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Oh, I wish I could be there at that moment

A “new” Turkish ambassador in Germany

Tuesday 6 September 2011, by Ertuğrul Özkök

I truly wonder about that specific scene.

What will the German President Christian Wulff feel when he sees the Turkish ambassador presenting credentials to him?

Just imagine, Turkey’s new ambassador to Berlin is standing in front of him. With long blond hair, the face is typically Western. And … there is an earring.

One moment, this ambassador is not a female. This ambassador is a man.

I really want to be a reporter there that day, to watch and write my observations.


Turkey’s newly appointed ambassador to Berlin, Hüseyin Avni Karslıoğlu, is an interesting personality.

Born in 1956, he is a graduate of Ankara Cumhuriyet High School. He has also graduated from Ankara University’s Political Sciences Faculty’s International Relations Department.

Since joining the Foreign Ministry in 1982, he has had a bright career. He has served as deputy director of the Department of Central Europe. When Abdullah Gül became prime minister in 2003, he appointed Karslıoğlu as head of his private secretariat. During 2007 and 2008, he served as ambassador to Baku.

Now, he is the head of the President’s Private Secretariat.


As successful as his career has been, Karslıoğlu also has an interesting character. He is a calligraphy master.

During the president’s Anıtkabir [Atatürk’s mausoleum] visits, he writes the inscriptions in the guest book. He is sometimes the target of criticism because his writings are undecipherable because he tries to demonstrate all the specifics of the art of calligraphy.

The Foreign Ministry and the Presidency are those institutions in which the “traditions” do not specifically embrace hobbies. But he was the first man to wear long hair in the President’s Private Secretariat. And his latest decision was to wear an earring. Moreover, he does not only wear it in his private moments; he does not take it off in his public moments while he is doing his job.


I like this so very much that I have to make a confession:

I am “furious” at Karslıoğlu.

(Those friends, who lack any sense of humor, please note that the verb “being furious” is being used in a humorous sense here. Well, it still does not help even if I write this note. Those who lack any sense of humor, whatever you write go their own way.)

Those who know me would immediately understand what I mean. I was burning with the passion to wear an earring for years. But during the 20 years I was the editor-in-chief of Hürriyet, I could not do it because of “neighborhood pressure.”

What about now? Now, I kind of pressure my own self because of age. Or maybe, I think I am creating excuses by blaming others.

For this reason, I really like it that our new ambassador to Berlin maintains a personal mark also in the public sphere.


Well, of course, I am tempted once again

I am curious.

I wonder if he will appear in the credentials ceremony with his earring and with this hair, or will he have a “bayram” haircut before he takes office?

I don’t know.

But I will introduce this interesting Turkish ambassador to my German readers in my column in the daily Bild this Monday.

The tattoos of the president’s wife Bettina Wulff were a topic of discussion in Germany.

Let’s see what they will say about the Turkish ambassador with an earring.
— -
Ertuğrul Özkök is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece appeared Friday. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.

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Source : Hürriyet Daily News, Friday, September 2, 2011

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