Latvia Exclusive

President Abdullah Gül paid a state visit to Latvia at the invitation of President Anders Berzins.

The First Couple were welcomed by Latvia’s Chief of Protocol, Veronika Erte; Turkey’s Ambassador to Riga, Serap Özcoşkun; Latvian Ambassador to Ankara, Atis Sjanits, and other officials at Riga International Airport.


President Abdullah Gül and First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül were welcomed with an official ceremony by President Andris Berzins of Latvia and Latvian First Lady Dace Seisuma in the capital city of Riga. After the welcoming ceremony, the First Couple had a photo taken with their Latvian counterparts and signed the Book of Honor. Afterwards, the two Presidents chaired the delegational talks.


Mrs. Gül, as part of her program in Riga, visited the Riga Bourse Art Museum, where she was welcomed by Director Daiga Upeniece. Having been informed about the activities of the museum, the First Lady explored an exhibition entitled “A Romantic View”, which includes the 19th century Dutch and Flemish paintings.

The First Lady afterwards visited the sections where the 16th century paintings and porcelain collections are on display. She also enjoyed the works from the Middle East and Far East and Mrs. Gül later signed the Book of Honor in the museum.


President Abdullah Gül and President Andris Berzins held a joint press conference after the delegational talks in Riga.

Extending his thanks to President Berzins for his warm welcome, President Gül lauded Riga, which he remembered he had visited as Foreign Minister twice before, for its natural beauties and architecture, adding that a broad delegation of businessmen are attending him on his state visit to Latvia.

Turkey and Latvia, the President declared, are two old friends and said the former did not recognize the invasion and annexation of Latvia at the time, but instead he added it saw Latvia as an independent country. Since 1991, the bilateral relations between the two countries have considerably developed and Turkey has strongly supported the Latvian integration with the European-Atlantic institutions, stressed President Gül.

Offering his thanks to his Latvian counterpart for Latvian support for Turkey’s accession to the EU, President Gül, asking the Latvian officials to serve as the voice of Turkey during the EU meetings when Turkey does not attend, recalled that Latvia is to take over the EU presidency in 2015, when Turkey will chair the G-20, averring his hope that his state visit will open a new chapter in the bilateral relations they enjoy, boosting them further in all areas.

Prior to the joint press conference, a letter of good will on cooperation in the area of transport and logistics was signed by the relevant departments of the two countries.


President Gül, Mrs. Gül, President Berzins and Mrs. Seisuma afterwards visited the Latvian Monument of Freedom and laid a wreath at the place.

President Gül later had a memoir photo with Turkish students in Latvia and the First Couple also attended the luncheon given by Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics.


After meeting with Latvian Parliament Speaker Solvita Aboltina at the Saeima, the Latvian Parliament, and visiting the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia as part of his official program in Riga, President Gül attended the closing session of the Turkey-Latvia Business Forum with President Andris Berzins.

Recalling that Turkey and Latvia will mark the 90th anniversary of their diplomatic relations in 2015, the President stressed that the former has never recognized the occupations and annexations and proclaimed that Turkish-Latvian cooperation and solidarity are very strong indeed.


President Abdullah Gül and First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül attended the dinner given by President Andris Berzins and First Lady Dace Seisuma as part of President Gül’s state visit to Latvia.

Evincing his pleasure to be visiting Latvia for the first time as President and offering his thanks to President Berzins for his warm welcome, President Gül referred to his visits to Riga as Foreign Minister and said the capital city of Riga has a special place in his heart, adding that “every time I visit this city, I am deeply impressed by its historic atmosphere and dynamism.” Proclaiming Turkey and Latvia to be two countries on the trade route which connects the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea and reiterating Turkish-Latvian existing relations which date back to 1925, President Gül said these relations have since risen on this robust ground, sharing his pride in the fact that they will mark the 90th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Turkey and Latvia in 2015. “It will be a pleasant coincidence that in 2015 Latvia is to take over the EU term presidency. As a matter of fact, the bonds between the two peoples date back centuries. Our fallen soldiers in Latvia who fought during the Battle of Plevna between the Ottoman and Russian Empires in 1877-1878 lie in the city of Cesis today as eternal guests of Latvian people. I hereby would like to offer my thanks to Your Excellency and our Latvian brothers and sisters for cherishing the graveyards for our martyrs on behalf of my nation.”


President Abdullah Gül participated in the breakfast given in his honor by Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis and explored the Riga Combines Cycle Power Plant, which is being constructed by a Turkish firm, GAMA. President Gül, welcomed by the administration of the firm upon his arrival, signed the Book of Honor and was informed about the activities and project being conducted by GAMA in Riga. He afterwards had a photo taken with the Turkish engineers and employees working in the project.

After completing his program in Riga, President Gül proceeded to Lithuania’s Vilnius Intrnational Airport.


As part of her program, First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül, after the welcoming ceremony, explored the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design with the Latvian First Lady, Dace Seisuma, in Riga. Welcomed by Director Mara Lace of the Museum of National Arts and the Head of Department of the Decorative Arts and Design, Inese Baranovska, Mrs. Gül and Mrs. Seisuma were informed about the artifacts and works of modern design which are displayed in the museum.