CULTURE

Warm welcome for VIP guests

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine gave Greek prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and his wife Natassa a mirror set in a valuable carved silver frame, and a handmade floral carpet – not a prayer rug, but one to adorn their favorite room. The Greek couple admired the two beautiful and meaningful presents and gave their counterparts a fine gift of traditional Macedonian embroidery which might mean that friendship is put together with time and care to achieve the best results on both sides. The Greeks also gave their guests a plaque bearing the Greek national insignia. The photographers had a ball taking pictures of Natassa and Emine in her scarf exchanging embraces and smiles, the mirror reflecting the impressive gift and their spouses spreading out the Turkish carpet to look at it. The Turkish prime minister is very tall, athletic and well built, as was apparent when he strode into the presidential mansion from Maximos Mansion for his official meeting with Greek President Constantinos Stephanopoulos. The president’s staff had been waiting for him since 11.20 a.m. when he arrived at 11.45. The president was waiting by the door to greet the high-ranking guest, who turned out to be as tall as the doorway, and had to bend over to shake Stephanopoulos’s hand. A bouquet of roses on the table set a note of optimism for the discussions to consolidate peace and friendship between the two neighboring countries. The president greeted his visitor in Greek and expressed his satisfaction at the friendly climate. Afterward the photographers dashed off in pursuit of the premiers’ spouses, who had gone to visit the Acropolis, Plaka, and the Greek Folk Museum and then to dine at the Orizontes restaurant on Lycabettus, with its views of Athens and its work sites.