Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hazelwood, Morwell, Australia

Hazelwood  Thermal Power Plant 8x200 MWe

Dear Readers,


Today we shall review the experience of a thermal power plant (TPP) operation on the other end of the world, a huge thermal power plant situated 150-km's east of Melbourne, Australia. The Hazelwood 8x200Mwe output capacity local coal/lignite-firing thermal power plant was built in early 1970's.


The plant was privatized in 1996. The parent company International Power (GDF Suez and Mitsui) paid U.S. $2.35 billion for the 1600 MWe (1470 MWe net) thermal power plant. The new owner paid the price, continued operation, generated electricity, sold to the grid, and earned money.


Since the purchase in 1996, the new owners had introduced an $800 million rehabilitation program to upgrade the plant. They paid $85 million for new dust collectors and stack sulfur retention (flue gas desulphurization, FGD) installations. It is our fair estimation that they should be paying more than $200 million for adequate environmental equipment. The money spent for rehab was not enough for the necessary environmental protections.


Today Hazelwood is still on the list of the world’s most polluting TPPs based on CO2 emission per generated kW-hour electricity. The desired environmental emissions figures have not yet been fulfilled. However, the plant has received extensions for the rehab period and was also granted an extension to operate until 2030. Had the plant not been privatized it was scheduled for closure in 2005 because of the huge, ongoing air pollution as well as water and land pollution.


Hazelwood TPP is built next to the Morwell open-pit lignite coal field. On 20 January 2014 an underground fire broke out in the Morwell coal field and lasted for 40 days. The air was highly polluted; the town of Morwell was evacuated. Huge environmental disaster occurred in the area. If there is a malfunction, a fire, an explosion, a breakdown, or an operational stop, there is always a human reason, some human negligence. As there is an underground fire in Morwell, there was some human negligence or error behind this disaster.


Which TPP's are the most air polluting in the world?


Here is the list of the world’s worst CO2 emitters per kW-hour as of 2013, based on the recent environmental report released by the EU Energy Commission:


1) U.S., Gallagher Indiana 600 Mw; 2) Poland, Belchatow 1090 Mw; 3) Australia, Hazelwood 1,600 Mw; 4) Greece, Agios Dimitrios 1,500 Mw; 5) Greece, Cardia 1,250 Mw; 6) Greece, Megalopolis 850 Mwe; 7) Bulgaria, Maritza Iztok 1-2-3, 3000 Mwe; Drax and Eggborough in England; Italy Brindisi South.


Which TPPs are Germany’s worst polluters?


From the same report:

Frimmersdorf 2413mw A, Janschwal 3000 MWe, Weisweiler 2293 MWA, Neurath 2100 MWe, Niederausse 3864 Mwe, Boxberg 1900 MWe, Schwarze Pumpe 1600 MWe, Lippendorf 1866 MWe, Scholven 2300 Mwe. (Ref.SpiegelOnline April-2014)


It is difficult to understand why the West Niederausse plant, which was an example of the latest technology, is in this worst-polluting plants list. Niederausse has received the "worst polluting" plant title due to its relatively high CO2 stack emission per kW-hour electricity generation. One could argue that in Germany, stack emission requirements are lowered to such levels that it justifies the incredibly high subsidies applied to renewable energy investments.


We have Afsin-Elbistan-A and Tuncbilek TPPs on the list of the world's top 100 worst polluting plants. In Turkey, the public authority adopted the "Large Combustion Plants Directive" (BYTY for short in Turkish) in 2010, with low emission requirements with which all high-capacity thermal power plants must comply. State-owned thermal power plants are under no emission or pollution obligation to comply with these directives until 2018. This period will be extended another three years.


Most of the coal-firing power plants in Germany under new European emission norms are not better than our plants in Turkey. We know that 40% of electricity production in Germany today is provided through domestic coal. German TPPs are burning coal with dust filters initially designed too small to meet the new norms. Most of them had no FGD systems to stop sulfur emissions.


Investors have no incentive to put more money into rehabilitating old power plants, since there is no return on investment. On the other hand, it is more rational to put money into renewable technologies, as the money creates more employment, more production, more export goods, and in the end creates clean energy without pollution. Power plants are sold to private investors, with the expectation that the new owners would invest money in rehabilitation, comply more to the new, strict environmental norms, and further reduce stack emissions. However these expectations were not fulfilled.


The owners asked for another time extension for rehab investments; they were reluctant to invest the money necessary for new bigger environmental equipment. They almost blackmailed the regulatory authority by warning to shut down the plant, threatening not to feed electricity to the national grid.


