manhattan through Brooklyn Bridge, we were having brunch with D., J. and C. talking about the fine lines between use of public and private spaces and issues of infiltrating into people's private realms through photography. Only 2 days before, on 7 May, I remember taking a picture of a large housing block, of which there was only one window open where a veiled lady was looking down onto the W 57th Street. As I took her picture (or rather the picture of the building) she drew back immediately. At the brunch table on Saturday, C. and J. were saying that you can make a picture of someone at their window and it is their responsibility to draw the curtains to avoid being exposed to the voyeurist's lens. The discussion went further on with gaining access to shooting films and photography on sets and getting the consent of locals, and etc...

In the afternoon, I decided to pay a visit to the Grand Central Station on my own. I've always been fascinated with train stations, as a railroad-commute-lover and the useles wandering arounds, or running into catching trains, or stopping by to catch some breath in train stations have always been part of my interests. For that matter, Sirkeci Train Station in Istanbul also holds an important place in my heart.

As I walked into the Grand Central for the first time and got easily fascinated by the overwhelming non-human scale of the whole "thing" I started to taking pictures of the interiors and the peope alike. I made may way into the train platforms, hoping to catch some more movement. A few poor shots and I walked back into the main concourse. I bought a bunch of cupcakes and made my way into the balconies with the fancy restaurants to have a final elevated view of the space...

At that moment I was approached from behind by a couple of cops with whom we have exchanged the following bizarre conversation:

"Sir, could you please stop?"
I stop.

"There have been complaints from staff that you were taking pictures of the train platforms, can we have a look at the pictures"?
I show them some of the pictures I took as I don't feel the need to end up an interrogation room for losing my calm for nonsense discussion.

"Why have you taken these pictures of the walls and lights, but not the main area or people? These are not pictures that normal tourists would take. Can I please see your ID? Where are you staying, what are you here for, how long are you going to be in New York"...

The rest was the similar treatment that I have gotten experienced to at the 2 stop and search incidents I had in London (2nd of which was accusation of stealing my own bicycle). The sheer differences were that in New York when they wrote down some of my ID details, they did it on a random piece of paper and did not tell me what they would to with them, whereas in London it was on a standard print-paper, a receipt of which I was handed afterwards, clearly stating all my rights (I keep one pink slip of that).

In general, in the States it has felt as if they have more experience in being suspicious but also handling situations. I would rather not mess with the American cops, as in Europe and especially in the UK, there is much greater sense of regulation. However I also have to admit that I despise the hypocritical royal attitude of the officials in the UK, whereby they take every step to make life miserable to people that are not from certain backgrounds (ethnically, or citizenship-wise (eg non-EU, non-US)).

So, after having had this small interrogation, I remembered the morning discussion over public space and asked the cops the following:
"Is there any regulation of taking pictures in here? This is a public space, right?"

I learn that the issue with the train platforms are different, that they are grey zones, that the lawas that once helped shelter the homeless are much tighter now and that they followed me because of taking pictures in the platforms. Well, one of the remarkable quotes they've used in this conversation was:
"The world has changed since the 1980's, right?"

What can I say? I was astonished by the retrospective. What a valid, self-reflective, intellectual criticism of the 1980's neo-liberal led conservative policies. Wish all cops had this edge!

In the meanwhile, can you spot the 7 hidden Usames in the following pictures I took at the station?!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

How do we debate urban design today?

A while ago, M. sent me an article from the New York Times: Rethinking Postwar Design in London. Reflected through the Robin Hood Gardens (1), a post-war social housing estate built in the early 1970's, the article analyses the successes and failures (but rather failures) of post-war design in the rush to build amidst a housing crisis. It then tries to bring contemporary solutions, by means of various design interventions, to tackle the issue without hurting too much an important part of a London identity created around the plethora of this new typology (the post-war housing) and taking into consideration sustainability and environmental issues: "Construction is one of the largest single producers of carbon dioxide. In the age of global warming, deciding to tear down and rebuild rather than think through whether a project can be salvaged has obvious ethical implications".

