To Be European – Begumhan Idil Aydin

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In the world, there are different regions which have unique characteristics. Also people who live in different regions have their own cultures and customs. Of course, those differences be formed by us according to life experience and the situations.

Ozlem Ozer who is Turkish, was born in Bielefeld, Germany decided to continue her life in there. She prefers to live in Germany rather than Turkey. Despite those two countries belong to Europe, Germany has better life conditions. Of course, in the beginning it was not her decision but later on when she realizes that life is much better and easier in Germany because they have advanced human rights, so she makes sure about her decision.

Her family moved to Germany many years ago. First, her father moved to find a job. After when he got married with his wife, he took her too. At the beginning, they thought that they would move one day back to their home country, but till today they are still living in Germany.

She thought that it is easier for her to live in Germany because she was born there and also studied there. She doesn’t know the opposite way and how it feels like to live in Turkey.

After she graduated University, she moved to Frankfurt and started working in a computer programming company which called “ReadSoft”. She thought that also living in Germany is good for her because she grow up learning German which is a common and a valid language in all over the world. She told that there are some cultural differences in private and the work life but you have to be open to the other cultures and you have to show up self-confidence. Because if you show respect to the others, you will get it back too.

Being a Turkish in Germany is a complicated thing. There are some people who won’t accept you because of your origin and especially because of your religion.

She almost spent all her summer vacations in Turkey. She told that without no doubt, she loves Turkey. But somehow she feels her home is Germany. Home means for being with family and friends that’s why she feels like this. She thought that it is a special gift to have the possibility to grow up with two cultures. You grow up more open-minded and respectfully to other cultures. Also it is a good advantage to contact easily with new people from all over the world.

Living and working in Germany or other countries of Europe means that you have high standard conditions because the gap between poor and rich people is not so big as in other countries.

And also the most important reason that realize everything is “European Union” that has many meanings inside of it. The social advantage is going abroad without visa. In most of European countries except Turkey, they have many rights about workers. Many cooperations on issues of national security. They protected from exploitation, in addition consumers are granted consumer rights not seen almost anywhere else in the world. These European countries have a greater influence with world affairs, as they represent themselves and are represented by the EU. And they have many privileges in health insurance. They have a special card which called “Health Insurance Card” that if you get injured in any EU country, you can get the same medical care like the citizen of that country. Also those countries don’t have strict conflictions about politics because they are educated and they know how to respect each other.

Ozlem said that “ In every country, there are many differences of thoughts about politics. But the most important thing is to respect each other. For example, I think that Turkey is lack of this position. But in Germany, people have their own rights like freedom of speech. Of course it depends on regions but we see that it is also depends on the countries like Germany and Turkey.”

Regions have their own cultures,politics,economics and many differences. Ozlem is a member of European region and she is very lucky because Europe has many privileges more than the other regions. 

Begumhan Idil Aydin

Discovering Andorra

BbOBgudIYAApJNq.jpg-large We are used to hear news about Germany, France, Great Britain… but in the European scenario there are some states of very small size, like is the case of Andorra.  Well, as I am a citizen from Andorra, and I had the opportunity to interview the ambassador of Andorra in Spain, Mr. Jaume Gaytán(Picture I him and myself), by this article I will prove you how influential can be the international role of Andorra today.

First of all I will introduce to you the main character of this interview; his name is Jaume Gaytan, born in 1972 in Andorra la Vella. In regard to his professional career he is graduated in Economics and he also coursed a master in International Relations in Madrid. He had been ambassador in Portugal since 2007 until 2009, and has been responsible for multilateral affairs in the minister of foreign Affairs in Andorra la Vella. Now he is ambassador of Andorra in Spain.

We started our conversation talking about the particular political system of Andorra; once I asked him about that, Ambassador Gaytán defined Andorra as a parliamentary co-principality. That means that the General Council acts as the national parliament, elected sovereignly; the parliament designs the prime minister and the prime minister runs the government together with the ministers that he designates. A very curious institution is the figure of the head of state, who are still the Co-Princes; they keep an historical role, but nowadays their power is much limited compared with their role before the Constitution.

14th march of 1993 was a very important date in our history, as that day was approved by referendum the first Constitution of Andorra, solving definitively the question of Andorran sovereignty and giving Andorra its own international personality. Before that date the sovereignty was in the hands of the Co-Princes, the president of France (French Co-Prince) and the Bishop of Urgell (Episcopal Co-Prince) as a result of a peace agreement dated in 1278.

