Lithuania Exclusive

President Abdullah Gül paid a state visit to Lithuania at the initation of President Dalia Grybauskaite.

The First Couple were welcomed by Lithuanian PM Linas Linkevicius, Foreign Ministry’s Chief of Protocol rasa Kairiene, Turkey’s Ambassador to Vilnius Akın Algan and Lithuanian Ambassador to Ankara Kestutis Kudzmanas at Vilnius International Airport. Proceeding to the Presidential Palace, President Gül and the First Lady were welcomed with an official ceremony by President Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania. The two presidents, after having a tete-a-tete, chaired the delegational talks.


President Abdullah Gül held a joint news conference with President Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania after the delegational talks.

Referring to the Friendship Agreement signed between the two countries in 1930, President Gül said Turkey has always remained loyal to this agreement, cherishing her relations with Lithuania such that Turkey did not recognize the occupation and annexation of Lithuania. Turkey, right after recognizing Lithuanian independence in 1991, opened an embassy in its capital, remembered the President, declaring that Turkey has always supported the membership of the Baltic countries in NATO and contributed to its air defense projects.


President Gül further referred to 2015 when Lithuania will take over the term presidency of the EU and said under the leadership of President Grybauskaite it will be very successful, averring: “I hope Lithuanian corroboration for Turkey’s membership in the EU will continue during your term presidency of the EU in 2015. Turkey is carrying out its negotiation process with the EU. We are aware of the fact that countries with large populations and economies have difficulties during their negotiation process, but we are also resolute to conclude ours successfully. Even when we achieve this, our membership will be voted on in some countries through referenda. What is important is our wish to accomplish it. I hope that during the Lithuanian presidency new chapters as part of our membership process can be opened.”


After the joint press conference, President Gül and the First Lady laid a wreath at the Antakalnis Cemetery.


President Abdullah Gül and First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül participated in the official dinner hosted in their honor by President Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania.

Reiterating the special importance of his state visit to Lithuania for him, President Gül declared that Turkish and Lithuanian nations have always cherished each other and referred to the Friendship Agreement signed in 1930 between the two countries, which he said serve as the fundamental basis of this friendship existing today.

Turkey and Lithuania, the President said, are allies in NATO and two European countries within the context of the EU. Lithuania has always supported Turkey on her path to the membership in the club, stressed President Gül, offering his thanks to his Lithuanian counterpart for this corroboration.

Predicting that the Lithuanian term presidency of the EU to start in three months will affirmatively contribute to Turkish-EU relations, the President ended his speech as follows: “Just like your successful term presidency of OSCE in 2011, I am sure that your presidency in the EU will light the future of the club as well. Reaffirming our mutual political will and our future-oriented common vision to boost our cooperation in all areas during this state visit I am paying at the kind invitation of Your Excellency has made me proud indeed.”


President Abdullah Gül, on the last day of his state visit to Lithuania, received Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius at the hotel where he stayed.


President Gül, afterwards, addressed businessmen at the Turkey-Lithuania Business Forum. Pointing to the necessary political will they have to boost the existing economic cooperation between the two countries, President Gül recalled that back in 1930 a Friendship Agreement was signed between the Turkey and Lithuania and said both countries enjoy today a great relationship as part of NATO and the EU, stating that President Grybauskaite will contribute to the EU when her country takes over the presidency of the club in three months.

With their big economies and populations, England and Spain had difficulties during their membership process in the EU, said the President, referring to the fact that Turkey also experiences such difficulties indeed, but he continued one of the pillars of the EU is the principle of the pacta sunt servanda. “Turkey, a member of the Customs Union since 1996, has every right to expect the EU countries to conform to this principle.”

Drawing attention to the fact that visa process takes too long, President Gül said Turkish people and businessmen face injustices during this process, noting: “We expect my counterparts in the EU including Your Excellency to bring up this issue at the EU meetings which we do not attend, especially during the Lithuanian term presidency. It is not fair at all that even when the EU signed the agreements on lifting visa requirements with even the countries which have not started the negotiation process, it has not signed such an agreement with Turkey, yet.”


After the speeches, the officials of the Turkish Radio and Television and the Lithuanian Radio and Television signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation and another one was also signed by the Transport Ministers of the two countries.


President Gül, afterwards, opened the Culture and Education Center where he was welcomed by Lithuania’s Mufti Romas Yakubauskas, Tatar Community Chairman Alexander Begaskas and religious official Mustafa Azgün.


The President later attended a luncheon given in his honor by Speaker Vydas Gedvilas of the Lithuanian Parliament.


President Gül also received the representatives of the Tatar Community residing in Lithuania.


Accompanying President Abdullah Gül on his state visit to Lithuania, First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül, after the official welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace, explored the National Art Gallery in Vilnius.

The First Lady was welcomed by Director Ieva Mazuraite upon her arrival at the National Art Gallery and she afterwards visited the sections where the paintings which reflect World War II and different events in the 20th century are on display.


As part of her program in Vilnius, Mrs. Gül explored Cathedral Square, known as the heart of Vilnius, and proceeded to Vilnius University, where he was welcomed by Rector Bendiktas Juodka. She further visited St. John Church on the campus and enjoyed an exhibition in the library.

Meeting with Turkish teachers and a group of Lithuanian students who learn Turkish at the university’s Turkish Language Education Center, the First Lady was surprised when theses students began to sing one of the late Barış Manço’s well-known songs in Turkish, “Gül Pembe”. The students also read a poem by late Orhan Veli Kanık entitled “İstanbul’u Dinliyorum (Listening to Istanbul)”

The First Lady, afterwards, proceeded to the Amber Art Gallery where she was informed about how amber becomes an art form. She also signed the Book of Honor at the gallery.

Having completed his official program in Lithuania, President Gül left for Turkey.