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State Visit to Turkey

Their Majesties The King and Queen started their three-day State Visit to Turkey on Tuesday. Cooperation between Turkey and Norway is expanding, and this is the first time that a State Visit between the two countries has been conducted.


The visit began with a wreath-laying ceremony at the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who became the first president of Turkey in 1923 and spearheaded the establishment of a modern, secular state following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

Official welcoming ceremony 

The King and Queen were formally welcomed to Turkey by their hosts, President Abdullah Gül and Mrs Hayrünnisa Gül, at the Cankaya Presidential Palace in Ankara. After the national anthems of both countries were played, King Harald and President Gül inspected the Honour Guard before the delegations were presented. 

Meetings between the delegations

Following talks between the King and Queen and President and Mrs Gül, King Harald introduced representatives of the Norwegian delegation during a meeting with President Gül and his delegation.

Several meetings between Norwegian and Turkish representatives of trade and industry and the public administration will be held in the course of the visit. Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende, Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland and Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Elisabeth Aspaker are part of the large delegation of representatives of the Norwegian public and private sectors that is accompanying the King and Queen on their State Visit.

The King concluded his morning at a luncheon hosted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Queen joined Mrs Gül for lunch following a guided tour of the artwork on display in the Presidential Palace.

Saray and Sevgi Evleri

In the afternoon, Queen Sonja and Mrs Gül paid a visit to the Saray Care and Rehabilitation Centre and the Sevgi Evleri Nursery School outside of Ankara.

The Queen and the First Lady met individuals with disabilities who produce art and handicrafts, and had the opportunity to speak with some of the children living at Sevgi Evleri Nursery School.

Munch and Warhol in Ankara

One purpose of the State Visit is to promote Norwegian culture, and in the afternoon Queen Sonja opened the exhibition entitled Munch | Warhol and the Multiple Image at the Cer Modern arts centre in Ankara. The exhibition marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edvard Munch, and a similar exhibition was on display in New York City earlier this year. 

In 1984, Andy Warhol produced a series of silk-screen prints of four of Munch’s motifs, including “The Scream” and “Madonna”. He recreated these iconic works in his own way – without losing Munch’s intensity. Viewing Warhol’s interpretations side by side with Munch’s own paintings provides a unique opportunity to explore the differences – as well as the similarities – between the two artists.

“There are, of course, obvious differences between these two highly innovative artists. Nevertheless, the similarities are remarkable. They both repeated their works, they were equally pioneers in promoting themselves – and both used photography as studies. (…) This exhibition shows us the strong connections between the works of the very early modernist Munch and Warhol’s pop art,” said the Queen in her opening remarks.

Banquet at the Presidential Palace

In the evening, the King and Queen attended an official banquet hosted by the president and his wife at the Presidential Palace.


On Wednesday, King Harald will open a seminar on renewable energy before the King and Queen travel to Istanbul where the remainder of the activities for the State Visit will take place.


The King and Queen on the first day of their State Visit to Turkey (Photo: NRK scanpix)

Facts about Turkey

Capital: Ankara
Largest cities: Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir

Total area: 770 760 km² (Norway: 385 186 km²)
Population in 2010: approximately 76.8 million
Official language: Turkish

Form of government: Republic
Head of State in 2013: President Abdullah Gül

Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Norway were established in 1925, and the bilateral ties are excellent.

Norwegian exports to Turkey are increasing, with particularly strong growth in seafood sales. Statkraft has established itself for investing in hydropower development, and the number of Norwegian vessels being built in Turkey is steadily rising.

Over 400 000 Norwegians visited Turkey in 2012, and an increasing number are settling there. As of 2012 over 5 000 held settlement permits. Roughly 16 500 Turkish citizens and Norwegians of Turkish descent live in Norway.

Source: Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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