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					Reminiscences and Perspectives
    STREAM-OF-CONSCIOUSNESS
            MUSINGS
              By
          Brian Stott
         TANVIR,
  MANY APOLOGIES FOR MY
     ABSENCE AT THIS
      CELEBRATION
NEARLY HALF A CENTURY
AFTER YOUR FIRST ARRIVAL AT
          METU
   THE CIVIL ENGINEERING
 DEPARTMENT MUST ALSO BE
 CONGRATULATED ON YOUR
      RETIREMENT….

FOR HAVING KEPT SOMEONE
   WITH YOUR AMAZING
   ABILITIES IN ANKARA
      ALL THIS TIME
I met Tanvir at METU in 1965
• I arrived from Manchester for 3 years
• He returned with his Cambridge PhD
• He was a brilliantly-intellectual, super-
  cultured, energetic, fun-loving, witty,
  charming person
• His command of English language and
  literature was encyclopedic
• In spite of this we became firm friends
  BUT, WHEN YOU THINK
        ABOUT IT

 IT IS SURPRISING THAT SUCH AN
INTERNATIONAL “HIGH-FLYER” DID
    COME BACK TO METU FROM
           CAMBRIDGE
SO, WE WILL HAVE A SHORT QUIZ
 LET US SPECULATE ABOUT WHY TANVIR
         RETURNED TO METU

 Yıldız
 Wasti generations & Cambridge – “been there, done that”
 MIT, Berkeley, Caltech – places for monomaniacs
 Pakistan and its food – too hot
 Turkey and the METU civil engineering challenge attractive
 Turkey was a good base for multi-cultural interests
 All of the above
  Perhaps I should introduce myself
   Silifke
Turkey, 1966    1965-8, Elec. Eng., METU.
                What a wonderful life it was
                         in Turkey!
                                      Arizona
                                     USA, 2006


               38 years later,
               after UK, Canada,
               Brazil and 25 kg
      Unfortunately, I do not have a
       photo of Tanvir from 1965
He does not seem to have changed too much.
But now he is more distinguished, resembling …

                  An international banker?
                  A university president?
                  A top-level diplomat?
                  A Nobel laureate?
                  A billionaire industrialist?
         NO DOUBT,
    IN THIS SYMPOSIUM,
          TANVIR
HAS ALREADY BEEN ACCUSED
        OF BEING…..

  ALL KINDS OF THINGS

      SUCH AS…..
So, I imagine that at this point,
Tanvir is either ….

• Suffering his apotheosis with resignation,
  or
• Mentally rehearsing a bi-lingual speech,
  or
• Feeling slightly ill and looking for the exit
 TO TAKE THE PRESSURE
 OFF TANVIR, HERE ARE A
FEW IMPRESSIONS ABOUT
  THE YEARS THAT WE
    SHARED AT METU
             Our METU, 1965-8
• These were the “golden years” of METU?
   • METU was a national hope and symbol for
     technical progress
   • It was directly responsible to parliament
   • It had top US-Europe trained Turkish faculty
        • Plus 10-15% foreigners
   • It attracted the brightest and best students
   • Everybody’s enthusiasm was infectious*
* Few signs of the world-wide student unrest that reached Turkey in 1969
        Our METU, 1965-68
• Rector Kemal Kurdaş
  • A great leader (and what a tree-planting legacy)!
• Engineering Dean Mustafa Parlar
  • Inspirational, forceful, intimidating but often a
    “softy”
                            Side note: the Vice-Rector
                            was Orhan Alsaç, whose
                            son Ongun has remained
                            my research and business
                            partner since 1970
         Our METU, 1965-68
                      In Electrical Engineering, the twice-
• Campus in the middle offaculty tea breaks, often
                           daily nowhere
   • Quite near Eskişehir, or soby seemed
                       attended it Dean Parlar, took place
                      at a long old Tetkik Arastırma
   • No neighbors, except Maden table in the dark, damp,
                          uncomfortable basement of the
• Few “people” facilities The çay had been brewing
                      building.
   • One horrible cafeteria hours and was “mature”
                            for
   • One snack bar in Architecture
   • A few improvised volley ball courts in the dirt
   • Air conditioning almost non-existent
   • Few refuges for faculty or students
       Our METU, 1965-68
• Technical facilities
  • Lab. equipment often on international par
  • One IBM 1620 computer for all of METU
     • Only punched card input, line printer output
     • Much slower than a Palm Pilot today
  • Very good technical library
  • Fairly modern copying equipment
       Our METU, 1965-68
• Civil engineering had some of METU’s
  strongest faculty members
• Electrical engineering (my department)
  was also good
  • But the quality of the undergraduate
    students was superb
  • Sadly, many of the Elec. Eng. class of
    1968 now hold high positions in the USA!
       Our Ankara, 1965-8
• A large small town
  • No international class hotels or restaurants
  • No bars, few clubs, one modern café (Piknik)
  • No shopping centers (Gima opened in 1967)
  • All packages from abroad had to be
    personally picked up at the Ulus post office
  • No imposing edifices along İnönü Bulvarı
  • Kocatepe was not even thought of 
       Our Ankara, 1965-8
• Summer – bone dry, roasting
  • Air conditioning yok
  • Frequent water cuts – the bath-filling ritual
• Winter – colder then, deep-freeze spells
  • Award-winning air pollution
  • Car snow-chains often needed for places
    like Çankaya, Kavaklıdere, even METU
            We envied Tanvir’s rear-engine VW Beetle, because of its
                        handling on the snow and ice
          Our Ankara, 1965-8
     All this sounds as though the old Ankara
            was a really unpleasant place
    Absolutely not! We foreigners at
     METU loved Ankara and Turkey
           Why? Perhaps because:
• Turkish people everywhere were so kind and friendly
• There was a general spirit at METU of being involved in
  something new and important
• The country as a whole was so historical and magical
      Our Turkey, 1965-68
• Relative political stability
• Atatürk ethos still alive – strong public
  secularism
• The biggest national project was the
  Keban dam
• Much more American influence, then
      Our Turkey, 1965-68
• A wonderland of history and nature
• Very little tourist industry, e.g.
  • We slept in tents on the beach close by
    the Marmaris kalesi
  • Göreme was a novelty - we had to find a
    local bekçi to show us (with an oil lamp)
    the recently-discovered underground city
  • Kuşadası was dominated by camping
• Everywhere was extremely safe
        Our Turkey, 1965-68
• Road travel was a constant adventure
  •   Inter-city roads two-lane only
  •   Kamyonlar were deadly (better now?)
  •   Bosphorus crossed only by ferry
  •   Incredibly skilled Turkish car mechanics
• Air travel was good
  • We got a nice new Esenboğa, but
  • Changing terminals at Yeşilköy was
    something else
 Our Turkey, 1965-68
Perhaps, one of the best
  things of all was….
The main middle-class pastime was visiting and
  receiving people at home – several times a
                     week

