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Envoys’ spouses become Seongbuk citizens

The wives of the Turkish and Singaporean ambassadors have become honorary citizens of the community in which they live.

Gulden Saribas and Tan Siew Eng pledged to do their best to help strengthen ties between their countries and Korea upon being presented with honorary citizenship of Seoul’s Seongbuk-gu.

They were selected along with another international resident of the area, Dr. Bhanu Shrestha. The Nepali citizen is a professor at Kwangwoon University. 
Gulden Saribas (second from right) and Tan Siew Eng (third from left) accept their honorary citizenship of Seongbuk-gu along with Bhanu Shrestha (second from left) at a residents’ day ceremony on May 7. (Kirsty Taylor/The Korea Herald)
Gulden Saribas (second from right) and Tan Siew Eng (third from left) accept their honorary citizenship of Seongbuk-gu along with Bhanu Shrestha (second from left) at a residents’ day ceremony on May 7. (Kirsty Taylor/The Korea Herald)

Saribas, who is married to Turkish Ambassador Naci Saribas, said she enjoyed living in historic Seongbuk-gu near the 2,000 year-old Bukhansanseong.

She added: “My husband and I are really happy and delighted to be here. We are really honored to be honorary citizens of the year.

“I was equally elated by the news that Seongbuk-gu is a sister city with Beyoglu in Istanbul. This is a very important historical and commercial district of Istanbul.

“We would be more than happy to offer our support and assistance to further the relations between the communities of Korea and Turkey.”

Tan, spouse of Singapore Ambassador Tan Hai Chuan, also said she was honored.

“Seongbuk-dong is a very historically and culturally rich place and the people are really nice. Since I moved here in June I have met a lot of friendly people. I hope that I can contribute more to cultural exchanges between Singapore and here.”

The three were congratulated by Seongbuk-gu Mayor Kim Young-bae and Seongbuk-gu Council Chairperson Yoon Lee-soon at the Seongbuk Residents’ Day ceremony during a festival at the area’s Wolgok Playing Field on May 7.

By Kirsty Taylor (kirstyt@heraldcorp.com)
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