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Istanbul Alti on the Scene: Otunbayeva comes to Istanbul

December 22, 2010

I walk down Mesrutiyet Caddesi, off of Istiklal, every day as I go to work. Or at least every day that I actually go to work. It’s a nice enough street, with the Grande Hotel de Londres, Istanbul Arastirma Enstitutu, Culinary Institute, Pera Palas, and the Pera Museum. And traffic is usually at such a stand-still that I don’t really have to worry about ducking cars.

Today, though, I heard the sort of impatient, rather than urgent, police sirens as I walked down. I gawked down the street not really expecting anything more than just a policeman on a rush to the barber, but I was wrong.

It’s a full convoy of Mercedes, police SUVs, and the sort. And they’re coming my way. And what’s that? A limo bedecked in Kyrgyz flags? Switching immediately from mindless staring to Central Asia nerd, I stopped where I was and tried to see who was inside. Unfortunately, where I stopped was right in front of the Pera Museum.

A brief yet awkward encounter with a Turkish MIT(?) corpsmen later, a short, well-dressed, woman comes out of the Kyrgyz limo. Roza Otunbayeva has come to Istanbul, and she wants to see the exhibit on Treasures from Imperial Russia.

The 11th Summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO, EIT in Turkish) is bringing in all sorts of of heavyweights from the Muslim World, from Talabani in Iraq to Zardari in Pakistan…and including our own dear Roza Hanim. They won’t DO anything besides make photo-ops, but, well, at least they get to see Istanbul.

Not to deviate too far off of our own Turkey-focused writing here, but the political machinations of Kyrgyzstan are fascinating to be sure, and involve Gibraltar puppet companies and a burger chain. Otunbayeva also is the target of a charming fake twitter account that seems to be run by a center-left demagogue. It might be one of the more obscure fake twitter accounts out there.

Anyway, the Russia-educated Otunbayeva hopefully had a good time enjoying the impressive works of the Czars’ favorite painters. And even though nothing will come of the ECO summit, well, at least we’ll always have Mesrutiyet.

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