Abdullah Gül

Abdullah Gül is the 11th and current President of the Republic of Turkey, serving in that office since 28 August 2007.

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Abdullah Gül (Turkish: [abduɫˈɫɑh ˈɟyl]; born 29 October 1950) is the 11th and current President of the Republic of Turkey, serving in that office since 28 August 2007. He previously served for four months as Prime Minister from 2002–03, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2003-07.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's nomination of Gül as a presidential candidate drew strong and highly vocal opposition from ardent supporters of secularism in Turkey. In May 2007, Gül's first bid for presidency was blocked by the Constitutional Court,[1] due to concern over views Gül expressed during his Welfare Party years, and the fact that his wife, Hayrünnisa, wears a headscarf.[2] However, following the parliamentary elections in July of the same year, which were won by the Justice and Development Party with 46.6% of the popular vote, he was eventually elected President on 28 August 2007 and was sworn in the same day, becoming the first openly devout Muslim President in the modern history of Turkey.[3][4]

Early life

President Gül was born in Kayseri, a city in central Anatolia. His father is Ahmet Hamdi Gül, a retired air force mechanic, and his mother is Adviye Gül (née Satoğlu). His family has lived in the Güllük district of Kayseri for about a century.[5][6] His ancestry/ethnicity according to a Çankaya Presidential Residence statement is "Turkish Muslim." Gül was also called with the name Cumhur (which means 'people') by his family.[7]


Gül studied Economics at the Istanbul University. During his graduate education, he studied for two years in London and Exeter in the United Kingdom. He pursued an academic career after that and worked at the higher education facilities in Adapazarı, collaborating in the establishment of the Department for Industrial Engineering and teaching Management courses at the ITU Sakarya Engineering Faculty, which later became the Sakarya University in 1992. He received a Ph.D. degree from the Istanbul University in 1983. He is also conferred to an Honorary Ph.D. degree from Amity University, NOIDA -India on February 8, 2009, and an LL.D. degree from University of Dhaka on February 13, 2010.[8] Between 1983 and 1991, he worked at the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In 1991, he became a lecturer in International Management.

Entry into politics

Gül became acquainted with right-wing politics early during his high school years. During his university education, he became a member of the Islamist-nationalist Millî Türk Talebe Birliği (National Turkish Students' Union) in the line of Necip Fazıl's Büyük Doğu (Grand Orient) current.[9]

He was elected a member of the Turkish parliament for the Refah Partisi (RP, "the Welfare Party") from the Kayseri electoral district in 1991 and 1995. During these years, he made statements about the political system of Turkey that was designed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the Turkish National Movement, which included "This is the end of the republican period" and "The secular system has failed and we definitely want to change it".[10] These statements caused controversy when his candidacy for the 2007 presidential election was announced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.[11]

In 1999, he kept his seat as a member of the Fazilet Partisi (FP, "the Virtue Party") which was subsequently outlawed by the Constitutional Court for its violation of the Constitution. Its predecessor, the Refah Partisi, was also outlawed by the Constitutional Court for its violation of the Constitution, especially the principle of secularism. By this time, Gül had apparently moderated his views and was reportedly considered to be part of the Virtue Party's reformist faction. As such, he was among the founders of the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party), a party which billed itself as a moderate conservative party in the European tradition. He was elected once again to represent Kayseri in 2002.[citation needed]

AKP career

Prime Minister

After the Justice and Development Party (AKP) won the most votes in the November 2002 general election, Gül was appointed Prime Minister, as AK Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was unable to assume the role due to a ban on his participation in politics. After Gül's government secured legislation allowing Erdoğan's return to politics, the latter took over as prime minister on 14 March 2003. Gül was appointed deputy prime minister and foreign minister.

Foreign minister

After becoming foreign minister in March 2003, Gül became the key player in Turkey's attempts to receive an accession date for the European Union and in its attempts to improve relations with Syria and maintaining its relationship with the Turkic-speaking countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus. On February 6, 2007, Gül flew to the United States to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.[citation needed]


Gül with Barack Obama on Obama's first visit to Ankara.

Turkish president Abdullah Gül and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev in Russia,13 February 2009.

Prime Minister Erdoğan announced on 24 April 2007 that Gül would be the Justice and Development Party candidate in the 2007 presidential election. Previously, there had been speculation that Erdoğan himself would be the party's candidate, which had provoked substantial opposition from secularists.[12][13] When a boycott of opposition parties in Parliament deadlocked the election process, Gül formally withdrew his candidacy on 6 May 2007. If elected he would be the first president to have been involved with Islamist parties.

But a few days later, on 11 May 2007 when he inquired after the alterations to the Turkish constitution which now allowed the people to elect the president directly rather than a parliamentary vote, Gül announced that he was still intending to run.[14][15]

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and President Abdullah Gul during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace of Cankaya in Ankara, Turkey.