Since there is no return on rehab expenditures for old privatized power plants these expenditures are only made through regulatory or legal force.


German plants with poor environmental records are on the Polish border in the east or on the French border in the west, where most of the prevailing wind blows toward neighboring countries. So German citizens are less affected by the flue gas emissions, since dust emissions from stacks move to neighboring countries where people have no recourse. In Germany, dirty thermal power plants are in operation in remote lands far from cities, far from monitoring environmentalists.


In almost every part of the world private investors receive political support in their new power plant constructions. Local people on farm lands were the victims of these policies. Land, air, water, river, and sea environments were highly polluted. Brazilian rainforest has been heavily damaged. People in nearby agricultural lands that had high expectations for local employment were cheated. They lost their land and their environment. Trust was lost. Local resistance in every nearby community started organizing to stop or legally block any new power plant investments.


Thermal power plants are designed to fire the coal of nearby open-pit fields. However, it is recommended to eradicate the non-combustible substances such as rocks, stones, and soil—something that can be accomplished through simple eye screening and hand picking for selection and extraction. This procedure greatly improves operation and reduces breakdowns, stops, and unnecessary emergency repairs.


In the past, coal was fed into the coal mills at the Soma thermal power plant as received, without extracting rocks and stones. The average calorific value at the inlet of the combustion chamber was less than 1900-2000 kCal/kg, much less than boiler design figures.


Inflammable materials, rocks, and stones were fed into coal mills, pulverized, and fed into the combustion chamber but could not be burned since they have no calorific value. They were released from the stack as fly ash particulates, were not captured by small dust filters, and increased nearby air pollution. The bottom ash increased, was fed into the ash dam which then had a much shorter life span than expected.


The Soma TPP then employed unqualified labor to screen (by hand) inflammable rocks and stones at the conveyor exit from mine fields, to increase the calorific value to the2500-2800 kCal/kg range; efficiency was increased, availability was also increased. The load on coal pulverization mills was reduced, internal energy consumption was reduced, as was less fly ash, less dust, fewer emissions, and less bottom ash, and performance was improved.


We all wish that our coal facilities were equipped with water floating (lavuar) systems to clean the coal and separate it from the non-combustible rocks and stones. So we create higher calorific value coal to feed into combustion chambers so that we operate boilers more efficiently and with fewer failures, less fly ash, and less bottom ash.


Following the assets sales by private operators, power plants are expected to begin large-scale rehabilitation with better instrumentation, bigger dust filters, and more effective sulfur capture. However, they are not.


Buyers are generally reluctant to put money toward plant rehabilitation. They do not want to put money into bigger and better environmental equipment, which are known not to generate returns. They want more time extensions for such investments. They operate old plants at maximum capacity while polluting the environment, generating electricity, selling to the grid, and earning money.


Regulatory agencies are helpless. Environmental protection investments are not meeting expectations. Plants are aging fast and degrading rapidly, leading to more plant failures, more mine fires, more accidents, inefficient operation, and a reduction in capacity. Investors demand more grant time extensions for rehab investments and more exemptions for meeting EU environmental norms. The first priority is high income in privatization, but clean environmental norms are not met in the short term.


Turkey local coal reserves constitute the majority of the young lignite resources, with high humidity (35-55%), high-volatile (38-68%), high sulfur (1-3%), containing highly alkaline (0.025 to 0045%[4]) and low calorific value (1100-2500 kcal/kg LHV).


We have power plants with long proven successful operation with available local coal. They are designed  in direct or indirect pulverized coal firing or in circulating fluid bed (CFB) combustion designs.


As a result of the brutal competition in the public auctions of the plant sales, the emergence of too high prices, the initial owner of the property (privatization authority), can be named very successful.


Though proposals are expected to cover concrete rehab programs upfront, they are unfortunately unfulfilled in the end.


New owners prioritize earnings and repayment plans, but they avoid rehab and renovation expenditures. Environmental sensitivity over the medium and long terms as well as economic goals concerning the well-being of society are not allowed. That tendency is everywhere.


Our access to primary energy resources may be negatively impacted by our sensitive geography and evolving political events. Domestic lignite sources are to be exploited in more and more efficient new thermal power plants. It is essential that energy generation increases.


What experience have we gained from these observations?


