Tuesday, February 14, 2017

General Elections Held in Turkmenistan




We sent a group of pioneering engineers to Turkmenistan Turkmenbashi refinery in 1990s, for site-seeing mission of an upcoming international tender. They boarded on a big transport plane. After a long jerky air travel, they landed to Ashgabat airport. They hired an uncomfortable van, to ride 578 km to Turkmenbashi refinery which was situated on the east coat of Caspian Sea. When they arrived to the refinery, it was lunch time. They were invited to refinery restaurant. They were served with nice delicious fresh fish. They were very pleased. At dinner time, there was vodka on the menu. The same fish dish was in front of them. When it was morning, Breakfast was served with tea and fish again. They had not eaten anything other than fish, three meals a day on that week. Turkmenbashi refinery was on the shores of the Caspian Sea, there was only fish to eat, nothing else.
Then, the refinery expansion tender was held, an experienced Turkish company received the job in 1997. They set up their own construction site. They sent an experienced cook to the construction site, the Turkish cook made wonderful meals for the workers.
The first pioneering engineers which were sent for tender site-seeing, had double deck beds for 12 people in the same sleeping halls. Halls were separated for women and men workers. In the morning at 05:00 AM, everyone was wrapping around towel, rushing to the bathroom.
Men's and women's baths were separate, but the doors of the bathrooms were wide open. Employees were hanging the towel to nearby hangers. There were no curtain, no separation walls between the eastern type toilettes.
Everyone was disposing in the queue in those eastern type toilets without privacy. There were non-curtains on shower cabins. People were taking shower, cleaning themselves, shaving and getting prepared for the working day ahead. There were no shyness for hiding nudity. Engineers, foreman, workers, civil servants had no difference in bathroom cleaning services.
When Turkish contractor company arrived to the refinery site, they set up their own lodging at construction site. They gave the engineers single rooms with independent bathrooms to engineers and management. Workers stayed in the common halls for 6-12 people again, but they had closed toilet, separate comfortable bathroom facilities. In the morning, all had standard Turkish breakfast, with eggs, tea, cheese, and olives. dishes such as dry beans, rice and yogurt were in the menu, as well as other vegetable pot meal.
Turkmenistan has one the world's largest natural gas deposits. Country has 5.2+ million population, situated on the east coast of Caspian sea. Land is mostly hot dry desert, with some cotton agriculture where suitable. They have offshore oil and gas production facilities on the Caspian sea. State provides basic needs of the citizens, free of charge education, health, electricity, water etc. retired professional women, medical doctors, nurses, qualified teachers come to Turkey and even to Europe or other Middle East countries for elderly caring and babysitting services to earn more money to send for their families back at home.
Turkmenistan today is a country with an authoritarian rule. The resources of the entire country are ruled by one person. The share of the 5.2 million population from the common wealth is very minimal.
Turkmenistan has 20+ trillion cubic meters of proven natural gas deposits. Annual gas production is around 60 bcm, where 20 bcm is used in domestic consumption. In the past, neighboring countries Russia and Iran were buying natural gas, but these sales are now stopped. Today Turkmenistan can sell gas only to China which is situated at their east border. Earlier, Turkmen gas was priced 160 US Dollars per 1000m3, now gas export price is reduced to 100 US dollars. Natural gas sales revenues have decreased in time.
Turkmenistan president Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov (56) was reelected President third time in the general elections which was held on 7 February 2017, with over 98% of the eligible vote.
President's period of work was extended from 5-year to 7-year. Moreover the president's 70-year age limit was lifted. He is a dentist. He plays beautiful guitar and electronic organ. There are youtube videos of his concerts in big concert halls for 4000 people all chanting together his pop music compositions.
President has wife and three kids, plus one Russian mistress with one more child. His wife currently lives in London.
Turkmenistan used to export natural gas to Russia and Iran in the past. In the past export gas volume was around 40-50 bcm. Now the export figure is down. State agencies plan to build new gas pipelines to reach Afghanistan and Pakistan. But there is no money, no financing available.
To join Tanap pipeline which plan to transport Azeri gaz to European markets, Turkmenistan should build new undersea pipeline in Caspian sea. That is costly.
In the past, they had constructed splendid buildings at the center of Ashgabat with their surplus budget. There is nothing else at the center of the capital city. There are a few number of decent regular commercial hotels to serve businessmen. International Corruption watchdogs warn wide spread misuse of state funds.
Turkmenistan is in a locked geography in the central Asia, most of the land is hot dry desert. Everyone receives free health, education and social services. Virtually they have every facility, but in reality they have no products, goods and services. There are three meals of fish. When you call in the morning, there is still no proper breakfast. Because there is no proper production, there is really nothing.
There is no opposition for scrutiny for upgrading, no common wisdom. The Country is left to care of one man ruling. Everything is left to the decision of one man. Hence that final decision never reaches to the average person in the street, it does not work at all.

