n recent years we checked the option several times of staging a Consulegis conferences in Istanbul. Each time we had to postpone the decision for different reasons. Finally in 2011 we were able to realize the old dream, and some 105 participants traveled to Istanbul shortly before 20 October.
Officially the meeting started with a traditional “get together” or “welcoming cocktail” on Thursday, 30 October. At the invitation of Cengiz Soylemezoglu, senior partner of the Turkish member law firm IKMS, the group met in his Istanbul office and was excellently received by Cengiz, his charming wife, and his collaborators.
On the previous evening (Wednesday, 19 October) some 25 persons participated in the already traditional but not yet official early-arrivals dinner. It took place in one of the typical Istanbul fish restaurants, beautifully located along the Bosporus and offering excellent food.
This was the first time in Istanbul for quite a few participants, and they were fascinated by this „mega-city“, situated on the Bosporus and connecting Europe and Asia Minor. The roots of Istanbul reach back to pre-Hellenic times, i.e., more than 2,500 years. Alexander the Great, the Greeks, Romans, early Christians, and Ottomans were all here and left important treasures, which can still be seen in this incredible city. Today, Istanbul stands out as a modern city, proud of its past and very ready to tackle the challenges of the future.
Venue for the conference was the Marmara Taksim Hotel, a landmark in the modern part of Istanbul, which offers a spectacular view over the Bosporus, the Golden Horn, and the city. The hotel’s size allowed it to accommodate all guests, although not all stayed in this hotel. Some opted for an alternative.
Conference discussion focused on the revised Consulegis strategy, a major project of the newly elected Board (2011 AGM in Cologne). A special working group had developed a paper, which served as a basis for discussion in the plenary session on Friday and Saturday (21 and 22 October).
The membership and Board agreed that the same working group should adapt the paper to all comments and suggestions, presenting a revised paper to the Board in January 2012 and to the membership in March 2012 (written report). Discussion and approval should take place during the 2012 AGM in April.
On Friday evening participants, partners and guests enjoyed a lively evening on Friday evening aboard a Bosporus boat with good food and unlimited drinks. The boat trip offered some magnificent views of palaces and other monuments along the Bosporus. Notwithstanding the rather chilly wind forcing people to stay inside the boat, things warmed up considerably when an attractive belly dancer animated both men and women to dance with her.
On Saturday afternoon visitors were offered a private guided tour of the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and the historic underground fresh-water cisterns. (The author of this report decided to relax in famous “Cemberlitas Turkish Bath”. With few exceptions everything – building, installations etc. – is very old, and sometimes as build in 1584! What an experience!)
The traditional gala dinner was offered in Les Ottoman Hotel, one of the most exclusive privately owned small hotels, situated directly on the Bosporus. Excellent food, nicely decorated tables, and a lively music band made this evening an unforgettable event.
The conference ended with the traditional „passing on“ of the Consulegis flag from our host in Istanbul, Cengiz Soylemezoglu, to Mrs. Elena Bello, law partner in Dr. Frühbeck Abogados, S.L.P. in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where we will meet for our 2012 AGM (26-29 April 2012).
We thank Cengiz for hosting this wonderful meeting in Istanbul. He and his group made this event a unique experience.
Dr. Roland Ermini