F. is working on her final project at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design and has taken a large social housing estate in the northeastern part of London, near Manor House: Woodberry Down Estate (2). The estate is beautifully located aroud the East and West Reservoir water basins but the fate of the estate has never been so poor. The area has an interesting story of becoming from one of the wealthier neighbourhoods of the area occupied by Jewish families, and then being compulsorily purchased by the London County Council for this quite large post-war housing development, completed in 1962. I have once been to the estate, now going through major regeneration led by Hackney Homes association. Some of the larger white houses to the south of the estate are in appalling conditions, some flats with no proper windows and the walls and the doors falling apart, revealing the interiors of the houses, probably freezing in the cold harsh winter breeze.

Yesterday afternoon we had a team meeting over a new study we wish to carry out in the office. Without going into too much detail, I can say that it is mainly to do with energy efficiency and building typologies. During consideration of what samples to examine from London's architectural heritage, we came to speak about post-war typology as a prominent one, discussing the failures of poor design and construction methods, that fail to satisfy neither the quality of life the tenants deserve today, nor the visual attractiveness the city deserves. However, in their own senses, social housing estates are realities of today's London. Living in one of them, I could not be closer to this reality than any other.

We usually make comparisons of different surroundings in big cities like London. They help us compare and contrast various projects in terms of urban form, city identity, connectivity, social assets, visual appeal, standards of living and more. The street layouts of Georgian housing communities may be greener, and more sustainable in the long-term but definitely appeal to a more individualistic and wealthier lifestyle that cease to exist in a city of today's deep global crisis, in which is now embedded are the hundreds of communities of different social backgrounds. A housing block behind a major road can give you the convenience of sociability and easy access to communal amenities but they usually are located in the impoverished and distant areas of towns.

One particular point I come across that we sometimes fail to realise in our discussions is to make fair judgments of developments in the recent urban heritage in their respective contemporary environments. A high-school friend, E., was here last summer for a few months to do an internship with a design-led sustainable small enterprise, through which he published some writings and presented a witty presentation that included a critic of single-dimension state-led design in the immediate post-war Britain (in Turkish). One of the points he eventually touched upon that relates to my point here was the desperation of the state in a financial wreck, trying to overcome a major housing shortage in a very short time. However, are we giving a fair account of the deals when looking at the appaling states of some of the day's housing solutions given the necessities of its time? Or, rather, is there a good range of discussion carried out over both the good and the bad (and eventually the ugly) examples of what was built in the post-war era, to understand whether some of the solutions did actually work its way until today?

One of today's major discussion points is the 'green' future. We have recently seen that some of the recent ambitious proposals by today's construction and developers pioneers have gone to the waste. A year has passed since Arup had to leak the news that the Dongtan project was to be halted, and today it seems like it is lost forever. Coincidentially, states are in line to boost their 'green' ambitions in the wake of the global financial crisis. However, here in Britain, there is a new urban 'crisis' that seems to set a new discussion has gone the wrong way again.

Analysing different qualities of different forms built over centuries, without taking into account the span of time and different motives behind each era is the biggest tyranny of an urban historian. Studying an historical era, I believe the historian's main to be to understand the all dynamics of the day in order to syringe out which strategies were carried out to come up with the best solution for the existing circumstances of the day. Only, this way, can we reflect on today's problems and propose potentially succesful interventions.


Robin Hood Gardens


Woodberry Down Estate

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Small intervention for the street sign on St. Antoine Church, Taksim

The street sign of Istiklal Caddesi stands overwhelmingly imposing with its shiny red backgorund over the sign depicting the name of this St. Antoine Church in Taksim. Whether this has got anything to do with ideology or not is another question but in the meanwhile, can we not think of a simple solution to this urban problem?

Instead of occupying one of the 2 columns at the gate of this beautiful and famous Catholic church in Taksim area, and overwhelming the placard depicting the name of the church....

Can we not think of putting that street sign (in a slightly smaller size) to the other column nearby which is vacant?

And in doing so, come from this:

  1. to this:

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Mr. Yellowrose, did you forget to take your rubbish with you?

