Mr President, welcome to Kayseri or who doesn`t like a red carpet

Last week, Abdullah Gul, the 11th and current president of Turkey, visited both our universities. I had never seen a leader of a country so close, and Mike even got to shake hands with him! Here it is – Mike shaking hands with the president of Turkey!

1382806_10151760011287635_158548539_nBut let me start at the beginning. I hadn’t written much about Mike’s university before, so now might be a good time.

Abdullah Gul University (Turkish:Abdullah Gül Üniversitesi) was established in 2010 and named after the president. The medium of study in the university will be English and all in all it is promising to be a fine educational institution. So far, only only the English Preparation School is working – to prepare the first batch of students, who’ll commence their first university year after studying English this whole year. Mike is among 15 or so English instructors currently working there, 10 of whom are foreigners – Americans, Englishmen, Australians etc.

The university campus is still being built. We were taken there on our second day in Kayseri as part of the city tour organized by the university. Once it’s ready, it will be a  brand-new purpose-built extensive set of buildings on a large campus 15 km outside the city. This campus will be named Mimar Sinan, in honour of the famous architect.

DSC_0063 DSC_0060 DSC_0054A few more photos from the tour itself – the first time Mike and I met his colleagues

acwpkpAzsqQ - копия EDqy-GuyoiI FLf2h1JZimE - копия FLf2h1JZimE FUQ1gv1lrVU tcPe-0LJlzk WjiDQsqrQb0 wxzl3uFydgU Ypf7L2ZE-I4The future looks bright, but what of the present? Currently AGU (Abdullah Gul University) is being housed in Sumer Campus. Sumer is derived from the fact that this is a site which belonged to Sumerbank, a state bank which in past decades was dedicated to the development of state industrial and commercial enterprises. The enterprise that Sumerbank developed (in the 1930’s) on the campus site was a textile factory complex, which included the main factory building (huge), depots, workshops, power station and other buildings for administration, housing and social amenities. This was a groundbreaking development for Turkey, seen as pivotal in Turkey’s diversification from a solely agricultural economy. (The enterprise was made possible with USSR expertise) The site thus has considerable social and historical significance, and has been deemed worthy of heritage status. This means that, since the factory fell into disuse some 30 years ago, nobody has been able to develop the area. The buildings stood (albeit in a state of dilapidation) as do the trees that were planted at the time, all of this resulting in a wonderfully atmospheric sense of establishedness that the new Mimar Sinan campus will not be able to emulate for 50 years or so. The plan to develop this area into modern teaching/learning facilities is both aesthetic and sensitive to heritage values, indeed the designs have won architectural prizes.

A lot of work has been done on the factory, and now the university looks great. Here are some photos of the university. One day I had to go to the police station to sort out my registration, so I rode to the university with Mike and his colleagues and then followed him around taking photos – including the one of this office with his name on the door! A few photos were taken by Mike’s colleague Ray.

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DSC_0115 DSC_0116 DSC_0865 DSC_0869 DSC_0870  DSC_0873 DSC_0874 DSC_0878 DSC_0882 DSC_0889 DSC_0892 DSC_0894 DSC_0895

With Sedef, our guardian angel. She is assistant to the director of the school of foreign languages and has been an enormous help to all of us since we arrived. DSC_0897The president, who by the way is himself from Kayseri, came to officially open the university. It was a grand affair, with secret service officers (or whatever the Turkish equivalent is) swarming the university in the preceding days, even bringing in sniffer dogs. On the day of the visit, there were propeller airplanes flying overhead. Mike looked like a secret service agent himself:

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The president’s visit is written up on his official page, here http://www.tccb.gov.tr/visits/kayseri/agu/

Here are some more photos of Mike with his colleagues and the president touring the university

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Michael’s boss, the director of the school of foreign languages, welcoming the president 1377016_742971735729574_895430398_n

Spot waldo Michael 1380678_10151760012882635_1756321663_n 1381341_742970205729727_1289405358_n 1385563_10151760005422635_2029688938_n. On Saturday, October 26, the president visited Meliksah University, where I work. I was so excited, I didn`t even mind coming to work on Saturday, especially when I saw the giant banner with the president’s photo, a crowd of people,  and all the TV vans
DSC00772 DSC00766DSC00770As the president’s security guards shepherded us behind barriers and muttered into their earpieces, I was stealthily (or so I hoped) taking pictures of them and hopping up and down. When we saw the  procession of black shiny armored cars, with their flashing lights, followed by police officers on motorcycles, I squealed with delight, to the amusement of my colleagues. The president walked past us, waving, as I frantically snapped pictures which in the end didn`t come out as the sun was shining right into the camera. The president gave a speech in one of the buildings and cut an orange ribbon to officially open the 2013-2014 academic year. Meanwhile, my colleagues and I were taking photos on the read carpet, feeling like starts.

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Very cool secret service lady – just like the FBI agent in Miss Congeniality! DSC00789 DSC00781

Flowers from prominent Kayseri citizens and companies DSC00784IMG-20131026-WA0023 DSC00785 DSC00780 DSC00779 DSC00776 DSC00774

With my lovely colleague Sena, who is kind enough to give me a ride to work every morning! DSC00771  DSC_0774 DSC_0770 DSC_0765 DSC_0764 DSC_0763 DSC_0761 1391584_771734232840232_1148096383_n 1396070_771734939506828_268568498_n 1390593_771572692856386_1601702611_n 1383348_771735836173405_1753103850_n 1382792_771734412840214_87051860_n 1377020_771738009506521_1213380460_n 1377484_771738409506481_838893888_n 1375911_771735666173422_1252039624_nThe president’s car – note the cool license plate!

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One Response to Mr President, welcome to Kayseri or who doesn`t like a red carpet

  1. Pingback: Goodbye, Turkey! | Our life abroad

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