Abdullah Gül

Former President of Turkey

Abdullah Gül served as the 11th Prime Minister of Turkey, in office from 2007 until 2014 he is a Turkish politician who used his voice to better the country. Additionally, Abdullah acted as both Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister until 2007. At present, he is a member of the Advisory Panel for the President of the Islamic Development Bank.

His political experience is credited to his Economics degree, that he earned from Istanbul University in 1983, for nearly a decade after graduating, he started his career at the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Whilst studying and playing an active role in the nationalist Turkish National Students’ Union, Abdullah spent two years conducting postgraduate studies in Exeter, England. Influenced by his father’s political inclination, Abdullah followed in his footsteps to make his own mark on the political landscape. Though his father owned a modest metalworking shop, he also played a role in the impactful Islamist part, National Salvation Party.

After graduating, Abdullah took to the world of Turkish politics, quickly becoming the international spokesman for the Welfare Party, formally known as the NSP which had been dissolved due to its affiliation with religion. At the start of his political career, Abdullah made bold statements about the political system in Turkey, which had been formulated by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the Turkish National Movement.

In 1999, on behalf of Erdoğan, Abdullah ran against serving leader Recai Kutan for the Virtue Party leadership. As the candidate for the modernist camp, he came second came close to earning the most votes, with 521 votes to Recai’s 633 votes. Proving himself to be a prolific political figure, Abdullah founded the Justice and Development Party (AKP) with Erdoğan in 2001, a party that presented itself as a “moderate conservative party in the European tradition”. During the 2002 parliamentary elections, Abdullah’s party, the AKP, won an absolute majority.

As Prime Minister and subsequent Foreign Minister, Abdullah executed a sharp focus on democratic reform. He pursued a pro-active foreign policy, demonstrating a balance between Turkey’s traditional Western-anchored foreign policy priorities and its new interests in the Middle East and the Muslim world.

As a testament to his political influence, Abdullah earned an honorary PhD degree from Amity University in 2009, and an LL.D from the University of Dhaka in 2010. Furthermore, in August of 2014, Abdullah received the Medal of Honor of the Republic of Turkey.

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