Keeping its long tradition of welcoming guest with open arms, Jamia Millia Islamia gave a red-carpet welcome to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is on a two-day visit to India.
Jamia conferred on him a Doctor of Letters degree in a Special Convocation today. Since morning security was beefed up in the locality and only people with cards were allowed entry to the historic Dr Ansari Auditorium where the President was honoured and also he addressed the audience.
Save an online petition launched by a Jamia alumnus against him, the whole proceedings went on smoothly on the campus. Though his arrival in the locality brought traffic to a standstill, the President did win hearts and minds of many.
After his arrival on the campus, it has been reported that the President shook hands with some NSS students who were on the spot, a gesture that was well appreciated by many.
During his address, the President backed India’s permanent candidacy to UNSC. He said: “India, with a population of 1.3 billion is not a part of the UNSC. Over 1.7 billion people live in the Islamic world but they too are not a part of the UNSC. This is not a healthy sign.”
Sources said the President was accompanied with his wife and other dignitaries, on the campus.
The degree was conferred by JMI Chancellor, Lt. Gen (Retd.) MA Zaki. Vice Chancellor, Prof Talat Ahmad read out the citation and said that when talking about Indo-Turkish relations, Jamia’s role was hard to ignore given that some of the legendary founders of the university, like Dr MA Ansari, were the very people who led the Indian Medical Mission to Turkey to treat Ottoman soldiers wounded in the 1912-13 Balkan Wars.
Registrar AP Siddiqui, who conducted the proceedings of the Special Convocation, expressed his gratitude to President of Turkey for “graciously accepting the degree” and hoped that his gesture of accepting the degree would go a long way in further strengthening the ties between India and Turkey.
The Special Convocation was attended among others by a 90-member strong Turkish delegation accompanying the President, Turkish Ambassador to India, Shakir Ozkan Torunlar, Saudi Ambassador Saud Mohammad Al-Sati, officials of the Ministry of External Affairs, Heads of various Diplomatic Missions in Delhi, Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Shahid Ashraf, OSD to VC Prof Sharfuddin Ahmad, Deans, Heads, Directors, faculty members and students of Jamia.