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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.
This article is written for the "EurasiaReview" news web site.
http://www.eurasiareview.com/author/haluk-direskeneli/

Ankara, 15 February 2017

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

TURKEY: Energy & Infrastructure Forecast 2017



Risks and Opportunities

Dear Energy Professionals, Dear Colleagues,

Economies and businesses are always shaped by expectations, just as market expectations are important in economic forecasts themselves. Within our professional capacity, we have tried to outline a draft forecast for the upcoming days. While it may not necessarily foresee the future in all its detail, it is better to have one, rather than none. Here are our short term new year predictions:
Nation could not yet recuperate from the unexpected events and after shocks of the last 15-July coup. National healing is continued in a slow pace. Mass demonstrations were a part of this healing process. We do not know nor estimate how long it will last. We are unable to put sound reasoning to the events that took place that night and thereafter. The army, air force and navy are minimized in size and so humiliated at proportions not ever seen before in the national history. Minimizing size of military forces are general tendency in modern times provided that increase in rapid and heavy strike capability are essential. That is acceptable. Humiliation is unacceptable. Closure of prestigious national heritage war schools are not acceptable. We always need strong army in our geography for our survival.
Remedial measures are necessary in the long run. Last but not least, commentators foresee that the last putsch may take place in the Parliament. New opposition may emerge from the ruling party itself. That may appear in the next working session of the Parliament which would start later this year. That is also the time for ending second 3-month emergency period after 15-July coup attempt. This is why ruling party asks other two opposition parties to join public solidarity in democratic union in mass demonstrations. If the last coup would succeed then we could have faced with unprecedented bloodshed everywhere. So any undemocratic counter attempt must be stopped upfront by all means.
Common consensus as created by independent foreign military commentators openly and frankly say that USA (and Nato forces) should leave Incirlik air base for the long term and they should move to relatively more secure or tranquil place such as Southern Cyprus, Northern Iraq, wherever they would feel more comfortable, more independent, more free to maneuver in the Middle East. USA will follow their indifference policy towards international events due to transfer of power after US Presidential elections.
On August meetings which were held in St. Petersburg, Russians asked compensation upfront for downed SU-24 war plane for sure. On negotiation table behind closed doors, there were negotiations for new prices on natural gas sales, more concessions on 63 bcm capacity Turkish Stream underwater pipeline construction project and better terms for 4800 MWe nuclear contract etc. We should note that in the long term Mersin Akkuyu nuclear project may also serve as a new Russian military seaport on Mediterranean coast to reinforce Russian presence on hot seas.
European Union has frozen accession meetings completely for participation since all remedy requests are returned with futile responses. Luxemburg, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Denmark have already voiced necessary applicable counter measures. Death penalty, sexual abuse under 15 are unacceptable for Europeans.
First S&P and then Moody's rating agencies have lowered our financial credibility to junk level, the other international rating agency (Fitch) is clever to postpone their Turkish ratings, however we all know that their late declaration is also meaning low rating for our investment environment. Rating agencies ask for transparency, rule of law, fair competition in our local market.
Arab countries are completely ignorant of the events which took place at our environment since they have worse incidents they face every day. Their foreign ministries released copy paste declarations for support of ruling party one after another.
Energy supply security is also within our prime concerns. Our installed capacity has reached to 80 GWe, and peak demand at 44 GWe in August 2016. Our local lignite production was 50+ million metric tons in 2016. Hard coal was 2 million metric tons. Imported hard coal was 30 million metric tons.
We have good deals with Iran due to our favorable gas purchase agreements. However due to their increased internal gas demand, they stopped sending gas to our system. We have gas supply and energy generation drop in our energy markets.
National Security is to be reinforced since SouthEast insurgency may get worse. The people in SouthEast may look for their own solution after arrests of their members of parliament. As seen everywhere in the world, such as in Ireland, Scotland, Bask in Spain, if minorities are not represented in the parliament, then they may look for their alternative solutions.
The recent tax 15 $ per ton imposed on imported coal could be a deterrent figure for future investments for imported coal firing thermal power plants. Anyhow the latest thermal power plants are exclusively built by Chinese companies due to their ultra low lump sum turnkey prices, covered by cheap PBoC project financing. However these plants have poor design, they have low spares, short life span. If you desperately need electricity generation, then price is not so important. The tax will be collected by our Treasury, and end price is also taxed so our Treasury will get all money from both ends, all other parties are intermediaries in the long run.
On the other hand, 6 US cents per kwh electricity purchase guarantee for local coal firing energy generation is a good booster for newcomer investors. However it is not so pleasing to place orders to Chinese contractors just because of their ultra cheap turnkey prices for new local coal firing thermal power plant investments. These plants do not meet national standard, norms, rules, regulations, laws. They have poor design which are not applicable for local coal, they have limited or almost no spares and high breakdown, low availability and low life span during operation.
New tenders for local coal firing thermal power plants are in Cayirhan-2, Eskişehir, Konya, Trakya. Soma and Çan projects are ongoing. There are still imported coal firing projects in Çanakkale, Aliağa, Amasra, Iskenderun bay although imported coal is not encouraged any more..
Bankruptcy postponement epidemic in the local markets spreads to low capital- small companies. that will be a high impact on our economy despite of unrealistic pictures as pronounced by public officials. People has lost confidence to public declarations. Foreign exchange rates may dive low in time.
Amnesty under code name "prison reform" released large number of convicts, from overpopulated local prisons to make space for the accused of latest coup incident. We hope that courts work in time properly, rule of law is established, justice is ruled as in the books.
Assassination of Russian Ambassador Hon. Andrei Karlov (RIP), in Ankara Modern Arts Gallery on 19th December night, was another misfortunate and sad incident for Turkey. There will be important consequences in time.
We believe that these are a few warning indicators, of which you will seldom read such candid forecast from a local source for our home environment anywhere else. We would be pleased to receive your comments and feedback over the course of the upcoming year.
There is a wide range consensus for low profile public appearance. People deactivate their accounts in social media. They are not interested in any public expression. Newspaper columns are repetition of earlier articles. People are indifferent to every event since so many things have happened in the near past with no reasoning no meaning we can name. Immigration applications among academics and young professionals are on high rise.

