Thursday, September 29, 2016

2017 Homeland Security Forecast

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 predictions:

Nation could not recuperate yet from the unexpected events and after shocks of the 15-July coup. National healing is continued in a slow pace. Huge mass demonstrations are 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 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. But humiliation is not acceptable. Closure of prestigious national heritage war schools are not acceptable. We always need strong army in our geography for national survival. Remedial measures are necessary in the long run. Last but not least, commentators foresee that the last coup 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 on early October later this year. That is also the time for ending 3-month emergency period after 15-July attempt.
This is why ruling party asks other two opposition to join public solidarity in democratic union in mass demonstrations. If the last 15-July coup would succeed then we would 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 say that USA should leave Incirlik air base for the long term and 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 hot topics of Presidential elections in the homeland.
On 9th 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.
European Union may soon stop accession meetings completely for our participation since all requests are returned with futile responses. 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 credibility to junk level, the other international rating agency (Fitch) is clever to postpone their Turkish ratings, however we all know that their declaration is also meaning low rating for our investment environment.
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 the ruling party one after another.
Energy supply security is also within our prime concerns. Although we have good deals with Iran due to our gas purchase agreements, relations with Iran may get tense in the next three months since we have now minimized and limited military capability to respond at this point in time. That is very hard period after 15-July coup. National Security is to be reinforced since SouthEast insurgency may get worse. The people in SouthEast may look for their solution of independence.
The recent tax 15 $ per ton imposed on imported coal may 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. However these plants have poor design, they have low spares, short life span. If you desperately need electricity generation, then final 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 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 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.
Bankruptcy postponement epidemic in the local markets will spread to low capital- small companies. that will be a high impact on our economy despite of unrealistic pictures as created by public officials. People has lost confidence to public declarations. Foreign exchange rates may show high jump in time.
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.
Amnesty under code name prison reform will release 38 thousand immediate to 96 thousand convicts in long term, from overpopulated local prisons to make space for the accused of latest 15-July incident. We hope that courts work in time properly, rule of law is established, justice is ruled as in the books.
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.

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.

Prinkipo, 30 September 2016

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Turkish Opera Ballet 2016-2017 Season Program

The new opera and ballet season is ready across the country. The Devlet Opera ve Bale (Turkish State Opera Ballet) announcement can be found in The opera houses typically keep some titles from the previous year and add new titles in the new season. If an opera or ballet is carried over from previous seasons, typically the previous production and the cast will be repeating. The new titles are also typically will start in the New Year. With that in mind, let us review the new program, determine our picks, listen to the music or watch online to re-train our ears and refresh the story prior to watching.

We have a good collection of productions that will continue from last year at Istanbul Süreyya Opera House:
Igor Stravinsky's "The Rake's Progress",
Giuseppe Verdi's "Ernani",
Jacques Offenbach's "Beautiful Hellen (La Belle Helene)",
J.Sebastian Bach "Kaffekantate",
Antonio Vivaldi's "Bajazet (Yildirim Beyazit)".
Donizetti's "Don Pasquale",
Charles Gounod "Faust", Rossini's "La Cerentolla (Cinderella)",
Benjamin Britten "The Turn of the Screw" will continue from last season.

The new productions at Süreyya Opera house starting in 2017 have some of the ballet’s classics,
Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty" and "The Nutcracker",
Stravinsky's "Firebird Spring" ,
Adolphe Adam's "Giselle" and "Le Corsair (Pirate)".

These productions may be staged at Fulya Besiktas and Bakirkoy Leyla Gencer stages in rotation.

There is an extraordinary schedule at Izmir Alhambra Opera House. Season will start with last year's excitement, Ruggero Leoncavallo’s, "I Pagliacci (Clowns)". Highly recommended if you had not seen it yet.

The program will continue with the other productions from last season:
Johann Strauss (2) "Die Fledermaus"
Mozart's "Zaida"

The new program will include:
Gioacchino Rossini’s "the Barber of Seville." 
Giacomo Puccini’s "Madame Butterfly.
Giuseppe Verdi "Rigoletto"
Arrigo Boito's "Mephistopheles"

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.

In Mersin Cultural Center in their historical building, the program includes:
Tchaikovsky’s "Yevgeny Onegin",
Giuseppe Verdi's "Macbeth",
Donizetti's "Rita"
Pergolesi's "La Serva Padrone".

In Antalya at the new Modern Culture Center, the program will include
Bizet's "Carmen"
Mozart's "Abduction from the Seraglio" and "Iolanta",
Donizetti's "Viva la Mamma"
Franz Lehar's "The Merry Widow".

Samsun opera house new young singers with extraordinary voices full of very big promises. We are delighted in watching them on stage later in Ankara and Istanbul. In Samsun’s Modern Opera House starts the new season starts with:
Puccini's "Tosca",
Donizetti's "L'Elixir d'Amore",
Verdi's "Masked Ball", and "Il Trovatore",
Bizet's "Carmen" and "Dr Miracle",
Donizetti "Rita".

