“This is the first time a Turkish president has visited this part of America,” Gül said of his visit to the modern tech industry's California birthplace on Wednesday. “This is the place where the technology which changed our lives was born.”
Gül's tech tour kicked off with a Wednesday visit to Apple headquarters, where the president, his wife, Hayrünnisa, and son Ahmet met the tech leader's CEO Tim Cook and chatted with Apple's numerous Turkish employees.
The ubiquitous presence of Turkish software engineers and developers at Silicon Valley's biggest tech firms earned high praise from Gül, who said in a Wednesday speech at Stanford University: “For years they told you to return to Turkey. I'm not telling you to return to Turkey. Stay here and contribute to your country's economy.”
President Gül, Google cofounder test speed limit in driverless car
On Thursday Gül continued his visit with a tour of Google headquarters, where he met with company co-founder Sergey Brin. Brin and Gül discussed a new Google project that provides free Wi-Fi for employees on company buses, allowing employees to work during their commute. They also discussed and tested Google's current project, a driverless car.
“Sergey introduced us to Google's driverless car,” Gül commented on his Twitter account on Thursday. “Sergey, Hayrünnisa and myself sat in the back of the car. We got on the highway, and reached a speed close to 80 miles an hour. It was wonderful. When we suddenly turned onto the highway, it sent our security into quite a loop.”
The search giant received a patent for its driverless car last year.
Gül also paid a visit to social networking pioneer Facebook, where he met Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. “They took us over the whole campus,” said Gül via Twitter. “It's a wonderful campus where 3,000 people work.”
He later visited the headquarters of the Microsoft Corporation. Gül, who shared through Twitter a picture of himself with a group of Microsoft's Turkish software engineers, commented, “It makes me proud to see our youngsters graduate from the best universities in the world and working at these large technology firms.”
During a speech at Stanford University on Wednesday, Gül underlined the importance that a multinational workforce has played in the rapid growth of Silicon Valley and the role Turkey's own increasingly well-educated workforce has played in contributing to the industry and Turkey's own rapid economic transformation.
The president is expected to round off his Silicon Valley tour with a visit to Twitter headquarters on Friday. The president's Twitter page announced on Thursday that he will return to Turkey on Friday evening.