Foreign diplomats gather around iftar tables in Washington, New York

Foreign diplomats gather around iftar tables in Washington, New York

Representatives from different Turkish-American associations and diplomats from around the world gathered around the same table Wednesday at the Turkish Embassy in Washington for an iftar hosted by Turkish Ambassador Namık Tan.

August 25, 2011, Thursday/ 16:52:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Diplomats from around the world gathered for iftar (fast-breaking dinner) at the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday night, according to the Anatolia news agency. Representatives from different Turkish-American associations and diplomats from around the world gathered at the dinner hosted by Turkish Ambassador Namık Tan.

After the evening call to prayer, dinner guests sat down together to enjoy some traditional Turkish cuisine. Tan, addressing guests after dinner, emphasized the importance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, referring to it by its well-known Turkish moniker, “the sultan [king] of the other 11 months.” He also shared with his dinner guests how Ramadan is celebrated in Turkey.

Tan said that cooperation and tolerance among different faiths and cultures is essential to have a meaningful dialog.

Speaking of Turkey’s prominent place in the world today, Tan said that Europe is now the “sick man” while Turkey is the “healthy man.” Turkey’s economy was the only one in the world to have grown 11 percent in the first quarter of this year, Tan said. Tan also discussed Turkey’s commitment to its humanitarian aid campaign for famine-stricken Somalia.

Somali-American citizen Dayib Sheikh, who was recently elected governor of a region in Somalia, expressed gratitude for Turkey’s support and aid. Sheikh said that the people of Somalia have been deeply touched that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan went to Somalia and visited places such as a hospital there.

Erdoğan’s visit to Somalia was intended as an example to the entire world and now other heads of state and authorities intend to also visit the region because of it, Sheikh said. “We will never forget what you did. Our hearts have been touched. Somalis all over the world saw what Erdoğan did,” he said.

Sheikh called on Somalis abroad to visit and thank Turkish embassies in the United States and Europe. Representing the US administration, Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Esther Brimmer, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Eric Rubin, Special Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Rashad Hussain and Special Representative to Muslim Communities Farah Pandith, as well as various White House and State Department officials attended the iftar.

A number of ambassadors and diplomats from various countries also joined the iftar.

Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations Ertuğrul Apakan also hosted an iftar in New York for the ambassadors of various Islamic countries. Permanent representatives of OIC member countries, as well as representatives from the Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council attended the New York iftar.

In a brief address before the meal, Apakan stressed the importance of the holy month, which he said is characterized by unity and solidarity.

Apakan said he believes Ramadan will contribute to the development of solidarity between countries and that it is an opportunity for countries to reach out to those in need.

In English, Turkish and Arabic, Apakan wished his guests a “Happy Ramadan.” Turkey’s New York Consul General Mehmet Samsar also joined guests at the table for iftar.

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