HISTORY OF FT LAUDERDALE – MUGLA SISTERSHIP
In January of 1992, the late Suheyla “Sue” Gencsoy, a Turkish goodwill ambassador and Ft Lauderdale socialite, hosted Semra Ozal, wife of then president of Turkey Turgut Ozal for a seven day cultural visit to Fort Lauderdale. Mrs Ozal adored the beaches here and said it reminded her so much of Turkey. She invited Gencsoy and 17 friends for a 10-day visit to Turkey.
In June 1992, 18 ladies from Ft Lauderdale including the late Suheyla “Sue” Gencsoy, Nell Lewis, Yolanda Maurer, Sharron Navarro, Martha Gross, and Lynda O’Brien flew to Turkey and were treated royally by then Governor of Mugla Mrs Lale Aytaman, who actually was the very first woman Governor in Turkey. This trip paved the way to the beginning of a Sister City relationship.
On July 15, 1992, GFLSCI, sent in a formal request to the then Mayor Jim Naugle, Vice Mayor Jack Latona, the Commissioners John E.Aurelius, Cary Keno, Carlton Moore, and City Manager George L.Hanbury II. for acceptance of Mugla, Turkey as the newest Sister City.
The request was accepted, and on December 4th, 1992 formal proclamation of the official Sister City relationship of Ft Lauderdale with the Mugla Province comprising of 12 cities was established at a reception, dinner dance gala at the Marriott Harbor Beach with Mayor of Ft Lauderdale Jim Naugle, Governor Dr Lale Aytaman and Mayor Orhan Cakir of Mugla officiating.
Mrs Suheyla “Sue”Gencsoy became the first Chairperson for Mugla, followed by Mrs Meltem Birkegren, then by Dr. Ayse Gulsen Celik, Muge Nurgun, & Zeynep Aytekin the present Chairwomen.
“If I Were Mayor” Essay Contest
Since 2000, the Greater Ft. Lauderdale Sister Cities International (GFLSCI) organization has provided thousands of wheelchairs to physically disable people to the sister city counterparts throughout the world.