Turkish Delight

The centerpieces of the ottoman room are, fittingly enough, three ottomans.

The centerpieces of the ottoman room are, fittingly enough, three ottomans.

Ambassador Nabi & : The Couple in the Sheridan Circle Mansion

, a career diplomat, and Gülgün ?çelli met about 25 years ago in London. They were colleagues then, but moved on to pursue their individual careers in different parts of the world. They were always “just friends” until she sent him chocolates on his birthday eleven years ago. Then, he took her out to lunch and three months later, she cooked dinner for him, launching their long courtship. Although they lived separate lives, they spent holidays together in Bodrum and Antalya, and cruised along the beautiful Aegean coast with family and very close friends.

“In Ankara, we often went out together, and were seen by many of our acquaintances” Gülgün says, “Still, everyone was surprised when we got married. He was the most eligible bachelor in the Turkish Foreign Ministry, so the news of our marriage filled the Turkish papers as if we were some kind of celebrities.”

The Ambassador, never married before, had always made a home with his late mother and older sister. “In Turkey, we all come from large extended families and I always knew that if I married Nabi, I would naturally be having his family as my own,” says Gülgün (His brother and his family live close by in Maryland for most of the year).

“Nabi and I make a good team,” said this former Deputy Undersecretary from the Turkish Ministry of Culture “We come from similar backgrounds and have a lot of things in common. I even support his great passion for soccer. The fact that we married later is probably an advantage; we’re mature and experienced enough now to fully share our lives.” The Ambassador, having served as Counselor at the Turkish Embassy some 25 years ago at this very building, already feels at home here. Surrounded by a beautiful collection of Turkish silver by master silversmiths of Istanbul, he points out to the beautiful green and gold Turkish carpet we are sitting on “This is the carpet that won Americas Magnificent Carpet Award in High Level Category in Atlanta in 2006. Being the exact replica of Sultan Beyazit II’s Kaftan which was displayed in the Style and Status Exhibition at the Sackler and Freer Galleries of Smithsonian Institute in 2005, the carpet was hand knotted in four months by four young Turkish girls. It was donated upon my wife’s request by HAS HALI in Istanbul, as a gift to this magnificent Residence.”

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