Turhan Dilmaç’s three years: work during cooling, subordinate’s escape and Tatar language
Top 10 facts about the Turkish diplomat in Kazan
After three years of work as consul general of Turkey in Kazan, Turhan Dilmaç leaves Tatarstan and goes home to work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During his management of the consulate, the relations between the countries cooled after the downed jet, there was a period of sanctions and road conflicts, a coup attempt in Ankara and murder of the Russian ambassador. Even in such complicated conditions, Dilmaç showed himself to be one of the most open official foreign representatives in Kazan. Realnoe Vremya recalls what the diplomat who performs his duty by happenstance in one of the most uneasy periods of Russian-Turkish relations in contemporaneous history is remembered for.
''I will be back home and work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs''
On 27 October, Turhan Dilmaç held the last official reception as consul general of Turkey in Kazan dedicated to the next anniversary of the Turkish Republic Day. In the celebration of the 94 th anniversary, Mr Dilmaç announced he was going to leave the post.
The consul general of Turkey in Kazan told Realnoe Vremya we should not be surprised at his departure.
''It's normal because I've worked for seven years in Russia and for three years here. We already prolonged the last year. I will be back home and work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.''
Earlier it was told in the media with a link to their own sources that the change of the consul general would happen in December this year and a diplomat who was working for the Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bulgaria would come instead of Mr Dilmaç who would go to Ankara.
''He is an experienced diplomat who earlier worked in the former USSR. It means he already knows the mentality and the region,'' Turhan Dilmaç commented on the candidacy.
Realnoe Vremya remembers what Turhan Dilmaç is remembered for as consul general of Turkey in Kazan.
38-year-old Turhan Dilmaç became consul general of Turkey in Kazan on 11 September 2014 by substituting Sabri Tunç Angılı who had been working in the capital of the republic for two years. Mr Dilmaç turned out in Kazan in an uneasy cold period but managed to lead the work and maintain the relations.
Mr Dilmaç turned out in Kazan in an uneasy cold period. Photo: Maksim Platonov
We need to remind that Turkish Air Forces downed the Russian Su-24 jet on the Syrian border in the morning on 24 November 2015. More tense relations of the two countries became a consequence of what had happened, during which mutual sanctions were imposed. Several Turkish companies working in the republic immediately had problems, while Tatarstan had good commercial, market and cultural links with Turkey for many years. Turhan Dilmaç behaved as a true diplomat. For instance, in an interview to Realnoe Vremya in January last year, the consul general of Turkey in Kazan answered uneasy questions about the sanctions with a link to President of Russia Vladimir Putin who noted repeatedly the harm of the sanctions to the countries that initiated them. The interlocutor also expressed his hope that the difficult situation was not going to do harm to the investment image of Tatarstan and remembered that some of his friends from other countries were ready to fulfil Turkish investment projects in their own countries. However, he said that there were not any problems with fulfilment of projects in the republic.
- To comment the coup
Then he not only told the official version when he said that followers of Turkish religious cleric Fethullah Gülen were behind the coup but also commented on mass arrests. ''We know that arrests are taking place en masse but they are legal and after the necessary legal procedures and checks. Some of the detainees are released without claims,'' said Turhan Dilmaç then.
One of the workers of the consulate general of Turkey in Kazan escaped abroad, to Japan. Photo: vk.com/konsulatekazan
- His subordinate's escape
Consequences of the attempted coup in Ankara suddenly appeared in Kazan. Head of Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told they started personnel reshuffles in the body after the attempted coup and then started interrogations about implication of one of the workers of the consulate general of Turkey in Kazan in the coup and the Gülenist organisation (FETÖ). Turhan Dilmaç's subordinate escaped abroad, to Japan. There also was information that the fugitive diplomat flew to the ''Land of the Rising Sun'' via Moscow.