This was a wonderful “people oriented” lifestyle

    Turkish people clearly gave friends and
 relationships very high priorities in their lives

   This was an important lesson for us British
I know little about his    But I have a thick file
civil engineering work    of his erudite historical
                                and literary
                          publications (including
                           a book) in English –
                              and this is a tiny
                           sample of his output
Now, a little less adulation
   and a few random
          epithets
       TANVIR THE EXHAUSTIVE

His historical research leads him down
some mind-bogglingly obscure paths
Imagine, for instance, searching the world for
the English translation from Arabic (only several
in existence) of the diary of an unknown 19th
century government official in Tunisia
Imagine, moreover, the utter serendipity of
this turning up in my local university library!
     TANVIR THE SCOFF-LAW


In 1966, while he was still inhaling
Turkish literature like a vacuum
cleaner, he forced me to smuggle a
then-illegal Nazım Hikmet book
from Bulgaria to Turkey
     TANVIR THE HAZARDOUS

He has a memory like an



       I am periodically shocked
  by things he tells me about myself,
           from 40 years ago,
    that I had completely forgotten
             (for good reason)
      TANVIR THE GENTLEMAN


Despite a very slight tendency to
enjoy a good argument, Tanvir is
remarkably polite, measured,
considerate and a perfect old-style
gentleman. Here is an example….
At my parent’s home in Lancashire,
England, my (rather sheltered) father
tried to educate Tanvir on the meaning
of some common English saying, such
as


    … “a stitch in time saves nine”
Tanvir nodded seriously and
gratefully for this information ….

… while I went green
and purple with
Afterwards, I told my father (we do this kind of
thing to our parents) ….
..…that was probably the only person you will
ever meet in your life..…
 ..…who could tell you where that saying first
 appeared in Shakespeare, Milton, etc…..
..…and the same for most other sayings in the
English language..…
..…and moreover could give you the etymologies of
all the key words through Sanskrit and Old Norse
(maybe I exaggerated slightly … but only slightly)
      TANVIR THE GLADIATOR


Did I say that Tanvir has a “very
slight” tendency to enjoy a good
argument?

Actually, I meant that he loves a good
mental-verbal sparring session
On his return from Cambridge, Tanvir’s
credential that most impressed us METU
British was

    Not his PhD – lots of people get one

    It was his Presidency of the Pembroke
    College Debating Society


That was really SPECIAL
Debating, Cambridge-style,
- is a form of bloodless modern dueling,
- using superb command of the language,
- rapid thought and fact retrieval,
- rapier-like wit and humor,
- psychology, and flexible logic.

It is sometimes called….

    The shortest cut between two minds, or
               Feud for thought
    In 1967 we had a visitor to
      METU, Professor Colin
 Adamson, who prided himself on
 his ability to expound and argue
   on any subject, ad infinitum
    We decided to teach this man a lesson
  We arranged a small party at the Karadeniz
Locantası (then İzmir Caddesi), and invited Tanvir

 Colin and Tanvir immediately locked onto each
       other like opposite magnetic poles
 They discussed and argued for at least five
hours nonstop, like the intellectual versions of
           old-style prize fighters




During this entire time, they remained oblivious
             to the rest of the party
       At the end, Colin was reduced to a
     numb, silent, vacant, shell, with seized-
      up vocal cords and a glassy stare….

      ….while Tanvir continued to expound
      non-sotto-voce on the latest subject
        that they had chosen to discuss

I, Brian Stott, do solemnly swear that the above
  is completely true and not at all exaggerated

  We took Colin home, put him to bed, and he
    was well recovered after several days
Well, Tanvir, it looks as if you have
 broken through the retirement
      barrier with flying colors




Though it’s difficult to imagine you
   just sitting on your laurels
Affectionate congratulations from
        me and Patricia,
and no doubt from all your many
  other friends and admirers.
Love to Yıldız, Nazlı (+) and Arzu
Tanvir, thank you for
 everything over all
    these years

 This ends my message

				
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