About Ihsan Berktas

Jack of all, master of some.

What has been going on lately?

For those of you who don’t know, our business (not OUR business actually) has gone bankrupt a couple of months ago and I have been unemployed ever since. (It has been almost three months). I can’t help but using the words “our business” despite the fact that I had no affiliation with the business capitalwise (except for being an employee) because after four years of work, it kinda felt like family. And it still does…


Anyway, like many other things, this new “unemployment” thing, which has become the new shape of my care-free life, has its upsides and downsides. Downsides are obvious; the company which I used to dedicate my days and weeks and months and years (not limited to working hours) is now rests in its grave. And I was very much involved in its burial – which made the progress even more unbearable. Well, I don’t think I need to mention the financial results of this bankruptcy that affected our household. The fact that my wife and I were on the same payroll has only amplified the damage and doubled the ups and downs of this unemployment thingy.

The only “good” thing that has been going financially is the unemployment allowance my wife and I are receiving at the end of each month. However, we each receive an amount approx. minimum wage and it hardly covers the rent we pay in this wonderful town(!) named Bodrum. Result: parental intervention.

BodrumWhen you think of it that way, your parents are kind of like the IMF or the World Bank. They are very much willing to give you a shoulder to lean on, yet that shoulder comes with a mouth full of advices about how you should recover from the adverse effects of unemployment and get back in the game ASAP. Followed by a constant lecture of why you should become a government employee instead of pushing your luck in the private sector (and suffer from its ups and downs). After a while, you begin to pursuit every chance of employment only to avoid these unpleasant conversations with mum and dad.

Believe me, after all those phone conversations, the money you took from them kind of feels like hard-earned cash. (Kidding).

And what do you know right? Parents DO know best after all. (Seriously)

Upsides? There are many.

First of all I got all the time in the world. Literally. I began to take long walks around town, carelessly, and even lost a couple of pounds by doing so! On the other hand, having to spend time at home is not the worst thing that could happen. I finally find the time to enjoy the satellite network we have been paying for, for more than two years, begin to spend more time in the kitchen and simply savor my time at home.


Besides home, the places I used to visit have morphed into something else as soon as I removed the time constraint. Turns out you CAN sit around and read 100+ pages of your favourite book in a coffee shop, who’d knew, right?

Friends and Family

Even during the holidays, I used to spend half-a-day for work (either early in the morning or in the afternoon) when I’m with my friends and relatives in Izmir. But during last week, after almost three years (even including the off-days(!) we took for our wedding) I have finally took(!) an actual week off and reminded myself how it used to be back then. Just me and my wife, drifting from one place to another, making schedules only to visit our mutual friends, cousins, nieces and nephews… I felt like an eighteen year old.

During my time in Izmir, I even bumped our car into a tree, only to show you how care-free I was. (Well, this was kind of unpleasant – we did not even get this repaired yet)


And since we got all the time in the world, we now have the chance to search for better deals for shopping and enjoy buy-1-get-1-free movie tickets on week days! (I know it sounds optimistic but it feels good when you get 2 tickets to a movie for only 11 TL – approx. 5 USD at current rate).

Well, I think I have mumbled enough. I am unemployed and actively seeking for a new job. If you or your friends are looking for a wonderful individual (or perhaps just me) to hire or to work alongside, I guess you know how to reach me.

Take good care.

Your faithful servant*

*Depending on the salary and other terms.

An “Excellent” Choice!

Even though I very much dislike its franchiser in Turkey, Shaya Group, my love for Starbucks Coffee, as a café, is no secret.

I would not call myself a coffee enthusiast or an espresso guru; and frankly, I am not THAT into it; but pretty much like everyone, I appreciate an occasional cup of fine coffee. Starbucks may not offer the finest cup of coffee, yet there is more than that to notice.

First of all, I am in love with the concept of “Barista” (I don’t know the name of its female version actually, what might it be, Baristess? Baristette? well…) and their cute attempts to learn your first name and your favourite drink if you are a regular. Normally, it is supposed to be depending on the Starbucks you are at, but it is not. Or maybe I am just way too lucky, I don’t know. Maybe they’re programmed to BE so? Too much sci-fi, I know. But the thing is, they have this certain way of making you feel warm and (kind of) at home (only with a slightly better decoration and lighting). Perhaps their behaviors towards customers cause some kind of hormone to be discharged and leads to a misperception of better taste..?

But in the end, it just tastes the way it should taste every single time and I love to have such constant in my not so hectic life.

I really am a creature of habit :)

My favourite beverages for the winter time (there really is not much of a “winter” going on either in Bodrum or in Alanya, but still) are americano with irish cream and of course chai tea latte. And during the summer, I have only one favourite and that is Mango Passion Fruit Frappuccino with raspberry syrup as extra. It tastes like heaven… but not the Nordic idea of heaven, more like the Arab heaven with its freshness and coolness. And as a bonus, no matter where you order this particular drink; the barista always tell you that it was an excellent choice. I have ordered this very same beverage in more than 20 different Starbucks’es and received the very same feedback. (Maybe it is company policy? :) But it really feels nice, especially for the ones like me whose biggest accomplishment in life is to order a drink that tastes extraordinarily good.

I think you should’ve got it by now. The sole purpose of this blog post is to get you to try Mango Passion Fruit Frappuccino, unless you’ve already tried. And if you do, and you’d like it, wouldn’t it be nice that we could have one more thing in common? (I hear you saying NO :)

If you still have some second thoughts, just take a look at it!