We feel that it is wise to demolish old, degraded thermal power plants, sell them for scrap, replace them with new and better efficient plants of cutting edge design and the latest technology that can be manufactured domestically. In the long term, building a new modern power plant is cheaper than to purchasing an old plant and trying to rehabilitate it. With the new, modern, higher-efficiency power plants, we shall have better availability, better efficiency, and optimal compliance with the expected EU environmental norms.


Oberstdorf, Germany, 14 April, 2014

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Turkish Opera News and Our Recommentations for 2014 Summer Festivals.

Dear Readers,

A city's modernity and wealth are closely related with its number of opera houses and the quality of opera companies. The first opera house in Ottoman empire was built in 1904 in Izmir, Symirna Opera house, a replica of Paris opera house, but a bit smaller parter with four balconies. Symirna opera house was burned down in great fire of 1922. Verdi's Rigoletto was on stage in Symirna Opera house in year 1917.

We have Alhambra Opera House, and "Ahmet Adnan Saygun Cultural Center" in Izmir for opera performances. There is one more new opera house in construction in Bostanli, Karşıyaka, a nice venue on the seashore, where acoustic solutions are applied from Oslo opera house in Norway.

Ankara State Opera house is small with 600 seating capacity. It was build as an exhibition hall in 1940s, turned into opera and theatre performances. Leyla Gencer Opera Hall, TürkOcağı are other opera halls in the capital city. Bilkent Symphony Hall, Odtü KKM, Hacettepe, Şura, Congressium halls are also used for opera performances in Ankara.

In this regard, Istanbul is very poor. There is only Süreyya Opera House in Kadikoy. Fulya, Zorlu Center, Bakirkoy are not available for regular opera activities. Haliç Congress Center, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Irene Church are available for only limited time frame in specific festivals.

Antalya Haşim İşcan Cultural Center is a new beautiful venue for opera.
Mersin opera is in the historical building, with some stage limitations, but the opera company is young with very talented singers.

Samsun AKM opera house has a new building. Their opera program is also very attractive for the newcomer opera lovers.

A metropol, without an opera house, should not be presumed to be a rich, advanced, modern city. Without an opera house, it is just a mediocre dwelling with lots of people. Let us review the opera programs in our opera houses.

Izmir has all great classic works.
Donizetti "Don Pasquale", Handel "Agrippina" Verdi "Aida" Puccini "Madame Butterfly", Bellini "La Sonnambula" should not be missed.

In Ankara we have fantastic program,
Verdi's "Rigoletto", Puccini "Tosca", Verdi "Macbeth", and "Attila", Strauss "Die Fladermaus", Mozart opera "Don Giovanni" and "Abduction from the Seraglio"
George Bizet's Carmen, is new, on 26-30 April, and 7-12-19-21 May 2014.

Istanbul Sureyya opera house, we have a great selection,
Gaetano Donizetti's "The Elixir of Love" on 11-12 April,
Mozart's "The Opera Director",
Richard Strauss "Ariande on Naxos" on 16-18-19 April, ,
Handel's " Glulio Cesare",
Offenbach's "The Tales of Hoffmann",
Benjamin Britten's "The Turn of the Screw",
Rossini's "La Senerentola", on 10-15-16-17 May,

Samsun opera we have a new, exciting, talented, young opera team there.
Giocomo from Puccini "Madame Butterfly" and "La Boheme"
Mozart "Die Zauberfloete" or "the Magic Flute", 17-April, 15-May.
Franz Lehar "Die Lustige Witwe", or "the Merry Widow", on 7, 12 April, 12-May,

In Mersin, in historical environment in town hall cultural center,
Puccini "La Boheme" and "Madame Butterfly",
Bizet's "Carmen" are in program.

In Antalya, in new cultural center,
Verdi "La Traviata", and "Macbeth",
Puccini "Tosca",
Mozart "The Marriage of Figaro", and "Don Giovanni",
Ali Hoca "Tulip Craze",
Hendel's "Hercules" on 6,8,10 May.
I believe that each opera house program has to be carefully followed and watched. Internet tickets are available online. One attendance is not enough. We should see all cast performances.

Tentative dates of 21st Aspendos (30-August, 20-Sep) and 5th Istanbul (3-17 June) opera festivals in summer season are released but we do not know the final program, as well as the names of performances and companies yet. Elsewhere, it is all listed months before, unfortunately in Aspendos and in Istanbul, these details are still not made public.

