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Happy Sugar Holiday

OpinionsBy Mehmet Ali Birand

It is one of our best traditions.

Bayram visits lets people get together and forget about past mistakes. Arguments are no longer remembered and everything is forgiven.

Starting from tomorrow, we will be celebrating one of our holiest bayrams. The Sugar Bayram will take place in a more positive atmosphere this year. If we just think of the years we spent with terror and political uncertainty, we have a lot to be thankful for. Not everything may be going the way we want, but compared to the past, our country is more relaxed.

I would like to celebrate the bayram of all my readers, viewers and listeners.

Farewell to Ugur Ziyal
A changing of the guard in the top ranks of the Foreign Ministry has been concluded, and we bid our farewells to Ugur Ziyal, who was undersecretary for several years, at a *censored*tail party on Thursday.

Ziyal played a very important role at a time when Turkey was undergoing a serious transformation. Especially on the war in Iraq, negotiations on Cyprus and harmonization with the European Union, he was always a voice of common sense. He played a key role in the elimination of taboos and in the acceptance of new attitudes. If Ziyal\'s guidance and recommendations had not been there, the government wouldn\'t have been able to act so relaxed. The government and other decision-making institutions\' total belief in Ziyal also played an important role in Turkey reaching this stage.

Ziyal worked for years without being in the limelight and served this country enormously.

It could be seen how grateful Ankara was for Ziyal\'s services just by seeing how crowded the reception was.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to Ziyal.

Ali Tugan has taken over from Ziyal. Tugan\'s experience and knowledge assures us that he won\'t let us miss Ziyal\'s absence.

A different ambassador: Aldo Kaslowski
A huge number of Italians live outside their country. They are called \"the other Italy\" and bring revenue in the amount of 100 billion euros a year for their mother country. In order to better utilize this resource, there is a Ministry of the World\'s Italians. They recently founded a new organization called the Confederation of World Italian Businessmen.

One of the deputy presidents of this confederation is a person we all know very well, Aldo Kaslowski. He is an Italian citizen born in Istanbul and a businessman. He has been living here for the past 30 years and cannot be distinguished from other Turkish businessmen investing around the country.

At a dinner also attended by the confederation\'s president, Mirko Tremaglia, everyone could see how influential Kaslowski is in Italian-Turkish relations. Actually, Kaslawski is renowned for being Italy\'s voice in Turkey and Turkey\'s voice in Italy. I personally know how hard he worked when terrorist Kurdistan Workers\' Party (PKK/Kongra-Gel) leader Abdullah Ocalan was in Rome.

For years, Kaslowski has been rewarded for his efforts in building bridges between the two countries, and he deserves it, too.


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