HYDERABAD (Rahnuma) Turkish Consul General of Hyderabad Dr. Adnan Altay Altinors met with Hyderabad’s print media to discuss tourism, culture, food, and Turkish foreign policy in combating terrorism and providing foreign humanitarian assistance.
The meet began with the Consul General’s praise for the excellent historic Hyderabad – Turkey relationship, which dates back nearly a century.
Royal inter-marriages, religious traditions, food and culture have helped Turkey and Hyderabad maintain close relations till date.
“There are many couples in Hyderabad who have selected Turkey as a perfect wedding and tourist destination” he said.
Once the capital of one of the most powerful and longest-lasting empires in the history, the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul continues to to stand as a major symbol of the rich culture of the now abolished imperial Ottoman caliphate that brought together Muslims from all over the world, including Hindustan.
The cause of the Ottoman monarch Abdul Hamid II to safeguard the caliphate from being dismembered by the British and European powers after the First World War by the Treaty of Sèvres evoked religious passion and sympathy among Indian Muslims.
Being a Caliph, with control over the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the Ottoman emperor was nominally regarded as the supreme religious and political leader of all Muslims across the world, and in post-Mughal, pre-independence India.
Nizam’s fashionista daughter in-law
In Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh Nizam — the world’s richest man — married his eldest son Nawab Azam Jah Bahadur to Princess Durru Shehvar, daughter of the last Ottoman caliph Abdulmejid II.
The Nizam’s younger son Nawab Mozam Jah Bahadur was married to her cousin Princess Niloufer, who became a global fashionista through whom the world got acquainted with Hyderabad. Featured on the cover of Vogue Magazine in the 1960’s, her clothes, lifestyle, and jewelry, became a talking point.
Turkey eventually gained a more favourable diplomatic position and moved towards secularism, modernization and democracy. By 1924 Turkey simply abolished the role of Caliph, and with it, India’s Khilafat movement rightfully collapsed.
Bringing people together
The Turkish Consulate General in Hyderabad initiated a Turkish food festival some time ago, to bring people of Hyderabad closer to the Turkish culture.
Like India, a Muslim majority secular Turkey officially recognizes the the State of Palestine, but also maintains strong bilateral ties to Israel, including diplomatic, economic, military cooperation, and tourism relations.
The Turkish Consul General said he aims to increase Hyderabad based tourism to Turkey as much as possible. The Consulate in Hyderabad is also planning to bring Turkish music, Whirling Dervishes concerts, more food festivals and cultural events to Hyderabad in the near future.
“My priority also lies in gearing up the trade and tourism ties between India and Turkey”, said Dr. Altinors. “I will soon bring Turkish Airlines to Hyderabad.”
Turkish Airlines coming to Hyderabad
Presently there are 14 flights to and fro from India and Turkey which is estimated to double with the arrival of Turkish Airlines to India.
“Last year 80,000 Indians tourists visited Turkey, and this year there will be more than 200,000 to our estimations”, said the Consul General.
Over the past six months, the Consulate in Hyderabad has issued 1500 visas despite the fact there are not more than 150 Turkish nationals in Hyderabad.
“We are also working on relaxation of visa policies which will bring further ease to tourists and businessmen intending to visit Turkey”, the Consul said.