Grand welcome in Ankara
Hakim Hayat & Dean Kassim in Ankara, Turkey

His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, accompanied by a high-level delegation of ministers and senior government officials from Brunei Darussalam, arrived in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey early yesterday morning for an official welcoming ceremony on the fourth day of the monarch's five-day State Visit to the republic.

His Majesty's Boeing 747 aircraft departed from the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul at about 8.20am and arrived an hour later at the Esenboga Airport in Ankara.

Bidding farewell to His Majesty at the Ataturk Airport were Husseyin Avni Mutlu, Governor of Istanbul; the Army Commander of the Istanbul Army Division; and Dr Kadir Topbas, the Mayor of Istanbul.

Prior to departure, a doa selamat was read by Pehin Datu Seri Maharaja Dato Paduka Seri Setia (Dr) Ustaz Hj Awg Abdul Aziz bin Juned, the State Mufti.

Upon arrival at the Esenboga Airport, His Majesty was greeted by Egemen Bagis, Minister of EU Affairs, who is also the Minister-in-Attendance during His Majesty's State Visit; Kemal Onal, the Governor of Ankara; Commander of the Ankara Army Unit; and Melih Gok Cek, the Mayor of Ankara.

His Majesty's motorcade of more than 30 vehicles then proceeded to Anitkabir or the Kamal Ataturk Mausoleum for a wreath-laying ceremony. The Anitkabir is the Mausoleum of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk. There, His Majesty was welcomed by the Commander of the Mausoleum, Governor Office Representatives, and the Mayor of Ankara, as well as senior army officers of the Ankara Division.

Commander of the Static Guard of Honour, trailed by two army personnel bearing a wreath of flowers, led the monarch and the Commander of the Mausoleum towards the Anitkabir, whereby the 262-metre walk from the stairs to the mausoleum took about five minutes.

His Majesty then consented to lay the wreath of flowers on the Anitkabir with a moment of silence to follow. The monarch then consented for a group photo before proceeding to sign the 'Book of Honour' at the Signing Room of the Mausoleum.

After the ceremony in Anitkabir, His Majesty proceeded to the Presidential Palace for an official welcoming ceremony hosted by President Abdullah Gul, President of the Republic of Turkey, where His Majesty was personally greeted and invited to the dais by the president.

During the welcoming ceremony, the Brunei National Anthem reverberated across the Presidential Palace followed by the Turkish National Anthem as both Heads of State stood still on the dais, giving their honours and salutes. A 21-gun salute followed.

The two leaders then inspected the guard of honour mounted by the Turkish Armed Forces. As a tradition for a visiting head of state to Turkey, His Majesty in his titah to the Turkish Armed Forces guard of honour said, "Merhaba Askar" or "Hello Soldiers", which was returned vociferously with "Sagol" or "Good Health".

After inspecting the guard of honour, His Majesty was then introduced to the ministers and dignitaries from the Republic of Turkey, while the Turkish President was introduced to the delegation from Brunei Darussalam. - Borneo Bulletin (11 April 2012)