Please do note that my latest eBook is in the following link to download.

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to you all !!

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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.
This article is written for the "EurasiaReview" news web site.



Ankara, 29 December, 2016

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Rick Perry, New USA Secretary of Energy



President-Elect Donald Trump(70) has recently appointed former Texas governor "Rick Perry(66)" as the new Secretary of Energy. Rick Perry has BSc degree from Texas A&M University "Animal Science", then served as military pilot in Air Force and as Texas governor for last three terms. He was the board member of the investment group "Energy Transfer Partners" which plans to construct 1172km "Dakota Access Pipeline" in North Dakota. That controversial pipeline project was passing through "Standing Rock" Indian land and thus created public reaction from environmentalists. His attitudes were well known against climate change and global warming. In his 2012 presidential elections debate, he used inappropriate wording against Turkey. He said that our country is ruled by Islamic terrorists, hence Turkey should be dispelled from Nato and receive no financial aid. He further said that Environmental protection agency EPA should be dissolved, since their environmental protection activities are useless. So weird to say that now he is the head of the department which covers EPA.
Donald Trump advisers asked the Department of Energy to list and declare the people who worked in environmental laws rules regulation, those who participated to "Climate Change" conferences, who presented papers in those conferences. We understand that these public officials will not hold their posts any more. Coal, shale gas, fossil fuel firing thermal power plants will operate more. More coal will be produced, Global warming will be neglected. Climate change will be accelerated in time, and lowlands of the world will be flooded with seawater. However there are laws, rules, norms, regulations to protect environment, and it is not so easy to reverse the legislation so easy.
Donald Trump selected successful business people, multimillionaires for the other posts almost all with no political experience. Exxon CEO "Rex Tillerson" eventually came up among numerous candidates for the Foreign Office as secretary of state. Born in 1952, "Rex Tillerson" (64) graduate of Texas University department of Construction engineering, his whole life has pasted in Exxon Oil company. He was consulting Vladimir Putin for last 20 years in oil exploration in remote Siberian tundra. Rex has received "medal of merit" from Russians for his economic contributions to Russian economy. He further worked in Yemen, Northern Iraq. He knows all these regions very well, although he speaks no foreign language. He is not agains to ShaleGas explorations and productions, but he is opposed to ShaleGas production facilities close to his mansion in Bartonville, Texas, saying "not in my back yard".
Conservative social, environmental policies and immigration practices of Donald Trump may further receive approval from other countries of the world. Developed countries may repeat the same refugee return policies, they can close their borders to poor refugees. They may raise border walls, impose more customs tax, and increase firing fossil fuels.
Donald Trump will sworn in to take over the presidency on January 2017. Then there will be many different drastic changes and developments in Climate Change as well as in the Middle East region. Foresight for the transition period and shaping new energy policies are too hard to make but we are sure that they are not going to be easy.

