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Peace at home, peace in the world

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Inaugural Speech by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, at the Ninth Ambassadors' Conference, 9 January 2017, Ankara

Unofficial Translation/Check Against Delivery

Distinguished Guests,

My Minister Friends/Honorable Ministers,

Esteemed Members of Parliament,

Distinguished Representatives of the Friendly Countries in Turkey,

Esteemed Representatives of Non-governmental Organizations and Think Tanks,

Dear Colleagues,

Distinguished Press Members,

I would like to greet you with affection and respect. I hope that the Ninth Ambassadors Conference will be beneficial for our country, foreign policy and the world.

At the beginning of my speech, I wish Allah’s mercy upon our colleagues, Mehmet Gücük, Engin Aşula, Lokman Açıkbaş and Eyyüp Cemal Aydın whom we lost during last year.

I commemorate with respect the late Ambassador of Russia in Ankara, our dear friend, Andrei Karlov who lost his life in a heinous terrorist attack.

Ambassador Karlov is the common pain and loss of Turkish and Russian peoples.

Dear Friends,

We have continuously reviewed our foreign policy and prospective goals in the Ambassadors Conferences since 2008.


Our President, Speaker of the Parliament, Prime Minister and distinguished members of the Council of Ministers address our Conference.

We will host high-level participants from other institutions and organizations as well as foreign guests.
 
Foreign Ministers of Georgia, Tunisia and Finland as well as the Director General of the International Organization for Migration will address our Ambassadors this year.

All the subjects addressed here, the issues discussed in this platform do not make repercussion only in Turkey.

Our decisions are closely followed also by the nations who turn with their minds and hearts to Turkey all around the world.

The hope given to the humanity by our struggle for equity and justice is one of the most significant success stories of Turkish foreign policy.

As emphasized by the President of Turkey H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: “Turkey is larger than Turkey.”

Turkish foreign policy has to reflect this reality properly.

Our foreign policy should have the ambition to help in settling the problems of humanity and the capability to materi-alize this ambition.

This is the predominant issue among the primary goals of Turkish foreign policy towards 2023.

Turkey puts forward constructive, result-oriented and permanent proposals in order to resolve each problem of humanity today.

In this respect, the agenda brought forward by each Ambassador is a source of pride for our country.

You live up to this ambition with great sensitivity and self-sacrifice in the countries where you serve.

I would like you to know especially the following and act on this consciousness from now on:

You, of course, will defend the interests of our country, the expectations of our nation, and proudly carry the Turkish flag everywhere in the world.

However, our immense civilization and the rich heritage we have inherited from our ancestors call us to go beyond these limits.

The successors of a civilization who ended an era and ushered in a new one in history cannot be content with conventionalities.

Unfortunately, there are circles who do not comprehend and criticize and even dare to undermine Turkey's ambitions and efforts. This is unfortunate for our country and our history.

We also observe with regret that these circles are playing up to the hands of foreignbased perception operations.

However, we have bad news for those struggling to hamper Turkey’s progress towards its global goals at home and abroad…

Whether you want it or not, Turkey will proceed on its way.
 
No power can throw us off this path, pause us or slow us down.

Avoiding any concessions from its global vision, national and homebred foreign policy will be the compass of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Those, who presume that national and homebred foreign policy means introversion of Turkey commit a grave error.

On the one hand, we need to focus on our national values and on the other hand, embrace all humanity.

We will speedily proceed on the path to become one of the leading powers of change in the world.

Look at the developments taking place just in our vicinity…

Look at the challenges with which we struggle at the same time…

All the terrorist groups have made an alliance and they simultaneously attack us.

Shall we give up? Never! We will continue to struggle with greater determination.

Turkey resists the crisis and follows its path with a positive agenda.

11 November 2016… Prime Minister H.E. Binali Yıldırım at-tended the ceremony of “Meeting with Light” for the 14,300 meter Ovit Tunnel in Rize.

