Turkey’s First President Elected by Popular Vote
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and First Lady Emine Erdoğan were welcomed by departing President Abdullah Gül and his wife Hayrünnisa Gül with an official ceremony at the Çankaya Presidential Palace.President Erdopan, after his visit to Anıtkabir (Atatürk’s Mausoleum), proceeded to the Prime Ministry Official Residence. He later arrived at the Çankaya Presidential Palace.
GREAT EHTHUSIASM OF CITIZENS FOR PRESIDENT ERDOĞAN
Citizens waiting for President Erdoğan in front of the Çankaya Presidential Palace with the Turkish flags in their hands demonstrated great elation for President Erdoğan.
Welcomed by the mounted troops at the entrance of the Presidency’s Gate, the First Couple arrived at the ceremonial ground in their official car accompanied by the mounted troops.
The Presidential Couple were welcomed by 11th President Gül and Mrs. Gül at the ceremonial ground. Afterwards, they chatted for a while at the Çankaya Presidential Palace.
GÜL: WE HAVE ACHIEVED HISTORIC REFORMS TOGETHER
After that, the handover ceremony was held. Delivering the keynote speech, departing President Gül evinced his pride in handing over his office to President Erdoğan. “I would like to offer my thanks to the members of the legislative, executive and judicial branches all of whom I have worked with in harmony for 7 years in my office, to NGOs and our nation. I also would like to extend my thanks to the world leaders, with whom I have cooperated in order to develop our bilateral relations and contribute to regional and world peace and some of whom are among us today.
Departing President Gül continued as follows: “My dear friend, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, elected by the people as the 12th President of the Republic of Turkey, and I have enjoyed a common cause and fellowship for more than 4 decades. I am one of those who know best his unique qualities for leadership and administration, his ambition to serve the country and humanity, his love for the land and the nation and his faith. We founded our political party together and worked shoulder to shoulder in different positions. I take pride in the fact that in the last 12 years, our republic has enjoyed one of its brightest terms. We have achieved historic, economic, political and social reforms and transformations. We have succeeded in deepening democracy, establishing stability and enhancing prosperity in our country together with our friends some of whom are among us today. We have further made great efforts to contribute to the regional and world peace and to the resolution of global problems hand in hand. I am confident that Turkey will make further progress on this path under the leadership of my dear friend, President Erdoğan. I, therefore, am glad today as I am handing over my office to him just like I was when I handed over the Prime Minister’s office to him 11 years ago. I believe that under the strong leadership of President Erdoğan, a stronger and more stable Turkey will greatly contribute to the establishment of stability and peace in our region and across the world. It is in the interest of both our country and the whole region that Turkey should be strong, stable and prosperous more than ever. I hereby would like to reiterate my belief that a better future is awaiting our country, nation and all humanity.”
Departing President Gül also offered his thanks to his wife and children, his siblings, relatives and friends for their support and understanding he has enjoyed during his term in office.
GÜL WISHES ERDOĞAN EVERY SUCCESS IN HIS OFFICE
The 11th President, Abdullah Gül, ended his speech with the following words: “Mr. President, my dear brother, as I am ending my address, I would like to congratulate you once again. I wish you, your wife First Lady Emine Erdoğan and your dear children every blessing, happiness and success. May Allah be with you. I am sure that you will always be honored to serve our nation. Thank you all.”
HISTORIC IMPORTANCE OF THE LAST PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
President Erdoğan later took the floor and greeted his guests at the beginning of his address, continuing: “First of all, as the 12th President of the Republic of Turkey, I would like to extend my gratitude to my august nation. For the first time in our 2000-year history, the head of our state was elected directly by the people through their votes and preferences at this very moment when I feel the happiness of being the 12th President of the Republic of Turkey, I am proud of being the first president ever who was elected by popular vote as well. I am well aware of course that this has made the responsibilities on my shoulders even greater. I would like to offer my thanks to my nation who voted for the constitutional amendments by 69 % in 2007 and who gave me this sacred duty by voting for me by 52 % during the first round of the presidential election held on August 10. I promise that I am going to cherish and maintain this trust as long as I live.”
GREAT ACHIEVEMENTS IN HARMONY AND COORDINATION
President Erdoğan further extended his thanks to the departing President, Abdullah Gül, noting: “On behalf of myself, my family, our country and nation, I would like to offer my thanks to my dear friend in our common cause, the 11th President of the Republic of Turkey for having successfully completed his important duty. Mr. Gül as president and I as Prime Minister worked for 7 years in harmony and close cooperation and achieved much for Turkey for 7 years. We are now at a point where we have crowned our friendship on the same path for more than 4 decades with many services and works for the country and nation. Let me reiterate that we would like to benefit from Mr. Gül’s experience and ideas in the future as well. I am offering my thanks once again to him and I wish him and his family every success and happiness.”
