The book launch commemorating the establishment of the first Turkish Association established in Europe (London) in 1951.

Avrupa'nin ilk Turk dernegi - Kapak
Avrupa’nin ilk Turk dernegi – Kapak

The launch is scheduled to take place at the Kingsway Hall Hotel in Covent Garden on the evening of 19th April 2012. This is to help celebrate with the book launch commemorating the establishment of the first Turkish Association in which the former President of Northern Cyprus Mr. Rauf Denktas, the Ambassador of Turkey to London and also the Head of the Turkish Consulate in London as well as other prominent people have contributed.

The Association since 1951 has helped to disseminate information on education, immigration, housing and other social issues of the time, to the wider community by raising their awareness with the support of key figures from the world of politics primarily from Cyprus and Turkey. The Association attracted some of the most talented individuals such as the Nobel Peace prize nominee  Osman Turkay amongst its members and active supporters.

The Cyprus Turkish Association was established in Soho, London. Sociologist, producer and director Ms. Semra Eren-Nijhar has worked over several years in the archives of the Association and compiled the book – ‘The First Turkish Association in Europe – Cyprus Turkish Association’ . The CTA has its office and building at the heart of London in Soho and prides itself as a self help and resilient organisation that has kept the torch of harmony and integration burning despite the many challenges.

At this important juncture in the political, social and economic landscape in London and across the world, it is an honour to mark the occasion with distinguished guests and supporters that form the cream of the Turkish community from the across the UK. We expect to have many distinguished guests from Turkey as well as from other communities including London Mayoral Candidates and other dignitaries at the event with wide range of media also present for the event coverage.

The event is jointly hosted by the chair of the Association:

Mustafa Gencsoy of the Cyprus Turkish Association, Tel: 020 7437 4940

Author of the book: Semra Eren-Nijhar (SUNCUT Consulting), semra.e.n@suncut.co.uk

Note: The book Launch took place as it is scheduled. Please see the pictures below.

No Higher Honor, A Memoir of My Years in Washington, Condoleezza Rice, Crown Publishers, NY, 2011

The book opens with a two page map of the Middle East extending to Pakistan on the east and Sudan in the south and an enlarged map of Israel in the corner. And yet the book is by the Secretary of State of the United States, Condoleezza Rica, from Birmingham, Alabama, who now teaches at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.  She was the 66th U.S. Secretary of State of Bush administration from 2001 to 2008, following her services as the national security advisor, first woman to hold such a position. She is also the author of a book, “Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family.”

Checking the index and looking for entrees on Turkey out of habit, I saw there was a reference to Ataturk on page 331, but not to the leader himself, but to his photograph in the prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Office, which Rice portrays as rather a dark place with heavy red curtains and surrounded by photographs of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, also commenting, “I had a momentary sense that Turkey is indeed not quite European.” Rice also writes at the beginning of the chapter that “Recep Tayyip Erdogan was somewhat harder to read.”

Rice writes about Kemalism as a doctrine of secularism which has allowed Turkey to modernize but not to fully democratize. She also writes that the newly elected AKP (Justice and Development Party) allowed the Islamic leaders to take the reins, although insisting that they had no intention of turning Turkey into a theocracy but wanted to rebalance the society and give religious expression and religious people a place in the public square. Rice summarizes Turkish-American relations (p. 329-333), stating that Turkey was providing evidence that democracy and Islam could exist side by side. [Read more…]

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, Dec 2011

Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, Simon & Schuster, December 2011

Reading biographies of famous people and world leaders is always fun and educational, especially during dreary winter days. The libraries are full of them, from Attila the Hun to Stalin, from Truman to Ataturk, the greatest leader of the 20th century, although Time dropped him from its list of “Important Persons of the 20th Century” in 1999.

The biography of Steve Jobs by a former editor of Time, Walter Isaacson, is a masterpiece that makes a reader to “Think Differently”, using one of Jobs quotes, about the lives of geniuses, the creation of companies, friendship and the life itself and death. One of the comments in the 630 page book is about a servant who follows a victorious general paraded through the streets of Rome with a job to repeat to him, “Memento mori?- Remember you will die”, (P.461.) According to Isaacson, Steve Jobs always remembered that one day he would die. After he was diagnosed for cancer in 2000, he died in October 2011.