President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan inaugurated the Minsk Mosque the same day.

This is what we mean while declaring “Turkey is larger than Turkey”.

Launching the GÖKTÜRK-1 satellite from French Guiana to the sky, we start the projects that will connect London with Beijing.

On the one hand, we construct the biggest airports, the most beautiful bridges and carry out the most magnificent projects of the world. We bring the most prestigious exhibitions of the world, such as EXPO 2016 Antalya, to Turkey.

On the other hand, we protect and restore the heritage of our ancestors thousands of miles away.

Doing this, we never forget our historical and humanitarian responsibilities. We extend our helpful hand to those who get into difficulty and trouble, no matter wherever they are in the world.

Therefore you represent not only Turkey but also those who look to Turkey with hope and always remember Turkey and Turkish nation in their prayers.

Everyone should realize that each Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey is not only the Ambassador of its own country but also the Ambassador of the cause of baby Aylan, washed up dead on a beach.

They are the Ambassadors of the innocent children, like Bana, who desperately wait for a hand of hope under the cluster bombs instead of playing marbles in their countries.

Each Ambassador is the Ambassador of its national cause as well as the struggle for equity and justice of the Palestinian cause, Arakan, Somalia, wherever it is.

We are proud of all our Ambassadors, acting with the consciousness that Turkey is larger than Turkey.

Distinguished Guests,

We left behind a difficult year.

We came up against serious challenges both at home and abroad.

The 15 July coup attempt was an act of betrayal targeting our national values, democratic and economic gains as well as our foreign policy.

We once again commemorate with mercy our citizens killed by the terrorist coup plotters. We will not forget those who lost their lives for democracy and national will. We will look after what is left from them with due care.

Fight against the FETO terrorist organization, the perpetrator of this coup attempt is, of course, the most important issue and is top priority in our foreign policy.

I will refer to the details of this fight in a little while.

Despite the 15 July betrayal and the saddening terrorist inci-dents, we have resolutely continued to implement our for-eign policy.

We displayed our will for cooperation in every platform. We have made constructive contributions to the solution of re-gional and international problems. We considered this as a re-sponsibility of conscience.
We have exerted efforts for the resolution of the crisis in Syria and the problems in Iraq.

We contributed to the processes carried out with the positive and humanitarian agenda. We generated new ideas. We assumed constructive roles.

We maintained our efforts for a fair resolution in Cyprus.

We have normalized our relations with Israel in line with our stipulations.

We turned a new page in our cooperation with Russia.

We actively contributed to the works of international organizations, particularly the United Nations.

We hosted many international events. 87 Presidents and Prime Ministers attended these Summits and meetings only. In addition, we hosted 226 Ministers in Turkey.

120 visits in total were paid at the level of Presidents and Prime Ministers to Turkey, including the bilateral visits.

We organized the first World Humanitarian Summit in Turkey in May. The meeting attended by nine thousand people was the biggest UN summit outside New York. We inaugurated the wall symbolizing the decisions taken in this Summit in New York.

Following this event, we held the meeting of the Least Developed Countries in Antalya.

We hosted the 13th Islamic Summit in Istanbul.

The World Energy Congress again in Istanbul was closely followed by the whole world.

We made them take important decisions in subjects related to the future of humankind at these meetings.

Our efforts were not limited with this. We extended a helping hand to our brothers in need from all corners of the world.

We were the country giving the most humanitarian aid, compared to the national income in the world in 2015.

We provided a 3.9 billion Dollar official developmental aid in total.

Dear Friends,

We determined the main theme of the Ambassadors Conference this year as “Towards 2023: National Values and Global Goals”.

The effort we exerted to carry out the 2023 goals is the national struggle of today.

Turkey is one of the significant elements of global power balance. 2023 goals will further reinforce our position.

Then, in which regional and global environment will we need to develop our foreign policy?

Our world is experiencing a transition period which has not been exactly named yet.

However you define it, the global structure of the last 300 years in a sense and the last 70 years in other sense is undergoing change.

