x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Letter writers comment on Turkey as a bridge and overtaxed Americans

Letter writers comment on bicycle safety and frustrations with parking.

A reader credits Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first president of the Turkish Republic, with transforming his country into a bridge between East and West. Keystone-France/Gamma Keystone via Getty Images
A reader credits Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the first president of the Turkish Republic, with transforming his country into a bridge between East and West. Keystone-France/Gamma Keystone via Getty Images

This is in reference to the opinion article Europe's future will be decided on the Bosphorus (April 13) which clearly stated: "Europe with Turkey would naturally be a more dynamic economy ... and Turkey is now a role model for Islamic societies striving to accommodate democracy, civil liberties, the rule of law, an open economy, pluralism and religion."

This is definitely not a nationalist, one-sided, subjective statement by a Turkish intellectual but an accurate observation by an open-minded and intellectually curious 67-year-old Englishman, Chris Patten, who is a former conservative cabinet minister, the last governor of Hong Kong and surprisingly the new chairman of the BBC Trust.

The life of luxury he and his family lived as the last governor of Hong Kong from 1992 to 1997 with full staff, fleet of cars and yachts and the power to cut through bureaucratic red tape at will, does not seem to blind him at all to make such clear and courageous statements in favour of Turkey.

Since the end of the First World War and since the German-allied Ottoman Empire was defeated and the sultanate and caliphate replaced by the modern and secular republic of Turkey, the nation has been the bridge between the East and the West.

Turkey is an important country due to its size, strategic location and profitable business opportunities for all, thanks to the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai

Pity the overtaxed Americans

In his business column Dubai's fund-raising drive must not put brakes on good life (April 10), Frank Kane wondered how he would readjust to life in Europe after living tax free in Dubai. The article could not have been more timely for Americans, as April 15 is our tax day.

Sadly, unlike the Brits, we must not only file tax returns each and every year, but the US is one of two countries in the world that taxes its citizens on foreign earned income.

So, while Mr Kane and other expatriates earn money unfettered by income tax, we continue to pay for services that we neither use nor benefit from. I begrudge every penny I have to pay for the privilege of an American passport. Perhaps Mr Kane might educate Congress about hypothecation.

Elan Fabbri, Dubai

Mandatory bicycle safety measures

I refer to the news article 2,000 helmets to be handed out in Ajman bike safety campaign (April 14). In my view, cyclists in the UAE also need to be taught to use the right side of the road, not to use pavements where they would endanger pedestrians, and to employ lights at night.

These should all be mandatory whereas use of a cycle helmet should be optional.

Anita Calcraft, Abu Dhabi

Lopsided tennis comparision

In reference to the sports article Patience key virtue on clay (April 12), with all due respect to the author Paul Oberjuerge, Pete Sampras should never be mentioned in the same sentence together with Roger Federer, especially on a clay court.

For all of his 14 slams, Pete Sampras won only two titles on clay: in 1992 at Kitzbuhel and 1998 in Atlanta. He was a finalist in two tournaments. He won just one Master's Series in Rome in 1994. He made it to the clay semi-finals at Roland Garros just one time in his whole career and never made it to the finals.

Roger Federer won Roland Garros in 2009. He made the finals, losing to Rafael Nadal in 2006, 2007 and 2008. He won five Masters Series, made the finals in seven, and won three regular titles.

Fred E, Abu Dhabi

Endless search for Mawaqif parking

I refer to the news article Mawaqif parking spaces to double by end of year (April 12). Good. My wife and I would like to put in an order for two or three multistorey car parks for district W6, now please.

In the meantime, we hope that you'll notice that we're now "waving a white flag" - we no longer own two cars. As you know, life is full of tough decisions. We had to choose between the small, energy efficient, easy-to-park saloon car and our big "gas guzzling", energy inefficient 4x4. In the end, the 4x4 won because it's the only one of the two vehicles that my wife and I seem to be able find parking with - legal or illegal - in the zone after 7pm.

We're still not sure what we paid for when we signed up for Mawaqif parking privileges. We are still waiting for a representative to answer those questions that we sent in some time ago. We trust that you're working as hard as we are in both solving this problem and perhaps looking for parking in your own area after 7pm.

Jim Buckingham, Abu Dhabi