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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.
This article is written for the "EurasiaReview" news web site.
http://www.eurasiareview.com/author/haluk-direskeneli/

Prinkipo, 14 December, 2016

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Premier; "La Bohéme", by Giacomo Puccini




Premier; "La Bohéme", by Giacomo Puccini, at Ankara Opera House


We have had the opportunity to watch the staging of the most beautiful opera in recent years. All my favorite voices were together at the Ankara Opera house last night premier. Saturday (December 3, 2016) night was Premier (first staging). The unique tenor Rodolfo (Murat Karahan), beautiful soprano Mimi (Esin Talinli), Marcello (Eralp Kıyıcı) and wonderful soprano Musetta (Zerrin Karslı).
Your writer is hard to please. But he liked the performance this time.
The performance is stage-directed by one of today’s most exciting young directors, the Swiss–Turkish musical director Aylin Bozok has created a wonderful job on the stage. As others have often done, she have not escaped with ridiculous erotic variations, fancy decorations, and expensive costumes.
Living in England, the Swiss Turkish director Aylin Bozok has staged an incredibly beautiful, plain, simple easily viewed performance. In the opera, she skipped details. There is no apparent key scene in the first play, no soldiers in the second play. You can hear the voice of the chorus, but they are at backstage. The children's choir is even more prominent. At the final stage, the sword game is made with simple imagination. There is almost no drink, no glasses, all hidden. No Café. Decor is made simple. Costume design is simple, particularly whitened downward, which led us to dreams. Maestro Alessandro Cedrone gave us an unforgettable night.
The second act was devoted to the Marcello-Musetta duo. They presented a separate love story. The children's choir at the end of the second screen was made up of children between the ages of 8 and 12, they were cute, talented, full of excitement and wonderful. Children must sing children choir in the opera. Their moms and dads filled the audience especially the balcony. They proudly watched their children. Parter was completely full.
In "La Bohéme" Opera, I love the characters Mimi (Esin Talınlı) and Musetta (Zerrin Karslı). In the evening premier, two super sopranos shared the roles. The poet Rodolfo (Murat Karahan), the painter Marcello (Eralp Kıyıcı), the philosopher Colline (Özgür Savaş Gençtürk), performed beautiful well balanced well-experienced voices filling the scene.
Schaunard (Emre Uluocak), Benoit (Levent Akev), Alcindoro (Yigitcan Tatlıoğlu) and Parpignol (Burak Pektaş) have supported the short roles. Parpignol has adorned the character scene, he made simple emotional pleasure in the silent role in the environment with the simple toy vendor character.
The orchestra was magnificent, the voices were almost perfect. Our Maestro "Alessandro Cedrone" was well-controlled, balanced, great, experienced, and soloists were good, emotional, powerful.
We audiences, had training as if they said "Opera is staged like this, it is played like this, it is performed like this".
On December 7-14-19-26, "LaBoheme" will be played again. I do not know if you can find tickets. I have already purchased tickets from the internet. This work will be played multiple times for sure, talked a lot. Absolutely it will be invited to international festivals. Staging will be licensed for sure.
What's the synopsis of "LaBoheme" opera? Let's summarize it in a few-lines. During 19th century Paris, a beautiful young girl and a poor poet fall in love in Bohemian environment. That's all. The girl eventually can not get proper treatment from her long term tuberculosis, in the end she dies. The poet continues to live in pain. It is a true story, written first as a novel, then played in the theater, and lastly applied to the opera. LaBoheme is one of the world's most popular operas.
Ankara opera season starts with continued program from previous year:
Giuseppe Verdi’s "La Traviata"
Giacomo Puccini's "La Boheme",
Georges Bizet's "Carmen" and "Signor Bruschino",
Johann Strauss’ “Gipsy Baron (Der Zigeunerbaron)" and "the Bat (Die Fledermaus)".

The new works this in Ankara are:
Jacques Offenbach’ Parisian Life", and "Tales of Hoffmann (les Contes d'Hoffmann)"
Ballets, "Hamlet" and" Yevgeny Onegin" will continue.

Turkey has reputable music conservatories. The opera experience in Turkey spans over a century. Turkish opera singers are great, they take world stages, world class. Opera and Ballet gives us a great daily escape from our daily travails, take a break. Go to the nearest opera house, choose the refuge and recharge your batteries.

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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.


