Ankara: Chapter 14: A Last Dance

Trip Start Feb 08, 2008
Trip End Sep 11, 2009

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Flag of Turkey  , Ankara,
Sunday, March 30, 2008

27th Apr 2008

Maybe I'll Leave Ankara Tomorrow

[Again, the date above, rather than the posting date of this entry, is the true chronological period for this entry]

It's 11:30 Sunday night. I've been trying to catch up on stuff all afternoon and evening, on this my last current day in Ankara. I may or may have not explained how this came about. I can't remember. Some things I write to my sister, and also put here. Some I don't.

In any case, tomorrow I intend to head south for the city of Nigde (or, Niğde, if the Turkish soft g prints at this site. The "soft g" is a silent g. So the name is pronounced NEE-deh).But there is one thing of recent interest and fun for me to mention. Why I like travelling: the coincidental associations that coalesce.

Friday my friend and I were to go out to dinner. Across the street from the historic building that was the site of the First Revolutionary Parliament of the Ataturk era is a hotel named the Ankara Palace. I thought, well, let's try to go have dinner in this historic hotel.

But, when we tried the door a fellow came out to inform us that the building was no longer a  hotel. It served only governmental officials for their purposes--official or personal, it seems. Nevertheless, my friend told him that she was a Turkish history teacher, and upon that the gent allowed us to walk into the ballroom for a quick look around in the dim light.

As we were leaving the fellow invited us to return on the following Sunday and have a coffee with him.

Well, this we did. We sat in the yet dim ballroom and had a cup with him as he and my friend conversed, some about the history of the place.

And, this is what I like:  Later in the evening I have been reading further in the Kinross biography of Ataturk and have come across several references to his latter day diplomatic measures and moves, several of which took place in the ballroom of the Ankara Palace Hotel.

The caretaker fellow had taken a picture of my friend and I in an alcove that was apparently a special place for Ataturk. Hours later I read this passage for instance:

"When a settlement was ultimately reached it was largely through
Ataturk`s favourite methods of ballroom diplomacy. Its foundations were
laid at a ball at the Ankara Palace Hotel. To the table in the alcove
where he normally sat, and where he was now sitting with Sir Percy
Loraine and a few others, Ataturk summoned Ponsot, the  French
Ambassador, and his wife. After they had conversed for a while, he
ordered the music and dancing to stop, and broached to him the subject
of Hatay [a town in now southern Turkey near the Syrian border, then in
dispute following the First World War]. Stressing his fervent desire
for Franco-Turkish friendship, he assured the Ambassador, that (. . . .) he
had promised the Grand National Assembly to take back the province, and
could not break this promise. Hatay was for him a personal issue."

If you're interested, you can follow up on that . . . . Tomorrow I head south, for Hatay.

Now, to bed. Earplug needed on this raucous Sunday night.
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