UK's Chatman House honors Gul for international statesmanship
President Abdullah Gul praised Turkey's achievements over the past decade after receiving the prestigious Chatham House Award late on Tuesday, saying that the award honors the "resilience" of the Turkish nation. Queen Elizabeth presented the award to Gul in a ceremony, praising the president's "notable leadership" for improving international relations. "I accept this award with profound honor and humbleness on behalf of my beloved country and the people of Turkey," Gul said. "Although I take personal pride in receiving it, the award presented to me tonight truly acknowledges the progress achieved by the Turkish nation in recent years despite many internal and external difficulties." Saying that the prize honors the resilience and perseverance of a people who have never lost their aspiration for progress and hope in a better future, Gul said everyone can see the "silent revolution" in democratic, social and economic standards taking place in Turkey's quest for European Union membership. According to Gul, the prize signifies the multidimensional role played by Turkey in its neighborhood and beyond, where the country nurtures peace, stability and welfare. Praising Turkey's inspiring role in the Islamic world as a vibrant democracy and flourishing free-market economy, Gul said the prize symbolizes the success of a hard-working people whose "sweat was key to making Turkey the fastest growing economy among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development members this year." The award also certifies, once again, he said, the eternal friendship between Turkey and the United Kingdom, whose alliance and cooperation have shaped history, with even more promising prospects on the horizon. The queen said she was delighted to welcome Gul and his wife to London to receive the prestigious award. "Mr. President, I remember with gratitude your very kind hospitality during my state visit to Turkey in 2008," the queen said, adding that Gul had provided "notable leadership" and "international statesmanship" over many years. The queen also praised Gul's efforts to secure Turkey's place in the EU and improve the level of democracy and human rights in his country.