The definition of “center” changes swiftly.

The “center” in political, economic, military and social terms expands from the West to the far points of Asia.

This should be considered as the rise of the other geography rather than fall of one cultural geography.
 
The largest seven economies of the world consisted of Europe, North America and Japan in the mid-1970s. But now, three of the seven largest economies are in Asia.

In 2023, it is expected that the economic product of Asia will surpass the total of Europe and North America.

According to one report, the center of economic weight of the world shifts to the east at the speed of 140 km per year. In addition, the transportation corridors in progress connects east with west more effectively.

On the other hand, the USA and the European Union coun-tries are trying to enhance the most developed cooperation mechanisms possible in all corners of the earth.

We know that those who allege a shift of axis for Turkey are actively pursuing efforts in Eurasia, Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin America.

Turkey does not stay behind this change. On the contrary, it is appreciated as a leading and active actor of the changing world order.

On the other hand, the legal and institutional structures established after the World War II cannot respond to the needs of today.

Is it possible to explain the human tragedy in Syria in any other way?

We are in a historical flow which cannot be directed by a few countries or a group going alone anymore.
Today, no country can claim that it has the global domina-tion due to its economic or military power.
In a sense, a new “balance of powers” is emerging on a global scale.

Notwithstanding, the gap between the countries having high technology and the countries not having high technology increasingly grows.

There is an imbalance of income and power eroding the countries and the international environment.

Instability and the environment of war prevents some countries from developing.

We primarily need peace and justice in the world in order to solve these problems.

On the one hand, there are universal values, political and economic participation. On the other hand, there is security and stability. A reasonable balance should be achieved between these two.

Acting with the principle of regional ownership, we need a more stable, safer and fairer system.

This is the fact summarized by President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in his words, “The world is bigger than five”.

Dear Colleagues,

Our fundamental baseline is our natonal values against the global and regional problems I mentioned.

These national values have not left our nation without a state for two thousand years, nor under the domination of any other.

We refer to the national values exclaimed by Mehmet Akif Ersoy in the National Anthem as follows: “I have been free since eternity and forever shall be so, which madman could wish to enslave me, I defy the very idea”.

We base on national values which target peace at home as well as peace in the world.

Thanks to these values, our nation destroyed the heinous plot prepared by the insidious terrorist network for 40 years.

Turkish people joining together to protect democracy demonstrated once again that: “Sovereignty belongs unconditionally to the people!”

I think that lesson taken from the 15 July went and will go far beyond the borders of Turkey and the age in which we live.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Turkish people, struggled against the heinous coup attempt.

We mobilized the sixth widest diplomatic network of the world.

Our Ambassadors joined together to defend our State and democracy.

They informed the public and authorities of the countries where they served.

Our representatives abroad held approximately 250 press conferences, published more than 500 articles or letters and gave approximately 2400 interviews.

They made more than 9 thousand official interventions before Prime Ministers, Ministers, Members of Parliament and other high level officials.

We have choked the breath of FETO spread over different geographies.

In consequence of our initiatives, the Islamic Cooperation Organization, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Asian Parliamentary Assembly have declared FETO a terrorist or-ganization.

We have had 102 FETO institutions, 19 of which were at the status of association or broadcasting organization, 83 of which were schools or educational centers, close off or transfer the management so far. Lastly, Morocco an-nounced to close 8 schools within a month.

We hold harmless the students who study in these schools. On the contrary, we provide a more qualified education to them through the Foundation of Education (Maarif Vakfı).

On the other hand, FETO members, who have abused these institutions for their insidious purposes until recently, are now trying to hide their connections and change the names of their schools and associations, or the board of manage-ment of their companies.

It is in vain, whatever they do! We will continue to pursue.

We attach particular importance to the extradition of the gang-leader of the organization to Turkey. We resolutely maintain our efforts on this issue.

We will continue to fight against PKK, DHKP/C, DAESH, PYD, YPG and other terrorist organizations to the end.