Mustafa Sarigul (last name translates: Yellow Rose) had knocked on the door of my family house for the first time quite a long while ago (about 10 years). He was touring the whole district of Sisli with various colours of roses in his hand, introducing himself as the new, young candidate for the District Municipal Mayor in the 1999 local elections. Ever since he has been elected 3 times in a row, switching from the Democratic Left Party (DSP) to the Republican People's Party (CHP), and back to the DSP for the recent elections.

He won over 50% of the votes once again and remains to be a popular figure in Sisli. He is welcome both by the liberal rich due to his impressive investment in entertainment features on special occasions, investment in high-end retail development, as well as among the urban poor where he spends public money into improving schools and creating new facilities for the elderly.

However, he is also majorly criticised for paving the way for monopolisation of development in the district as well as allowing for rent-seeking policies that may end up in corruption claims.

Just 3 days after his re-election, I happened to walk by what is depicted in the pictures below. Please be reminded that the rubbish here lies just across the new, posh shopping mall "City's" and by another high-end hotel. It is also very close to the childhood home of Orhan Pamuk. Well, there may be more than one reason for why that rubbish lay so peacefully and stinky thereabouts...

"It stinks of my Mayoral election candidates here..." - Mr. Yellowrose

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Greenaway's True Cinema Definition?

Back in February 2007, on a visit to Berlin, I had come across a public talk given by the British filmmaker Peter Greenaway. A Turkish blog entry for the event is available at the following link.
For the non-Turkish speakers, the following summary should suffice for the purpose of this entry:

Greenaway gave a lecture to a full house at the Audimax of the Humboldt University in Berlin on 9 February 2007. He was surprised to see a big auditorium packed as that fine, cold Friday evening was also the opening night for Berlinale 2007. He delivered a speech he has been delivering for a while around the world, about why he thinks 'cinema has died' and there was need for a new definition for cinema. He summarised the 4 major "betrayal" characters of cinema that resulted in the 'death of it' as such:

1. Betrayal of the text
2. Betrayal of the frame (the spatial dimension)
3. Betrayal of the actor
4. Betrayal of the camera angles.

Basically, he was saying that, cinema was too much constrained by the inflexibility of the written text, the limitations of the frame, the inability of the actors to convey a potrait independent of their real-life personalities, and the limitations of capturing wide perspectives due to quasi-static attributes of camera angles.

The way forward for the cinema's new definition was in interactivity. The Tulse Luper Suitcases series he has produced in the last few years was his own way of trying this interactivity. I have to admit I could never get what he meant, maybe due to watching only bits of the T.L. Suitcases series, but I leave that up to film experts. In conclusion, a Renaissance painterly-art fetishist Greenaway has believed that there has never been a filmmaker who ever did 'real cinema', only those like Eisenstein came close to it.

I would like to divert the attention here now to an event held by the Future Cinema, a creative group who "creates large scale cinematic experiences, fusing feature film with music, theatre and live performance". One of these events is called Secret Cinema, where the audience is sent SMS/email alerts a day prior to a film screening event that is to be held at a secret location in the UK.

Future Cinema has recently held a special screening of Watchmen by the SE1 club under the railway arches of London Bridge. I was not lucky enough to get myself a ticket, but you can watch the reviews, some videos and pictures of the event at the following links provided...

Could this be the new definiton of the cinematic experience Greenaway was talking about a few years ago? Maybe little wonder it comes from the UK...

BBC 2 Video on the Event

Photos from the Event

Some Press Releases

Saturday, March 07, 2009

cyclicus orgasmus

OK, I've said enough times already but, London does have the capability of giving you an orgasmic-phantasmic cycling trips (trip, by every meanings of it) on a fine day or on a fine evening, or basically by any fine weather accompanied.

Leave your work office on a Friday evening, cycle up to Regent's Park, go around it and pray for whatever god, karma, or etc.. you believe in that you can inhale some 'green' air with such a serene panorama at your sight, with the park on your left, the canal on your right and some random runners, nice mansion houses and a few flashlights of nearby cabs...

Go up towards Swiss Cottage and you're already overwhelmed with the hardcore aristocarcy of London... Now, OK, I have to admit I always felt there are things achieveable in life even for my super-ego from the worst end to some higher up, but the bloody palaces up on the Avenue Road in NW3, NW5 Camden are fucking devastating. You're considered lucky cycling with a £50 3rd hand bicycle if not hit by a passing-by Porsche or a similarly low-bottom end car cruising past you...