Like millions around the world, I have always been fascinated with the computers every time I sit in front of one, be it at work, libraries or home. What an incredible device, I tell myself, and wonder how it all works. I never owned an Apple computer or any of the Apple products, iMac computers, iPods, iPhones or the iPads sold at the Apple stores, including the magnificent store in Manhattan that Steve Jobs himself designed. However, I followed the developments in the computer industry like everyone else and the lives of many pioneers who ushered the computer age and the life of Steve Jobs, the genius who changed the world. I was surprised that Steve Jobs was not picked as the “Person of the Year” in 1984, when he first introduced the Macintosh computer, instead giving that honor to Computers, although Steve fancied that he would be picked, as told in the book. Perhaps, to make up for this, Time has issued a 96 page special “Commemorative Issue” in December 2011 that chronicles the life of Steve Jobs, including a section which shows that he was on the cover of Time 8 times but never as the Person of the Year. [Read more…]

Book Review with Questions: Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty

Islam Without Extremes

Islam Without Extremes

Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty, (In English), By Mustafa Akyol, W.W. Norton & Company, Ltd. New York & London, 2011

Mustafa Akyol, a graduate of Bogazici University (formerly Robert College), is a young Turkish writer and commentator who has written a very ambitious book, “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty”, which seems to be the product of a very wide reading, evidenced with references to many writers, professors, Christian scholars, almost on every subject on Islam. However, one thing that strikes the reader is the absence of any references to Turkish writers, except a few, especially to Prof. Ilhan Arsel, who has written many books on Islam (1). The quotes that Mustafa Akyol uses to explain Islam and to defend certain aspects, such as Shariah, are from the likes of Hans Kung, Karen Armstrong, Fazlur Rahman, etc., but there is no reference to Ilhan Arsel’s book, “Seriat ve Kadin – Shariah and Women” or any book that explains Mustafa kemal Atatukr’s view on Islam. [Read more…]

Turkish Tea and Open Letter to Katherina Branning in the United States of America

Open Letter to Katherina Branning in the United States of America on her book, ‘’Yes, I would Love Another Cup of Tea: An American Woman’s Letters to turkey’’

After receiving notices from perhaps over a dozen websites and friends, including TAC Alumni Association group and the Association of Turkish-American Architects, Engineers and Scientists in New York,  I finally had a chance to watch your video ‘’Yes, I would Love Another Cup of Tea,’’ introducing Turkey and Turks (http://analiztv.aktifhaber.com/news_detail.php?id=26264), during an international summit in İstanbul, where even the US Vice President Joe Biden, known for his anti-Turkish stand on some issues, praised Turkey and Turks during his speech at the Summit on Global Entrepreneurship (Dec 3-6, 2011). Needless to say, you are now a fan of thousands of Turkish-Americans and Turks around the world, as many have voiced their opinions, and I am sure many more will become your friend after reading your book, “Yes I Would Love another Cup of Tea: An American Woman’s Letters to turkey” published by Pacifica Institue. [Read more…]

The World’s 100 Most Important Places – An Illustrated Journey

Safranbolu Homes

Safranbolu Homes

Time magazine has added another interesting book to it series on different subjects. The World’s 100 Most Important Places is an interesting work edited by Richard Stengel but unfortunately includes only one place from Turkiye, the most historical country and the centre of the world.

The places have been presented under 9 classifications with photographs and include:

Cultures, Religion, Society, Politics, Civilizations (Istanbul is in this section), Battles, Inquiry, Innovation and Arts.