However there is no harm for our guess for tentative- possible festival programs, here are our list for favorite operas we wish to see,

For 21st Aspendos Festival (30-August-20 September)

Giuseppe Verdi's "Aida" - İzmir
Giuseppe Verdi's "Attila" - Ankara
Gaetano Donizetti's "The Elixir of Love" - İstanbul Sureyya
Puccini "Madame Butterfly" - Samsun
Bizet's "Carmen" - Mersin
Puccini "Tosca", - Antalya

For 5th Istanbul Opera festival, here are our recommendations,

Puccini "Madame Butterfly", and Bellini "La Sonnambula" - Izmir
Strauss "Die Fladermaus", Mozart "Abduction from the Seraglio"- Ankara
Richard Strauss "Ariande on Naxos" -Istanbul
Franz Lehar "Die Lustige Witwe", or "the Merry Widow"- Samsun
Puccini "La Boheme" , Mersin
Mozart "The Marriage of Figaro", and "Don Giovanni",- Antalya

These are our selections, nothing related with the opera authority to choose. Classical operas of 19th century are my favorites. My favorite composers are Puccini, Verdi, Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti and Wagner. I believe that these operas will be in all our local festival programs.

Last but not least, tickets should be not less than 100 TL, and tickets should be sold through internet minimum 30-days prior to performance to enable everyone- locals, foreigners both- easy to reach. Opera festivals are expensive and they should pay their expenses.

Operas composed by "Richard Wagner" are very suitable for the environment in Ankara nowadays. Wagner's anti-semitic, nationalistic tunes give intellectual messages to diplomatic circles. Wagner operas are to played in original German language with 19th century dialect to keep the high powerful dramatic effect.

In Ankara Opera house, Wagner's "Tannhäuser" opera should be in the repertoire. Other Wagner operas should also be performed, i.e. Walkure, Parsifal, Flying Dutchmen.

When a German businessman arrives to your city, you should take him to a Wagner opera if available. You can not impress a German businessman with wine and dine, or on a yacht tour, but Wagner opera in your city will shock him for sure.

Opera tickets are available to purchase online. In Ankara and Izmir in 15 days, in Istanbul you can get your tickets 30-days prior to performance. Tickets are on sale at 09:30 hours in the morning. So you should be ready on your pc screen at that time to purchase. Tickets are sold within 5-10 minutes. During winter months, it is great pleasure for us to go to opera performance in an another city.

Then we should look for business meetings, seminars, professional events in those cities so that we can have opportunities for opera.
One attendance is not enough to understand an opera performance. We should see all teams in cast. One night on the left, the other night on right side, once in balcony. Front center seats are not good, since sometimes singers are on the floor and you can not see them.

Balconies are to be avoided. If you find no seat on floor, then buy in balcony, but check the available seats in parter. When lights go out, look for an empty seat. Singers do not like to perform to empty seats, so ushers would lead you to the empty seats at front. However Opera is best watched from center at rear seats.

Opera should not be attended unprepared. You should listen to the music at home, at work, while driving car, with cassette, CD, iPod, mp3 player, youtube, spotify, nonstop at least 2-3 times a day. Each note should sound in your head from beginning to the end. You do not need to have conservatory education in order to enjoy opera performance.

On opera night, you should have a dark suit, with appropriate necktie. That is dressing code for men. You should not wear jeans or football fan t shirt. That is not only disrespect to the environment but also to yourselves. Ladies know what to wear for sure.

Go early to the opera house, at least one hour before performance, enjoy the environment, see your colleagues, purchase the opera program. Newcomers may speak to each other, they may review their iphone screen from time to time, ignore them. That could be their only experience once in their life time. Do not take any picture, do not look at your iPhone. In Munich opera house, it is like high criminal act if you create any small noise during performance.

There are a number of local new Turkish Opera compositions in performance, but as long as they cannot be placed on international Opera houses, these new compositions are to be classified/ judged in separate. We have no equivalent classical composer as Puccini, Wagner, Verdi or Mozart. This is not a shortcoming. Classical ages have passed long ago. We all hope that not a classic but modern composers in the future are expected to appear.

However we have gorgeous young Opera Performers of classical composers, we have great artists. Economic décor, and costume with competent professional choir, the Conductor and the staff, all had excellent work performed on three nights. I would like to congratulate them all one by one. I admire their voices.

In Milan LaScala Opera, audience send flowers to artists, then artists try to grab them one by one without missing, the artists taking flowers. LaScala audience is so cruel with no mercy to lower class performers. If you are an artist, director, or even a conductor, if they do not like the performance, they stop applause and start shouting "boos". Our artists do not deserve such nasty treatment. They deserve long round of applause.