As long as I was speaking with Jaume we both agreed that sometimes is frustrating to confirm that Andorra is not yet a well-known country. This situation reminds me a supposed rumor about the former President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy that apparently, when he was elected, he did not know that he was actually the co-prince of Andorra. The ambassador answered that Mr. Sarkozy really knew he was Co-Prince of Andorra, but he probably was not as enthusiastic as others French Co- Princes in his role. This reminds me about his only visit to Andorra, which was a shorter trip compared with the visits of other French presidents; he did not visit the seven parishes of Andorra, as it was the tradition, limiting his official visit to a speech in the capital, Andorra la Vella, together with the Episcopal Co-Prince. In my personal point of view this was a little disappointing, and I hope that the actual president will come and visit us soon and hopefully we will feel more appreciated and better represented by him.

Once this rumor was finally cleared I ask him about the importance of Andorra in the international scene. Ambassador Gaytán explained it perfectly, declaring first of all that “Andorra is a really good example of equality between states, its territory and population is not very relevant compared with other states, geographically Andorra has the same size as the island of Ibiza and a population that is less than 100.000 citizens, but it is not the smallest state in the world, not even in Europe where there are smaller states as Monaco or San Marino. Since 1993 Andorra has the sovereign status that gave the country the conditions for joining the main international organizations, as the United Nations, where as a state the vote of Andorra in the General Assembly has the same value of the vote of the United States, Russia, China, France, Spain or any other member state. Andorra is also member of the Council of Europe, UNESCO, OSCE and other international organizations. Andorra has also diplomatic representations or embassies in Madrid, Paris, Brussels, New York, Vienna Strasbourg, Geneva and Lisbon, and keeps an active role in every important international conference or summit”

Twenty years after the Constitution was approved the international presence of Andorra keeps growing year after year, getting stronger and trying to be more and better known.

Last but not least, as my guest was graduated in economics I thought that it would be a really good idea to ask him about the economic situation and how does that affect to the embassy. With a worried expression he replied me, pointing out that obviously it affects the day by day. He literally said “Andorra is suffering the effects of the economic crisis but fortunately not as much as Spain. In Andorra we have experienced a decrease in tourism, which is really painful because the economy of Andorra is based on trade and tourism; also much of the projects of civil construction have been stopped, but we are managing that by opening and diversifying our economy”. About how the crisis is affecting to the day by day of the embassy he emphasizes saying than important budgetary reductions have been made and now everything is done reconsidering priorities. Asked about how they can do that, he answered:  “With a lot of imagination”.

Interview with Nurkan Yurdakul- DİLA ATSAN

All around the Europe 

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Europe is a region which embodies 53 countries; Russia, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Czech Republic, Hungary, Sweden, Belarus, Austria, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Serbia, Denmark, Finland, Slovakia, Norway, Ireland, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Lithuania, Albania, Macedonia, Slovenia, Latvia, Kosovo, Estonia, Montenegro, Luxembourg, Malta, Iceland, Jersey, Isle of Man, Andorra, Guernsey, Faroe Islands, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Gibraltar, Aland Islands, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Vatican City, Turkey.

Every Europe Country has its own history and most of them are well known for their culture and historical background. I chose Nurkan YURDAKUL for my interview because beside his native country he also lived in other European Countries.

To know him better first I asked about his personal life and then we started to talk about his native country and other European Countries. He is Turkish and 53 years old. After he graduated from a well known French high school ‘Galatasaray Lisesi’, he went to France, Paris for university education. He studied 4 years economics there. His career of 30 years started in finance and after he found himself in automotive sector. He is married for 25 years and he has got 2 children; a girl and a boy. Since 2000 he is the general manager of Mazda Motors Turkey.

For him the meaning of Europe is a strong unity and a formation which can provide the balance in the world. He is proud of being Turkish because Turkey is the continuation of Ottoman Empire and for him that means a powerful historical background. He also appreciates the development in Turkey in the last few years but he underlines that there are some points he can’t accept in Turkey. When I asked him what these things are, our conversation changed in a political way. He told me about different political views, dogma and modern, in Turkey which are triggering war. He defends that Gezi Parkı incidents are the eruption of these different political views. He talked about Gezi Parkı incidents as a rebellion especially of young population in the democratic process in Turkey. And also he added about this incident that it is the indicator which shows political power hasn’t got a meaning to direct public without their wills. In addition, he said that the current political power in Turkey can’t defy the modern public anymore. Plus he thinks the reason of why Turkey is still not in EU (European Union) is the current political system. He hopes this government will soon fall because a political system like this stains Turkey’s reputation.

