On the second day of President Abdullah Gül's trip to Sweden as a special guest of Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf, he had the opportunity to meet with his Swedish counterpart Fredrik Reinfeldt. While the two nations' foreign ministers signed a strategic partnership agreement, the Swedish side emphasized their staunch support for Turkey's EU membership. After attending a bilateral meeting at the Swedish government headquarters Rosenbad in Stockholm, President Gül and Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt went on to hold a joint press conference.
SUPPORT FOR TURKEY'S EU NEGOTIATIONS PROCESS
The two countries signed a strategic partnership agreement, which Reinfeldt says will pave the way to establishing deeper cooperation between Turkey and Sweden. Reaffirming Sweden's support for Turkey's EU membership bid, Reinfeldt stated, "Sweden is in complete support of Turkey's EU membership. We believe that the strategic and economic value of Turkey's membership is greater now than ever."
Criticizing Europe's stance on terrorism, President Gül stated, "Europe has very high standards of democracy, human rights and freedom of expression. Unfortunately, terrorists from time to time exploit these standards." Touching on Turkey's EU negotiation process, Abdullah Gül stated, "From our perspective, relations with the EU are strategic. Therefore, we absolutely want to complete the negotiation process."
The "Turkey-Sweden Strategic Partnership Document" signed by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt prior to the news conference, underlines the significance of cooperation between Sweden and Turkey as two active players in the global arena. The document, which deals with determining shared areas of interest and further developing cooperation between the two nations, also foresees deepening their lasting and long-established ties.
LUNCH UNDER GOLDEN MOSAICS
President Gül and his wife First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül attended a lunch held in their honor by the Stockholm City Council. The lunch was held in the 'Golden Hall' (Gyllene Salen) which is adorned with mosaics containing motifs from Swedish history. It was learned that nearly ten kilograms of gold were used in the wall adornments.
The Gül couple was joined by Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf and his spouse Queen Silvia on a tour of The National Museum of Science and Technology, which was founded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. Later, President Gül and First Lady Hayrunnisa Gül attended an inauguration of the Stockholm University's Institute for Turkish Studies.
CONCIERTO BY THE PEKINEL SISTERS
Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia hosted a dinner in honor of President Gül and First Lady Hayrunnisa Gül at the Royal Palace in Stockholm Tuesday evening. Prior to the reception, internationally-acclaimed Turkish pianists, the Güher and Süher Pekinel sisters, played a recital. A number of ministers, parliamentarians and businessmen attended the reception held by Swedish King for President Gül.