Gül receives warm welcome in Britain

Gül receives warm welcome in Britain

Gül receives warm welcome in Britain

Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül (R) rides in a carriage along The Mall towards Buckingham Palace with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II during a state visit in London. REUTERS photo

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II formally welcomed Turkish President Abdullah Gül and his wife, Hayrünnisa Gül, to London yesterday at a ceremony that took place near Buckingham Palace. Before Gül and his wife arrived at the ceremony field near the palace, the Kingdom Squadron entered, accompanied by a band. The queen and her husband, Duke of Edinburgh Philip, arrived at the field followed by a car carrying Gül and his wife, who arrived from White Hall Gate.

The two heads of state shook hands warmly as the hosts laid on the traditional pomp at the ceremony, which included a 41-gun royal salute and Gül’s inspection of the lines of Coldstream Guards in their grey greatcoats.

During the ceremony, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Home Secretary Theresa May accompanied the queen. The United Kingdom hopes the visit will forge stronger ties with Turkey, a growing economic power and an increasingly important trade partner straddling Europe and the Middle East.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu are accompanying Gül during his visit. It marks the first official visit by a Turkish president to Britain in 23 years. The U.K. accepts a maximum of two state visits in one year; the year’s first visit was paid by U.S. President Barack Obama. Queen Elizabeth paid a visit to Turkey in 2008.

Gül was scheduled to meet Cameron and receive Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg yesterday and was also slated to attend a dinner hosted by the queen at Buckingham Palace later in the day. Today, he will deliver a foreign policy speech expected to broach the topic of Syria. Gül will also attend a state banquet and meet political leaders during his visit. Gül also met former British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jack Straw on Nov. 21.