Leigh Turner

Leigh Turner

Consul General and Director-General for Trade & Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and the South Caucasus

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25th August 2015 Istanbul, Turkey

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Consul General and Director-General for Trade & Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and the South Caucasus

Greek rites – in eastern Turkey

Leigh Turner

The chanting is mesmerising.  Priests in richly-decorated gowns perform the liturgy before a crowd crammed onto a rock shelf, hundreds of meters above the valley floor.  TV cameras transmit the ceremony live.   Since 2010, the Greek Orthodox divine liturgy has been taking place every 15 August at the Sumela Monastery, high in the Pontic mountains […]

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18th August 2015 Istanbul, Turkey

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Consul General and Director-General for Trade & Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and the South Caucasus

Why British manufacturing is so competitive

“I was astonished,” the senior Turkish contact tells me.  “This British company got in touch to bid for [commercially sensitive – an electronic supply contract for a huge project] and it turned out that their product was fantastic!  And a great price!  I mean, I know you Brits are great at business services, architecture, design, […]

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10th August 2015 Istanbul, Turkey

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Consul General and Director-General for Trade & Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and the South Caucasus

The Gallipoli Symphony: Hope, Peace, Friendship and Collaboration

As the last notes die away, the audience bursts into applause.  Musicians playing instruments as diverse as a ney, a didgeridoo, a Taonga Puoro (a traditional Maori wind instrument) and a harmonica, as well as a full orchestra and choir, rise to their feet. The performance of the eleven-part Gallipoli Symphony in the surroundings of the 4th […]

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23rd July 2015 Istanbul, Turkey

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Consul General and Director-General for Trade & Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and the South Caucasus

Deep Purple and Joan Baez: how to be inspired

A grizzled rock veteran belts out the opening chords to “Smoke on the water “ in a hangar-like concert hall.  A slender folk legend sings folk songs unaccompanied in an open-air arena under moonlight.  What’s the connection?    Back in 2011 I blogged about “Life Lessons from Deep Purple”.  This month I had the privilege […]

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2nd July 2015 Istanbul, Turkey

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Consul General and Director-General for Trade & Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and the South Caucasus

Video: the perils of conspiracy theories

A harvest fails.  Saboteurs are blamed.  A well-know personality dies tragically.  A secret plot is alleged.  Another well-known personality dies tragically.  Rumours circulate that he has faked his death and has been seen in a supermarket near Basingstoke. I have written several times in this blog about conspiracy theories.  Now, if you don’t mind hearing […]

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26th June 2015 Istanbul, Turkey

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Consul General and Director-General for Trade & Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and the South Caucasus

Crimean Tatars: suppression, intimidation, fear and distrust

A country illegally uses military force to seize the territory of a neighbouring country despite having signed treaties recognising, and promising to respect, that country’s territorial integrity.  Once in de facto control, the new authorities systematically suppress and intimidate an important ethnic minority with strong links to Turkey.    It’s happening right here in Europe. […]

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24th June 2015 Istanbul, Turkey

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Consul General and Director-General for Trade & Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and the South Caucasus

Gay Pride in Istanbul: great stuff

A massive march surges down Istiklal, Istanbul’s main thoroughfare.  Banners urge understanding of minority rights.  International commentators praise the tolerance on display at one of the biggest festivals of its type in the region.   Istanbul Gay Pride is big.  In 2013, more than 100,000 people were reported as participating. The festival celebrates the gay […]

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19th June 2015 Istanbul, Turkey

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Consul General and Director-General for Trade & Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and the South Caucasus

Crossroads and boundaries: Eastern Anatolia

Snow-capped peaks tower over ancient mausoleums.  Although they were built by Saltukids in the 12th Century, the steep-roofed tombs are reminiscent of Armenian churches.  The nearby Selcuk-era madrasah features both Central Asian-style twin minarets and double-headed Byzantine eagles.  Above the city, in a fortress founded by Emperor Theodosius in the 4th century, a newer minaret-like structure […]

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15th June 2015 Istanbul, Turkey

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Consul General and Director-General for Trade & Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and the South Caucasus

Politics and power: Why the Magna Carta is still a burning issue

A bunch of English barons challenge the King for power and seize London.  To make peace, the King agrees a legal document.  But he then asks the Pope repeal it – which the Pope does, declaring it “null and void of all validity forever”.  War erupts; the King dies; and a nine-month-old boy becomes head […]

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5th June 2015 Istanbul, Turkey

Leigh Turner

by Leigh Turner

Consul General and Director-General for Trade & Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and the South Caucasus

Why learning English is easy and fun

I have the privilege and honour to work as a British diplomat.  That means I spend a lot of time learning foreign languages. Before each of my last five postings (in Vienna, Moscow, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul) I spent between four weeks and nine months on intensive language preparations. If you want to understand a […]

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About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog – about Turkey and the UK and things
that link us together – interesting and, where appropriate,
entertaining.  You can also follow me on twitter – @leighturnerFCO.
About me: I arrived in Istanbul in August 2012 for five weeks of
full-time Turkish immersion before taking up my responsibilities as HM
Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey,
Central Asia and South Caucasus the following month.
Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and
Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in
several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in
1983.
Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna,
Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and now Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging
from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.
2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the
house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism while my wife worked at the embassy.
To get to know the great city of Istanbul and the rest of the
fascinating and dynamic country that is Turkey is a privilege and a
pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.

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