By Ivan Mubiru
Sedef Yavuzalp, the Turkish ambassador to Uganda has been recalled after pictures of her circulated wearing a Greek mythology-inspired outfit to an event to the 95th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey.
At the annual October 29 holiday which marks the founding of the modern Turkish Republic in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Yavuzalp appeared as Helen of Troy while another embassy official passed off as Zeus, the Greek god of the sky and thunder.
It has now emerged that the career diplomat, who has been ambassador to Uganda for the past five years, dedicated much of her speech at the event to promoting the 2018 “Year of Troy”, according to a copy of the text seen by Euronews.
In it, she states that the National Day is being celebrated during “Year of Troy”, which marks the 20th anniversary of the archaeological site’s addition to the World Heritage List, and links this to the development of modern-day Turkey.
“As you all know, the Epic of Troy — The Iliad and the Odyssey, which form the basis of Western civilization, has inspired great leaders who have shaped the world and changed the course of history”, she said.
“The 4,000-year-old Troia Epic is one of the most ancient values of our homeland, Anatolia. What makes this a very unique and universal value is the fact that it is the unification of war and struggle, of peace and tolerance at the same time.”
Social media users criticised Yavuzalp for wearing the outfit on a day organised to commemorate Turkey, while some argued that it was always inappropriate for a diplomat to don fancy dress.
According to Euronews, one person tweeted:
“What’s the world coming to! Look at this ambassador and the diplomat…. What a strange situation is this at the National Independence Day of our Republic. Is this your sense of belonging to your country and your values?”
“What kind of a Turkish ambassador is this? The ambassador is Helen of Troy, and the diplomat is Zeus,” another said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced on Twitter on Saturday that the ambassador had been recalled and that an investigation into the incident was underway.
Opposition politician Ümit Özda? called for the investigation into the ambassador to determine whether she was “able-minded”.