No, what's so great about this goddamn city is that as soon as some of these palace-replicas end (and there actually is a building on this avenue that resembles a medieval castle, a cheesy one rather) you already see the low-income housing estate blocks of Camden at your vista, a mile or two ahead... And then you think to yourself... what a mish-mash...

You come to an incredible complex of social amenities by Swiss Cottage, including the 50-year running progressive theatre hall of Hampstead Theatre. Designed as a sphere within a very classic late-modern building, you feel as if you're entering a hi-tech, contemporary IMax movie theatre, rounded-shape giving every single of the audience a good view of the theatre hall. Then you watch a brilliant tense story of an Irish Intelligence Service in the WWII stationed in Berlin.

Think about all the bare cruelties a WWII Berlin play can bring to you and leave the theatre with these feelings on a brilliant 7-degree Celsius clear-skies night to cycle from North London into the East End, where the buildings get higher and higher in terms of building height and lower and lower in terms of income per household. Think about the gentrifier young populations of newer East Londoners as they are abundant on the street screaming at each other with a 2.5 pints of beer down the throat on a fine Friday night and look deeper into the flats to see the struggles of generations, wealth of which has been ripped off by imperial armies that are dying in the deserts of far-away lands these days with democracy sold in Great Bullocks Pounds, a currency that is shrinking by each passing second.

Cycle over the canal, get home and pour some Polish vodka into your Shandy Brass and just think about how diverse a city can get, and cry all the German words you have learned from your mid 1980's VHS German porn films... Because, my friend, this city can give you a proper orgasm.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

cezve ve saat

malum yogun bir calisma programi icerisindeyim bir kac gundur. yarindan itibaren de stresli bir 4 gun gecirecegim. bir akademik, bir lojistik organizasyonla ugrasirken, biraz yorgun dustum, az once yedigim yemegin uzerine bayginlik cokmesin diye kahve icmeye karar verdim. evde de kimse yok, hemen mutfaga yonlendim. bir iki findikli kahve falan tadinda farkli bir sey aradim ama nafile. bir anda karsima ufak, turuncumsu bir pakette dr. oetker'den cikolatte diye bir sey cikti. 4 dakikada hazir cikolatali icecek...

dolapta sut var. gene annemin aldigi light sutlerden. insan ailesinin evine 'misafir' olunca umdugu degil buldugu sutu kullanmali. bir de minnacik, sirin mi sirin bir cezve buldum. sonra cezve cok kucuk geldi emin olamadim. cezve cahilligimden de olabilir, belki tum cezveler standard boydur ama bu bana epey kucuk geldi. bakindim daha buyuk bir sey var mi diye yok. tam bu bakinma aninda mutfaktaki o derin yalnizligimi yuzume tokat gibi carpan hadise gerceklesti. mutfak dolaplarindan birinin icine bakmak icin egilirken o korkunc sesi duydum. o karsi konulmaz, atsan atilmaz, satsan satilmaz, benligimin taa derinlerine yer etmis, sikintili dakikalarin, ozenle kuru temizlemecide temizlenmis hali kokularinin ve ucu kacmis coraplarimdan utanip sikilmalarimin o dayailmaz sesi!

basimi kaldirdim ve o minik saati gordum. tik, tok, tik, tok... dede ziyaretlerinde, dede otoritesinin altinda akip gitmeyen zamani kafam demir cubuklarla vurur gibi, minik minik gozlerle ve nefret ve merakla baktigim duvar saatindekinden daha kalin, eksi evlerde sabah ezanina uyanmaya calisan babaannelerin basucu saatindeki alarm zilinden daha derin, bu minik kutudan nasil ciktigi anlasilamayan o hipnotik tik tok... dede evinin kutuphanesindeki devasa meydan larousse'lar zamana ve artik eve gidip uyumak isteyen toruna meydan okurken o duvardaki ihtisami ile, deprem bile olsa en son yikilacakmis gibi duran duvar saati hep boyle benligime yer etmistir iste.

