Gül couple prepares to vacate Foreign Ministry residence
President Abdullah Gül and his wife, Hayrünnisa Gül, are reportedly preparing to leave the Foreign Ministry residence, where they have been living for 11 years, and move to İstanbul after Gül's term ends on Aug. 28.

Gül will be residing at a villa on the Anatolian side of İstanbul, according to a Hürriyet daily report published on Wednesday.

The presidential couple had refused to leave the Foreign Ministry residence earlier due to renovations at the Çankaya presidential palace. Before being elected president seven years ago, Gül served as foreign minister from 2003 to 2007.

The president's occupation of the Foreign Ministry residence has drawn criticisms because it forces Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to live in a rented house, which is considered an unnecessary expense by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).

In his response to a parliamentary question submitted in 2011 by former CHP deputy Mehmet Sevigen, Davutoğlu revealed that the monthly rent for his house is TL 39,000 ($18,500). Davutoğlu still resides in the seven-storey house.

Davutoğlu's residence was rented in 2009 and is located in Gaziosmanpaşa, one of Ankara's most popular neighborhoods where most of the Western diplomats in the city live.

President Gül's name has been circulating as a potential joint candidate for the presidential election. However, it is not yet clear whether he will run in the upcoming election, which is scheduled to take place on Aug. 10. This will be the first time a president is elected by popular vote in Turkey. Gül was elected for a one-time, seven-year term, but the new president will serve for a five-year term with the right to stand for a second term.

On Wednesday, Gül and his wife left for Boston to attend the graduation ceremony of their youngest son, Mehmet Emre Gül, who has studied economics at Harvard University.

Gül took a scheduled Turkish Airlines (THY) flight to the US, instead of the presidential plane, and was reportedly due to pay all the travel expenses, as the visit is not an official one. However, the expense of the guards accompanying him on the visit will be covered by the state as they are deemed to be on official duty, according to the Radikal daily.

Gül is expected to hold a conference at Harvard University on developments in Turkey and its region. He will also meet with executives of some US companies as well as Turkish academics in Boston. The president and his wife will return to Turkey on May 31.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2014-05-28 17:00:02
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