This article is written for the "EurasiaReview" news web site.
http://www.eurasiareview.com/author/haluk-direskeneli/
Ankara, 04 December 2016



Friday, December 02, 2016

BanglaDesh Dhaka



BanglaDesh, New Strategies Developed After Dhaka Terror Incident


We would like to draw your attention to emerging terror instances these days, and to the common political solutions to these unpleasant events all over the world. We observe with amazement and horror that there is a ruthless method as applied earlier by Russians for centuries, which has come into regular solution, that every country authorities have unanimously accepted everywhere in the world. The human source that is lost in the battle of the Russians is worthless. What is important is total destruction of the enemy. Russians spend all their human, equipment and material resources to win the war.
In 1943, in the world's biggest tank fight ever seen before, total 1961 Russian tanks were destroyed against 760 German tanks in the Kursk battle. Germans lost the war and they were withdrawn. Germans could not replace their lost tanks because their factories were bombed. On the other side, Russians produced better models of the tanks they lost in battle in the five factories located away from the war zone which were built behind the Ural mountains. They put them on the battlefield in a fast pace. During the 1945 Berlin Siege, total 81 thousand Russian soldiers and 90-100 thousand German soldiers were killed.
In the case of hostage taking in the Russian strategy, there is no point to care for in loss of a young, old, children men women in the pledge. All the hostages may die. What is important is that the total eradication of terrorists. All terrorists must be destroyed in the end. In 2002 Moscow Dubrovka theater and in 2004 Chechen Beslan school hostage taking events, large number of hostages died, while all terrorists have been killed.
In Western societies earlier, negotiation with terrorists were the key in terror incidents. There were professional negotiators, psychologists employed to save hostages. Authorities concluded that these humanitarian efforts were futile, terrorists do not care. Terrorists do not end their wishes. Although international community rejected at first, ruthless procedure started with Israeli experience in 1971 Munich. In year 1971, all Israeli athletes were taken hostage. Terrorists killed them all in Munich Olympics. Israel ceased negotiating with the terrorists after all. In year 1976, in Uganda Entebbe surprise attack, most of the hostages were rescued, all of the terrorists were killed without any negotiation.
On the days of 1-2 July 2016, all six-terrorists were killed in Dhaka Bangladesh, while 20-foreign hostages and 2-policemen were also killed. It is now common practice that there will be no more negotiations with terrorists. The security forces are killing all, while the hostages are also killed.
The strategy of attacking by all means is the key attempt. As copied from Russian practice, the main target is to destroy the enemy at all costs. Media and internet communications are being censored to remove the possibility of any negotiations.
In last 20-June 2016 Ataturk airport attack, terrorists did not take any hostage. Terrorists blew themselves up. In BanglaDesh 1-July event, terrorist who took foreigners hostage in a café in Dhaka, were all young educated religious, university students. They were children of wealthy families in their normal lives. In Dhaka, we are not talking about poor, uneducated comrades. During intervention of the security forces, terrorists and hostages all died in Dhaka.
Führer of Wehrmacht Germany had no post-secondary education. He was earning his life in post-World War I as an humble painter before joining Nazi party. He ended the 1st World War with the rank of corporal with iron star metal. When he went to jail, there he wrote a book, "Main Kampf". The Nazi party, which was headed by "Führer", in 1933, took 33% of the all votes to win the political power. They moved Germany to the second great world war, They had wide range of talent pool with professors and businessmen at their disposal. When the Führer was in his Berlin shelter in 1945, he said, "Mighty German people have chosen me, they can die because I came to power to rule them." So you as voters are responsible from the politicians you choose. They have to give you an answer in every decision they make. They can not act as they wish. You have to monitor them at all times by all means.
Now we are entering into a new turn. The war on terror will be very cruel. The more you hesitate, the more vulnerable you are. During WW2, we had experienced rulers in this country, to avoid war, not to spare any soldier, any father. Our kids did not loose their fathers. We had difficulties but not war destruction. The time has come for democracy in our geography. It is differently applied than any classical all-inclusive western application. The new brutal cruel strategies in the parliamentary struggle all over the world will force them to enforce the new obligations. New power rules will bend the arm of opposition. The new rules will force to comply with their demands.
At the 2016 METU university graduation ceremony, may we remind you of a famous poster at the hands of new graduate students in Revolution stadium, "It is important not to graduate from this school, but it is very important to survive in this country".
If any similar event happens near you, leave that place as quickly as possible. That is why Embassies warn their compatriots, never enter dangerous areas, because it is very difficult to get out.
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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.
This article is written for the "EurasiaReview" news web site.
http://www.eurasiareview.com/author/haluk-direskeneli/
Prinkipo, 02 December, 2016
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