- Students under supervision
Cooling in the Russian-Turkish relations also affected the cultural sphere of Kazan. For instance, the Yunus Emre Turkey Study Centre in the Kazan Federal University closed, protocols of bilateral cooperation with Turkish universities were frozen at the Russian Ministry of Education's request. According to Turhan Dilmaç, Turkish students who mainly were studying at the KFU had problems, but they were solved. And the police did not round up halls of residence with Turkish students with tracker dogs. As far as the consul general of Turkey in Kazan knew then, it was possible to say that he not only was up to date and protected not only economic and political interests of his country but also that of its citizens.
The Yunus Emre Turkey Study Centre in the Kazan Federal University closed. Photo: Gulandam Zaripova
- Participant of the ''thaw''
Mr Dilmaç also managed to see the thaw in the Russian-Turkish relations. Tourist Turkey opened for the Russians – the tourist traffic of Russians to Turkey grew 10 times only in the first half of the year. Russia also lifts bans on supply of Turkish tomatoes from 1 November. The analogous sanctions on other goods were also cancelled.
As it was told at the 15th meeting of the mixed intergovernmental Russian-Turkish commission on commercial and economic cooperation, Turkey had invested 2bn rubles in Tatarstan and 10 Turkish worked in the republic today. Of course, the consul general of Turkey in Kazan also participated in the meeting. It seems this event will become one of the biggest occasions that Mr Dilmaç visited on the threshold of his departure.
- Not only economic but religious links
During his work, Turhan Dilmaç initiated and participated in many events aimed at consolidation of links of Tatarstan and Turkey. As for cultural component, a spring exhibition of Tatarstan artists in the consulate general of Turkey in Kazan and exhibition ''Everything is Ephemeral, But This Will Remain For Centuries…'' dedicated to the history of relations of the Golden Horde, Russia and the Ottoman Empire can be put as examples.
Consul General of Turkey in Kazan Turhan Dilmaç and Director of the Institute of History Rafael Khakimov became the initiators of the Turkish edition. Photo: Lilia Gabdrafikova
A Turkish translation of Tartarica atlas is another example of contribution of the consul general to the relations of both sides. The atlas is one of the famous science and publishing projects of the Sh. Mardzhani Institute of History of the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences, which was presented in Istanbul in early October.
The Turkish translation of Tartarica atlas was prepared with a financial aid of Turkish Kastamonu company and support of the Union Of Turkish World Municipalities. Consul General of Turkey in Kazan Turhan Dilmaç and Director of the Institute of History Rafael Khakimov became the initiators of the Turkish edition.
- Active social network user
One can also judge about Turhan Dilmaç's personality by social networks that he actively uses, by the way. If the consulate general of Turkey in Kazan has active pages on Facebook and Vk.com, its head masters Instagram with great interest. The consul general has mainly landscape pictures, moments of his life and, of course, his wonderful spouse Anna there. By the way, Turhan Dilmaç's wife is Russian but was born in Kyrgyzstan.
- And columnist
During his work in Kazan, Turhan Dilmaç also learnt a new profession – columnist. The consul general particularly prepared a column on Realnoe Vremya's pages one year after the attempted coup in Turkey where he remembered that event and told about its consequences. In another column, the diplomat explained the position of his country to ISIS (the organisation is banned in Russia) and told how Turkey fought against international terrorism. The consul general also considered cultural links of the two people on Realnoe Vremya's pages.
Mr Dilmaç visited different cultural events in Kazan a lot and with pleasure. Photo: Maksim Platonov
- To learn the Tatar language
The work in Tatarstan tells about itself – the consul general of Turkey learnt the Tatar language he quite symbolically welcomed the guests in the 94th anniversary of the Turkish Republic Day in. By the way, during the talk to Realnoe Vremya's correspondent about compulsory learning of the Tatar language at schools, the newspaper's interlocutor did not express his opinion but diplomatically noted it was a domestic policy. However, he explained his own attitude to the language of the Tatars. ''But I can say I love this language and speak it,'' the consul general answered with a smile.
- Social activity
It seems that Mr Dilmaç visited different cultural events in Kazan a lot and with pleasure. In summer, he could be noticed with his family in costumes with a national Tatar ornament and national hat in Sabantuy, in autumn – on the red carpet of the Kazan International Festival of Muslim Cinema.