The program for 2016-2017 is an extensive one with over 30 productions across the country. All of the locations are within reach and will provide the opera and ballet lovers with extensive enjoyment.

We have reputable music conservatories in Turkey. 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.


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.

Prinkipo island, 22 September 2016

Monday, September 19, 2016

What Happened in the Berlin Local Elections?

Recent developments that will change the political balance in Germany has become very visible. What will be the response in the business world, how much concern shall we have in the energy sector? Let's call all along the answer to this question. But first, let's go back a bit

In the spring of 1945, Russian army started an offensive to reach Berlin, capital of Nazi Germany. Russians deployed 1,500,000 troops, 6500 battle tanks, 7,500 aircraft, 40,000 heavy guns. Russians lost 81,000 and 250,000 were wounded. Germans losses were more than 100,000, and 200,000 were wounded. Berlin fell in 2-weeks. Adolf Hitler and his top generals either committed suicide or surrendered. Surviving German soldiers and adult men were sent to infamous Gulag camps in Siberia. The war came to an end. Germany was now divided; West occupied by the Allied forces and East occupied by Russians.

Soon, Russians built a great monument in Treptow Park in Berlin to commemorate the fallen Russian soldiers during Berlin siege. They erected a gigantic statue of a Russian soldier in uniform and a cape. He is holding a small girl under his left arm saving her, a sword on his right hand, an automatic rifle swung on his back, and a swastika under his feet. Russians and East German administration organized annual commemoration ceremonies until 9th November 1989, the fall of Berlin wall.

Germans have been showing their discomfort about this sculpture, which has reminded them ruthless repressive occupation forces. They wanted the removal of the statue which was reminiscent of distasteful practice of past occupation. Similar statues were removed one by one from other eastern European countries. Russians insisted and this statue was kept in place.

In 2015, Germans organized a rock concert in abandoned Tempelhoff airbase. It was a Woodstock style festival for young people, with attendance of 70,000 fans. The Concert was a popular event with the youngsters.

This year "Lollapalooza Rock Festival" was reorganized in Berlin. This time organizers preferred arrange the festival in Treptow park. The morning program began with budding young rock bands, then continued with the better known rock bands later at night. Entrance fee was 75 Euros per person per day. Young people from every part of the world were in the festival with more than 100,000 participants. They consumed traditional German foods schnitzel and wurst, drunk lots of German beer.

Berlin "Lollapalooza" Rock Festival is now over. It is now time for cleaning the dirt that was accumulated during the rock festival. Berlin Municipality is not sure if the entry fee may be sufficient to pay the repair, clean the park, remove refuse, wipe out graffiti, re-sod the grass, and prepare the land for use again.

AFD German Nationalist party with anti-refugee policies was present in full force in this concert. They organized a political rally on the second day at 16: 00. It was observed that AFD found a lot of supporters. Recent opinion polls showed that the German Chancellor's Popularity had lowered at alarming levels.

In the 16 September local elections in Berlin, AFD, SPD and Green parties were the winners. The ruling coalition has lost the majority vote. In upcoming 2017 general elections, AFD ultranationalist party may get votes to join the government coalition, and enforce serious anti-refugee policies, such as limiting the incoming refugees, deporting illegal refugees. Poland, Hungary, Czech, Austria, Bulgaria, do not take the refugees to their territory.

How all these affect foreigners? Current German coalition government in power pursues moderate foreign policy, they have positive integration policies towards refugees. Germany has an old age population, at 46 average age. New government with AfD partner will have too protectionist, xenophobic policies to pursue. The deportation of illegal refugees to return to their countries may come to practice. However this practice may not cover foreigners with long term "residence permit".

It is the most likely foreseen that entry visa to Germany or Schengen will be too difficult to get for foreigners, non-Germans, for citizens of non-EU member countries. In power plant equipment sales, it would not be a problem, as long as you have money to pay and you can finance your project.

German power plant contractors, manufacturers and suppliers of gas turbines, steam turbines, boilers, software, hardware are ready to deliver their products and services at all times. However, it is foreseen that it will be difficult to make contract negotiations in Germany. So you better organize those meetings in your country.

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.

Prinkipo island, 26 September 2016

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Could #Trump become President of the USA?

The first TV debate between US Presidential Candidates will take place on September 26, 2016. Later debates will be on October 9th and 19th to face with each other. During live debates on TV screens, candidates will respond to questions from anchor speakers, and also criticize each other within given time periods. Afterwards we shall read the evaluations on the printed press how capable they were.

