President Abdullah Gül along with First Hayrünnisa Gül paid a domestic visit to the eastern city of Erzincan.

The First Couple were welcomed by Governor Abdurrahman Akdemir, the 3rd Army Commander, Full Gen. Ümit Dündar; Mayor Yüksel Çakır and other officials at Erzincan Airport.

President Gül was escorted by a mounted cirit (spear) team to the governorate.

Erzincan Airport
Taşçı Konağı

Friday Prayer
First Lady’s Visit to
Nursing Home for the

3rd Army Command

Visit to Cemevi


The President, upon his arrival at the governorate, enjoyed a great enthusiasm from the citizens who were waiting for him in front of the building. Addressing these people, President Gül evinced his pleasure to be visiting Erzincan , which he said is a symbol of tolerance and love, offering his thanks to the people of Erzincan for their great interest. Promising that they will leave an even brighter country to the next generations, President Gül said “we have to work hand in hand by preserving our union and solidarity to do this.”


The President lauded Erzincan for its great development since he last visited the city years ago and noted that Turkey is enjoying a great stability, progressing on its path. “On the centenary of the Republic of Turkey, our country will be even stronger, more prosperous and more developed in every way.”

Governor Akdemir said they planted 2.500 saplings to mark President Gül’s visit to Erzincan and informed the President that they would plant 96.000 more saplings, referring to the population of 96.000 people living in Erzincan.

President Gül afterwards performed the Friday Prayer at Terzi Baba Mosque.


The Presidential Couple later had lunch at Taşçı Konağı, where they also explored the copperworks and worked on some copper plates themselves. The craftsmen at the bazaar presented President Gül a copper plate on which his name is written.

The President, after visiting the 3rd Army Command, proceeded to the City Hall, where he was informed by Mayor Yüksel Çalık about the the activities of the municipality. President Gül said Erzincan has greatly changed for the better and has developed considerably since he visited the city years ago.


Erzincan is a good example for other cities in terms of reconstruction and town planning, noted the President, referring to the devastating earthquake hitting the city in 1992. The greatest feature of Erzincan, he said, is that its people have tolerance and respect for each other and stated that Erzincan is a symbol of Turkey in this regard.


The President afterwards visited Erzincan University. Informed by Rector Prof. Dr. İlyas Çapoğlu about the activities of the university, President Gül pointed to the importance for students to enhance their knowledge and horizons. Universities should also provide students with high quality education to help them achieve more, he added.


President Gül, as part of his program in the eastern city of Erzincan, visited the Erzincan Branch of the Hacı Bektaş Veli Anatolian Culture Center.

Afterwards, the President commented on his visit as follows: “We are in the Islamic month of Muharram. I am glad to have visited the cemevi. This land belongs to us all. As long as we pay tribute to and love each other and we enjoy union and solidarity, everything will be even better. I listened to the suggestions of the people there. Turkey has changed for the better. We share our concerns and suggestions with each other. Our citizens from the four corners of the country can have demands and concerns of course. We take these demands into consideration as this is the responsibility on the shoulders of we the statesmen. Our Alevi citizens, during my visit to the cemevi, expressed their best wishes for us. I find it very meaningful that all of our fellow citizens in Erzincan have a great tolerance, respect and love for each other.


President Gül and the First Lady met with leading citizens, NGO respresentatives, war veterans and families of martyrs with whom they chatted for a while after their arrival. The President, sharing his happiness to observe the great changes and development Erzincan has achieved in recent years, underlined the historic successes the 3rd Army Command in the city which he said raised great commanders in the past, mentioning Gazi Osman Pasha, Atatürk, Enver Pasha, Marshall Fevzi Çakmak and Kazım Karabekir.

Erzincan, he continued, has raised great scholars, poets, politicians and statesmen, adding: “These names are all also Turkey’s richness. We are in the Islamic month of Muharram during which our Alevi and Sunni citizens fast. This month also reminds us of a deep sorrow [it marks the murder of Hussain, one of the grandsons of the Prophet Muhammed in Karbala in 680 AD.] We should learn from this sorrow to become good people in every way and to serve as good examples for others with our behaviors. What is important is that we should live in peace, union and solidarity, work shoulder to shoulder for our land. Erzincan is one of our symbol cities in this regard. With resoluteness, self confidence and through dialogue, Turkey is overcoming its own problems which were ignored and neglected for years.”

President Gül afterwards presented plaques to 10 philanthropists.


Accompanying President Gül on his visit to Erzincan, First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül, as the first leg of her program, paid a visit to the Nursing and Rehabilitation Center for the Elderly. Tasting the ashura (Noah’s pudding) made by the staff of the center, Mrs. Gül explored the exhibition of handiworks. She chatted with the residents of the center including a 106-year-old woman named Melek Dinçer.

The First Lady also visited both Kardelen Umut Evi children’s home where 6 children with mental retardation stay under the state’s protection and the Kardeşler Çocuk Evi children’s home where 5 female students, ages 13 to 16 stay.

Mrs. Gül, after the dinner with leading citizens of Erzincan, had a memoir photo taken with the students, Busenur Korkmaz, Kübra Arduç and Münevver Karaca, who represented Erzincan in the 81 Stars from 81 Provinces Project which is under the First Lady’s patronage.