Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Turkey. WSJE Future Leadership Program.

Turkey. Grey. Rainy. Cold. I added 7 Turkish Universities to our Future Leadership Program. For the first time The Wall Street Journal Europe will be available to students and professors in the following Turkish Universities:
- Metu University
- Marmara
- Kadir Has
- Bahcesehir
- Istanbul Commerce
- Koc
- Sabanci
I am in Turkey to follow up on the program and to establish relationships with potential partners and sponsors. All my meetings have been set up by our Turkish printer and distributor Dunya.

Around midnight after the first day in this strange country: my brain tries to cope with a busload of impressions. How many people did I meet who told me bluntly they feared for the future of this country ? Most of the people I met today (Am I meeting representatives of a minority or a majority ?) How many people expressed irritation even anger about the apparent move of the government to establish a religious state ? All the people I spoke with today. Somebody actually told me that the desire of the Turkish government to become a European memberstate is to be considered nothing less than a devious strategy to keep political correct Europe at ease while silently moving away from the secular inheritance of Ataturk. A Turkish businessman looked at me with tears in his eyes when I showed him some copies of The Wall Street Journal Europe. I lived in the US for 16 years he said. I read the WSJ every day. In 1996 I had the choice to move to Seattle or to Istanbul. Because of the kids my wife and I chose Istanbul. It was the biggest mistake in my life. I realise now I lost 12 years of my life. I should have built my carreer in the US, not here. I long to go back to the States when my children are old enough. I miss the freedom, I miss quality of life. I miss 'business'.

Picture: Koc Holding. A Turkish multinational founded in the 1920's.
A Fortune 500 company built over 3 generations.
They also have Koc University in their portfolio.