Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Visit with the Turkish President

Last week the Turkish President, Abdullah Gul, was in Dubai.  He had a series of meetings in the UAE. According to the press it was to build closer economic and investment relations.  Some of the Turkish community was invited to attend a cocktail with him.  I was in a great debate of "to go or not to go".  I had so much work to do, but once in a lifetime go to a cocktail with a president.  In the end, I went.

I wish I had more to say about it, but it was rather uneventful.  We all waited for about an hour before we were allowed in the room where he would speak.  He arrived, he gave a pleasant speech.  He did not really discuss anything diplomatic, or give a president-like speech where he might mention the intent of the cooperation between the two nations.  It was quite casual.  I have heard he is quite personable, and his speech seemed to indicate that.

Afterwards he went around the room and shook hands with everyone.  Everyone equates to those who were determined enough to push through the crowd to do so.  I did not shake his hand, but did not leave until he left as I felt that would seem disrespectful.  I figure he must be tired and has shaken who knows how many hands that day.  To run any country must be an exhausting job.  One less hand to shake, one more second to unwind.

He made his way around the room and left.  I felt most privileged because security allowed me to bring my mobile phone in, while everyone else had to follow the rule to keep all phones with cameras in the car.  It is challenging to find a phone without a camera these days, but in the end the need to be in touch with a child at home ruled out and I was in with my phone.  To be in a room with that many people without a mobile phone in this day and age - that was amazing.

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