Esteemed Guests,

Distinguished Colleagues,

As it has been the case for all our institutions, FETO-member traitors fraudulently infiltrated the Ministry of Foreign Af-fairs, as well.

We carried out a careful and fair effort to eliminate them.

Based on serious and concrete documents, we discharged 440 personnel from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Although we shrinked in number, our power has never decreased.

We will reconsolidate the positions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the young people who have good language skills, posses resolute capability to represent and respect the constitutional order and national values.

Esteemed Guests,

Distinguished Colleagues,

We speedily continue upon our path despite those getting in the way of Turkey, those trying to prevent this historical march.

We are moving forward with certain steps towards becoming a global economic power.

For this purpose, we play an active role in shaping a regional and global political environment that will enable development.

We open new markets and improve the existing ones for our businessmen.

We strive to keep trade routes open. We increase the economic and trade agreements and implement them efficiently.

We take the necessary steps to ensure our energy security.

We facilitate the production of advanced technology in Turkey.

Our foreign policy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs play an active role in each of these lanes.

We shape our foreign policy “with an enterprising point of view”.

What we mean by enterprising diplomacy is to take initiatives to shape an environment abroad facilitating our development, while continuing with our development policies domestically.

While on the one hand we effectively eliminate the threats targeting us, on the other we reinforce our friendships by benefiting from the regional and global opportunities.

In this direction, we blend the elements of soft power and concrete power, where necessary, as smart diplomacy.

We follow a policy reviewing the past, getting results and having strategic efficiency.

“Increasing friendships, decreasing enmities”, as expressed by Prime Minister H.E. Binali Yıldırım, is a fundamen-tal element of this approach.

As long as peace dominates in the region, we can peacefully attend to our business.

We extend our helpful hand to the oppressed people so that we will not experience any conflicts which can be traced back to a quarrel between the haves and the have-nots.

We will keep humanity alive so that international institutions will exist for the service of justice and rights.
We will stand firm against terrorism so that our world will be a civilized political stage.

We are against the understanding which considers the differences of race, religion and sect as fault lines dividing humanity and setting people against each other.

To the contrary, we would like to re-define the world as an area of cooperation rather than conflict.

Therefore, we cannot look at the world with narrow ideolo-gies and strict identities.

We should exist in every possible square of the global stage. We should be able to embrace Europe, Asia, the Transatlantic, Africa and Latin America.

With this understanding, President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Asia and both East Africa and West Africa and Latin America in 2016. These visits will continue in the upcoming period.

Because we define world as bigger than five and Europe as bigger than 28.

This multidimensional approach exists at the core of our enterprising diplomacy.

We will be universal without limiting ourselves with the locality.

Doing this, we will also know to work locally at every corner of the world. We interpret the globalized world in this way.

If rules, balances are reshaped in the world; we cannot just watch the table identifying the new rules of the contemporary civilization.

As it is the case now, we have to sit at the table and exert efforts.

That is why we say “2023 goals”. That is why we say “2071 goals”.

We approach our development and foreign policy this spirit of national struggle.

In this period, we will have consultations with the world and pay particularly attention to our friends.
But we will always take our decisions in Ankara.

We will always consult with and be accountable to our nation.

Distinguished Ambassadors,

There are people trying to direct public opinion against Turkey in the countries where you serve.

These circles are burning with enmity and do their best to defame Turkey.

Unfortunately, centuries of prejudices fuel these malevolent circles.

However, we are also battling against them.

What disturb these malevolent circles is the fact that we have been maintaining a strong political will for 15 years, by being united with our nation and our national values.

For this reason, it is vital that we should be vigilant against those who are targeting this historical march led by President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

I want you to continue working relentlessly against such negative propaganda with the understanding of Architect Sinan:

A child told Architect Sinan that “One of the minarets of the Süleymaniye mosque is tilted.”

And then, Architect Sinan had two workmen pull the minaret with ropes until the child told “The minaret is right”.

