Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Minister Plassnik of Austria, a letter from Turkey

Austria's extreme right party is active and intent on misinformation ... as posted here

And so when Erkan posted an open letter to Minister Plassnik of Austria, written by Turkish Daily News columnist Yuksel Soylemez, I was intrigued.

Your Excellency,
Dear Minister Plassnik,

We in Turkey owe you sincere thanks for your support and final approval in October 2005 of Turkey's quest to join the European Union. Having said that, I, for one, must tell you in all sincerity that many in Turkey have never understood why the Austrian government, and indeed the Austrian public in general, is negative towards the possibility of Turkey's membership. It would be greatly appreciated if you would care to help remedy the unfortunate situation that Turkey and Austria are in.

Austria's ambassador to Ankara until the end of March this year, and his charming wife Mrs. Mario Calligaris, were good friends of ours as they made friends not only in Ankara but indeed all over Turkey; he traveled extensively to promote Austrian business. It may sound like an exaggeration to you, but it is a true compliment to say that Ambassador Calligaris was one of the most active ambassadors of the Ankara diplomat corps, who are generally hand-picked prominent personalities in their professional careers. Ambassador Calligaris spoke fluent Turkish and knew every person or personality who counted in the establishment, in politics, in the media and in the diplomatic world in Ankara and Istanbul. We therefore presumed that he was one of the best informed about Turkey in the diplomatic corps, and indeed we believe he was.

His friends knew that his mission in Ankara would be over in autumn 2006, but the news of his transfer in March, with immediate effect, came as a questionable shock to all and, I am sure, as an unpleasant surprise, not to say humiliation, to Calligaris and his wife. Perhaps you already know that it became the talk of the town in Ankara as to what the hidden agenda really was, with his sudden departure explained away as being "for health reasons," which convinced no one. We all knew that Mario was in excellent health, playing tennis and looking as fit as ever, even at his farewell party.


Pam said...

The Austrian/Turkish animosity is as old as the siege on Vienna. Unfortunately, it seems like the Austrians are intent on turning the Turks back at the border. But any trip to Vienna shows the observant that the Turks are in Austria to stay. Anti-Turkish politicians must find it particularly annoying that the Turks arrived by invitation - gastarbeiter anyone - and now, oops, they're Austrian! Ho ho! I chortled with glee when we finally got a decent supermarket in our cow town - it has a significant selection of Turkish groceries!

A story you may have missed: While the ambassador was serving poultry, our man Strache was calling for more pork to be served in public school lunch programs in Vienna. Happily, the Vienna city council nixed his proposal saying, essentailly, that a person had a right to a lunch that respected their beliefs. Bad translation on my part, but you get it.

woman wandering said...

Strache ... I don't understand how he's not too ashamed to be what he is.

I'm glad that the Vienna city council dealt with him.