In Germany, there are daily tour busses in front of Opera houses carrying middle aged or retired opera funs from nearby small towns. They start early in the morning, make shopping in the big city, watch the evening Opera, return home. We may also arrange such daily tours from nearby towns to Opera.

You do not need to applaud the singer after each aria performed. You may not understand when to applaud so it is better to wait until the end. In the end, you will get the clue to applaud, send flowers, take pictures.

Buy program booklet, but do not try to read on the last minute to follow the performance. Do not try to read digital translations, get prepared earlier, read the synopsis from internet, know the subject earlier, leave yourselves to enjoy the music. The most of classical opera music is so familiar to yourself, surely you've heard if before somewhere.

When you get intermission, get to drink a cup of black coffee which would keep you awake. It would be easy to drive afterwards. You should better spend half an hour in a nearby café. By drinking black coffee or hot orchid better, and also it is good to spend some time to wait the crowd disperses, also it is easier to find a taxi. In most of cities, better to get metro to return home.

We wish all the best for all Opera lovers.

Ankara, 11-April, 2014

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Attila", in Ankara Opera House,

Opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi
A personal Opinion

Dear Readers,

Attila opera premiere was on Ankara State Opera on the evening of 22-February 2014. Opera music was written by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi. It ıs so surprising that Attila was not played earlier in Ankara, such a wonderful music, what a pity. We got our tickets for the premiere night 15-days before through internet at 09:30 hours. Within 5-minutes, all tickets were sold. I made a few second hesitation for selection, so I got from the last row.

On Premiere night, we were in the opera house quite early. That night was sponsored by the Italian institute and Italian Embassy in Ankara, so all their staff were in the Ankara opera house even earlier than us in full squad. You could see opera singers in the foyer, even they sit next to you. If they would be in the cast but not on stage on the same night. They would ding the same song with the player on the stage as if an supernatural fantastic echo would come to your ears.

Prior to attending the performance on stage, I completed my homework for Attila. I listed to its music twice at home from its CD. I could follow the music. In the opera foyer, we met with our opera lover colleagues, for a quick chat and exchange for information on similar events.

We purchased the opera catalog, made sure that we all know details. Catalogs were reviewed, then will be filed in our library for the collection of memorabilia.

Author tells about the history of invading forces of Attila the Hun (reign AD434-453) in Italy. Attila has military forces hard to beat that time. Only Roman women have resistance power to stop this military force, killed him. In the end, Attila is killed by Odabella, beautiful Roman woman with her sword, and Roma is liberated. Libretto was written by Solera Temistocle. His Story is fictitiously changed since from Roman written sources, in reality we know that Attila the Hun died from heavy nose bleed due to hypertension.

Opera was staged in Venice in 1846 for the first time, and our performance is the first time in Turkey after so many years. "Is timing meaningful?" Here we are not talking about democracy, but we know that Roman civilization had great legal and social infrastructure and written documentation on all activities. If these events were not written in detail by Romans, we would never know the invading forces of Attila the Hun.

Opera music began with a spectacular overture. Orchestra took the lead, with conductor Lorenzo Castriota who had created extraordinary performance. We had Alessandro Cedrone as the conductor in the second and third nights.

We had Andrejs Zagars the world famous Lethonian opera director and his assistant director Gediminas Seduikis both know their job very well.

It was the Premiere night, and stage excitement were apparent and high to easily recognize in the opera singers. Some sounds were broken, so easy to understand even for not so educated ears like your writer. Anyhow all will be in order in 2-3 more performance. Verdi's masterpiece was composed almost 150 years ago, but it was the first time on Ankara opera house.

In Ankara opera house, singers should perform singing at curtain line, if they become a bit inside, then their voices can not reach to the audience. If they are 5-meter inside, they are completely unheard. That is the secret of the hall.

On Premiere night, bass Tuncay Kurtoglu was fantastic in his lead Attila character. It was the first time for a bass voice to have lead role. His theatrical as well as singing performance was exceptional. He repeated his superiority in the second and third nights.

Tenor Ünüşan Kuloğlu in the role of Roman warrior Foresto was very good in all three nights. Soprano Feryal Türkoğlu on Premiere night, and Soprano Reyhan Görbil on second and third nights, were good as beautiful Roman woman Odabella in singing and killing Attilla the Hun in the last act. Roman Ezio character was played by baritone Serkan Kocadere, and Cem Beran Sertkaya. They were also very good in singing and in their theatrical acting.

