Thursday, August 6, 2015


Do your research and tell this fascinating story of deception based on an idea by Ian Fleming who ysed to work for British intelligence. Make sure to include the purpose and consequences as well.
Meet the main characters:
·         “Operation Mincemeat”  
Reading material to make notes on:
·         “Operation Mincemeat”
·         “What was operation mincemeat”
·         “Mincemeat and the imaginary man”  
BBC Documentary

·         “Operation mincemeat – WW II deception prior to invading Italy”

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


Do your research and tell the intriguing story of the Mayerling incident. Explain the background, what actually happened and the impacts. Do your research in the order suggested.
Meet the main characters:
  • The Crown Prince Rudolf and Mary Vetsera
·         “Mayerling Incident”
Reading material to make notes on
·         “Morbid Monday: The unhappy prince and the dead baroness”

Monday, August 3, 2015


The family, the smallest social unit of society, starts out with the union of a man and a woman in most cases and is formalized in a wedding ceremony during which vows are exchanged before witnesses. This ceremony, the marriage ceremony, legalizes the union and the couple enter a new phase of their life aiming to stay together ‘till death do them part’. Such an undertaking is very serious and should not be taken lightly which brings into question the ideal age for marriage. The age for marriage has risen in tandem with industrialization and welfare levels from the mid teens to the mid thirties. The current later age for marriage, though dictated by circumstances, makes far more sense due to various reasons.

In early agrarian communities,  where the average lifespan was far shorter than it is today, the mid teens were considered quite late enough to get married. The advantages of such an early union were manifold: debts might be considered paid, property was kept in the family, and promiscuity was prevented. Considering that infant mortality rates were high, it was also important that the young couple get on with the serious business of reproduction early on. As for getting along, not making a go of marriage was not an option; the marriage vows were taken very seriously indeed. Come their late thirties or forties, people were considered and looked middle aged as they were worn out by years of hard labor – modern conveniences didn’t exist in those days. Conditions have changed however and with them, the age of marriage.

Modern welfare societies enable individuals to do much more during a lifetime and give them far more choice the average lifespan having doubled. People now take longer in school graduating from college in their late teens and then go on to university which might possibly be followed by graduate work. A spouse and troop of kids would make all this quite impossible; imagine your modern high school student meeting his wife and two kids in the school canteen where there is a play area for kids. Young people are no longer considered ready for life in their mid teens; people can afford to be far more honest and realistic and admit that they are still kids at this age. Although some people still work on the land, even agriculture is less labor intensive and has become mechanized; hence, kids can go to college without causing problems for Dad. The agrarian communities having left their places to modern industrialized societies, jobs need to be secured after graduation and adequate salaries need to be earned before fathers in law can be approached. In short, young people would have to be mad to even contemplate early marriage. What is more, their parents would also have a fit if they did.

Obligation comes with an added bonus though: the extended period of growing up, receiving a good education and becoming mature generally means that young people are psychologically really ready for marriage. They know their own minds, they know what they need and what they want and most importantly make their own decisions. This is very different and a lot better than the past when young people were told what they needed and wanted and decisions were taken for them for all kinds of practical reasons. Parents are present in advisory capacity in the modern world but not even that sometimes. It is no longer two families that get married either; it is two individuals. All this has put an end to the possibility of a lot of miserable marriages.

In short, there is no cloud without a silver lining: old traditions and with them early marriage is gone but hopefully, happier marriages where children are brought up by the parents themselves and not the extended family are in. Marriage is, after all, the union of two people meant to last for a life time so young people should be able to take the plunge when they are good and ready and not a moment before.


The more complex version
Representative democracy, currently the most common form of government, requires the electorate to express their opinion on who should voice their opinions and stand in for them in parliament. This is achieved by means of elections, which are held at regular intervals – usually every four years. Elections determine which candidates will be returned to parliament as M.P.’s; they also determine which political party is to form the government. Sometimes, however, no party is able to gain enough votes to form a government on their own in which case cooperation between parties becomes an option. This form of team work is called a coalition government and although sometimes inevitable, has certain advantages and disadvantages.

There is a lot to be said for coalition governments the most important being that they are more democratic as they represent a wider spectrum of public opinion. Left wing and right wing parties may have to face each other across a table and negotiate to determine a compromise all can agree on. This, in turn, ensures that extreme views leave their place to policies that all may agree on. Free universal health care may, for instance, be a step too far for a right wing party but free healthcare which exists in tandem with private health care may be acceptable. Undeniably, everyone stands to gain from such cooperation: the poor get the free service they desire while those who can afford it go private. Provided people are prepared to sit down, talk and listen, a lot can be achieved through coalition governments as many countries which have had nothing but this form of government for decades prove.

Things don’t always go so smoothly though and various roadblocks along the way may cause people to despair of coalitions. In an ideal world, one would expect members of parliament who swear an oath to uphold democracy and serve the people to the best of their ability todo so yet sometimes they refuse to compromise. Party policies which seem to be set in stone cannot be given up or even discussed; an attitude that leads to a stalemate. Democrats, for example, have always defended environmentalists as opposed to industry, while Republicans have been staunch supporters of industry denying the very existence of climate change. If the two sides refuse to give way from these positions, the coalition will not work. Alternatively, discussions may be prolonged delaying valuable decisions. Although eventually fruitful, the length of the negotiations may create problems.

In short, where there is good will and a genuine desire to make them work, coalitions can be a viable form of government. However, where there is no wish to negotiate and compromise; in short, where there is no attempt at team work, coalitions will be stumbling blocks preventing the smooth running of the state. Which of the two options will occur depends on the country, the parties involved and their goals.

The simple version
Representative democracy is the most common form of government in the world. In democratic countries there are regular elections. The purpose / aim of the elections is to choose members of parliament. Elections also determine the winning party and this party forms the government. Sometimes no party wins. In this case, team work is necessary. Parties have to work together and form the government. These governments are called coalition governments. There are various advantages and disadvantages of having coalition governments.

It can be said that coalition governments have various advantages.  First of all, coalition governments are more democratic because they represent more political views in parliament. Parties with different opinions have to negotiate: they have to listen to each other, they have to talk to each other and they have to find a solution. The left wing and right wing parties can agree on increasing the minimum wage for instance. The left wing parties want a big increase and the right wing parties want a small increase but they can come to an agreement. If each side is ready to negotiate with each other, coalitions can be successful.

On the other hand, there are also many roadblocks which prevent coalitions from working. First of all, the work of the state should carry on without delay. However, if political parties cannot compromise, they cannot take a decision and everything stops. For example, the nationalist party in Turkey supports the idea of military action against Kurdish minorities whereas left wing parties support negotiations. These views will never change; no agreement will be reached and no solution will be found. As a result, everybody will lose. Another example is long discussions. No negotiations mean everything stops. This means the country suffers economically. For example; employees at Arcelik are protesting because decisions are not being taken. In short, disagreements can cause serious problems for coalitions.

All in all, in coalitions people with two different views have to find a middle way to find a solution for the good of the country. Sometimes they can sit at the table and compromise whereas sometimes they cannot because of various reasons. However, they should leave their individual interests to maintain the coalition. Thus, the parliament becomes more democratic and the country benefits.

This essay was written by: BORA BAYRAK and DÜCANE DEMİRTAŞ