ANKARA: When you don’t care about life…

Turkish Daily News
24 July 2004

When you don’t care about life…

Let’s not find someone to pin the blame on.

Mehmet Ali Birand

What will happen if we find out that the train driver was going too fast or
the rail tracks were too old.


We will learn more about the responsibilities of the train driver, the
Turkish Railways (TCDD) general manager’s and the transportation minister.

When we find out who is responsible, our job will be done.

Everything will return to the way it has always been.

However, the real problem lies with our respect for human lives. A society
that respects human-beings would act differently.

The train driver would go a different speed.

The general manager or the political chief makes more detailed analysis.

Yes. Such accidents happen all around the world. However, the reasons behind
these accidents are not the differences between developed and undeveloped

The rail tracks laid in developed countries are different. The education the
train drivers receive are different. Security precautions taken are entirely

In countries like ours, every project starts with: “Let’s just make do for
now and will take care of it later.” Such an attitude results in such

The only victims are those who lose their lives for nothing.

Paris Embassy should be congratulated
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul should be proud of his team.

Especially the entire personnel of the Embassy in Paris did a great job.

If you permit, let me give my assessment as a correspondent who has been
following such official visits for the last 40 years.

This perfect visit was organized by a team led by Ambassador Uluc Ozulker,
together with the councils in various French cities, public relations and
tourism representatives.

Nothing was out of synch.

In today’s world, everything running smoothly is a very important factor.

Ambassador Ozulker was like a very successful orchestra conductor.
Unfortunately, he will be vacating his post at the end of the year, due to
the procedural practice in the Foreign Ministry.

Ozulker not only excelled in the visit’s organization, passed the test in
every matter including, the briefing of the press and explaining facts to
the French. Moreover, he is such an experienced ambassador that he needs to
prove himself to nobody.

I am sure no one from the Foreign Ministry called him to tell him: “Thank
you for all your help. You did a great job.” Especially those among the
200-strong Turkish delegation, including the prime minister, will not call

I would at last like to thank the team in Paris, lead by the ambassador, and
the young people at the Prime Ministry Press Bureau for helping us for all
my colleagues.

Turkey made up for the helicopter fiasco
I don’t know if you remember, but in 2000-2001, Turkey, all of a sudden,
forced France out of its helicopter tender. Until then Turkey had made many
promises to French President Jacques Chirac on the matter, and had told them
that France had a good chance on winning it. For Chirac, this was a matter
of honor. He was preparing to show how his policy of having closer links to
Turkey would pay of.

And then one day, before notifying Chirac or explaining the reasoning behind
it, France was removed from among the countries that had reached the last
stage of the tender.

Paris was shocked.

Without any explanations, it received a slap in the face. I don’t exactly
remember, but Ankara had got angry because of a law on Armenians or another
matter, and had decided to punish the French. However, that decision
resulted in a complete severing of all the bonds between Chirac and Ankara.
Since then, the French president is a little lukewarm towards Turkey. He had
lost his trust in those governing Turkey.

He openly said he had lost his trust.

This visit made amends for this gaffe that was made four years ago. I am not
talking about not giving France the helicopter tender. You decide on who you
are going to give the tender, depending on your political and economic
interests. However, if you are a little polite and clever, you will notify
your friends beforehand about your decision and try not to disappoint them
too much.

However, I don’t know why, we like to smash things.

Why is Gurel angry with the Ecevits?
Once upon a time, he couldn’t say enough about the Ecevits. When he was
chosen by the Ecevits as the foreign minister, he was seen as Democratic
Left Party (DSP) leader Bulent Ecevit’s right hand man.

Sukru Sina Gurel is very angry with the Ecevit’s these days. Those who used
to stand to attention when Bulent Ecevit’s wife DSP deputy-leader Rahsan
Ecevit entered a room are now up in arms.

The reason is simple.

Ecevit’s chose a different candidate for leadership for the DSP to replace
them. Former pro-Ecevit supporters are very angry with the Ecevit’s for not
chosing them as their candidate. Gurel is saying that Rahsan Ecevit can
remain as the head of the party organization, adding that if he is elected,
he would remove her from that post.

We will never understand what goes on in politics. I guess the Ecevits chose
the best possible candidate to replace them.

NOTE: This article appears in daily Posta and, on the same day, in daily
Hurriyet’s all foreign publications, on Hurriyet’s internet site
(), on Milliyet’s internet site ()
and, after being translated by the Turkish Daily News staff, in both that
newspaper and on the Turkish Daily News internet site