February 28, 2011

Istanbul gets the diplomatic treatment in new book

'Konsoloslukların Penceresinden Istanbul' (Istanbul from the Windows of the Consulates), produced by Istanbul Kültür A.Ş., shares memories, observations and stories from 28 consuls general who have spent time in the metropolis. The hospitality of the residents of Istanbul is a theme that runs throughout the book, a bilingual, English-Turkish work


So many of them are closed to the general public; visas are granted or not granted in other buildings or through side doors and cultural activities take place elsewhere. The higher-level diplomats travel in chauffeur-driven sedans with tinted windows, walk the streets with bodyguards or limit their activities to secure locations. Or so we think.

Are all of these things true or just figments of our imagination? How do we know?

Well, now, thanks to Istanbul Kültür A.Ş., the public can have a glimpse into the way 28 consular officials think about Istanbul in a new publication, “Konsoloslukların Penceresinden Istanbul” (Istanbul from the Windows of the Consulates).

The book, complete with superb photos taken from the windows of each consulate and elsewhere in Istanbul, shares memories, observations and stories from the two to four years (and sometimes more) each of the 28 consuls general has spent in the city.

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Former U.S. Consul General Sharon Anderholm Wiener wrote that when people asked her what had changed from the 1970s when she first came, she points to greater democracy, ties to the global economy and more traffic.

“But what has not changed is the warm hospitality of its people, the delicious flavor of its rich and varied cuisine, the richness of its history and – of course – the magic of Istanbul,” she said.

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