Archive for June, 2013

is the netherlands becoming a less livable place?

according to the dutchnews, which i still read occasionally, there will be further cuts in the field of education in the netherlands. the budgets of the special schools for the students with learning difficulties are being cut, and some of these schools are going to be closed. that is pity.

netherlands was used to be known as a welfare state, providing many different kinds of support for its citizens. this image is decaying nowadays. i have heard about financial cuts in social services and education. but not yet heard about any cuts in security or military. cutting the financial support of the needy, and continuing to support the most powerful sectors of the state? no this does not seem fair. this is not a citizen-friendly image of a welfare state. here, i only see a state protecting its own raison d’être. (inner voice: can any state be citizen-friendly on earth?)

few years ago, i was thinking that living in the netherlands for a couple of years, or even a decade, would be a nice idea for me. now, i would say no. no, thanks. but i could still be buitenpromovendus. thanks.

thesis topic brainstorm

nowadays i am trying to write my thesis. most of the time procrastinating. i do not remember if i wrote about my thesis topic before. today i wanted to write a section on the refugee integration policies of the ottoman empire. i was planning to write about the Muhacirin Komisyonu, Emigrant/Refugee Commission, which was formed by the Ottoman government to deal with the outburst of refugees coming mostly from ex-Ottoman territories.

Now i am going to do some brainstorming, just to relax myself before i start writing.

This commission was formed in 1860. and lasted only couple of years. ottoman state thought that refugee flows would stop, after the crimean war. but many refugees continued coming. so, this commission was re-established under a different name. more active this time. they provided with many kinds of aid to the refugees. not just the financial aid. food and subsidy were given to them. empty lands were given for the agriculturalists. news houses were built for them. refugee children were sent to schools. the local people were expected to participate in all these activities of helping the newcomers. without their participation this would have been impossible, i think.

according to some historians of ottoman empire, formation of this commission and immigration-integration policies of the ottoman empire was very professional and modern attempts of dealing with refugees compared to other states of the time. these ottoman policies were there even before the establishment of unchr (united nations high commissioner for refugees). so, they argue, the ottomans were the pioneers of this field.

do I agree?

don’t know. i do not think that there was a conscious systematic long term policy making. the ottoman officials acted mostly in a pragmatic way.

interesThings in Turkey

interesting things are happening in Turkey. i do not want to comment on the main issue of conflict, i just want to write about the things that i seriously do not understand. i am against destruction of the park, or any park. i did not like the proposed project.

for me these kinds of projects are not more than invention of traditions. and this reflects the confusion of the government people about the ottoman history. these guys are fans of the ottoman empire, are not they? but which ottoman empire? i assume the so-called golden age ottoman empire. i assume so, because they constantly refer to the sultans of this age. especially mehmed the conqueror, selim the yavuz, and süleyman the magnificent. as recently announced, the third bridge on the bosphorus will be named after yavuz selim. this is another point of debate in turkey, anyways. and the proposed project to be implemented in place of this park belongs to the late ottoman period. this period was very very very and very different from the golden age in various aspects. the sultans of this period implemented several reforms and projects of westernization, like the barracks in question. i know it is not appropriate to say it this way, but this period can even be considered as a period of secularization. i know, i know it does not sound good. this is the argument of some republican scholars of Turkey, like Niyazi Berkes. i am saying this to highlight the difference between earlier and later periods of the ottoman empire and trying to attract the attention of my imaginary readers. this difference was very apparent, and it was not difficult to interpret the developments of the late ottoman times as attempts of secularization. if the guys in turkish government had lived in the later period of the empire, they would probably have been against these reforms and probably against the construction of this barracks at that time. they are not compatible with their mentalities. this was the first thing that i do not understand in these days.

second thing is on a different issue. the protestors and the supporters of protestors, maybe there are some exemptions, are complaining about turkish mainstream media for not being objective. they do not reflect the police violence, they stand with the government, they are not critical enough etc etc. ok we all know that. is any kind of objectivity possible on any place of this world? no, i do not think so. and the weird thing comes now. these people call the mainstream international media for help. i cannot believe this! how come? this international media, cnn and others, and being objective? let us suppose they broadcast these gezi news objectively. but please remember their other incidents. they do not reflect the reality in palestine or in the prison of abu ghuraib. even the news of the anti-capitalist protests during the international meetings. how one, being aware of their disputable objectivity, could call them for help? that is also something that my mind could not deal with.

there are also other points, but i have to write my thesis.
i hope to write more about my confusions soon. like on the referendum issue.