Batuhan Çarikçi’s second big passion next to AEGEE is cooking. “My dream is opening a restaurant, which will represent the Aegean Cuisine of Turkey and branding it all over Europe”, says the AEGEE-Izmir member. However, before he can do that life might take him to the AEGEE-Europe headoffice.  At the upcoming Agora in Bucharest he will run for CD. It’s the logical step after he has reached everything he can do in his home antenna. Just two months ago he was main organiser of the European Planning Meeting. Read more about him in this interview.

GT: Do you usually read candidate interviews in the Golden Times or AEGEEan Magazine?
Batuhan Çarikçi: Yes, of course! I am usually spending much time on social media, especially on Facebook, and following what’s happening where in AEGEE generally. I am reading as much as possible on those both channels, apart from candidate interviews.

GT: Where would you be now if you hadn’t joined AEGEE?
Batuhan: I would probably be a member of some other organizations but I am very happy that AEGEE was the first one I became involved in.

GT: How did you join AEGEE exactly?
Batuhan: After hearing Summer University stories of a friend from AEGEE-İstanbul, my flatmate and I started searching if AEGEE exists in İzmir too. Then we found out that they have an office in our university campus and we visited them as soon as possible.

GT: How long did it take you from the first moment until you signed the membership form and joined AEGEE?
Batuhan (laughs): We were ready to sign the membership form already, so it didn’t take longer than a minute!

GT: What’s the typical drink and food you bring to European Nights?
Batuhan: Even though I am deeply in love with İzmir’s local cuisine, I find it hard to carry food in a suitcase. So, I generally buy a bottle of wine from one of the vineyards of İzmir.

GT: At an AEGEE party where will we find you? On the dancefloor? Talking at the bar?
Batuhan: Actually, I’m someone who is partying only at AEGEE events or in my flat with some friends, so whenever I find a chance to party and I am not too tired, I am on the dancefloor. It is much better than losing your voice while trying to have a conversation in a noisy place!

GT: What was your first position in the local board?
Batuhan: I was the External Relations Director of AEGEE İzmir in 2015/2016.

GT: What was your favourite event as organiser?
Batuhan: It is not possible to decide between EPM İzmir 2019 and Agora Istanbul 2018. The EPM was like a baby for me that I remember every moment of: from the submission of the application form till its last moments on the 10th of February. Agora Istanbul is also an event that I will never forget; with its up and downs, chaotic atmosphere and adrenaline. During these both events I collected many beautiful and unforgettable stories that I will tell until the end of my life and I gained lifelong friendships.

GT: What was your first Agora and how did you feel there? Happy, excited, overwhelmed, lost?
Batuhan: My first Agora was Autumn Agora Kyiv 2015. I didn’t know much about AEGEE and its system then, so the serious part of it was a bit overwhelming and confusing for me. It boosted my hunger to learn more about AEGEE though and after coming back from Agora Kyiv, I started to be much more active in AEGEE and then became the External Relations Director of AEGEE İzmir.

GT: Do you like cooking and what’s your favourite dish you like to cook?
Batuhan: I love cooking! I usually like to cook Musakka for special days and combine it with some fresh mezes, which preferably have yoghurt in it. If I cook fish instead of Musakka, I make it in combination with some herbal mezes – with fresh herbs from İzmir- that contain a lot of olive oil and lemon.

GT: What’s never missing in your fridge?
Batuhan: Dairy products like cheese, milk and yoghurt. Outside of my fridge, you will always find at least two types of olive oil – one virgin, one for frying – and some herbs: black and chilli pepper, fresh oregano and mint.

GT: What do your parents think about the idea that you are so active in AEGEE and even want to move to Brussels?
Batuhan: They are so happy about it! They were always supporting me to be a pro-active person and to always take initiative to follow my dreams and achieve my goals.

GT: In a typology of members there are the three aspects fun member, career member and idealist – to which percentage are you which of these aspects?
Batuhan: I give 33% to all of those aspects. I started as a fun member, then became an idealist and in the end I realized what kind of things I learnt in AEGEE so far and how helpful they can be for my career in any type of job. We need all of those member types to keep AEGEE with all its values that people love.

GT: What other hobbies do you have aside from AEGEE?
Batuhan: I actively played football on different kind of levels for a long time and sometimes I am still playing. Actually, I don’t like watching it on a TV that much but I love the game itself, which is full of action, strategy and excitement. This is why I always want to be in the game, rather than watching it from the outside. Apart from that, I like playing video games together with friends, doing any kind of sports and cooking.

GT: Did you consider joining a political party or maybe want to do it later?
Batuhan: Yes, I did. It is impossible to stay apolitical in Turkey. I mean, politics has been a part of daily life for many years here and it somehow sucks you inside it. If you are someone, who cannot ignore what is happening around you, considering to join a political party is very easy.

GT: What do you study – and why?
Batuhan: I am studying German Language, Literature and Linguistics. After graduating from a technical high school, I had the chance and enough knowledge to start studying engineering, however I didn’t want to spend my life with numbers but with cultures. This is why I wanted to go for learning a new language and about a new world.

GT: What’s your dream job?
Batuhan: Opening a restaurant, which will represent the Aegean Cuisine of Turkey and branding it all over Europe. Imagine a Turkish restaurant which has tens of mezes and a full vegetarian menu! It’s not more than a phantasy for now but if I can make it real one day, I think it can be also helpful for a better promotion of Turkish Cuisine which does not only consist of kebab types.

GT: What’s the favourite city or place on this planet you ever visited?
Batuhan: Utrecht. I know there are not many touristic attractions there but I really like the vibe of that city. Same goes for Gent too.

GT: And where would you really like to go?
Batuhan: I really would like to have a Latin America tour one day.

GT: What’s your biggest frustration in AEGEE?
Batuhan (laughing): I don’t like it when people confuse AEGEE with AIESEC or some other organizations.

GT: Please complete the sentence: “AEGEE is for me…”
Batuhan: A big colourful umbrella of lifelong friendships and a great collection of beautiful memories!

GT: How would you describe yourself in a few keywords?
Batuhan: Determined, passionate and warm-blooded.