Posted on 14 February 2011
750 foreign journalists to cover Queen Elizabeth’s Turkey visit
Queen Elizabeth II will arrive in Turkey today for a four-day official visit, accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
The 82-year-old monarch and her 86-year-old husband accepted an invitation from President Abdullah Gül. The queen will be visiting Turkey for only the second time, with her first visit taking place in 1971.
According to information provided by the British Consulate General in Istanbul, the queen’s program will include Ankara, Bursa and Istanbul. The queen and Prince Philip will be accompanied by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
Turkish and British diplomatic officials have interpreted the visit as a sign of “deepening bilateral relations” between Turkey and the UK. A Turkish diplomat who requested anonymity told Today’s Zaman that the queen’s visit was the natural result of the close relations between Turkey and the UK as he recalled that the annual trade volume between the two was $14 billion and that Turkey had attracted 2 million British tourists in 2007. “The queen’s visit shows that the good relations between the countries will continue in the same way,” the diplomat said.
Queen Elizabeth will be welcomed with an official ceremony at the Çankaya presidential palace today by President Gül and his wife, Hayrunnisa. A dinner will be given at Çankaya this evening in honour of the queen. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife, Emine, are also expected to attend the dinner.
On the second day of her visit, the queen will travel to the western province of Bursa, where she will be accompanied by Mrs. Gül. She will visit historic sites in the city. On Thursday Queen Elizabeth will travel to Istanbul, where she will give a reception on a British ship in honour of President Gül. On Friday, she will host a reception at the British Embassy in the capital.
Queen Elizabeth’s foreign visits are closely followed by journalists. A total of 750 journalists have registered so far to cover the queen’s visit in Turkey. In consideration of this, the queen’s visit is expected to contribute to Turkey’s promotion abroad. London is among the EU capitals that lend strong support to Turkey’s membership in the EU. Hence, the queen’s visit is also seen as emphasizing British support for Turkey’s EU goal.
TODAY’S ZAMAN – ISTANBUL 13 May 2008