Peace at home, peace in the world

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Remarks by Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the 12th Ministerial Meeting of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Member States, 25 November 2013, Manama

Chairman of Asia Cooperation Dialogue, Minister Al Khalifa,

Coordinator of Asia Cooperation Dialogue, Minister Tovichakchaikul,

Distinguished Ministers and Colleagues,

I would like to thank His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain, for his kind invitation to the 12th Ministerial Meeting of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Member States.

Before I start, let me also express our condolences to the people and the Government of the Philippines for the devastating Haiyan Thyphoon. Our Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay was in the Philippines on 11-13 November to show our solidarity and to hand over emergency humanitarian relief from the Turkish people.

It is a great pleasure for me to represent Turkey for the first time as a Member State at an ACD Ministerial Meeting.

My presence here is the culmination of a process that began with our participation as a Special Guest in the 11th ACD Ministerial meeting held in Dushanbe in April this year, upon the invitation of my Tajik colleague, the then Chair of the ACD.

I then presented Turkey’s application letter to join the ACD to my Thai counterpart at the 46th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Bandar Seri Begawan in July. Our membership was approved at the breakfast meeting of the ACD Foreign Ministers held in the margins of the UN General Assembly on September 26th.

Allow me to once again express our appreciation for the support and encouragement extended to us by ACD Member States, under the able coordination of Thailand, which made this swift outcome possible.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Turkey has set a clear goal in its foreign policy. And that is first and foremost the advancement of peace, prosperity and security in our neighbourhood and beyond.

We are determined to intensify our relations around the globe through effective multilateralism.

Turkey today is forging closer ties with all countries and regions, among which Asia holds a prominent place.

Turkey has a special standing as an Asian country among its many vocations. We have historic, linguistic and religious ties with a wide range of countries along the ancient Silk Road.

The rise of Asia is a defining characteristic of the 21st century. In light of the growing significance of the Asia-Pacific region, Turkey has put into effect policies geared towards opening-up to the region in all possible areas.

During the last decade, high-level bilateral visits have been intensified, resulting in enhanced trade and investments. Turkish Airlines has increased its destinations and flight frequencies in the region.

Turkey’s presence in the region has been strengthened with broader representation. Embassies were opened in Myanmar and Sri Lanka in 2012 and in Cambodia and Brunei in 2013. Furthermore, we accelerated our efforts towards social, cultural and educational exchanges with Asian countries. Turkey has taken important steps in multilateral fora as well. Initiatives have been taken to further develop ties with regional organizations across the Asian continent.

These include Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), BSEC, ASEAN, CICA, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Turkic Council, D-8, Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and TRACECA (Transport Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia).

In less than a decade, we have established various forms of partnership with ASEAN, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), laying the ground for deeper cooperation.

Distinguished Colleagues,

Turkey’s membership to the ACD fits this overall picture. We see ACD as an evolving platform with an inclusive membership which covers the whole Asian continent from East Asia to Southeast Asia, West Asia and Central Asia.

We believe the main objectives of ACD are worth pursuing across the continent. These include, inter alia, promoting interdependence among Asian countries, expanding trade and financial markets within Asia and complementing existing cooperation frameworks.

I would like to reiterate that Turkey will play its part to further build upon ACD achievements in a broad spectrum of cooperation areas in the future. Among these fields of cooperation, Turkey is particularly willing to contribute to regional connectivity and diversified transport routes, as well as energy issues.

We are pleased to have had the opportunity to share our ideas regarding the “New Silk Road” project to link East Asia with Western Europe by an uninterrupted railway network with our ACD colleagues at the technical level already.

I would like to mention here with pleasure that the Marmaray Undersea Railway Tunnel was inaugurated by our Prime Minister on our national day, 29 October 2013. This project is a great example of Turkey`s contribution to the Silk Road Project linking East Asia with Western Europe, which will promote tourism as well.

Asia lies at the centre of global economic growth with its rapidly growing energy markets. There is great potential for cooperation and joint projects among Asian countries in this field. Projects like TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Pipeline) and TANAP (Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline) provide opportunities for enhancing energy security and furthering regional integration.

Energy security is the primary objective of Turkey’s energy strategy. Developing national resources, diversifying the energy mix, increasing the share of renewables, introducing nuclear energy and diversifying suppliers and energy routes are important components of this strategy.

In this context, we welcome the adoption of the ACD Energy Action Plan.

Distinguished Colleagues,

The theme of this Ministerial Meeting is aptly chosen. The tourism sector has grown globally by almost % 35 in terms of the number of tourists between 2002 and 2010. The number of incoming tourists to Turkey has almost tripled from 13 million in 2000 to 32 million in 2012. We are the 7th biggest country in terms of tourism destination in the world. Turkey has spared no effort in developing this sector in line with the highest standards and is the recipient of many international tourism awards. We are ready to contribute to the ongoing cooperation efforts in this field within the ACD framework. We are also ready to share our experience with our friends in the ADC. I fully agree with my dear Indonesian colleague, Mr. Natalegawa, regarding visa exemption and visa facilitation among ourselves which will definitely have a positive impact on Intra-Asian tourism.

For Turkey culture and education are important fields of cooperation with ACD countries. We have put impetus to our efforts towards educational exchanges with our ACD partners in a variety of forms such as scholarships, inter-university relations and diversified cultural exchanges.

We are glad that the Southeast Asia Capacity Building Working Group of the Global Counterterrorism Forum complements the ongoing efforts in the region. We would like to further strengthen our cooperation with Asian countries in combating terrorism and organized crime.

In this context, we welcome the ACD call to the Member States to work together to prevent and suppress terrorist acts, and to continue their efforts to enhance dialogue and broaden understanding among civilizations.

We also welcome the appointment of the ACD Secretary General and the setting-up of the ACD Provisional Secretariat in the State of Kuwait.


In concluding, let me express Turkey’s firm resolve to expand further its interaction and cooperation with all ACD countries as the 33rd Member State.

We believe that Asia’s leadership in the global economy will be further strengthened as ACD achievements progress. Turkey will be an active partner in this process.

Thank you for your attention.