neyse daha buyuk bir cezvede bulamadim ama 2 bardak sut ile paketteki toz bu cezveye yetince basladim kaynatmaya cikolatteyi. yanlis mi yaptim bilmiyorum ama tahta kasikla da iyiden iyiye karistiriyorum toz parcaciklarini, obek obek hallerinin, sutun icinde parcalanmalarini izleyerek. ve tam o anda tahta kasigin ucu bakir cezvenin dibine degiyor. iste o keyif ani! tahta kasik ile cezvenin bulusmasindan gelen o 'hovka', 'hovka' efekti. ben 4 dakikalik pisirme aninda hovka hovka'larimla saatin tik tok'unu ekarte ederken muthis bir doygunluk ile sutun kararip tam cikolata kivamina gelmesini izliyorum.

neyse, sonunda kahve yerine bu garip seyi ictim, iyi de oldu, enerji verdi. "zihin acikligi" da. mutfagin isigini kapadim saati de biraktim tik tok'uyla bas basa. hakkini da yememek lazim, o olmasaydi 4 dakikanin gectigini falan anlamaz, muhtemelen cikolatte'nin dibini tutturur ya da cezveyi hirpalardim.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Besiktas - Berlin

Cok hizli ve uzun bir hafta oldu.

3 Subat Sali aksami F. ile kisaca gorustukten sonra, Sabiha Gokcen Havalimani’nin yolunu tuttum. Yolda durup, Kurtkoy civarinda bir pideciden pideyi kapip, otoban ruzgarinda soguttugum pideyi yerken onumdeki uzun (9 gunluk) bir haftanin programi sekillenmisti.

Sali gecesi Londra’ya vardigimda, sehir 2 gunluk kar firtinasindan (1 Subat - 2 Subat) yeni yeni uyaniyordu. Rotarli, bol aktarmali yolculugum, Istanbul’daki evimden, Londra’da D.’nin evine kadar toplam 10 saatlik bir maceraya donustu.

Carsamba sabahi 6 saatlik bir uykuyla solugu Londra Alman Elciligi’nde aldim, Schengen Basvurusu icin. Henuz 6 haftalik bir Ingiltere Vizesi macerasini yeni noktalamistim ama Almanlarin 6 aylik bir turist vizesi icin cok sorun cikartmayacagini biliyordum.

Ertesi sabah Persembe saat 10’da tekrar Elcilik’e gittigimde, Schengen vizesi hazir, LSE’de Urban Age Ofisi’nde beni beklemeye devam eden isler de aynen duruyordu. Carsamba gecesi Turk yemegi gecesi yapmis, bol bol raki ve uzerine mangolu Malibu ictikten sonra, soguk Londra havasi Persembe sabahi zihnimi tekrar acmisti. Persembe tum gunu ve Cuma gununun onemli bir kismini yogun bir calisma temposu altinda Urban Age ofisinde gecirdim.

Cuma gunu ogleden sonra saat 4 civarlarinda Liverpool Street Station’da, Stansted Havalimani’na gidecek treni beklerken, ‘kotu hava kosullari’ndan oturu binmeyi planladigim trenlerden birinin iptal oldugunu gordum. Neyse ki, ucusta bir aksama olmadi ve 6 Subat Cuma gecesi saat 11 civarlarinda Salzburg’daki hostele sag salim vardik.

2 saatlik bir yuruyus; birkac ilginc shot (aralarinda muz likoru, Kahlua ve Vodka karisimi “Monkey Fucker” da bulunan) ve peynirli bir sosisli sandvic (Käse Kreiner) ile Salzburg’u hemence gezip gece biraz uyku icin hostele dondum. 5-6 saatlik bir uykunun ardindan Cumartesi erkenden kalkip Zell am See’nin yolunu tuttuk.

2.5 gunluk bu kayak tatili, taa Aralik ayinda planlanmis, ucak biletleri ona gore alinmisti. Aralik-Ocak aylarindaki Ingiltere Vizesi sikintisi hesaba katilmamisti. Dolayisiyla yeniden planlama cok pahali olacagi icin solugu Londra’da alir almaz Schengen vizesine basvurmus, boyle sikisik bir programin ortasinda kendimi Zell am See’de bulmustum.

