Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas was all set to meet with Mayor Bloomberg and the secretary general of the UN on Tuesday — but his first stop was in Brooklyn.
Sure, our boro was never the seat of the Byzantine Empire, but Brooklyn is undoubtedly the Turkish capital of the United States, with more than 60,000 Turks living here, said Borough President Markowitz, who hosted Hizzoner and other sons and daughters of Ataturk.
The large community has imbued Markowitz with a delight for all things Turkish. He gave the community a shout-out during his inaugural address in 2006 and has maintained close ties ever since. It’s not for nothing that Besiktas is one of Brooklyn’s sister cities, after all.
Markowitz has been on a Turkey lovefest for years, but he’s not the only one focusing on the nation right now, what with all the other Muslim-majority nations in the region imploding.
Topbas returned the favor.
“I have a warm and sincere relationship with Marty, and I’m pleased to be making this first trip to Brooklyn,” said Topbas, who gloated that he’d brought a bit of Turkey’s Mediterranean climate to our frozen borough.
Markowitz, for his part, said that as much as he loves Turkey, Istanbul is really just a big Williamsburg.
“In Istanbul, you can see women wearing Islamic clothing next to men sporting tattoos,” he said. “There are hipsters right next to traditional religious practices. I believe that Brooklyn is the absolute ideal celebration of acceptance, but Turkey is very advanced, too.”