Gül and Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner at the Cankaya presidential palace in Ankara, Turkey, 20 January 2011.

Following the July 2007 parliamentary election, the AK Party renominated Gül as its presidential candidate on August 13; the election was again held as a vote of parliament.[16] On 14 August, Gül submitted his candidacy application to parliament and expressed his commitment to secularism at a news conference.[17]

On 28 August 2007, he was elected president in the third round of voting; in the first two rounds, a two-thirds majority of MPs had been required, but in the third round he needed only a simple majority. Gül was sworn in immediately thereafter.[18] The process was a very low-key affair.[19] Gül's swearing-in was not attended by the Chief of the Turkish General Staff and was boycotted by the opposition Republican People's Party; then the hand-over of power at the presidential palace was held behind closed doors. Gül's wife was not present. This approach continued; the traditional evening reception hosted by the new president at the presidential palace for the country's highest authorities was announced for 11:30 in the morning and wives were not invited.[20]

His presidency has been described as a "new era in Turkish politics", for being the first devout Muslim president of Turkey.[21]

Gül received messages of congratulation from the US, EU and German authorities while Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdoğan made a statement saying "a structure doomed to uncertainty has been overcome" (an oblique reference to the deep state theory that Turkey is ruled behind-closed-doors by a secret conspiracy of soldiers and bureaucrats).[22]

In September 2008 he became the first Turkish leader to visit Armenia, sparking a major debate in Turkey.[23]

In November 2011, President Gül led a state visit to the United Kingdom as a guest of Queen Elizabeth II.[24] The President met political and business leaders, visited the Olympic Park and was guest of honour at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.

Statements on Israel

Gül has been a critic of Israel and Western countries which established relations with Israel at the expense of Palestine.[citation needed] After the Israeli raid on the MV Mavi Marmara in 2010, he advocated the complete ending of diplomatic relations with Israel, stating that "Israel will turn into a complete apartheid regime in the next 50 years if it does not allow for the establishment of an independent and proud Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem. That is why we are exerting efforts to achieve a fair peace with a strategic point of view, which is to Israel's own interests."[25]

Full style

  • 1950–1983: Mr. Abdullah Gül
  • 1983–1991: Dr. Abdullah Gül
  • 1991–1996: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Abdullah Gül, MP
  • 1996–2002: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Abdullah Gül, Minister of State of Turkey
  • 2002–2003: His Excellency Assoc. Prof. Dr. Abdullah Gül, 58th Prime Minister of Turkey
  • 2003–2007: His Excellency Assoc. Prof. Dr. Abdullah Gül, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey
  • 2007–present: His Excellency Assoc. Prof. Dr. Abdullah Gül, 11th President of the Republic of Turkey[26]


Awards and Decorations

Gül accepts the 2010 Chatham House Prize from Queen Elizabeth II.

  • Saudi Arabia: Collar of Abdulaziz al Saud (2007)[27]
  • United Kingdom: Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Civil Division of the Order of the Bath (May 2008)[28]
  • Qatar: Necklace of Independence
  • Portugal: Grand Collar of the Order of Infante D. Henrique (May 2009)[29]
  • Italy: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, (November 2009)
  • Kuwait: Collar of the Order of Mubarak the Great (December 2009)[30]
  • United Kingdom: President Abdullah Gül has been voted the winner of the Chatham House Prize 2010 (March 2010)[31]
  • Cameroon: National Decoration, (March 2010)
  • Pakistan: Nishan-e-Pakistan (March 2010)[32]
  • Hungary: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, (November 2011)[33]
  • Netherlands: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion (April 2012)[34]
  • Kazakhstan: Order of the Golden Eagle (October 2012)[35]

Honorary Degrees

  • Burgas Free University, (2003)[36]
  • Exeter University, (2005)[37]
  • Baku State University, (2007)[38]
  • Dimitrie Cantemir Christian University,(2008)[39]
  • Kazan State University, (2009)[40]
  • Kyrgyz National University,(2009)[41]
  • Xinjiang University,(2009)[42]
  • Northwest University (2009)[43]
  • Amity University, (2010)[44]
  • University of Dhaka, (2010)[45]
  • Quaid-i-Azam University, (2010)[46]
  • Hankuk University,(2010)
  • University of Indonesia, (2011)[47]


