Army personnel provided a large Guard of Honour and gun salutes yesterday to welcome the President of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, at the start of his three-day state visit to Britain.
As the President and Mrs Gül arrived at Horse Guards Parade to be welcomed by Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, a 41-gun salute was fired from Green Park by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and at Her Majesty’s Tower of London by the Honourable Artillery Company.
A large Guard of Honour comprising 101 rank and file and three officers was provided by the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, with musical support from the Band of the Coldstream Guards and the Corps of Drums, directed by Major Darren Wolfendale.
The President then moved on to Buckingham Palace, with street-liners between Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade provided by soldiers from the Grenadier Guards and the Coldstream Guards.
On arrival at Buckingham Palace, a Guard of Honour from F Company of the Scots Guards greeted the President in the quadrangle, with musical support from the Band of the Scots Guards.
The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment provided staircase-lining parties in Buckingham Palace for his arrival, and again in the evening for the state banquet.
During the state banquet, a Foot Guards String Orchestra, under the command of the Director of Music of the Welsh Guards, and 12 pipers from the 1st Battalion Scots Guards provided musical entertainment.
The Brigade Major at Horse Guards, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Speed, said:
It was another marvellous ceremonial event carried out to a very high standard, demonstrating the professionalism and style that the British Army is renowned for.
As the President’s state visit continues, a dismounted detachment of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment lined the staircase at the House of Lords today, Wednesday 23 November, and this evening the Honourable Artillery Company will provide the Guard of Honour, accompanied by the Band and Corps of Drums of the regiment, at the Guildhall, where the Corporation of London is holding a banquet.
Meanwhile Defence Secretary Philip Hammond welcomed the Deputy Chief of the Turkish General Staff, General Hulusi Akar, to the Ministry of Defence today for the signing of a military co-operation treaty. The treaty will enable greater co-operation between the Armed Forces of Turkey and the UK.
Mr Hammond said:
I was delighted to meet with General Hulusi Akar today, and to sign the military co-operation treaty. Turkey is an important ally of the United Kingdom, and as NATO partners we are bound by a pledge of collective defence. This bilateral treaty will take our defence co-operation to a new level.
We greatly value the support Turkey provides to the mission in Afghanistan, as well as her contribution to the recent NATO operation in Libya. Turkey’s role in promoting stability, particularly in the Middle East, is invaluable. I look forward to the enhanced co-operation with Turkey that this treaty will bring.