“DOORS ARE NOW WIDE OPEN FOR THE NEW AND GREATER TURKEY”
Pointing out that in the last 12 years, as Prime Minister, he has implemented many reforms of great significance in order to strengthen the national will, broaden the area of politics and raise the standards of democracy and human rights and freedoms, President Erdoğan reiterated that “each one of these historic reforms we have achieved has opened new reforms. Every change for the better has paved the way for bigger changes. Electing the president through popular vote is more than merely a technical matter; it means closing an era, which is the old Turkey indeed. The new era the doors of which are today wide open is the new Turkey which bears the same spirit and essence as those in the first years of our republic; it is the era of the greater Turkey. In the old Turkey, there were gangs and tutelage. In the old Turkey, obstacles and threats were in the way of polit,cs.
In the old Turkey, instabilities, doubts and hesitations were dominant. Through the reforms we have achieved step by step, we have left all of these problems behind us. With the election of the president by popular vote, we have promulgated the absolute victory of the national will and democracy to the whole world. As of today, Turkey will focus all its energy on its target for 2023, the centenary on the foundation of the republic, without wasting its time through old discussions and without allowing for any social and political polarization. The President and the Prime Minister both of whom were elected by the people will develop the economy faster and in a healthy way by working in harmony. The social welfare will also grow and our people will meet with each other on common grounds of fraternity by regarding diversities as our richness.”
The President further underscored that Turkey will go forward on its path with a a more robust resoluteness toward the membership in the EU, which he said is its strategic objective, adding that the union of solidarity among the 77 million people of the nation will be established in a stronger way through all means including democratic reforms and achievement in the resolution process regarding the Kurdish issue.
“THE MAIN AXIS IN TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY IS PEACE, SOLDIRAITY AND PROSPERITY”
President Erdoğan continued as follows: “I would like to reiterate before the representatives of our sister countries that the main axis in Turkish foreign policy is peace, solidarity and prosperity. Turkey does not have any secret agenda or project as to any country’s territories and their internal affairs. We wholeheartedly wish that peace and prosperity be dominant in every inch of all the regions including the Middle East and we are shaping our foreign policy as per this ideal. According to the mission that history and geography have put on our shoulders, we consider standing up against injustices and brutalities to be the main axis of our foreign policy. The reason we espouse the Palestinian cause in such a resolute way is that people are dying. The reason we have opened our doors for 1.2 million Syrian people is that first of all, they are humans. We cannot remain silent regarding the events in Syria, where more than 200.000 people have been killed. We regard this as an humanitarian, political and conscientious responsibility, placing it at the center of politics. We are raising our voices in all areas of crises including Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, as we care about humanity and life. Humans and life are beyond all ethnicities, languages, colors of the skins, oil, diamonds, gold and energy resources. We put up a fight to consolidate and strengthen our fraternity with all countries we are friends with. It is our duty to warn those who are enemies to us or to their own people -humans in other words. No one should consider this to be an intervention in their internal affairs. Our foreign policy will be more active and more effective in a way that is humanitarian and conscience-oriented.”
President Erdoğan further referred to the statements of Gazi Mustafa Kemal, who, after being elected the first President, said at the TBMM on October 29, 1923, when the Republic of Turkey was founded, as follows: ‘Taking the favor of the nation as a folcrum, we will go forward together. The Republic of Turkey will be happy, successful and victorius.’ President Erdoğan later ended his speech with the following words: “These words of Gazi Mustafa Kemal received a standing ovation at the time. The then MP from Yozgat, Avni Bey, suggested that a prayer be made at the General Assembly and Deputy Kamil Efendi from Karahisar made that prayer on the occasion of the election of the first President of the Republic of Turkey. As in the words of Gazi Mustafa Kemal, our first President, the favor of our nation will always serve as our folcrum as well. Our struggle for future that has been continuing for more than 91 years will accelerate and never stop. Turkey’s glorious walk dating back centuries will continue on the basis of justice, peace and solidarity. At this very moment of the new beginning and new Turkey, I wish our country, our nation and all humanity every blessing. I also wish that peace be dominant across the world. In this meaningful ceremony, I hereby remember our martyrs and war veterans with gratitude and tribute. I would like to offer my thanks to you all for joining this ceremony. We will walk together with the 11th President, Abdullah Gül, on the path toward building and developing the new Turkey as we have walked so far even in the harshest times. I greet you all with love and respect. May Allah be with us!”
After his speech, President Gül bestowed departing President Gül with the State Medal of Honor and presented him the Presidential Seal.
MILITARY CEREMONY FOR GÜL
Following the handover ceremony, the Presidential Couple and 11th President Gül and Mrs. Gül walked through the Gate of Honor to the ceremonial ground where departing President Gül bade farewell to the Escort of Honor.
The First Couple afterwards saw off departing President Gül and Mrs. Gül from the Çankaya Presidential Palace.