Abdullah Gül

Cumhurbaşkanı, Devlet Adamı, Akademisyen, Siyasetçi

29 Ekim, 1950
Economics Faculty of Istanbul University
Diğer İsimler
Abdullah Cumhur Gül

Statesman and politician, 11th president of the Republic of Turkey, academician. He was born in October 29, 1950, Kayseri. His full name is Abdullah Cumhur Gül. Due to having been born on the Republic Day, he was named also as Cumhur. The roots of his family go back to the 1200s. The family takes their surname from one of the first imams of Gülük Mosque that was built by Seljuks in Kayseri. His grandfather Hayrullah Efendi, who was a veteran of Turkish War of Independence, was engaged in trade.

His father, Ahmet Hamdi Gül worked as a foreman at the Tayyare Fabrikası (Aircraft Factory), which was the first industrial facility in Kayseri. He was a well-known and respected figure for his contributions to social life of the town. His mother, Adviye Hanım, whose father was a poet and a teacher, is a member of the Satoğlu family, an old and established family in Kayseri. There are many academicians, poets, writers and bureaucrats among the family members. After his retirement in 1972, Mr. Ahmet Hamdi established his own business and ran industrial business. He has another son and daughter.

After having graduated from Kayseri Gazi Paşa Primary School, Nazmi Toker Secondary School and Kayseri High School –from which many famous figures graduated; he registered to the Economics Faculty of Istanbul University. Those years were the most dynamic ones for student movements. He became the active part of the movement during his university years. He attended the demonstrations and contributed to the magazines and newspapers of National Turkish Students' Union (MTTB). The observations, experiences and friendships he gained during those years influenced him for all his life.

After graduating from economics department of Istanbul University, to which he entered in 1974; he took his doctoral degree from the same university in 1983. During his graduate education, he studied for two years in London and Exeter in the United Kingdom. While pursuing an academic career, he collaborated in the establishment of the Department for Industrial Engineering of Sakarya University and taught management for five years to the engineering students. In 1983, he went to Jeddah to work in the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Saudi Arabia. Between 1983 and 1991, he worked as an economist and lived with his family there for eight years. Thanks to the experiences he gained due to his position and during his travels, he had the chance to observe the economical, political and social situation and structuring of the different countries closely. In 1989, he took PhD. degree in international economics.

Abdullah Gül didn’t enter politics as the result of a planned step. While in Kayseri for his annual vacation in the summer of 1991, the townspeople suggested him to enter parliament to serve his country. He was elected to the Parliament from the Refah Party in the first election in which he participated. From that day until he was elected as the President of the Republic of Turkey, he served as a Kayseri Parliamentarian in the TBMM (T.N. Grand National Assembly) for five terms. As a Parliamentarian, he had the chance to gain a greater understanding the all the people.  

Starting from 1991, he was one of the parliamentarians representing Turkey at the European Council. Besides being a parliamentarian, he served as a member of the Plan and Budget Committee during his first term from 1991 to 1995 and as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe from 1991 to 2002. He worked in the culture, codes, politics and economical affairs of the committee. He served as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of TBMM from 1995 to 2001. Gül was the Spokesman and the Minister of State in the 54th government formed in 1996. Before the closing of the Refah Party on 16 January 1998 by the supreme court; again, he entered to the Parliament as the Kayseri Deputy of the Fazilet Party in the General Elections of 18th April 1999. During the years of the Refah Party-Doğruyol Party, while he was the state minister; he was imposed a heavy fine by the 18th Civil Court of First Instance due to a sue of the Refah Party. 

Gül leaded to the ‘Reformist Movement’ in the Fazilet Party during the Congress of Fazilet Party and became a candidate for the Chairmanship of the Party in 2000. After the closing of the Fazilet Party on 22nd June 2001 by the Supreme Court, he served as an independent parliamentarian, after a while he became one of the active members of the Founders' Committee of the Ak Party, founded on 14th August 2001. A summary of proceedings was prepared on him for the “the missing trillions” case. But, he couldn’t be judged because of parliamentarian immunity. A verdict of non-prosecution was given at the end of an investigation in 2010. He served as the vice president of AKP and he was responsible from the political and legal affairs. Between 2001 and 02, he became the member of Parliamentarians Council of NATO. In 2002, Gül was awarded for his 10 years of valuable work in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe with the “Pro Merito” medal and the title of “Permanent Honorary Member”.