Donald Trump is a TV star. He has his own very popular reality show "Apprentice" on TV with high ratings. He is very comfortable on the TV screen. In a TV debate, your writer feels that Mrs. Hillary Clinton has no chance to win the sessions. Mrs. Clinton has other problems to solve, such as her undisclosed unverified pneumonia and parkinson health rumors, confidential private emails during her FM tenure, and her difficulties and mismanagement during misfortunate Benghazi disaster. These are not so easy to cope in near future.

We are sure that she will continue the existing Foreign policy of the Obama administration with the same stalemate without any new solutions to the current world affairs. Mrs. Hillary Clinton has an eroding image in the discourse. Whereas Donald Trump has more fun, with solutions good or bad questionable, he is easy to improvise, easy to understand, with many solutions to ongoing problems, and flexible to apologize when and where necessary.

Your author does not believe the US pre-election public opinion polls. Donald Trump has an ongoing rating band of 40-42%. Hillary Clinton seems to be in the 46-48% band, but it seems that the gap is getting smaller very day.

Mrs. Hillary Clinton emerges as true follower if not designer of the current Obama foreign policies. She does not bring anything new. Donald Trump reveals more radical public decision for US voters. These are very attractive initiatives for average US voters, such as deportation of undocumented illegal immigrants, opening and exploitation of the coal mines for more employment and more jobs for coal country. These new policies reverse the existing norms and overtakes very attractive terms for average US voters. Bernie Sanders, would be more tough opponent for Donald Trump in social policies.

Donald Trump also promotes more isolation from the problems of the outside world, the Middle East, Afghanistan. He is inexperienced in foreign relations so he will try to avoid any further involvement. He promises no adventures in the foreign lands. So, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan wars will be left to neighboring geographies to solve. USA will withdraw foot soldiers and avoid land operations there. US arms manufacturers are traditionally support Republican candidates. So US arm manufacturers will continue to sell conventional weapons to these conflict regions to let them to kill each other. We are left to our destiny on our south border. US involvement will be limited to air strikes through drones with no pilots. Furthermore US visa applications will be more stringent. It will be difficult to get US visa. It will be to difficult to make business with USA in the long run.

Please do note that the "Trump Tower" which is located in Kustepe Mecidiyekoy Istanbul, does not belong to Donald Trump. Trump sold license, projects, architectural services, and right to use his name for Shopping mall, business center and accommodation facilities. "Trump Tower" in Istanbul is financed, constructed, promoted and operated by a Turkish real estate investment group.

Donald Trump does not have any direct investments in Turkey. He is a successful investor on entertainment centers, hotels, golf courses. In order to have Trump investments in Turkey, Turkish investment environment should get improved, and Turkey should get better financing evaluations from rating agencies in the long run.

Your writer finds always fun to follow foreign policies. I review cartoons which mock most foreign politicians. Putin (63) is described as naked, macho, in harsh attitude with green military camouflage pants. Cartoonists often love Putin. Putin is seen as a counter balance against Western leaders.

Obama (55) is lean, long, thin in black business suit with big ears in cartoons. I watch Donald Trump (70), Hillary Clinton (68), Bernie Sanders (74) in funny cartoons with pleasure.

Cartoonists love to exaggerate particulars of the politicians with uncomfortable details. Donald Trump's hair style, his small hands, obesity, Hillary Clinton's weird pants to cover her large basin, her high cheekbones, Bernie's advancing age. Politicians are to stand to cartoonists' hard cruel sense of humor at all times. They need to have hard skin to stand. Donald Trump has a thick hard skin. He is unconcerned and indifferent to hard satire that cartoonists draw, and he presumes credit for every appearance on the printed press. There is nothing else to do. Politicians are to get used to all that satire.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was drawn as poodle dog, due to his unconditional support of US foreign policies. The next Prime Minister David Cameron once accidentally pronounced "condom" in one of his public speeches. He is drawn with condom on his head from that date on.

The new British Prime Minister Mrs Theresa May(59) has crow's nose, hump back, feminist attitude, in funny cloths, especially with her leopard print heel shoes, as appeared in her cartoons.

German Chancellor Mrs. Angela Merkel (62) is depicted as nude, short, fat, submissive. American Painter Vincent Desiderio has a famous painting names "Sleep" where men and women sleep naked in the same bed. There are cartoons using the same theme, where Angela Merkel sleeps naked with other politicians. Merkel does not deserve them all. She is well educated, beautiful lovely lady. But in politics, one has to be resistant to all unreasonable irrational rouge hard criticism. In the last regional elections, in her own constituency, Merkel lost her public support and dropped to third place due to her immigration policies. She had incorrect inappropriate domestic policies for incoming refugee problem. She lost her chance to become the next Chancellor in the next period. Other European countries took hard decisions for refugee problems. They refuse to have refugees in Poland, Hungary, Czech, Austria.

