When did you arrive at SHAPE? What is your native country? Is your family here with you?
I arrived at SHAPE at the end of July 2009. I came for a few months without my family; the time to make all arrangements with housing then my family joined me. I come from Turkey, I was born in Ankara but then I lived in Istanbul. I will finish my tour in SHAPE in August and will be back in Turkey, in the naval base of Iskenderun, North-Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Southern part of Turkey, close to the Syrian border. It will be a big change after three years spent at SHAPE; especially for the weather, compared to Belgium, there is no winter.
Would you please describe your job position?
I work for PAO, Internal Comms and Outreach Section; I am the Internal Comms Section's head. My job consists of informing the SHAPE staff (military and civilian) and their families about what's going on in SHAPE, about the latest developments. The latest tasks were concentrated on the new ACO Reform Programme, SHAPE Transition, CCOMC.
You've been the Deputy Chairman of the MWA Committee, for how long have you been filling this function and what were the challenges and lessons that you draw from this experience?
I started the function as deputy chairman at the end of 2011, almost 8 month ago. Before that, I was a member of the Committee representing the Turkish NMR; I've been in charge of this job for one year. And then the Turkish NMR applied for the position of Deputy. Normally this post is a rotational post but you can also apply as a volunteer, and I was the representative.
The most important challenge was to promote our Committee, explain to Shapians who we are and what are we doing; in fact Shapians don't know much about the MWA Committee. This is the reason why we started an informing campaign and our motto was "MWA Committee, your voice on MWR activities”. Our Committee is the only, unique open platform for all Shapians to submit their concerns, wishes, remarks to the relevant authorities, in this case mostly HSG (Head Quarters Support Group) and MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation Branch). We can consider that our Committee is a bridge between the SHAPE Community and HSG and MWA Council. We can convey all the questions to those authorities. Our main purpose is to create a communicating environment, creating a more suitable environment, additional facilities in order to make life easier for the families in SHAPE.
Another very important tool to promote the MWA Committee was the SHAPE Community website http://www.shape2day.com/; we then contacted the SHAPE Community Website Manager and with her help we created a sub site on www.shape2day.com.
Is it the first time you have been in Belgium?
This is my first time as an international assignment but it is not the first time I visited Belgium. I visited Belgium for the first time in 2007 with my wife. It was a very busy, one-week programme actually. That particular week, my wife and I really enjoyed the visit to Bruges.
What surprises you about this country? What do you like most about it and in particular about the Mons area?
I was very excited to see the historic site of this European Country, I like the way they preserve the historic site, the old buildings, old art pieces… As I mentioned previously, I lived in big cities like Ankara and Istanbul, there are of course some historic places but when it comes to big cities, it is not so easy to see historic places, you need to take special time to visit them while here in Belgium and you can see historic places while walking. We find it very interesting and took the opportunity to also visit a lot of other European cities.
What is the event here at SHAPE that you enjoyed most?
SHAPE itself can be considered as a big event. During three years, you can enjoy several entertainments; the most interesting one for me has been the SHAPE Make a Wish. I like this event very much not only for the run, but especially because it contributes to help people you don't even know; you are having fun and at the same time you are doing good work for society. The SHAPE fest is another one which gives an image of the many nations of SHAPE, the various cultures gathered in a single event. Of course, with the Turkish community, we organized many activities during the year.
Do you visit our SHAPE Community Website http://www.shape2day.com/?
I regularly visit the SHAPE Community Website; during the last year it has been improving day by day, covering almost all the information Shapians need. Not only Newcomers but also the other Shapians are benefitting from this site. Being at the end of my tour in SHAPE, shape2day is my primary source of information, I can find there information about VAT, police issues, out processing. You can find almost everything you need on this site. The site needs to be promoted but I am sure that in time people will appreciate this tool. I use it because I know; some other may not know it.
How did you get the idea to create the MWA Committee Website and what is the goal of this website?
The biggest challenge when I started to work with the MWA Committee, one and a half year ago, was that I couldn't find a lot of information on the Committee neither on the internet nor on the WISE pages. There are some dedicated pages on WISE but they have restricted access. The secretary had the same problem not to be able to access and it was a spark in my mind that we could create a webpage for both the committee members and the community as well. This tool would be a great help to communicate between the members but also very important to reach our audience, all the Shapian staff and families. That is the basic reason why we decided to create the sub-site. Everybody can find the information they need as it is an open source on internet, anyone can easily have access to this site. That's why I would like to thank you as the Editor, you helped us create the sub-site, giving us your ideas to promote our committee and I hope we will make the best use of it. The project is now completed and as you can see you have access to the MWA committee website from the home page of shape2day.