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Peace at home, peace in the world

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Article by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu published in De Volkskrant Newspaper (Netherlands) on 08.10.2009

                 
                       EUROPE NEEDS TO MAKE GOOD ON HER PROMISES TOWARDS TURKEY


Turkey expects that the EU will respect her obligations towards Turkey. Both parties have a vested interest in the accession of Turkey.

The Netherlands is one of Turkey’s important, political, economic and cultural partners. This is encouraged by visits from highranking visitors like the one by Queen Beatrix to Turkey in 2007.

On Wednesday, the third meeting was held of the Turkish-Dutch Conference, which was founded in 2008 in order to intensify the bilateral relations and to strengthen the cooperation in bilateral and multi-lateral fields by regular gatherings. The Netherlands is one of the biggest investors in Turkey and our mutual trade is developing in a strong fashion. Last year it came to over 6 billion Dollar. The Turks in the Netherlands are a driving force behind our relation.

The friendship between Turkey and the Netherlands started when the tulip –a Turkish symbol of beauty and elegance- was brought over to the Netherlands in the 16th century. Diplomatic relations were entered upon in 1612; in two year time we will be celebrating our 400th anniversary of these relations.

The relations gradually intensified after the Republic of Turkey was declared in 1923. The new republic was oriented towards the West and was determined to introduce a modern view of things in the entire Turkish society. This Western orientation still remains the backbone of the Turkish foreign policy. From it springs the fact that since the end of the Second World War Turkey has been striving after integration with the Euro-Atlantic institutions. Due the path followed by Turkey, we were co-founders of the United Nations and the Council of Europe and a member to the OECD and NATO.

Turkey –in particular since the Association Treaty of 1963= has embraced the goal of becoming a member of the European Economic Community, which developed into the European Union. That is a strategic goal for us.

The EU is an excellent result of a dynamic process in the European history. The Union has created an ear of freedom, stability, peace and prosperity by way of the dialogue and by compromise. The historical dynamic of the EU is moving onward as a result of which the road is cleared to further European integration and success.

Turkey is likewise moving forward on the historical road chosen by way of an exceptional future-oriented transformation process. On 3 October 2005 my country started to conduct accession negotiations with the EU. The Turkish road towards the EU-membership is long and complex. Nevertheless, we are determined to book further progress, despite all the problems. This process is of crucial importance to both Turkey and Europe and will have considerable consequences for the rest of the world.

My country has introduced important reforms which would have been unthinkable only a couple of years ago. It is referred to as a ‘silent revolution’. The human rights situation has further improved These reforms have not only been implemented from within our vision of the EU, but also on account of a better future for Turkey. We will continue to further stimulate the ongoing reform process in order to meet the highest standards possible. At the same time we expect that our European friends will respect the principles and obligations of the EU towards Turkey and will develop a vision of the future.

Turkey has been an invaluable member of NATO during the tense years of the Cold War. This is still the case right up to today, now that the organization has acquired a broader task. The close cooperation between the EU and NATO has become a key-factor, now that the necessity of a more robust transatlantic alliance is growing.

We are living in an era where the effects of globalization and the fruits of the information are changing the world in an unprecedented manner. More freedom and a strong bond with democracy, the human rights and the constitutional state are now the hallmarks of a civilized and modern society.

In addition to this we are striving after peace and stability in the whole world. All the more so since Turkey happens to be located in a rather explosive region. Hence the reason why we are conducting a pro-active and result-oriented foreign policy. By our active involvement with the problems in the region, from Afghanistan to the Balkan, the Caucasus and the Middle East, Turkey has become an indispensable player in peace operations. With the appointing of Turkey as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council the international community has expressed her trust in our country.

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