Words of Farewell to the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey

Elif Çomoğlu Ülgen, Ambassador of Turkey to South Africa with Ambassador Ahmed Hassan, Charge de Affairs of Yemen in South Africa during pre-covid times

21 June 2021

Ambassador Ahmed Hassan, Charge de Affairs of Yemen in South Africa recalls the good relations between Yemen and Turkey as Ambassador Elif Çomoğlu Ülgen ends her term in South Africa. Hassan and Ülgen worked together in Geneva more than 20 years ago, him as a seasoned diplomat and Ülgen at the beginning of her career when she served as Second Secretary at the Turkish Permanent Representation to the Office of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland between 1997-2000.

The ties between Yemen and Turkey are historical and ancient says Hassan, and date back to the 16th century. Turkey was in Yemen for two periods, the first between 1538 and 1635 (97 years), and the second period in the 19th century between 1872 and 1918 (46 years). Reiterating the good relations between the two countries Hassan refers to his Minister of Foreign Affairs and immigrates, Dr. Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak’s recent visit to the Sultanate of Oman and his response in a press interview about whether there is a Turkish intervention in Yemen. Minister Mubarak’s reply was, “The Republic of Turkey is one of the countries with which we have strong relations based on cooperation, common interests, and mutual respect, and we have various cooperation agreements and protocols with it. It is also one of the countries that provided to Yemeni people, especially in the humanitarian field, by hosting a large number of Yemeni abroad, who had to leave Yemen to seek livelihood or to escape being killed. And while we appreciate these positions, we affirm that there is no need for any Turkish intervention or even talk of it.”

Ambassador Hassan shares an anecdote about when the Ottomans were in Yemen in 1907. Turkey invited 50 Yemeni dignitaries in the regions of Yemen, especially from the regions that were opposed to the Turkish presence, to visit Istanbul to learn about the cultural landmarks there. There is a book about this journey. When the delegation left after the visit, they were asked to choose a gift and each one chose material gifts such as carpets, except for one of them. This was the governor of Taiz who asked to be given the title of Pasha, and his title was Al-Mutawakkil. The rest of the members were astonished by this strange request, but after that they discovered on their return trip through Egypt, that all the attention was given to him during the long journey because he had become a Pasha. This title became a problem for the grandchildren of the Pasha when they wanted to enrol in Egyptian schools or universities. They were not allowed under the title of Pasha because it was abolished after the Egyptian revolution in 1952, and they returned to bearing the title of Al-Mutawakkil again in their graduation certificates.

Ambassador Hassan wishes Ambassador Ülgen all the best in her future endeavours and congratulates her for her achievements during her tenure in South Africa.