To understand the differences in other European Countries I asked Yurdakul to tell about his visits to Europe. His answer didn’t surprise me; he told that he has been almost in every European Country. France, Italy and Spain are in a special place in his heart. He spent his adolescence years in these countries and the points out that he admires their capability and power to defend their historical past. He continued his words with these European Countries have got a tidy system in transportation, law, business…  Furthermore he said that through the Renaissance the art in France developed fast. As an art lover Yurdakul added that he constantly makes visits to Louvre and also the museums in Spain; Reina Sophia, Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza … He said that he adores Spain because of its special foods, kind people and places to visit. Now he is making one of his regular visits to Spain. As a Spain lover I asked his opinion about garbage crises in Madrid which affects us because of the bad smell. He said that he was not in Spain during this crucial  time  however as far as he followed on news and social media the appearance of Madrid during the crises disappointed him. For him Spain is a durable, powerful country but it has to overcome the economic crises to protect its power in other European Countries.

At last I asked Yurdakul to compare other regions with Europe. He started to talk about America, the leader of the world. Despite of the construction of America is afterwards, he defends the idea that America constructed as a world leader. Secondly he explained East Asian country Japan where he usually goes because of his business. Mazda Motor’s main company is in Japan so he can easily compare Japan and European Countries according to his observations. He told me how the Japanese give too much importance to details and also their biggest fear is to be unsuccessful. All Japanese devote themselves to their business. So the discipline in that country evokes admiration when we compare with European Countries.

I was so happy to find Yurdakul in Spain, in one of his regular visits. Talking with a person who knows so much about Europe got me to think deeper.

 

                                   DİLA ATSAN

 

Prostitution in France is now a punishment

On 19th November, French MP have voted a regulation which imposes punishment for sex workers. People who pay money for prostitution will be charged money about 500 euros. If this crime will repeat again, the fine will increase to 3000 euros. The main propose of this regulation is to protect women especially who aged under 18. On the other hand, another benefit of the new regulation is to provide house and financial support to young women who forced to be a sex worker.

People who are famous also supported the acceptance of this adjustment like lots of citizens in France. To illustrate that we can say, the world wide known singer Charles Aznavour and the film artist Catherine Deneuve.

Some 70 French Celebrities and Socialist Culture Minister Jack Lang said that “Without supporting or promoting prostitution, we refuse the criminalization of people who prostitute themselves and those who use their services,” in a statement published in French media. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/11/16/uk-france-prostitution-petition-idUKBRE9AF07E20131116 

The approximate number of people who is prostitute in France is 20.000, about 85 percentages of it its women. In addition, 20 percentages are women who come from foreign countries since last year. 

People who are against the regulation started a campaign which called “Touche pas à ma pute / Hands off my whore”. They defend their acts based on the idea of freedom, as we can appreciate in this example from the http://www.france24.com/en/20131031-france-prostitution-343-bastards-hands-off-my-whore “We consider that everyone has the right to freely sell their charms – and even to enjoy doing so. All together, we declare: Hands off my whore!”. 

In Some countries, like in Spain prostitution is illegal. Also in Sweden, Norway and Finland is prohibited, only the customer is penalized, while in Hungary is also illegal but it penalize just women.

On the other hand, countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, have regulated the prostitution as a job, women have a license that allows them to practice they profession.

By this law, there are some organization against it, there is a so-called “the 343 bastards” which is group of customers who claimed their right to “go whoring” freely. Also found in opposition NGOs.

Taking everything in to a conclusion, we think that France did an excellent job about this issue, prostitution, it is a way to protect  women and girls as well, but most of the citizens, specially men, don’t see it the same way as us. Is it fair for the women? they finally got some respect. Even knowing that French government can punish as many people as they want but this will be an issue for the rest of our lifes.

London Slaves

On 21 November, 3 innocent women; 69-year-old Malaysian woman, 57-year-old Irish woman and 30-year-old Britain girl who certainly was born in this house,  were trapped in south London since 30 years. Two suspects; a man and a woman both aged 67 were taken into custody by the police.

These 3 women who were traumatized are now in a safe place and from their rescue they started their life again according to charity. Detective Inspector Kevin Hyland from Scotland told in a media conference ‘’ “We have seen some cases where people have been held for up to 10 years, but we have never seen anything of this magnitude before”.

For example one case in Cleveland, EEUU, a man who kept three women locked in his house for use as sex slaves. Or a man in Austria, who hid for 24 years in the basement of his house his daughter to abuse it.

blue and white police tape

Detectives underline the situation as a disaster, so they work on this issue deeply sensitive.

The real question which comes to mind is ‘how they rescue after 30 years?’’ One of the women contacted with Freedom Charity, after seeing a program on the television, which helps young people who needs help in a difficult situation. Police inquires established the place of the house where three women condemned and through that, they regained their freedom.

