Turkish First Lady tours with Michelle Obama

Turkish First Lady tours with Michelle Obama

Turkish First Lady tours with Michelle Obama

First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül (2nd L), along with other first ladies, including Michelle Obama, interact with a choral group at the Gary Comer Youth Center in Chicago. DHA photo

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama showed off her neighborhood on the south side of Chicago to Turkey’s First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül, the wife of President Abdullah Gül. Obama took her and four other first ladies to a local youth center for lunch and a musical performance by the children of the center. 

The women toured the Gary Komer Youth Center, which features a gymnasium, dance studio and a theater. The center provides tutoring, college preparation, training in culinary arts and horticulture for young people in the community, 90 percent of whom come from low-income households. 

“I brought them here because I am so proud of where I grew up, and I wanted to show everyone some of the wonderful things that are happening here on the south side,” Reuters quoted Obama as saying before the South Shore Drill Team performed a routine to Frank Sinatra’s “My Kind of Town.”

Obama and Gül clapped and danced to the gospel singing of the Soul Children of Chicago, and also sampled a strawberry basil vinaigrette salad dressing made at the center. Gül, along with Valerie Trierweiler, the domestic partner of French President Francois Hollande, spoke with children on a rooftop garden about the heirloom tomatoes and Cimarron lettuce they were growing. 

“I grew up just like you,” Obama said to a group of black children. “Same background. My family didn’t have a lot of money growing up. Neither of my parents had the opportunity to go to college, and most of the folks in my neighborhood didn’t get a chance to go, either.” According to the Anatolia news agency, Gül invited Obama to Turkey, but the latter said she would not be able to come due to Barack Obama’s election campaign this summer, although she did convey that she wanted to come later.