President Obama is presented a copy of "A Mind at Peace" by Turkish Parliamentary Leader4/6/2009
During his high-profile and symbolic "first Muslim country" visit to Turkey today, President Obama was presented with a copy of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar's novel A MIND AT PEACE, translated by Erdag Goknar.
Deniz Baykal, the leader of the main opposition party in parliament (the Republican People's Party), presented Obama with the novel as well as a collection of stories by Sait Faik Abasiyanik during the president's visit to the Turkish parliament yesterday. The conversation between them included the following exchange:
Baykal: "So you just don't just understand Turkey through your ties with the governing and opposition parties in parliament, I'm presenting you with these two works of literature. In these books you will find the nuances of our culture and identity."
Obama: "I'll be sure to read them."
After Baykal thanked Obama for meeting with the main opposition party, Obama replied, "I know what opposition means. For years we were in the opposition. Democracy is inconceivable without an opposition."
Later, when asked why he'd given the books, Baykal responded: "So he might better understand the Turkish people".
Shortly afterward Obama made his long anticipated address to the Turkish parliament and the "Muslim world".
See the New York Times "Paper Cuts" blog post on this topic here.also see A Mind at Peace