President Gül ends his landmark visit to Britain

President Gül ends his landmark visit to Britain

LONDON - Anatolia News Agency

President Abdullah Gül was scheduled to arrive back in Ankara yesterday evening following the completion of his landmark visit to Britain.

Before leaving Buckingham Palace, Gül met with opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband. Later in the day, Gül visited the Turkish Marines Cemetery in Portsmouth. Gül laid a wreath over a stone placard carved in the memory of Ottoman Turkish marines who died in 1850 while training in Portsmouth.

The Turkish Marines Cemetery was opened in 1993 to commemorate 26 Ottoman Turkish marines who lost their lives to cholera and other diseases during an epidemic. They died within six-and-a-half months of arriving at Portsmouth in two Ottoman naval vessels, the Mirat-i Zafer and the Sirag-i Bahri, to train in artillery firing and navigation.

Gül and his wife attended a dinner Nov. 23 hosted in their honor by London Mayor David Wootton. Prince of Kent Michael Franklin and Princess of Kent Marie Christine were also among 700 guests who attended the dinner at Guildhall.

Speaking at the dinner, Gül said Ottoman Sultan Abdulaziz visited Guildhall in 1867 and added that since then, relations between Turkey and Britain had significantly improved and strengthened.

Gül said nearly 400,000 Turks and 3,000 students lived and studied in Britain and added that despite the global economic recession, bilateral trade volume reached $12 billion in 2010.

Gül also met with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at the Clarence House on Nov. 23.