We watched all three performances. Verdi's masterpiece Attila Opera is fantastic, melodies are extraordinary. Opera is originally composed in 3-acts but played in 2-acts in Ankara which is a good decision.

We should see Attila opera in Aspendos and in Istanbul opera festival later this summer. Do not miss this extraordinary opera performance. This is the first time in Ankara since composed in 1846 by Giuseppe Verdi.

Ankara, March-29, 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Hard Land to Survive, Germany for Foreigners

A Hard Land to Survive, Germany for Foreigners
A Personal Opinion
Dear Readers,
Angela Merkel is a very important politician with no rival in either the CDU or the opposition; she won the third general elections, and she could be in power for more terms. As Europe struggles, Merkel’s party lauds German strength.

Angela Merkel is an intelligent politician and stateswoman, and her rule of Germany is an opportunity for foreign nationals in Germany. She had some difficult times when her two close ministers were accused of plagiarism in their PhD dissertations some 30 years ago, and forced to resign from their public posts. Public speeches of Angela Merkel are to be read, reviewed, and evaluated at all times, as these public speeches are key to future German and European policies. Her last speech in the British parliament was very noteworthy.

Local security authorities mobilized only after Angela Merkel pointed out the seriousness of “Döner” murders with no arrests in the last ten years. It was disclosed that a neo-Nazi group was linked to ten murders in Germany, but the situation is graver than that. “Döner” murders and undermining by security forces are the turning point in German-Turkish relations, to put it more bluntly.

"Döner" is also a misleading word which is widely used in some German media sources to divert attention from "Neo-Nazi" sources. The worst thing in “Döner” murders in Germany is that Turkish nationals did not react for the last ten years, so imagine the repression of the German environment. The latest news is 'Döner Killings' Case: Police Find Gun Used in Unsolved Murder Series. Unsolved for the last ten years...

Long-term ignorance and undermining by security forces are very unfortunate situations for Germany as a turning point in German-Turkish relations. Germany is not a land of immigrants, just the opposite; it is the fatherland of Germans. So who is the father? Koenig Ludwig 1, Bismarck, even the Führer. The top one percent of affluent decision-makers in Germany consists of highly educated intellectuals with well-connected family heritage and no match in anywhere else in the world. Germans are to be educated on “Foreigners”. Germans need more time to stay abroad so that they understand how to be a “Foreigner” in a hostile environment. German hostility toward foreigners will create isolation and indifference toward Germany herself. If German authorities do not take measures to educate their own people, I am afraid that another era of holocaust is foreseen in the future.

In supermarkets, one can easily observe that the most of the German sales people do not serve foreigners or simply ignore them. Germans by tradition are not so pleased with foreigners, and frankly speaking they love themselves only. However the third generation Turkish people born here have no other place to go, as Germany is also their own country.

German hostility toward foreigners is increasing. Survival for foreigners is getting too hard in Germany, so foreigners support each other. The new generation of Turkish children is not Turkish anymore, hence they are also not German, and they consist of lost people.

Turkish workers in Germany are not integrated since German society pushes them back; Turks live in their own ghettos. However, new generation young Turkish youth also respond in the same rude way, “eye-to-eye”.

The European Union works for the most economically powerful member country, which is Germany. That is why Germany supports the Eurozone by all means. For Germany, the country not only needs the Euro, Germany also needs the Eurozone’s weakest members to remain in the Union. The Turkish economy should emancipate itself from dependence on the EU's export domination, which is the main reason for its ongoing current account deficiency.

The Turkish cultural environment is not less important than its counterparts in Germany. The Ankara Opera House is no less competent in performing Tosca (Puccini) or Tannhauser (Wagner) on stage than the Munich Bayerische Oper today, and is maybe even much better. The Munich Bayerische Oper will have two Wagner operas in 2013, and the best tickets are sold at €200.

The Tosca opera in the Munich Bayerische Oper was good, but I feel that the Ankara Opera house performance was better on stage. The Tannhauser opera by Wagner is on stage in the Ankara Opera house last season with extraordinary performance. Although the Bayerische Oper has a better opera building and more seating capacity than the Ankara Opera house, I feel that the opera performance in Ankara is much better.

Turkey is to reduce its high dependence on the EU, particularly on German imports, and increase trade with other emerging markets in the long run. The German competitive advantage in technological products is being reduced due to an aging working population. Religion is the major difference between local Germans and foreign Turks, rules, celebrations, common expectations, and lifestyle are all different.

