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Article updated: 7/10/2013 12:27 PM

Schaumburg cements Sister City relationship with Turkish city

By Eric Peterson

Schaumburg trustees Tuesday approved a Sister City agreement with Safranbolu, Turkey, saying they intend the relationship to be more business-oriented than the village's existing cultural partnerships with communities in Germany, Japan and India.

Apart from the obvious connection to Sister City Schaumburg-Lippe, Germany, the village's business profile has played a strong part in its attractiveness to potential overseas partners, Mayor Al Larson said.

The village's Sister City partnership with Namerikawa, Japan is an example. Schaumburg is home to more Japanese companies than anywhere else in Illinois, and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Chicago holds its annual dinner in Schaumburg, Larson said.

And business is the reason Schaumburg came to the attention of the mayor of Safranbolu, he added.

"That's a recognition that we're not just a small, little 'burb," Larson said. "We have international companies here."

The partnership with Safranbolu -- as well as a potential fifth Sister City agreement with Changsha, China -- will be administered through the village's Business Development Commission. The earlier partnerships with Schaumburg-Lippe, Namerikawa and Hyderabad, India are run through the Sister Cities Commission.

Safranbolu is located about 62 miles south of Turkey's Black Sea Coast -- north of the nation's capital, Ankara, and east of its largest city, Istanbul.

Muhittin Er, executive director of the Mount Prospect-based Turkish American Society of Chicago, said Safranbolu has a similar population size to Schaumburg and is a tourist destination.

Safranbolu is famous as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage site for its well-preserved Ottoman-era houses and architecture.

Larson said he believes Schaumburg will benefit greatly from the partnership, as it has from its earlier Sister City agreements.

"I think it behooves Schaumburg to foster these kind of relationships," he said.

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