Zell am See, Avusturya’nin batisinda, Salzburg’a yaklasik 1.5 saat mesafede, genis bir vadiye yayilmis, buzlarla kapli bir golun etrafindaki daglara konuslanmis bir kayak merkezi. Hava guzel oldugunda pistlerden Zeller See golunu izleyerek kayabiliyorsunuz. Cumartesi oglene dogru hostele vardiktan sonra, snowboard kiralama, skipass alma teferruatlarini atlatip saat 1 gibi pistlerdeydik. Havanin cok guzel olmasi cok buyuk bir sansti.

Uzun haftanin ilk yarisi sona ererken vucudum artik iflas etmek uzereydi. Cumartesi aksamustu saat 9’da uyuyup, ertesi sabah 8’de uyanarak 11 saatlik bir uyku festivali yasadim. Aralarda 6-7 kere uyanmama regmenm vucudum yataktan disari adim atacak mecali hic bulamadi. Sabah 8’de yataktan kalktiimda susuzluk ve asiri uykunun verdigi yorgunlukla kendimi hemen kahvalti salonuna attim.

Pazar hava cok kotuydu, ama Zell am See kayak merkezinin yamaclarindan biri, tepedeki ruzgarlara gore korunakli ve daha az kullanan kirmizi pistlere ev sahipligi yaptigi icin, Pazar gununu burada kayarak gecirdik. Pazar aksami klasik Avusturya yemekleri ve kesinlkle ugruna siirler yazilacak guzellikte irkci bir isme sahip Moor im Hemd ile tatli sonlandi.

Pazartesi Zell am See’nin hemen yanindaki, Kaprun isimli, genis buzul vadisi ile biraz daha soguk ama kayak icin de daha fazla alternatif sunan merkeze hareket ettik. Merkezin ortasindaki tamami kar ve buzdan yapilmis Ice Bar kompleksinin icinde birkac fotograf cekip, bir seyler yiyip ictikten sonra, ogleden sonra saat 3 gibi boardlari teslim etmek, esyalari almak, ve Zell am See’den ayrilmak uzere tekrar asagi dogru yollandik.

Schengen vizemi bu kadar acele icinde cikartmamin bir iyi yani daha olmustu. Pazartesi aksami D. ile yollarimiz Salzburg Tren Istasyonu’nda ayrildi. Saat 19:30 treni ile Viyana’nin yolunu tuttum. Avusturya’nin sagladigi yuksek hayat standardlarindan birini de, bos trende tamamen kendime ayirdigim 6 kisilik bir kompartmanda dinlenerek, uyuyarak ve film seyrederek yasadim. Saat 22:24 civarinda F. beni Viyana Westbahnhof’da karsiladiginda, bu guzel sehre kisa bir sureliginde olsa tekrar donus yaptigim icin mutludum.

Viyana’da topu topu gecirecegim 7 saatim vardi. Plan belliydi. Esyalari F.’nin evine birakip, O. ve E. ile bulusup sabahin erken saatlerine kadar muhabbet edip, esyalari tekrar aldiktan sonra Viyana Sudbahnhof’un yolunu tutmak... Gece yarisini biraz gece basladigimiz muhabbet sabahin erken saatlerine dogru bira bardaklarini devirmece, mekanin ortaklarindan Avusturyali Turk gocmeni genc Yusuf (sanirim) ile tanismaca, onun yardimlari ile neredeyse O. ve E.’yi spontan bir sekilde yolculugun devamia katilmaya ikna etmece ile evrildi. “Spontan” benim pek asina oldugum bir kavram olmakla birlikte, gecenin onemli masa muhabbetlerinden de biri oldu.

Saat 04:30’a dogru evlere hareket edilirken, icimden bir ses, esyalarini toparlamaya giden O. ve E.’nin her an yan cizebilecegini soyluyordu. Nitekim saat 05:00 civarlarinda O.’nun klasik bezginligi agir basti, ve 05:56’da Sudbahnhof’dan hareket eden trende yerlerini almadilar.