For those interested in this type of lists, the world’s oldest sanctuary, the 12,000 year old Gobekli Tepe–The Hill with a Belly, is located near Sanli Urfa, known as the “City of the Prophets”, home to the tombs of Prophet Abraham and others. National geographic recently had a 15 page article on the site complete with many photographs. The 9,000 year old Catalhoyuk, located near Konya, is another important center of civilization and home to the tomb of Mevlana Celaladdini Rumi, revered by millions including Americans for his love of humanity. Many publications wrote about this historical site where excavations are still continuing. Both of these archeological sites and the cities of Sanli Urfa and Konya deserve to be included in the list. [Read more…]

Anti-Turkish Propaganda in Western Books

Below is a commentary on a sample of books that Americans read and form a bad image of Turks and Turkey in their minds. We need to start acting to correct this situation by talking with the authors, the publishers, the promoters, the professors, the libraries etc.

Ref. 1 – Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story

The world now know that President Bush created a bad image of US with his horrible decisions which reulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq. President Bush has been declared as the worst president of US# taking over the title from Presindet Woodrow Wilson who held that t’tle ever s’nce he came up with his 14 point agenda for a new world oder. H’s ambassador to the Ottoman Emire# who publicly adfvocated the expulsion of Turks from Europe has been declared as the wqorst US Ambassador. [Read more…]

Power, Faith and Fantasy – America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present

by Michael B. Oren, a senior American – Israeli fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem who lives there with his wife and three children. Published in 2007.

The book is a survey of U.S. involvement in the Middle East over the past 230 years, beginning in 1776, with a chronology of events listing major events from 1776 to 2006 and presents a map of the Middle East and Israel.

 

For the year 1923, the following is noted:

 

1923 – Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet is published.

 

There is no mention of the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 and incredibly, nothing about the accomplishments of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,who is still an inspiration to many leaders in the Middle East and other countries around the world. This is what Michael B. Oren writes about Mustafa Kemal under the title “Postwar Postmortem.”

[Read more…]

Books on TURKS and TÜRKİYE in Pejorative Terms

Yuksel Oktay

Yuksel Oktay

The American professor, Justin McCharty, in his book ‘’Who are the Turks’’, prepared for teachers, begins Lesson 1 with the following statement: History books tend to represent the Turks in a somewhat negative fashion and current newspapers, especially in Europe, refer to Turks in pejorative (1) terms. However, the name is historical in origin and often geographic in location. Students need to look at the issue of Turkish identity and try to determine the factors which help contribute to the name ‘’Turk.’’ (2).

Although the above statement is for students, it also applies to the general public and to teachers and professors. There are hundreds and thousands of books on Turks and Türkiye, published in English and in many other languages, which reflect the above sentiment. A book published by Pandora bookstore in İstanbul, ‘’Books on Turkey’’ lists over 2,000 in 15 different categories. The book is not limited to works on Türkiye and also includes historical, cultural, social, and political research carried out on countries extending from the Balkans to the Middle East. In the introduction, the aim of the book is stated to be the familiarization of Turkey, as well as presenting a functional manual for academics, researchers, and for those who want to get informed about Turkey (3).

[Read more…]

Rebel Land – Unraveling the Riddle of History in a Turkish Town (Varto)

By Christopher de Bellaigue, The Penguin Press, New York, 2010

The cover of the book includes a photograph of a man and his daughter, both sad looking, and a praise for the book by Orhan pamuk, “A finely written, brave, and very personal book.” These are enough to turn one off from reading the book, but I did it anyway after a friend asked me for a review. After searching several book stores, and being told that the book was withdrawn due to lack of interest, even at Barnes & Noble in Princeton, I located a copy at the Warren County Public Library in Washington NJ and read it over the weekend.

Evidently, the author decided to write the book after one of his articles in the New York Review of Books was rebuked by James Russell, a professor of Armenian studies at Harvard for stating that half a million Armenians died during the First World War when Armenians revolted against their government and, as a consequence, were re-located. Mr. Russell in his letter to the New York Review of Books repeated what many Armenians and their supporters claim shamelessly that 1.5 million Armenians died, which has been proven to be a lie and a fabrication (1). No one knows exactly how many Armenians, Turks, Kurds and others died during the conflict which was started by the Armenians long before 1915. [Read more…]