President Gül delivers farewell message to the public
A portrait of outgoing President Abdullah Gül has been hung at the Çankaya Presidential Palace next to the portraits of other former presidents.President Abdullah Gül delivered his formal farewell message to the public on Aug. 25, in which the outgoing president stressed that he had “preserved his impartiality despite his political identity.”
“Whenever I detected tendencies of polarization and revanchism, I always sought to abstain from this,” Gül said in his farewell message, issued in both written and video form on Aug. 25.
“I have always referred to the significance of not debilitating, on the contrary strengthening institutions, which is the basis of our democracy. I worked for the rule of law and for the independence and impartiality of the judiciary to in no way be damaged,” he said.
In his messages, Gül stressed that in both state institutions and society everybody should show utmost attention to the necessities of being a democratic, secular and social rule of law state, adding that freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and freedom of faith had always been values that he prized.
“I always supported an end to the wrongful application of laicism, with my belief that freedom of religion and worship is an indissoluble part of fundamental rights and freedoms. You’ve seen, at the highest level of our state, how I ended the issue of the headscarf’s division of our country,” he said.
Gül also said he “punctiliously” pursued freedom of press and social media and stressed that this could only be restricted in “exceptional and legitimate circumstances.”
He cited that he was the first Turkish president ever to visit a Cemevi, an Alevi house of worship, and had also attended an Alevi fast breaking meal.
Gül also referred to his efforts to handle the problems of Turkey’s non-Muslim minorities and celebrated their religious days.
As president, he prioritized “transparency and accountability dominating the governance of the country,” Gül said.
“When appropriate, I openly shared my warnings with the public over the detentions of chiefs of staff, journalists and long detention periods in general,” he added.
“I draw attention to the fact that this is the basis of democratic governance and prosperity. Accordingly, I made small distinctions in preserving the Court of Accounts’s auditing authorities,” Gül stated, also noting that the state supervisory council had become so active for the first time in its history during his tenure.