10 saatlik bir yolculukta karli manzaralar komur siyahindan beton beyazina, endustriyel mimari kir evlerine yerini birakirken, Cek Cumhuriyeti’ni boydan boya katedip saat 16:00 civarlarinda Berlin Hauptbahnhof’a yanasti tren. Uzun haftanin son duragi, artik okuyanlarin ve duyanlarin sikildigini tahmin ettigim betimlememle ‘en sevdigim sehir’ Berlin’di.

Uykusuz Viyana cikartmasina ve ceyrek uykulu Berlin tren macerasina eslik eden onemli telefon ve Internet haberlesmeleri olmustu. 10 Subat Sali gunu saat 17:00 civarinda Potsdamer Platz’da Berlinale merkezinde emaillerimi kontrol ederken, Urban Age’den Philipp Rode bir yandan telefonla taciz ediyor, ben de o sirada Pazartesi ve Sali biriken, ‘is hayatimin’ en yogun trafigine neden olan 35-40 emaili teker teker anlamaya calisiyordum.

Hic beklemedigim bir sekilde 1.5 gunluk Berlin gezisi bir anda en az 9-10 saat calismam gereken bir “is kampi”na donusmustu. Buna mukabil kafami toparlayabilmek ve rahat calisabilmek adina daha once sozlestigim Y. ve G.’yi aramayarak, 5. Berlin gezimde ilk defa olmak uzere parali bir konaklama opsiyonu ugruna Rosa-Luxemburg Platz dolaylarindaki hostellere yollandik.

Berlinale’de film gorme planlarim tamamen yalan olmak uzereydi ve 10 Subat Sali aksaminin onemli bir kismini hostelde laptopumla calisarak gecirmistim ki, saat gece 11:30’a dogru daha fazla kendimi sikmamaya karar vererek, Tacheles’in yolunu tutup F., S. (Dn.), Y. ve A. ile bulustum. Gece gene saat 04:30a dogru sonlanirken ertesi sabah 07:30 da kalkip hostelin barina kahvalti esliginde mail-telefon trafigine baslayacagim fikri hic hosuma gitmiyordu.

11 Subat Carsamba gunu hafif bir kirilganlik ile uyandim. 2.5 saatlik var ile yok arasi bir uykuyu 3 bardak portakal suyu ve 2 kahve ile bertaraf etmeye calisip sabah seansi calismami yaptiktan sonra, Berlinale kapsaminda Talent Campus programinda soylesiye katilan Reha Erdem ve Yesim Ustaoglu’nu dinlemek uzere HAU 1’in yolunu tuttum.

Urban Age’deki isim uzerinden, tesadufen daha 1 hafta once Londra’da (5 Ocak Persembe gunu) bir email trafigi ile tanistigim D.2 bu etkinlik icin davetiye hazirlamisti. Zira bu soylesi ayni zamanda Urban Age’in de finansoru olan Deutsche Bank’in Alfred Herrhausen Society’si tarafindan organize ediliyordu. Bu sayede soylesiyi biraz dinledikten sonra HAU 1’in fuayesinde Londra’dan gelecek is telefonunu beklerken, Alfred Herrhausen’dan D.2, Jessica Barthel, ve Ute Weiland ile tanisma sansina da eristim.

Bu sirada soylesinin cikisinda liseden arkadasim C.’ye ve universiteden arkadasim S.’ye rastladim. S., C.’nin kiz arkadasi, ve iki kiz daha Berlinale Talent Campus tarafindan, filmcilik alanindaki ustun yeteneklerinden oturu yaptiklari basvuru sonucunda Berlinale’ye davet edilmis, 5 gunluk bir atolye calismasinin son gununde Reha Erdem ve Yesim Ustaoglu’nu dinleyerek etkinligi destekleyemeye gelmislerdi. Isin ilginc yani, yaklasik 2-3 senedir kendisini gormedigim C.’ye bundan sadece 2 hafta once bir gece yarisi Besiktas Ihlamurdere’de rastlamis olmamdi. Ben komsum-arkadasim F.2 ile yaptigim kisa bir yuruyusun ardindan eve donerken, C. de Fulya’da yaptigi bir hali saha macinin ardindan evine dogru gidiyordu. Dunya hep kucuk ya, en cok da Berlin’de karsilasilan bu tesadufler beni epey bagliyor bu sehre galiba.