A recent report has appeared in British tabloid DailyMail on Donald Trump's third and last wife 1970 Slovenia born Melanie Trump (46). Upon her arrival to the USA in 1996, she was with fashion model (and even escort) agency. Donald Trump responded "It is not my subject, ask to Melanie". Melanie Trump opened 150 million US dollar defamation lawsuit against the newspaper. The Newspaper later corrected the story and said that Melanie worked with fashion agency within legal terms. "Melanie was not an escort, she worked as a legal model," they made adjustments.

Cartoonists and satirists have freedom of expression, and it is impossible unreasonable to prevent their freedom of expression in Western democracies. Their band of criticism is too wide in the Western world. The youngest Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio(45) told for his rival Donald Trump (70) "his hands are too small", meaning an old-age obscene remark. Trump after three marriages with five children, responded with confidence, "And, he referred to my hands -- 'if they're small, something else must be small.' I guarantee you there's no problem. I guarantee." Republicans are very casual for such obscene remarks waist down.

But that obscene remark was pronounced and cartoonists loved that statement and started to draw Trump with small hands. Naked Trump statues were installed in one early morning in major city parks. People loved to take selfie photos with that identical naked Trump fiber sculptures.

We shall miss President Barrack H. Obama for sure. He was a real intellectual, humanist, environmentalist, a model father and husband with full of humor. He avoided US foot soldiers in conflict zones. ObamaCare social security for all poor was his initiative.

Could Trump become the President of the United States? The answer is YES. He may get elected and become the next President in November 2016 US Presidential elections. If Hollywood star Ronald Reagan could become the US President for two consecutive terms, businessman and prominent TV star Donald Trump can become the next President. So all these satirical cartoons, sculptures may work for Donald Trump, we all have fun to enjoy. We columnists will have ample wording to write every day.

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.

Ankara, 16 September 2016

Saturday, July 02, 2016

What exactly does an Editor do?

While I was working for an American Turkish joint venture company, I was supposed to write "Minutes of Meeting" at the end of each business meeting whether it was with clients, contractors or with staff and I had to distribute to the attendees. The reciprocal party also writes their own document and distribute to the related parties. If there were mismatches or misunderstandings between these documents, then we would make the necessary corrections and agree on what we discussed in the meeting. So you avoid any mistakes or mismatches and keep your written records to apply in future, you are away from verbal memory errors. Since then time has passed. For last three years, I am writing weekly column on local energy problems which mainly consist of my past notes reflecting my past experiences, both in Turkish as well as in English.

The draft article first appears in my personal web page to be corrected and updated with comments, criticisms, recommendations. My Editor makes the last review, and if we feel that the draft article has come to maturity, then we publish on paper newspaper then go live on web site.

The same process goes under way in the English text of the article. My native English speaker American Editor is more ruthless than our local Turkish Editor. "I'm not a technical person. I am an ordinary reader. You can not post an article I do not understand," s/he says. The corrected/ edited last English version of the article is usually much more different than the first draft.

Publication of an article without any editorial supervision is not correct. An article can not be published without the editor. Editor who does not know you personally, is better for you. S/he makes corrections clearer, more honest, more ruthless. Reader comments are also very useful. I consider those reader comments very seriously. Sometimes I throw the draft text and completely rewrite the article. "Delete" key does work for this purpose..

Reader comments are very valuable to a writer. There are physical limitations on the article. Text should be written brief. There should be no empty wording, no long sentences. It should be easy to read. Ordinary readers should read and understand easily. Incomprehensible, special abbreviations should be avoided, long descriptions should be given upfront mainly for abbreviations.

There are rules of the column articles. Article should cover two A4 pages long, and it should not exceed 500-700 words, preferably, in "Times New Roman" or "Ariel", written with 10-12 fonts. It should be perfect in spell check, perfect in expression, free from logical errors. Editors should understand what they read. Ordinary reader should also understand. Article should be friendly, relaxed, simple, and convincing.

Editor are good, if they think and express their evaluations straight forward, without diversion. They should have the ability to tell the swindle. You need an editor who says bluntly, expressing what he feels on your precious document. This is the job of the editor.

There is more in article writing. Technical article, should be "technical" in nature. It should not disturb or accuse anyone. It should not target any person, organization or company. The reader should agree with the writer in the end. Our job is too difficult.

If you think for business books, our job is more difficult. The same rules are applied also there. Only text can be longer. I asked experienced publisher to evaluate my situation. "Your draft book is of the more technical, ordinary readers does not understand, so they do not buy, and we do not publish it is hard work you you," he said. My Draft English eBooks stand on the internet as a pdf at the following web page.

My Pdf Ebook in English, has received many downloads around the world in the last 3-months. I stopped searching Publisher. If anyone likes the Ebook, he can download and get the output you want on paper. If it was printed on paper, that was the number I would expect to sell on bookshelves of bookstores.

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.

Ankara, 18 February 2016
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