The past 5 years as Costa Rican Honorary Consul (2010-2015)

In my previous post I wrote that the visit to Turkey in November of 2009 of the Costa Rican President represented a turning point in relations, emphasizing that it fostered progress both between our governments as well as in economic and cultural terms, and that it was also the first official visit to the Republic of Turkey by the president of a Central American head of state. Now, I will write of the continued progress that made from that date until 2015.

In addition to the historical visit I outlined, other major events in 2008 and 2009 included Costa Rica Independence Day celebrations and agreements between universities. During this period, an agreement was signed between Koç University and leading Latin American business school INCAE, and Bahçeşehir University and the United Nations-mandated University for Peace.


A photo taken in 2009 with the foreign minister of the time, Bruno Stagno.


Below, I would like to share a chronological summary of our major activities outside of routine consular duties in 2010-2015.


  • Independence Day/Week activities: We held two major events at the Cervantes Institute to mark Independence Day. The first, a cultural and promotional events, was an exhibition of amazing photographs taken in Costa Rica. We also organized a cultural exchange and cinema week at the institute. We also screened films made by leading Costa Rican directors for an entire week there.

Cervantes Institute Director and I made speeches at the opening conference for events at the institute. I used the opportunity to speak of my feelings and experiences concerning Costa Rica.​


Posing with Costa Rican friends who live in Istanbul at the event held at the institute.


  • Boosting trade: We embarked on consequential activities to promote Costa Rican export products to importers in Turkey with the aim of boosting bilateral trade.


  • Trip to Costa Rica: The business community was extremely enthusiastic about a trip we organized a trip to Costa Rica. We were warmly received by the relevant ministries in Costa Rica and fruitful talks were held.
  • Procomer (Foreign Trade agency) event: We arranged an event at DEİK (Foreign Relations Economic Board) for the regional director of this important agency, Edgar Sanchez.


The signing of an agreement between DEİK and Procomer during Edgar Sanchez’s visit.


  • Director Hilda Hidalgo visits Turkey:We hosted leading Costa Rican director Hilda Hidalgo in Turkey. That same week we arranged a screening of the director’s critically acclaimed “Of Love and Other Demons” at the Istanbul Modern Art Museum. Attendance at this special screening exceeded our expectations, with the theater completely full on both days. For the film’s premiere, Hilda Hidalgo gave a talk and fielded questions.

A news item on Hilda Hidalgo.​


Hilda Hidalgo and an official from the İstanbul Modern cinema program.


  • Introduction of agencies to develop bilateral tourism:Aiming to boost the tourism potential between our two countries, we introduced travel agencies from both countries in Turkey and Costa Rica. Although we have succeeded in increasing tourism traffic both ways, I am certain that the intrdocution of direct flights to Costa Rica by the Turkish carrier THY will significantly increase travel. I expect these flights to begin in the near future
  • Visit to Turkey of Costa Rican folklore groups: In 2008, we hosted the group “Pacuare Duchi” and this year we hosted the folklore and dance group “Inspiraciones Costarricenses – Inspiration of Costa Rica.” We ensured that they were comfortable throughout their stay. They put on a wonderful show.



Photo of “Inspiraciones Costarricenses” taken in front of the Honorary Consulate



  • Official visit of Costa Ricas Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo: The official visit of Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo, who was received by both the President and the Foreign Minister, was another milestone in relations between our two countries. Along with a series of meetings, I believe the visit helped to foster closer ties. We were well received in Ankara and the visit resulted in a decision to open embassies in both countries. This was a major step toward realizing our objective of having a Costan Rican Embassy opened in Anakra. Additionally, agreements were signed on the subjects of double taxation and civil aviation.


A photo taken after Foreign Minister Castillo procession at Atatürk’s Mausoleum in Ankara.


A snapshot taken after a meeting with then Minister of Transportation Binali Yıldırım.​


  • Agreement between Costa Rica’s Santa Ana Municipality and Istanbul’s Islands Municipality to become sister cities: During the Istanbul leg of Foreign Minister Castillo’s visit an event gave us all great pleasure. We introduced the mayor of Santa Ana, a city neighboring the capital, San Jose, to the mayor of the Islands Municipality of Istanbul, Mustafa Farsakoğlu, and brought about the signing of a declaration that these two municipalities with such natural beauty are henceforth “sister cities.” I would like once again to thank the Islands Municipality mayor for his hospitality at the official ceremony.


The signing ceremony attended by Foreign Minister Castillo and Mayor Farsakoğlu on the island of Büyükada.



  • Costa Rica visits: In the months of February and December we organized two working visits during which we agreed upon the framework for a Civil Aviation Agreement. The final stage was reached for the opening of an embassy.
  • Signing of Civil Aviation Agreement: Tourism Minister Allen Flores visited Turkey for the signing of a Civil Aviation Agreement. The agreement between Turkey and Costa Rica went into effect after it was signed in the month of May at a ceremony in Izmir.


Tourism Minister Allan Flores and Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım make it official in Izmir.


  • Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo’s last visit to Ankara: Castillo once again visited Ankara to discuss the opening of a Costa Rican Embassy in in the capital city. Details were worked out and a final decision was made. An agreement was signed.


  • Various locations were scouted and the seIection of personnel was completed for the opeing of an embassy.
  • Costa Rican Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez visited Turkey in October to attend the opening of the Costa Rican Embassy. Additionally, meetings were scheduled with the Economy Ministry in Istanbul and with Turkish Airlines (THY).



A photo taken at the opening of the Costa Rican Embassy.


DEİK organized a meeting of official delegations presided over by Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez and then Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi.


Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez visits THY General Manager Temel Kotil.



  • The following visits were held to further boost trade between Costa Rica and Turkey:
    1. The first contacts were made for the opening of Procomer’s representative office in Istanbul when Procomer General Manager Pedro Beirute visited Istanbul,
    2. A visit was organized to Procomer Regional Director Edgar Sanchez and meetings about Costa Rican products were organized for companies,
    3. Karina Lopez Porras, the person responsible for Procomer marketing activities, visited Turkey and conducted market research,
    4. Costa Rican Foreign Trade Chairman Alexander Mora and Investments Director Gabriela Castro visited Turkey to open a representative office for Procomer and to discuss further the introduction of direct flights to Central America by THY.


Foreign Trade Chairman Mora, his wife and me.


  • Foreign Minister Manuel Gonzalez attending the Izmir Fair.

I will complete this series on the Costa Rican Honorary Consulate by writing about what we have achieved in 2016 and what we plan to do. However, while they are still fresh in my mind, I would first like to convey my impressions of the ceremony held in New York in April for the signing of the Paris Treaty. I am honored that the United Nations invited me to this ceremony held on the 22nd of April, Earth Day. It is a wonderful feeling to have one’s efforts noticed. Best wishes…

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