Potsdamer Platz’da bir cafe’de emailleri kontrol ettikten sonra D.2’nin daveti uzerine Unter den Linden’daki Deutsche Bank ofisine gittim. Kendisi ile verimli bir gorusme yaptik. Su anda Urban Age Direktoru icin ayarlamaya calistigim 18-21 Subat Istanbul toplantilari icin bana fikir verip yardimlarda bulunurken, biraz da dedikoducu ve ilgili tavri sayesinde oradan buradan muhabbetlerle epey ilginc haberler aldim.

Carsamba aksamina dogru atesim cikmaya, hastaligim iyice belirginlesmeye baslamisti. Burada fazla detaya girmeyecegim bir hadise uzerine de, daha once gerceklesmesini planladigim ve eski kiz arkadasim A.’nin da dahil oldugu bir 3luyu gorusmeye katilmamama A. ile birlikte karar verdik. Cok acikmistim ve cok sevdigim bir yerde bir aksam yemegi programi idi bu (Tiergarten S Bahn duraginin altindaki Alman pub’i) ama onun yerine acligimi Alexanderplatz istasyonundaki bir Cin bufesinden devasa bir noodle box ile kapatmaya karar verdim.

Saat aksam 6 civarinda hostele dondugumde uzun haftanin yorgunlugu, hastalik ile birlesmis agirligini iyiden iyiye hissetiriyordu. Fotografini birkac hafta once Istanbul Modern’de bir muzede de gordugum dogu Berlin’in unlu sinemalarindan Babylon’la ayni koseyi paylasan sokaktaki hostelimde yaptigim 2 saatlik is calismasindan sonra odaya donerek Berlinale programina son bir kez goz gezdirdim.

Saat 9’daki filme bilet bulamadik ama saat 10’da Potsdamer Platz’daki kisa filmlere gidebildik. Film gosteriminin yuzdek 80’ini uyuyarak gecirdigim icin, 1 kisa film disinda digerlerinin cogundan cok az sey anlayabildim. Gene detaylarina girmeyecegim bir aksamustu hikayesi olarak, keyif ve temp dozu dusuk gece saat 12’ye dogru agir bir hastalik uykusuna yolculukla sona erdi.

Sabah 8 gibi kalktim. Dune gore daha iyi hissederek. Bogazimda beklentilerimin cok altinda bir agri var ve belki de yarina kadar bir seyim kalmaz. Saat 10:30’a dogru Tegel Havalimani’na vardim. Ilk defa Urban Age ucus biletlerimi almisti. Zira Istanbul’a, Urban Age ile ilgili bir is icin donuyorum. 2 hafta daha Istanbul’dayim ve sonrasi Londra’da yeni bir hayat mucadelesine donusecek.

Besiktas’tan Berlin’e, uzun, yorucu, karmasik, genelde soguk, buzlu, karli ve gene hayatin inanilmaz temposuna girdiginizde sizi asla birakmayan o muthis enerjinin verdigi anlatilamaz hislerle eve dogru gidiyorum. Uzuuuunn ve guzel bir haftanin ardindan. Fotograflarina bakip yamaclarina gittigim mekanlarla, farkli cografyalarda hikayelerine birlikte baslayip birlikte bitirdigim guzel insanlarla ve bohcamda Y.’ye alip hediye edemedigim bir paket Mozartkugeln ve bircok bircok aniyla gene eve dogru donuyorum. Her defasinda yeni bir gozle bakmayi ogrendigim essiz guzellik ve essiz cirkinlikteki Istanbulumun silueti yagmur bulutlarinin arasinda hayal meyal secilen yeni gokdelenleri ve yigin yigin uzanan kirmizi damlari ile, sonsuz ceperlerini zorlayarak etrafindaki batakliklara yayilirken, son bir kez hemen altimizda enginlige uzanan, goz alabildigine masmavi Karadeniz’e son bir bakis atiyorum.