President Abdullah Gül was presented with the 2010 Statesman of the Year Award from Chatham House, home of the Royal Institute of International Relations, by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during a ceremony.
QUEEN: YOU HAVE DISPLAYED A RESPECTED LEADERSHIP AND INTERNATIOANAL STATESMANSHIP
During her speech at the ceremony, Queen Elizabeth II evinced her pleasure to welcome President Gül and First Lady Gül to London on the occasion of this ceremony. Referring to the warm hospitality she enjoyed on her visit to Turkey in 2008, Queen Elizabeth II noted: “You have displayed a respected leadership and international statesmanship for years. I am offering you this prize on behalf of the Royal Institute of International Relations and I congratulate you.”
GÜL: I AM RECEIVING THIS AWARD ON BEHALF OF MY NATION
After taking the prize, President Gül delivered a speech, saying: “I am receiving this award with modesty and great honor on behalf of my august country and the Turkish nation.” The President also extended his thanks to Queen Elizabeth II for her gesture of awarding him, maintaining that he still cherishes the wonderful memories of Her Majesty’s second visit to Turkey in 2008. Further offering his thanks to the administration of Chatham House for the prize, President Gül congratulated them on the 90th anniversary of the institute, adding that the award also honors the resilience and perseverance of a people who have never lost their aspirations for progress and hopes for a better future
“THIS PRIZE SYMBOLIZES THE SUCCESS OF A HARDWORKING PEOPLE”
The President continued as follows: “This award presented to me tonight truly acknowledges the progress achieved by the Turkish nation in recent years despite many internal and external difficulties. As we have all witnessed, a silent revolution in democratic, social and economic standards is taking place in the process of Turkey’s quest for full membership to the European Union.
This award bears testimony to the merits of a great nation that acts with wisdom, common sense, empathy and civilized courage. The award signifies the role played by Turkey in its multidimensional neighbourhood and beyond where she nurtures peace, stability and welfare. This prize rewards Turkey for becoming a source of inspiration as a shining and rare example in the Islamic world with a vibrant democracy and a flourishing free-market economy. The award also symbolizes the success of a hard working people!” President Gül ended his speech, saying that the award thoroughly certifies the eternal friendship between Turkey and the United Kingdom.
CHAIRMAN MAJOR: TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP IS FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE EU AND TURKEY
Former British Prime Minister and current Chairman of Chatham House, John Major also made a speech during the award ceremony, noting that politicians and leaders are evaluated by what they have achieved and that President Gül is a leader that deserves this prize. Underscoring the contributions President Gül has made to the friendship between Turkey and Great Britain and to Turkey’s negotiation process with the EU, Chairman Major stressed: “We believe that Turkey’s EU membership will offer benefits to both the EU and Turkey, which will enhance Turkey and the EU’s international influence.” A developing power, Turkey, which enjoys stability, is a democratic and secular state, he declared and further pointed to President Gül’s personal influence in that he has come up with pragmatic resolutions to problems, saying: “I congratulate you on what you have done so far and on what you are going to do.”
The Director of Chatham House, Robin Niblett made a speech at the ceremony as well during which he informed his audience that who will be given the award is determined through the votes of the members of the institution, touching upon President Gül’s efforts to deepen Turkey's traditional ties with the Middle East and the Caucasus, mediate between the fractious groups in Iraq and bring together the Afghan and Pakistani leaderships, and upon his contributions to Turkey’s EU membership process.
Attending the ceremony and the dinner given afterward were First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül, the delegation members and other officials.
CHATHAM HOUSE PRIZE
An annual award presented since 2005 to the statesperson deemed by members of the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in the previous year, the Chatham House Prize was given to the Former Ukrainian President, Viktor Yushchenko, in 2005; to the Former President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, in 2006; in the year 2007, to the wife of the Qatari Amir, Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned; in 2008, to the Head of the State of Ghana, John Kufor and the then Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was presented with the award last year.