When some people saw this and found it strange, he said to them: “It is difficult to prevent it when the comment of the child turned into a rumour. It is better to clear up the misunderstanding at the very beginning.”

With this understanding, it is your fundamental and primary duty to immediately correct this situation where you realize misconceptions.

Distinguished Guests,

Dear Press Members,

In this context, I think that we should particularly mention our relations with the USA and the European Union:

We have developed our relations with the USA under different Governments and transformed into a strategic partnership. Our cooperation within NATO adds a distinct dimension to our partnership.

We also would like to develop our relations on the basis of mutual benefits in a similar vein during the term of the new Government.

We believe that the USA will not insist on some mistakes made in the previous period.

We have two priority expectations:

The first is to extradite the FETO leader and other adminis-trators to my country as soon as possible.
The second is to terminate cooperation with the YPG, the extension of the PKK.

Fulfilling these two reasonable expectations is crucial to the future of our relations with the USA.

Turkey and the USA are two strategic partners with power and resources to create positive effects in a vast geography.

We believe that it is essential to carefully preserve this cooperation.

We are expecting the same attention from the European Union.

The leaders of the European Union must now see clearly that we also have exerted efforts for and contributed to today's prosperous and peaceful Europe.

Great contributions of immigrants, especially that of our citizens, and the security environment, provided by NATO and bolstered by Turkey even today, have made a very significant contribution to the prosperity of Europe.

We are in Europe's past. We will also play an important role in Europe’s future.

The European Union will not be complete without Turkey. Xenophobia and Islamophobic populism will cause Europe to deteriorate.

If Europe continues to go on like this, it will be sick. And everyone will be harmed. You cannot always step aside the universal values.

You cannot always look for someone to push the blame.

Look, we have have reached an agreement on irregular mi-gration and visa liberalization.

We are fulfilling our commitments, including the 18 March agreement.

However, the EU has yet to fulfill its promises. There are circles that go so far as to ask for the negotiations to be suspended, not to mention failure in fulfilling promises.

Our expectations from the EU are as follows:

- A sincere and determined attitude in the fight against PKK, FETO and other terrorist organizations;

- Ensuring visa exemption for our citizens as soon as possible in accordance with the agreement and

- Opening more chapters by removing the artificial obsta-cles in the way of our EU membership.

I would like to sum up my words with a metaphor from Mevlana's Mesnevi:

A Baghdadi merchant had learned that the true wealth was not in other lands but in one’s own house while chastised by a watchman in Egypt, where he was so excited to travel.

Coelho's "Alchemist", inspired by this story, reaches the same conclusion.

Turkey is a member of almost all formations in Europe, except for the EU that has been keeping us waiting for more than 50 years. In other words, we are already a member of the common house of Europe.

We need to think together and work together on economic, political and social areas in order for Europe to leave this unsafe route that it has been following.

Finally, I also would like to emphasize that...

Turkish foreign policy is so diverse and rich that it cannot be limited to a dichotomy between Schengen and Shanghai.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

The European Union has also allowed the Cyprus issue to adversely affect the negotiation process.

The fact that one of the parties gained the EU membership without a lasting solution is one of the reasons why the Cyprus problem has not been solved to this day.

We, as Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots, have exerted a sincere and serious effort. We have a fairly clear conscience in this regard.

We will maintain this will and constructive attitude at the Cyprus Conference in Geneva that we will attend this week. We expect the same approach from all other parties.

Remember that:

While there is still bloodshed in many parts of the world today, the reason for the prevailing peace in Cyprus is the effec-tive guarantee provided by Turkey. This guarantee is indispensable.

Whichever conclusion comes out of Geneva, We have the power and the will not to leave the Cypriot Turks without support. No doubt about it!

Distinguished Guests,

One understands the value of peace and well-being better when one looks at the developments in Syria. The blood and tears that continued until a few days ago in Syria were stopped by our enterprising diplomacy.