It was our surprise to notice last week that the Munich Glyptothek archeology museum is full of marble head statues, no wonder we have so many antique marble statues without heads in Turkey.

Turkish guest workers turned into German nationals in the later generations under German cultural influence, with no more Turkish background. First and second generation Turkish guest workers with no formal education could not upgrade their cultural status for years so closed themselves into their ghettos. Turkish guest workers with no formal education unfortunately lowered the profile of Turkish status in Germany.

Foreigners in Germany must have an emergency exit strategy at all times in case one is needed. Foreigners face day-to-day German hate and hostility in public transportation, in restaurants, in supermarkets, in communication with public employees.

The average age of the German population is around 45 as of today (2013), the working age is too old, and the population is unable to support the elderly with pensions. Whereas the average age of the Turkish population is around 30 now, that means Turkey has a better future compared to Germany.

On the other hand, it is social tragedy to see elderly Germans with no family support checking garbage in the city center to earn some money from bottle deposits. Elderly Germans are critical of all; they hate foreigners at all times, foreign abuse is common, bashing is usual. Elderly Germans are not so comfortable in old age, as there is too small a workforce to serve them. The German social security system is almost blocked; the elderly are in a miserable condition, and it is too sad to witness.

In German public transportation, foreigners are to be careful not to disclose their national identity, as right-wing abuse is imminent.

Today, Germany is a very difficult environment for foreigners. In the long term, one should have an exit plan when needed to return to his or her home country. In your writer’s first long term stay in Germany beginning in 1978, much earlier than the integration of East and West, the environment was much better for foreigners in Berlin.

Living in a foreign country is difficult for sure, but can be solved in the long term; in Germany it is difficult in the long term. Today, Germany still invites skilled workers from Greece, Rumania, Bulgaria. Greeks should think twice prior to accepting an invitation. German harassment is frequent. Foreign bashing in Germany is becoming a dangerously common practice in daily life; foreign appearance in public transportation is fatal.

German Green Foundations are purely marketing organizations of German renewable and clean coal technologies, and that their loans are too expensive in the long term. Make your credit repayment calculations carefully when receiving German funds, credits, and donations. Note that nothing is free in this world.

German Greens are the only political party not so hostile to foreigners in Germany. However their latest Pedophilia decriminalization scandal is not so easy to eradicate from public memory.

Sending uneducated Turkish peasants to Germany was and is another cultural holocaust. The German language can only be learned in kindergarten, and cannot be learned at a middle age. Germans are the worst learners of foreign languages, and it is almost impossible to learn their language properly without a foreign accent; similarly they cannot fluently speak foreign languages.

A commercial tip for business people to overcome German supremacy is to make all written transactions in English on an equal basis, never in German, and to use German only for courtesy. Never speak in the German language, ask them to speak in English; the most of them can't do it properly, hence they become humble, so you get equal opportunity to negotiate.

All in all, the German environment is too hard for foreigners to survive in it. Turkish small business entrepreneurs backed by family members are quite successful in the German service market. However they are also the targets of right-wing German youth in ever-increasing harassment and abuse. It is an unbearable burden for Germans to live with Turkish neighbors due to cultural, educational, and lifestyle differences.

Turkish-German relations are to be based on mutual respect to national interests, not on any romantic rhetoric or the historical past of WW1. German cultural, economic, financial and technological supremacy over Turkey is to be eradicated, with respect to a fair share that is to be accepted. In international relations and historical friendships, hostilities are not important, but national interests with respect to fair-share are important.

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

Munich, 28 February 2014

Angie's Berlin house

Dear Readers,

In the United States, President Barrack H. Obama and his family live in the White House in Washington DC. In France, President Francois Hollande and his girl friend live at the Elysee Palace in Paris. In England, British Prime Minister David Cameron lives in  Downing Street no.10 in London.

Where does German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and her husband reside? German Chancellor Angela Merkel lives in her own apartment in Berlin, with her husband. Her Berlin flat, a penthouse, is located in the pedestrian only Museum Island zone, close to Pergamon Museum. The street is closed to vehicle traffic but pedestrians are still allowed through.The only sign of some security are the police officers at the apartment entry.  Her house is so modest compared to other heads of states. It is  amazing.

On the mailboxes of the apartment entrance, there is the name tag on the door bell of her apartment which says "Professor Sauer". Prof.Sauer is her husband. He teaches in the nearby Humboldt University, in Chemistry Department. There is certainly an official residential house reserved for the German Chancellors, which was occupied by the former Prime Ministers. But Chancellor Angela Merkel  preferred to stay in her own apartment.