Charity founder Aneeta Prem said about liberation ‘amazing story’. She also added “You’re basically looking at domestic slavery, and you wouldn’t expect that to be happening in the UK, in London, in 2013”

Resulting from the researches three women hadn’t sexual abuse but they had physically abuse. They had their own rooms on their captive life but their life was very restricted. One of the woman told that she didn’t believe the neighbors knew anything about them. But the neighbors insist that they did not know.

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/21/women-rescued-decades-slavery-south-london

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/uk/irishwoman-among-three-rescued-from-london-house-after-30-years-of-slavery-1.1602718 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-25040741

#RipErasmus (?)

Will the Spanish students receive the full Erasmus grant for this year 2013-2014,or will they receive less ?

On October 24, the minister of education in Spain, Jose Ignacio Wert, establish that to obtain government assistance for this Erasmus scholarship students must have received the Ministry’s general scholarship last year. This could have been that half of students, who have already been two months in other countries in their Erasmus year, would not receive their grant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FUtT51zArQ&app=desktop

This produced a great revolution among all students, who began their protests through a social network, Facebook, which in just 24 hours, had filled nearly 5,000 Spanish students in all countries, and through Twitter under the hastag #ErasmusRIP, calling for the refuse of this new intent of the Ministry of Education.

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This has caused that the minister Wert, after having spoken to the Prime Minister,Mariano Rajoy, the vice president, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, and the finance minister, Cristobal Montoro, ratified and announced that all students will receive the same economic quantity than last year.

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(Wert Joke)

Fortunately we meet some Erasmus student who are going to stay in Spain for 4 month. They confirm that the Erasmus grant should not be reduce, because there is a great experiences to travel abroad, learn other cultures, meet new people, have more confidence in their self, and open more door to the future.

As a Turkish Erasmus student, Kylie Wilbur told that living in Spain is an easiest and unforgettable experience in abroad. She also told that Spanish people are helpful and friendly. Erasmus students get a good friendship with Spanish people and they thought that also Spanish students have to realize this experience. In addition Spain is a country where people suggest to go for Erasmus because of their culture, entertainment, historical background and location. So not only the Spanish people, also Erasmus students all over the world become together in this issue.

The government should stop reduce education expenses. Because if it continue like this, the Spanish quality education will be worst.Our generation are the future of the country, so that’s why its worth it to spend this money.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24821206 

http://www.thelocal.de/20131120/eu-student-exchange-upgraded-but-is-it-worth-it

 

 

Madrid garbage crisis

The 4th November 2013, trash collectors began a strike in the capital city of Spain, Madrid. The chaos started in the center of Madrid, Puerta del Sol.images-1

(examples of what you can see in the street)

 This strike include the cleaning of the streets, the care of the parks,and the maintenance of the urban mobiliarity.

The reason behind this sudden action is showing a reaction to the government. All this problems began when some enterprises (OHL, Cepsa, Sacy y FCC) they proposed the dismissed go 1.400 workers of 6000 that they are in total. The worker were not agree with this proposition so they convoke an indefinitely strike.

The council have established some minimum service in the cleaning. The majority of them are concentrated in the most centric area in Madrid, where all the tourism is. So, this situation do not affect to the new visitants, and make the others who are here do not leave.

One on the problem that is happening in these minimum service, is with the workers, who can not work because of the Pickets. So the policemen have increase to protect them.

Citizens are troubled with this strike because they thought that it is a wrong way to show reaction by not collect the garbage, which causes stink and mess on the street.

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(examples of what you can see in the street)

 As a result of the strike 40 cars were damaged, 260 garbage containers were burned. People who don’t know about the strike describe Madrid as a “dirty place”.

The Spanish Politician, in People Party Mayor Ana Botella said “the city cannot wait any longer for an agreement” to get street cleaners and garbage collectors back to work. Also Botella added that the garbage is not a public health risk, but the situation had become “intolerable.”

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(examples of what you can see in the street)

 Taking everything  into a conclusion, citizens are complaining about this situation but however trash collectors are insisted on not to quit of their strike till they gain their rights. For our opinion, the crisis in Madrid make inroads into many catastrophes. This strike is the prominent example of the crisis. So it seems that it will take much more time, until these economic situation will be solved.

http://www.wunderground.com/news/trash-keeps-mounting-garbage-strike-madrid-continues-20131113

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/11/11/uk-spain-rubbish-idUKBRE9AA0ZP20131111 

http://www.newstimes.com/news/world/article/Madrid-council-issues-ultimatum-on-trash-strike-4980363.php