Plus, I just want to make one more thing clear; people around me have a tendency to boycott Starbucks just because(!) it has shut its doors to Gezi protestors in their time of need. Honestly this is unacceptable for such public brand, and could be a deal-breaker for many. But I wouldn’t give a sh*t about it even if they were having baby fetus grill for dinner. Because you know, love is blind. And deaf.

So, do you have particular beverage that you enjoy the most? I’d like to know. Do they also tell you that your choice was excellent too? DO THEY? I thought we had something special :(

Well, let me know, OK?


What to expect when you’re expecting, in Turkey?

Apparently not just a baby, nowadays.

Turkey’s conservative government -only to be called “conservative” if your idea of conservation is advocating Islamic lifestyle rather than the conventional definition of guarding and protecting the traditional institutions- has gained speed and aggression on its policies which will ultimately result in social exclusion of women from the urban life.

For more than a decade now, Turkish Prime Minister and his “minions” have been actively carrying on a propaganda to discourage women from work and daily life by making statements concerning various subjects via different channels, including the internet, daily newspapers, magazines, and even the state television (TRT) all with a common purpose; social exclusion of women.

It was only a few months ago when, all of a sudden, the whole country began to discuss WOMEN’s right to abortion, where the government had no hesitation showing its anti-abortion colors, linking it with its religious background. Following the “Gezi Clash”, which was merely about the preservation of a public park in the beginning,  the prime minister and his entourage criticized and used abusive words against the protesting crowds, yet again based on their looks, their religious beliefs and even their drinks(!) instead of the cause they have been standing up for; regardless of its righteousness.

More people from the government, encouraged by their commander(!)’s hateful speech, and the media, mostly associated with the government, have taken up this habit of weekly verbal assaults againts women, againts political oppositions and even againts people from different regilions/orders.

Breda, Netherlands - 2010

Captured on September 4, 2010 shows pregnant women posing for a photographer in Breda, during a protest claiming better circumstances for mothers worldwide.

In June 2013, during a talk-show named Ramazan Sevinci (Ramadan Joy) on TRT (Government TV) a religious scholar named Omer Tugrul Inancer, claimed that it is inappropriate for pregnant women to walk around the streets, and it should be considered insolent and shameful. He also added, that it does not look good (in an aesthetic aspect) and if the pregnant women “need some air” they need to take a joy-ride alongside their husbands; instead of walking outside, by themselves.

So basically, as a woman, you are expected to give birth to AT LEAST three children, have no abortions, no walking around after six months of pregnancy, no showing-off your baby belly. And you are not supposed to drive, your husband will take you to a city-tour only if that becomes really necessary.

Of couse all of these above only applies if you are a decent(!) sunni-muslim woman with a headscarf; otherwise you could just drop dead, since you are ineligible to live in this country in the eyes of the government, that is holy and mighty.

Long story short, expect the worst, when you are expecting in Turkey.

Street Harassment and Sexual Assaults Targeting Foreign Women in Turkey

I have read an article in Washington Post a few months ago, about the “constant” street harassment in Istanbul. Even though the article itself was weak and based on simple observation (therefore biased, and lacking any background and/or research of any sort) it has received a lot of attention, and quite a lot of feedback, including mine.

So I believe the author should consider her mission to be accomplished, as it got people to talk in a kind of matter that people strictly avoid to speak of.

Photograph: Alamy

Well, it got me to think at least. And also got me to write down a few words about the constant harassment and sexual assaults that foreign women have been suffering Turkey. I have also put this online on the Turkish social platform named ek$i sozluk.

So these are my toughts on;

Street Harassment and Sexual Assaults Targeting Foreign Women in Turkey

There are several determinants in a society which prevents men from simply harassing women on the street; most common ones are, in order of effectiveness, conscience (namely empathy), morality (shame) and the last of all, the government authority (or simply, the police forces). Ninety percent of the time, men who assault women are lacking the first two, and therefore there is only one element left to stop them from committing such crime; the government authority.

In a typical, modern society, the government authority and the collective conscience is intimidating enough to prevent men with lacking moral and conscience to assault women. However, in Turkey, things are a little bit different.

Unlike Western societies, the police has passed on its role, being the last resort for women, with the traditional Turkish family. Consequently, the law and its enforcement is much less intimidating whereas “the family” is a lot more threatening.

Women in the street are considered to be the honor, or let’s just be honest, “the Chastity” of their respective families, therefore expected to be treated accordingly. Any assault to women (with words or violence) will be taken as an insult to the family and will be punished(!) directly (and swiftly) by the family itself, instead of reporting the matter to the police or legal authorities in general.

At this point, unless the women who has been assaulted is not a member of the law enforcement, it is obvious that a potential sex offender is being obstructed by the intimidation of the traditional Turkish family that the lady in the street belongs to, rather than the police. It seems to be okay, even though it is not, for Turkish women with a family background in the society; but how about a foreigner?

In the attacker’s perspective; there is no consicence, no morality, no family nearby to be threatened by, and don’t get me started with the law enforcement. So basically, foreign women are the easiest targets for these lowlifes on the street.

Assuming that we have no control over the consicience or morality of someone, at least in the short run, and since we can not ask Turkish families to adopt foreign women (not funny, i know) we must
directly improve the law enforcements’ approach to such incidents.

And the real national shame here is, in the end, rather than the harassment or assault itself, do our male dominant society really willing to change the way things are?