Abdullah Gül is the 11th president of the Republic of Turkey and the first modern Turkish head-of-state from an Islamist background. Facing intense secularist opposition to his political career, Gül has maintained a focus on democratic reform. As prime minister and subsequently as foreign minister, Gül pursued a pro-active foreign policy and largely succeeded in striking a balance between Turkey’s traditional Western-anchored foreign policy priorities and its new interests in the Middle East and the Muslim World.
Education and Work
Gul completed his basic education in his native Kayseri and then went on to study economics at Istanbul University, where he also received his doctoral degree in 1983. He then moved to Jeddah working as an economist at the Islamic Development Bank. In 1989, Abdullah Gül became an associate professor in International Economics at Istanbul University. He decided to enter politics in 1991.
Career in Politics
Gul was a member of both the Refah Partisi (elected to parliament in 1991 and 1995) and then the Fazilet Partisi (elected to parliament in 1999) both of which were outlawed the Constitutional Court for their violation of the Constitution (especially the principle of secularism). He then helped found the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party), and was elected to represent Kayseri in 2002. He briefly served as Prime Minister (during the period Recep Erdogan was banned from politics), and then assumed the Foreign Minister post from 2003-2007.
When the AKP announced Gul as their candidate for President in 2007, there was a boycott by opposition parties in parliament which led to a dead-lock. Gul’s open adherence to Islam (with his wife wearing a head scarf) was seen as a direct threat on Turkey’s secularism. When he did become President, his swearing-in was boycotted by the Chief of the Turkish General Staff and the opposition Republican People’s Party.
Influence through Pragmatic Leadership
Gül’s political influence in Turkey and abroad derives from his ability to reconcile the demands of a predominantly religious electorate with those of the secular establishment of the Turkish Republic. Together with Erdogan, Gül has worked to expand the sphere of democratic rights in Turkey, which in turn have benefited the predominantly traditional and religious segments of Turkish society. Gül continues to play a significant role in the current efforts to find a lasting solution to Turkey’s Kurdish issue. Gül was also the first Turkish politician to visit Armenia.
... (R) hosts President Gül in Lisbon. AFP photo. Murat Yetkin email@example.com. Turkish President Abdullah Gül said yesterday that he was sorry to observe that Turkey's much-anticipated parliamentary work to write a brand-new Constitution has ...and more »
HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company ( KHC ), received a letter from HE Turkish President Abdullah Gul, inviting His Highness to attend the celebration of the work and achievements of the Oxford ...
Meanwhile, on Friday, as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., Turkish President Abdullah Gül visited Turkish families that had lost relatives in Saturday's blast. He did not visit any Syrian ...
President Abdullah Gül is set for a three-day visit to Portugal, in which he will discuss Turkey's EU membership, recent developments in the Mediterranean and international issues with top officials. “We attach great importance to strengthening ties ...
Turkish President Abdullah Gül has invited Portuguese businesspeople and investors to benefit from the advantages of the Turkish economy, which he also described as an important gate to new markets. “There is an environment in Turkey where Portuguese ...
Reuters/Reuters - A man shouts as Turkey's President Abdullah Gul talks to people during his visit to one of the two blast sites, which resulted in the deaths of 51 people over the weekend, in the town of Reyhanli, …more in Hatay province near the ...
“If that way is opened I believe that we can get a 'yes' from my people,” he said. “We have studies. We can clarify those studies and ... President Abdullah Gül also expressed the need for a referendum in earlier remarks. The Nationalist Movement Party ...and more »
Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, begins a two-day visit to Turkey today where he will hold talks with Turkish President Abdullah Gul on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues. The crown prince will also discuss issues ...
Erdoğan's remarks, published in daily Hürriyet on May 19, came when he was reminded that President Abdullah Gül had recently expressed hopelessness over the Constitution-making process. The prime minister used this question as an opportunity for to ...and more »
Rompuy will meet with to Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish premier's office said in a statement. Turkey-European Union relations as well as international and regional issues would be would be discussed ...and more »
Has has said: ‘Everyone should know that we are with the Syrian people’.
He was the first head of state to meet with the Egyptian Supreme Council in Egypt.