Huge crowd greets Turkish President Gül in eastern province of Muş

Huge crowd greets Turkish President Gül in eastern province of Muş

Huge crowd greets Turkish President Gül in eastern province of Muş

Turkish President Gül walks with a huge crowd in the eastern Turkish province of Muş before having a tea break, marking a first ever state visit in 29 years. AA photo

Turkish President Abdullah Gül was welcomed by a large crowd during a visit yesterday to the eastern province of Muş, a first by a Turkish president in 29 years. 

The ongoing efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue marked the visit to the province, which has a high population of Kurds.

People chanted slogans, saying, “Turkey is proud of you,” during the prime minister’s visit to the governor’s office, while many carried Turkish flags and red and white carnations.

Addressing the crowd from the balcony of the municipality, Gül said it was his first visit to Muş as a president as his last visit was during his ministry. 

Former President Kenan Evren visited Muş on Nov. 3, 1984. Regarding the solution process on the Kurdish issue, Gül expressed belief that the atmosphere for a solution would be strengthened and that people would embrace each other more.

“We are practicing good things in Turkey all together. We see that the brotherhood in Turkey has become stronger and that there was a great desire for peace and tranquility,” President Gül said. 

“I have seen such happiness in the faces of people in terms of development. This is a great joy for me. We may have differences in terms of ethnicity, religion or sects because we are a very big country,” he said. The Turkish Republic has an imperial past, the president also said. “Today we are not an empire but we carry all the richness of the empire,” he added. 

“The thing that matters is improving the democratic legal standards in our country as they are in developed countries,” the president said. “In addition, fixing some [aspects] that contradict with the conscience of a nation that has been living together for centuries … is a duty for all. Bright days are waiting for us,” he said. Development Minister Cedvet Yılmaz, Justice and Development (AKP) deputies Faruk Işık and Muzaffer Çakar and Peace and Democracy (BDP) deputies Sırrı Sakık and Demir Çelik also accompanied the president. 

Cebrail Başpınar, a student at Muş Alparslan Unversity, attracted attention in the square with a placard, reading, “Mr. President: Shall I marry the girl I love after the peace process?” Turkish-origin Başpınar complained that the family of his unidentified love interest, a Kurdish girl, reportedly opposed the marriage.