Reiterating Turkey’s strong support through his official visit to Tunisia for the state structure of this country which was established after the Jasmine Revoluton, President Gül, during his address at the Tunisian Founding Assembly, proclaimed the deputies to be a torch that will illuminate the future of both Tunisia and the whole of the Arab world.
President Abdullah Gül paid an official visit to Tunisia at the invitation of President Munsif Merzuki. The President was welcomed with an official ceremony by President Munsif Merzuki of Tunisia, Tunisian Parliament Speaker Mustafa bin Jafar and Prime Minister Hammadi Cibali at Chartage Airport.
GÜL AT THE CHARTAGE PALACE
Launching his official program the next day, President Gül was welcomed with an official ceremony by President Merzuki at the Chartage Presidential Palace. After the ceremony, the two leaders had a tete-a-tete that Deputy PM Beşir Atalay and Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz attended as well. Afterwards, they proceeded to the delegational talks. The two Presidents later held a joint press conference.
TUNISIA AS A BEACON OF HOPE FOR OTHERS
The President, averring his excitement about visiting Tunisia, which ignited the fuse of the Arab Spring, said Tunisia has become a beacon of hope as a country that has realized its revolution by protecting the unity and solidarity in the country, that has held free elections and established the national parliament before the very eyes of the international community, that has proceeded to the studies that would pave the way for a successful and smooth transition to the rule of law within the pluralistic system, that has elected a PM and that has established a government.
THREE COOPERATION PROTOCOLS SIGNED
Prior to the joint press conference, three cooperation protocols on boosting the bilateral relations between Turkey and Tunisia were signed.
SEJOUMI CEMETERY FOR MARTYRS
President Gül, afterwards, received the Tunisian PM, Hammadi Cibali, at the State Guest House and visited the Sejoumi Cemetery for Martyrs where he laid a wreath for those losing their lives during the Tunisian independence struggle and the Jasmine Revolution.
GÜL ADDRESSES THE TUNISIAN FOUNDING ASSEMBLY
President Abdullah Gül, as part of his schedule, addressed the Founding Assembly of Tunisia. Evincing at the very beginning of his speech his pride in addressing the Founding Assembly of Tunisia where he said the national will of the Tunisian people with whom they have deep-rooted amity and friendship is truly displayed, President Gül shared his excitement to be addressing the deputies of Tunisia as he said they are a torch that will illuminate the future of both Tunisia and the whole of the Arab world, adding that this assembly is an edifice of democracy to which all their sister countries, which have struggled and are struggling for freedom, rights, justice and honor at all costs, turn their faces.
The Tunisian people and this assembly which represents them, he noted, have assumed an honorable mission with great responsibilities indeed. Many a community in the whole of the world including the Arab and Islamic world who struggle for freedom, justice, rights and honor have turned their minds and hearts to you, declared the President. Asserting that Tunisia can conclude the democratization process through which it has considerably progressed will serve as a beacon of hope and guide for those in Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria, President Gül pointed out that they have to succeed not only for Tunisia but also for all Muslims and humanity in the end.
Underscoring that the Turkish and Tunisian flags, with their red color, crescent and star, are the symbols of their historic fraternity, the President stated that the crescent and star are the common ground for the Turks and the Moors on both sides of the Mediterranean. This resemblance, he said, is a demonstration of the common fate, love and affection their peoples bear for each other. It is also a manifestation of their 400-year-long common history, accentuated President Gül, adding: “It is our duty and responsibility in this transition period to display a quintessential solidarity in every way at the bilateral and international level with our Tunisian brothers and sisters with whom we have such close and intimate relations.”
OFFICIAL DINNER FOR GÜL
Hailing, during the official dinner President Munsif Merzuki hosted in his honor, the revolution Tunisia has achieved, President Abdullah Gül noted that the Founding Assembly of Tunisia is the only parliament among those of the countries affected by the Arab Spring which has elected a President and a Parliament Speaker and which has established a government, promulgating it to be a beacon of hope and source of inspiration for others.
President Gül further drew attention to the significance of a successful economy to consolidate this accomplishment and reiterated Turkey’s corroboration for this country, saying: “You can be sure that the Turkish state and its private sector are seeking every way to contribute to you.”
GÜL RECEIVES GANNUSHI OF THE NAHDA MOVEMENT
On the last day of his visit to Tunisia, President Gül received the leader of the Nahda Movement, Rashid Al-Gannushi, whose party took office during the first free elections held after the Jasmine Revolution, recalling that Al-Gannushi served in prison for years and was able to come to power with the free elections held after the Jasmine Revolution, which he declared is “like a dream”. Prior to this, President Gül had received the Tunisian Industry, Trade and Handicrafts Union (UTICA) Chairman, Hadi Jilani.
VISIT TO SADIQI COLLEGE
The President afterwards visited Sadiqi College one of whose computer lab which was established by TIKA and which he opened. President Gül, signing the guest book at the school, evinced his hope in the book that the college will graduate the youth who can serve as a bridge between the two countries.
The President also attended a luncheon hosted by the Al-Nahda Party leader, Rashid Al-Gannushi.
FRIDAY PRAYER AT ZEITOUNA MOSQUE
President Gül afterwards performed the Friday Prayer along with Rashid Al-Gannushi at the Zeitouna Mosque. He enjoyed great enthusiasm from the Tunisian people in the bazaar on the way to the mosque.
After completing his programs in Tunisia, President Gül was seen off by President Munsif Merzuki with a ceremony at the airport.