He was commissioned actively and gained friendships in European Council Parliamentarians Assembly, which is considered as the center of democracy. Thanks to his ten years of experience there, his commitment to standards of democracy and human rights were stiffened and he believed that these reforms are non-negligible for Turkey. This affected positively the beginning of a reform process in Turkey to fulfill the EU’s political criteria.

During the coalition government of RP – DYP, founded on 28th June 1996, he worked as the Spokesman and the Minister of State. During this period, he exerted efforts to develop better relations with the Turkic world. During a period that Turkey was experiencing many political problems, he assumed a more active leadership role in the party with his colleagues. As the leading figure of the so-called ‘Reformist Movement’, he became the presidential candidate on the General Congress of Fazilet Party on 2000 opposing Necmettin Erbakan. Although he lost the election by a very narrow margin, the outcome was considered a great success in the political arena. The ‘Reformist Movement’ was a new and big excitement for the Turkish political life for it was considered as a movement that aimed at integrating with the world by protecting own values of the Turkish people; adopting the superiority of democracy, human rights and the law. This political movement was resulted with the establishment of Adalet ve Kalkınma Party (T.N. Justice and Development Party) (AKP) in 2001.

Following the general elections on 3rd November 2002, because Tayyip Erdoğan, the general president of AKP, was banned from politics, Abdullah Gül founded the 58th Government as the prime minister on 18th November 2002. During his short period of premiership, he faced difficult problems like Iraq and Cyprus. He implemented an ‘Economical Emergency Action Plan’. During the Iraq crisis, he initiated the ‘Iraq's Neighboring Countries Process’ that was an important step in the field. During the by-election in Siirt, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected to parliament on 9th March 2003. After this, Abdullah Gül resigned the prime ministry in 11th March 2003. Following this, he served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister during the 59th government that was under the Prime Ministry of Recep Tayip Erdoğan. At the same time, he chaired the Supreme Council for Countering Terrorism, the Reform Monitoring Group and headed the European Union Negotiations Delegation.

During the Foreign Affairs Ministry of Abdullah Gül, EU reform process was accelerated and on 3rd October 2005, the accession negotiations were officially launched.

While the relations with both the Western and the Muslim world were improved; the diplomatic ties with neighboring countries were strengthened and active roles were assumed in international organizations during the course of Gül’s term. He made a speech in May 2003, while in office as Minister of Foreign Affairs to call for greater reforms within the Islamic world at the Organization of the Islamic Conference Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers in Tehran, a statement that was well received in both the East and West.

During the AKP group meeting, Prime Minister Erdoğan announced that Gül was the Presidential candidate on 24th April 2007. However, because of the interruption of the presidential election process and the decision of TBMM to hold the elections earlier; Gül was elected for a fifth term as a member of parliament from Kayseri on July 22nd, 2007. The first item of the agenda of the new parliament was the Presidential election and Gül again became a candidate for the presidency. On 28th August 2007, he was elected as the 11th president by TBMM (T.N. the Grand National Assembly) of Turkey.

His name was given to a university in Kayseri. He holds honorary degrees from Bulgaria Burgaz Hür (2003), UK Exeter (2005), Azerbaijan Baku State (2007), Romania Dimitrie Cantemir Christian (2008) and Kazan State (2009), India Amity (2010), Bangladesh Dakka (2010), Pakistan Kaid-i Azam Universities (2010), Kyrgyzstan Yusuf Balasagun National (2009), China Northwestern (2009) and Sincan (China) Universities. He has been deemed worthy of “Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath” from UK and “Grande Colar” from Portuguese and as well as the national decorations from Italy, Qatar, Kuwait, Cameroon and Saudi Arabia. He was also awarded with the Chatham House Prize of 2010.

In 21 August 1980, he married Hayrünnisa Hanım and is the father of three children; Ahmet Münir (1983), Kübra (1985) and Mehmet Emre (1991).

Following the Presidency elections held on August 10, 2014; he handed over his duty to Recep Tayyip Erdogan on August 28, 2014.



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