İzmir could be like Barcelona

İzmir could be like Barcelona

For a couple of years now, the citizens of Barcelona have been protesting. Striking statements have been coming from the authorities in the city.

What do they want? They say they no longer want any tourists in Barcelona.

Despite these calls, tourists continue to come to Barcelona. The number of tourists has been increasing steadily since 2012. 

The average increase is 10.3 percent per year. Overall the number of tourists visiting Spain in 2016 was above 80 million, with Barcelona rising to become the third most popular city for tourists in the world.

Thirty million people went to Barcelona in 2016. That is equal to the total number of tourists who came to Turkey last year.

I don’t know what kind of effect the recent terror attack will have on the tourism flow to Barcelona. Out of curiosity, I called a friend in Barcelona to ask.

“Has life returned to normal or are the streets of La Rambla empty?” I asked.

As far as I could understand, there is a certain unrest. Tourists prefer to walk on the city’s nearby Garcia Street, as there are so many security measures on La Rambla.

“The attack will not affect visitors to Barcelona because people already have memories within this city. Barcelona has tens of arguments feeding the city, from arts to sports, from education to business. More than 20 percent of citizens in Barcelona earn their living through tourism. The Spanish are especially making new plans concerning the service industry, the digital world, and universities. Nothing will happen to Barcelona; it will continue to attract tourists,” my friend said. 

I am writing about Barcelona for two reasons.

Firstly, we should recognize that cities are in competition with each other, just like countries. Secondly, I have always thought İzmir resembled Barcelona, based on its geographic qualities and the vision in the city.

Barcelona was largely an unfamiliar city to people until 1992, when the Olympic Games introduced it to the world.

Similarly, İzmir must describe and introduce itself. It must be more actively present in fairs outside of Turkey. It must also be designed accordingly, with sports and arts highlighted.

Urban transformation must be done in the right way. We must build not vertically, but in a horizontal direction. The city must grow as an example model, in contrast with the unplanned urbanization elsewhere in Turkey.

İzmir could one day become another Barcelona.

Resigning is normal

A senior bureaucrat recently resigned: Student Selection and Placement Center (ÖSYM) President Ömer Demir announced that he was resigning from his duties.

It was the first such resignation in Turkey in many years, and the public has been discussing the reasons why.

I want to reflect on this issue of resigning. In the private sector, people can be successful or unsuccessful.

They may lack harmony with the institution, or they make a mistake. In this case, they may resign. 

But this is more difficult in the public sector. In the public sector, what you see is either a deep silence or a process where the individual waits for whether or not they are going to be dismissed.  

In fact, resigning should be as normal as being appointed. It can happen in all business life. And it should also happen in the public sector.

Treating a feeding bottle like a torch

Prosecutors have made a series of detentions because of the trouble that erupted between fans during the recent football match between Eskişehir and Göztepe in Antalya.

The prosecution has even demanded that those involved in this trouble be accused of being involved in “organized crime.” 

Meanwhile, security personnel at the same stadium refused to let an Antalyaspor supporter take a feeding bottle and cloth bag into the stadium for the recent Antalyaspor vs. Akhisarspor match.

Sometimes it is hard to understand things. Who gives these orders and how do they carry them out?

How did the same security team, which did not allow a one-year-old toddler’s feeding bottle into the stadium, allow hundreds of torches to be taken into the Eskişehir vs. Göztepe match?

How can they treat a feeding bottle like a torch?