We have some similarities in our country. Former President Ismet Inonu used to live in a small house commonly refereed as the "Pink Mansion". Former Prime Minister and Former President Süleyman Demirel still lives in a modest house in Guniz Street in Ankara. Former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit used the ground floor of an apartment in Oran county in Ankara.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's lifestyle may be highly objectionable. She is the leader of one of few rich and powerful countries of the world, controlling the future of hundreds of millions of people in the European Union. One can argue that she should not choose a lifestyle according to her personal preferences. Regardless, her personal safety must be the top priority.

There were lessons learned from the fate of late Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. He too lead a simple life through personal choices while holding the high office. Although his assassination is not completely solved, the public has suffered the consequences.

US Presidents had their share of the security issues. Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were assassinated. Attempts were made on Ronald Reagan's life. Which all may go a fair distance to explain the need for heavy handed security around the US Presidents.

Other notable world figures got their share too. Mahatma Gandhi, founder of India, then Prime Minister Mrs. Indra Gandhi were assassinated, so was Nobel Prize winner President of Egypt Anwar Sadat.

On the other hand, we presume that US President John F. Kennedy's murder was solved. Even the most protected President, Ronald Reagan, for example, can be attacked. It is a matter of how organized and how determined the attack is.

After being elected, US President Barrack Obama was requested to abandon compulsorily his "BlackBerry" smart phone to avoid any security flaws in his telecommunication. He has to talk through secure telephones. He has no personal e-mail address, nor any facebook or tweeter account. He has neither personal web nor blog page in the cyber world. Everything is done and run by his staff on his behalf.

Angela Merkel had a mobile phone with so-called secure connection. It is revealed that her communication was tapped by US secret services. It was very uncomfortable situation for both parties.

German secret services could not secure full safety. US secret service was found monitoring an ally leader's all telecommunication. She expressed her discomfort with her sour look on her face in public. US secret service stopped monitoring her, but further they expressed that they will monitor her staff and close colleagues around her, advising that it was necessary for global security.

We understand that everyone- every phone could be tapped. Our public rulers, all public administrators could be tapped despite of all possible security measures. Public rulers are to secure personal safety for the people on the street, let them free to walk, free to talk, free to speak comfortably without any fear of any danger. This is not luxury, nor heaven all reserved for the rulers only. Leader  could choose to be close to people on the street. But these were the days of the happy past. Our beloved Ataturk lived all his life intimately with his people. He drank together, ate dinner together, swim together in the sea.

On the other hand, Russian leader Lenin was also close to his people but he could not escape assassination several times, where toxic lead bullets were used in the attack. Those poisonous bullets were effective in shortening his life.

Mahatma Gandhi, founder of India, then Prime Minister Mrs. Indra Gandhi, both were assassinated due to weakness of their personal security. Our late President, then Prime Minister Ismet Inonu, our late Prime Minister Turgut Ozal had undergone serious danger of assassinations. After his Prime Ministerial responsibilities, Nihat Erim was killed later in his private life.

The best personal policy could be to stay away from politics. No matter how you reach to the top positions, there will be many personal protections in your private life.  You will be at the mercy of your security personnel, as their prisoner for life. You will not walk freely at the street, stroll at the seaside shore, you can not take municipality bus ride, nor ferry fare. Metro or underground transportation will all become impossibility for  rest of your life.

Personal protection and security measures of top positions are almost at paranoid levels for security officers. We visualize these measures in their foreign travels. US Presidents travel on their "AirForce.1" special airplane at full security . In foreign countries, they stay in their own hotel, which is owned by US investors. Hotel is completely reserved for the President, staff and security. All commercial reservations are cancelled during his stay. His full secure special car is transported by another cargo plane prior to his arrival to the destination. Most foreign leaders who are visiting our country stay in their own embassy grounds for security purposes.

Angela Merkel's residence in Berlin Museum island is in pedestrian zone. It is certainly protected by high level physical and electronic surveillance. We are sure that German secret services take no risk in this regard. It is the same case for sure in "Downing Street No.10". Protection of the head of state is the top priority despite of their personal preferences. Anyhow we have many lessons to learn from life style preferences of foreign leaders, what do you think? Comments are always welcome.  

Oberstdorf, Germany, 25 February 2014

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of ODTÜ Alumni and Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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