While the international community is watching the tragedy in Syria, we have not stayed silent against this oppression. We opened our doors to those fleeing persecution.

The number of Syrians we host in our country exceeded 2.8 million. The expenditures we provided for the Syrians from the central budget alone amounted to almost 15 billion $.

Moreover, we have compelled all the mechanisms in the diplomatic area, especially the United Nations, to establish peace in Syria.

We mediated negotiations between Russia and the groups on the scene.

We attempted to spread the ceasefire throughout the country and help resume the process of political solution.

In the tripartite meeting in Moscow on December 20, we en-couraged Iran to contribute to a political solution.

In this process, we met Russian Foreign Minister H.E. Sergey Lavrov and Iranian Foreign Minister H.E. Mohammad Javad Zarif several times. We also conveyed the necessary messages to the opposition.

As of December 23, we provided safe evacuation of civilians and the opposition in eastern Aleppo. Thus, about 45 thou-sand brotherly and sisterly Syrians were evacuated from Aleppo.

All of our efforts have paved the way for achieving ceasefire across the country and providing humanitarian access to the regions under siege.

Our efforts have also been confirmed by the Security Council Resolution 2336. We are striving to maintain this ceasefire and to enable the current regulation to revive the political process.

Now, we have focused on the meeting in Astana. We hope to have a concrete result complementing and supporting the Geneva talks.

Furthermore, we are carrying out the Operation Euphrates Shield which contributes to our border security and also to the territorial integrity of Syria.

We cleared DAESH from our borders.

This terrorist organization has been on the offensive in northern Syria.

Our heroic soldiers and the opposition forces have surrounded Al-Bab.

The Operation Euphrates Shield showed the true colours of YPG, the extension of the PKK, to the whole world: The aim of YPG is not to fight against DAESH but to divide Syria.

We will continue to support the territorial integrity and political unity of Syria.

We are determined to put out this fire in the immediate vicinity.

Dear Colleagues,

Our cooperation with Russia over Syria has shown how im-portant is our relations with this country for regional stability.

Russia is a key partner in many other areas from energy to tourism and from construction to agriculture.
The recent contacts between President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President H.E. Vladimir Putin have been the cornerstones in the process of normalization.

Prime Minister H.E. Binali Yıldırım visited Russia and carried the process one step further.

Besides political contacts with Russia, we are also increasing our economic co-operation.

As a matter of fact, we are carrying out major projects to-gether in the field of energy such as Akkuyu and TürkAkim.

We will further strengthen our relations in all areas with the High Level Cooperation Council which we will hold this year.

Our dialogue with Russia enables us to address many problematic issues in a sound way, including the fight against international terrorism.

But we do not compromise on our principles. In this framework, we continue with the same determination to support the territo-rial integrity of Ukraine and Georgia.

We have not recognized the annexation of Crimea and we will not.

We are showing our pragmatic and enterprising diplomacy, which shape our relations with Russia, in our southern neighbour Iraq as well.

Developments in Iraq directly affect our security, our wellbeing and our peace.

We wish that Iraq will achieve lasting peace, security and stability in an inclusive political order.

We do not want this country to become a hotbed for DAESH, PKK and similar terrorist organizations.

I once again emphasize that we will not sit back and watch the PKK expand to the areas it has occupied for years in Iraq and to establish a zone like Qandil.

We are determined to develop our cooperation with Iraq in all areas.

President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made a phone call with Iraqi Prime Minister H.E. Haider Al-Abadi.
Prime Minister H.E. Binali Yıldırım visited Baghdad and Erbil this weekend.

We will maintain this constructive attitude.

Our friendship and fraternity in the Middle East are essential for us.

In this region, we have very special relations with Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

We have disagreements with Iran about some regional issues. However, this does not prevent our relations from developing.

We maintain strong support in all areas to Palestine with con-crete projects.

We have ties of affection with each country in the Balkans and we never leave them alone.
 
