Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 14, 2010 – Istanbul Journal

Today I spoke at the Supply Chain Summit sponsored by Bosphorus Conferences. This is the reason I am here after all. The speech went well and I am looking forward to my workshop tomorrow. This will probably be a much shorter posting simply because there was not a lot of exciting things in a Supply Chain Conference to write about. A waiter did not drop a tray of water glasses; there were no problems with the AV, or anything notable to write about the meetings. Not surprising, and this is something I learned from years of business travels, except for language hotel conference rooms around the world have a certain sameness about them.

I was impressed with all the speakers. They were talented professionals doing impressive work here. But that is not a surprise; the Turkish Supply Chain professionals I met while at Colgate were very talented. The conference was most professionally organized. All the attendees I met and talked to were very nice and we had great discussions during the breaks and lunch.

Music and food sidebar: I am watching a TV commercial for a supermarket, Tansaş, featuring cartoon grocery bags dancing soorch bar style. The music? What else? The heaviest version of Dali Lolo I have ever heard. I am almost getting used to this. At lunch at the conference, the buffet included imam biyeldi, suboreg, eech, and both kinds of halveh. It may be culture shock when I return to the US on Friday.

The most interesting fellow I met was actually born in Elaziğ the city, then Kharpert or Harput, where three of my four grandparents came from. Semih Seçkin works for Turkish Aerospace Industries as a manager in charge of subcontracting. He was delighted to meet me as I was to meet him. We had a great conversation. He knew of all the little villages my folks hail from. He asked if I had heard the CDs of Enver Demirbaş singing the songs of the region. I, of course, bought that CD last year. We laughed about my last name.

I found most of the people I talked to, that were educated, knew enough about what happened in 1915. All of them said that it was politics and the government and they should all let the people just simply get along. I guess that is OK and I can relate, in a way. This is how I look at the American genocide of the American Indians. It was tragic but long ago. We need to admit the truth and move on. I related in a way to the reaction of these people living their lives and working. They/we stop, sigh at the tragedy, and move on. I really wish the government would admit things and, I don’t know, give us Ararat and Kars. That is not going to happen but it is just me being naïve again.

I missed hanging out with Siragan today. What a great fellow. He and his brother Bedros are from the same cut of cloth. He took me all over for three days. I worried I was taking him from his work but he would not hear of it. He wanted to show me his city and I greatly appreciate the camaraderie and attention. I hope I can reciprocate in the states someday.

Did I mention it is Tulip time in Istanbul?

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