The ambassadors of 20 member countries of the European Union to Ankara have spoken about Turkey, their engagement with Turkish people and culture as well as their favorite social activities in Turkey in 60-second videos. For the social media campaign “My Neighbour, the Ambassador,” launched by the EU Delegation to Turkey, they presented a glimpse of their daily lives and gave messages in Turkish as well.
Here are some of the interviews:
Motorbike is a flying carpet for everyone
German Ambassador Martin Erdmann: My bike brings me into the Turkish world, streets, countryside and people. Because bikers, irrespective to their profession, are all equal. My most favorite place is Cappadocia. But first you need to get there. Cappadocia is a perfect place, either in the air, on the balloon or on the motorbike on the streets.
Ambassador of U.K. Dominick Chilcott: One of the many things Turks and Brits have in common is our love of tea. When I was learning Turkish before becoming Britain’s ambassador to Turkey, I used to enjoy studying in cafes, always with a glass of tea to hand and in the company of Turkish people. In fact, drinking tea brings people together and encourages conversation and friendship. Bringing people together, finding common ground is also the job of an ambassador. In Turkey, it’s great being able to do this over a glass of tea.
Ambassador of Denmark Svend Olling: To me, one of the most fascinating things about Turkey is the depth of history. While in my country Denmark, up in northern Europe, we were still hunters and gatherers, running through the woods, here in Turkey, almost where we stand, the very first cities of the world were developed. This is one of my favorite objects in the (Anatolian Civilizations) museum. It is in fact a free trade treaty. It is 4,000 years old and it says, “A new treaty between the two countries should be made and the block roads should be open to the caravans.” When you are a diplomat, you have got to love free trade treaties; this is one of the oldest ones.
Ambassador of France Charles Fries: I chose to play the piano because piano is my main hobby but also because Turkey is a great country of music, has great musicians and particularly great pianists. I like, for instance, to go to concerts of Fazıl Say, İdil Biret and Pekinel Sisters. Lizst went to Istanbul and I think he spent many months in Istanbul and wrote some pieces. Lizst is my favorite composer so there is a connection with Turkey.
Güveç is great symbol of the country
EU Ambassador to Turkey Christian Berger: We cook one of my favorite dishes because it really symbolizes many things that are so great here in Turkey. Güveç is a fantastic dish. It is a stew. So it is really a multi-cultural or inter-cultural dish that has spiraled widely and it is combining great ingredients from Turkey. The dish invites hospitality because you can sit around the table and you can take from the pot. So it is a very authentic, great symbol of the country.
Ambassador of Sweden Annika-Mollin Hellgrin: I grew up watching the Bosphorus. I lived in Istanbul with my family. My Turkish friends and I used to play games after school. So I’ve learned Turkish. Coming back to Turkey as ambassador after 44 years is a great privilege. I have many fond and strong memories of my childhood in Istanbul. Actually later in life I have discovered Nazım Hikmet. So now hopefully I will be able to read it in Turkish. But my favorite poem is “On Living.” I think if you read Nazım Hikmet “On Living,” you don’t need any further advice.
Ambassador of Romania Gabriel Cătălin Şopandă: Since I came to Ankara, I visited AnkaraKalesi as one of the first places and I was impressed by the history around here. I really really enjoy being here and taking photographs. I already have a good collection of pictures from Turkey and I am looking forward to expand it.