  1. Ercan Yavuz (31 July 2008) "Evidence indicates Ergenekon tried to block presidential election" Zaman. Retrieved on 9 February 2009.
  2. "Gül'ün adaylığını doğru bulmuyoruz" (in Turkish). CNN Türk. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. http://www.cnnturk.com/TURKIYE/haber_detay.asp?PID=318&haberID=384226. Retrieved 2007-08-29.
  3. Turks elect ex-Islamist president BBC News (28 August 2007). Retrieved on 09 February 2009.
  4. Gul sworn in as Turkey's first former Islamist president Daily Mail (29 August 2007). Retrieved on 9 February 2009.
  5. Kurt, Süleyman. "'Cumhur' İkinci Kez Köşk Yolunda" (in Turkish). Zaman. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. http://www.zaman.com.tr/webapp-tr/haber.do?haberno=575942. Retrieved 2007-08-29.
  6. "'Ergenekon davasında mahkemeler görevini yapacak'" (in Turkish). Milliyet. 2008-07-27. http://www.milliyet.com.tr/Siyaset/SonDakika.aspx?aType=SonDakika&ArticleID=971644&Kategori=siyaset. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  7. Doğum Günü 29 Ekim, Radikal, 25 April 2007 (Turkish)
  8. Star Online Report (2010-02-13). "Doctor of Laws degree conferred on Abdullah Gül". Thedailystar.net. http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/latest_news.php?nid=22187. Retrieved 2011-01-07.
  9. "Abdullah Gul's Unknown Sides/Exclusive" (in Turkish). World Bulletin. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. http://www.worldbulletin.net/news_detail.php?id=8888. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  10. "Cumhuriyet bitmiş". Milliyet. Archived from the original on 23 August 2010. http://www.milliyet.com.tr/2007/04/27/yazar/asik.html. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  11. "Abdullah Gül: The Man Who Would be Turkey's President" (in Turkish). Deutsche Welle. Archived from the original on 23 August 2007. http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2745136,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-28.
  12. "Turkey's ruling party announces FM Gül as presidential candidate", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), 24 April 2007.
  13. " "Turkey 'must have secular leader'", BBC News, 24 April 2007.
  14. "Gül: Adaylığımız devam ediyor" (in Turkish). Hurriyet. http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/6497246.asp?gid=180. Retrieved 2007-05-11.
  15. "Gül adaylıktan çekildi" (in Turkish). Hurriyet. http://hurarsiv.hurriyet.com.tr/goster/haber.aspx?id=6466839&tarih=2007-05-06. Retrieved 2007-05-11.
  16. "Turkey's ruling party renominates Gül as presidential candidate", Xinhua (People's Daily Online), 13 August 2007.
  17. Turkey's Gul vows secular agenda, BBC News, 14 August 2007.
  18. "Turkish foreign minister wins presidency, in victory for Islamic-rooted government", Associated Press, International Herald Tribune, August 28, 2007.
  19. "Generals Protest Against Gül's Presidency". Turkish Daily News (Hürriyet). 2007-08-29. http://arama.hurriyet.com.tr/arsivnews.aspx?id=-613252.
  20. Koylu, Hilal (2007-09-01). "Köşk'e ilk davet eşsiz" (in Turkish). Radikal. http://www.radikal.com.tr/haber.php?haberno=231647. Retrieved 2008-09-10.
  21. Amberin Zaman (29 Aug 2007). "Turkey elects Islamist president Abdullah Gül" Telegraph. Retrieved on 10 February 2009.
  22. "Türkiye'nin 11. Cumhurbaşkanı Abdullah Gül" (in Turkish). Radikal. 2007-08-29. http://www.radikal.com.tr/index.php?tarih=29/08/2007.
  23. "Gul in landmark visit to Armenia". BBC News. 2008-09-06. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7602066.stm. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  24. British Monarchy website http://www.royal.gov.uk/LatestNewsandDiary/StateVisitprogrammes/2011/TurkishStateVisit22to24November2011.aspx
  25. "Turkish president warns Israel". Hürriyet Daily News. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-president-warns-israel.aspx?pageID=238&nID=17797&NewsCatID=338. Retrieved 2012-09-26.
  26. "T.C. CUMHURBAŞKANLIĞI : Abdullah Gül". Tccb.gov.tr. http://www.tccb.gov.tr/pages/president/. Retrieved 2011-01-07.
  27. Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  28. Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  29. Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  30. Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  31. "Chatham House Prize 2010". chathamhouse.org.uk. 19 March 2010. http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/events/special_events/chatham_house_prize/2010/. Retrieved 19 March 2010.
  32. "Turkish President awarded Nishan-i-Pakistan". Associated Press of Pakistan. March 31, 2010. http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=99680&Itemid=1. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
  33. Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  34. Photo of President receiving the Order. His wife has received The Order of the Crown
  35. Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  36. of the Republic of Turkey
  37. of the Republic of Turkey
  38. of the Republic of Turkey
  39. of the Republic of Turkey
  40. of the Republic of Turkey
  41. Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  42. Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  43. Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  44. Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  45. Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  46. Presidency of the Republic of Turkey
  47. Presidency of the Republic of Turkey