Friday, September 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Turkey lauds PM’s peace initiative
Vajpayee unveils bust of Rabindranath Tagore
P. Mohan Das

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee shakes hand with Turkish President Ahmet Nacdet Sezer in Istanbul
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee shakes hand with Turkish President Ahmet Nacdet Sezer in Istanbul on Thursday. — PTI photo

Istanbul, September 18
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee today held discussions with Turkish President Ahmet Nacdat Sezer on the growing menace of terrorism, latest developments in West Asia and the Iraq crisis.

During the 40-minute meeting at the Presidential Palace, where Mr Vajpayee drove straight from the airport after his arrival from Ankara, both the leaders discussed bilateral issues of regional and international concerns.

An official spokesman said though Pakistan did not come up for discussion, the Turkish President appreciated Mr Vajpayee’s peace initiative towards the neighbouring country.

Mr Sezer said he supported the Indian Prime Minister’s views on issues like terrorism and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.

“Mr Sezer shared views that removing Mr Arafat would not help matters as he was an elected representative of the Palestinian people,” the spokesman said.

On Iraq, the Turkish President said like India he was also for the early restoration of the democratic rights of the people of that country.

Later, Mr Vajpayee visited an Indian exhibition.

Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines today resumed its services to Delhi after a nine-year gap, with a flight carrying 250 passengers including 170 invitees on board.

The regular operation will begin from September 29, with flights from here on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, an official in the state-owned Turkish carrier said.

Mr Vajpayee, had announced the resumption of the Istanbul-Delhi flight yesterday. The invitees would stay in India for three days, the official said.

ANKARA: Symbolising growing ties with India, Turkey on Thursday named an avenue in capital Ankara after Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.

Mr Vajpayee, on the third day of his visit, inaugurated the ‘Rabindranath Tagore Avenue’ and also unveiled the Nobel laureate’s bust at a ceremony here.

By naming the avenue after Tagore, he said, Turkey had honoured “one of India’s greatest poets, philosophers; and we celebrate another valuable strand of Indo-Turkish connection”. — UNI, PTI



Visit significant for Indian expatriates

Ankara, September 18
In all likelihood every Indian in Turkey could get to see Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee simply because there are just 200 or so of them here. Most are based in Istanbul where Mr Vajpayee will meet them at a reception, but here in Ankara, for the 25 odd families, it is a significant visit, as they have little contact with India.

In Ankara, there are no temples nor any stores selling Indian wares. There is no India Street or Mahatma Gandhi Avenue. The bust of Rabindranath Tagore to be installed here will be a first.

For Gajanan Thorat, a Hindustani classical singer and tabla player, who came here in 2000, it was quite a disappointment to hear the Prime Minister speaking in English from a prepared speech.

But in his defence, Mr Vajpayee could not have spoken in Hindi at the Centre for Strategic Research where think-tanks had gathered and the Indian community was invited.

But back to Gajanan. He had met his lady love, a blonde Turk, who was on a holiday in Mumbai. He married her and came to Ankara. Funda Thorat fell in love when she saw him perform at a classical music concert in Mumbai. It took three years for Gajanan to visit her here and secure a visa to reside in Turkey.

For Rathi Shankar, a housewife, life revolves around her home and her Turkish friends and planning her annual visit to India. Married to Vijay Shankar, a senior manager at Mitsubishi in Ankara, she has lived as an expatriate in Kuwait as well.— ANI


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