We also approach the South Caucasus in parallel with our special ties, regional stability and development goals.

We maintain our strong support for the territorial integrity of our brotherly Azerbaijan.

Our relations with the brotherly countries of Central Asia con-stitute one of the primary dimensions of our foreign policy both politically and economically.

We remember with gratitude that brotherly Kazakhstan was first to pay a visit at the Presidential level following the coup attempt.

The Turkic Council, to which we attach great importance to, is becoming stronger.

Moreover, we continue to be followers of the rights and interests of our kins and related communities living outside Turkey.

Distinguished Colleagues,

I would like to urge you to attach priority to these issues this year:

- It is of utmost importance to operate the current bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms in the most efficient manner. In this regard, we will further increase our efforts to conclude each agreement at the table and to operate each applicable regulation in the most effective way.

- Secondly, we must channel new energy into the re-gional and global cooperation fora that we lead. In particular, we should profit at maximum level from our presi-dencies of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and MIKTA. In Afghanistan we will also continue to support the Istanbul Process, which was founded under our leadership.

- Likewise, we will mobilize the Friends of Mediation Group that we cochair. We will reorganize the Istanbul Conference on Mediation after a couple years of intermission.

- We will continue our regional opening attempts from Africa to Asia and Latin America.

I would like to point out especially to the following issues about regional openings:

Our trade with Africa, Latin America and ASEAN countries have increased 6 times in the last 14 years and with East Asian countries 9 times.

The flights of Turkish Airlines directly connect these continents with our country.

Turkish International Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Disaster and Emergency Management Centre (AFAD) and Red Crescent provide humanitarian and devel-opment assistance to every corner of the world.

Our initiatives in education, arts and culture support our foreign policy.

Our television series are watched all over the world.

Turkish artists have become famous even on the streets of India, which is proud of its own cinema.

We host our student brothers and sisters and young diplomats from different continents in our Universities and Diplomacy Academy.

Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Centres, comprised of 44 cen-tres in 36 countries, have been providing important contributions to the promotion of our country.

As a result, our regional growth policies are successful and we will carry them forward with a completely new energy.

Turkey will continue to develop its ties and links on each continent.

In fulfilling our duties, we always keep in mind that the essential purpose of our foreign policy is to serve our citizens.

We rigorously protect the interests of our citizens abroad.

Providing them with the best quality service will continue to be our main duty.

When you return to your places of duty, please take our greet-ings to our citizens there.

Esteemed Guests,

Distinguished Colleagues,

Esteemed Representatives of the Press,

The vision and the agenda that I talked about briefly give an idea about the responsibilities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

We are an institution that is on duty for 7 days and 24 hours in five continents of the world. We are proud of it.

Since the last Ambassadors Conference, I have personally established 936 international contacts. We paid 74 visits in total abroad 25 of which accompanying President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister H.E. Binali Yıldırım.

Like a modern Evliya Celebi, we set foot all over the world.

I am pleased to carry out this intensive program with the help of a principled, dedicated, competent and patriotic cadre.

I am also aware of the important role that our families play in this regard.
There are the sacrifices of our wives and our children behind our success. On this occasion, I would like to express my gratitude to them.
The Honorable Spouse of President Erdogan, Mrs. Emine Erdoğan will receive our spouses and honour us.
I also respectfully extend my greetings to our Glorious Nation, Honourable Parliament, our business and media world, which provide strong support for to foreign policy.

There are many other things that I would like to talk about. But at this point, I remember what Yunus Emre said after he read Mesnevi:

He said “Fine but rather long. If I were you, I would say ‘I took shape in flesh and bones and came into sight as Yunus.’”

Being Mevlana is not easy, nor is Yunus Emre …

Here is our rich heritage which makes us strong on the way to 2023.

We will reach our global goals with the enterprising foreign policy we have shaped with national values.
 
In this respect, I would like to say welcome to all of you again and thank you for your participation.

I wish all success to the Ninth Ambassadors Conference.