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Peace at home, peace in the world

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Speech by H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey at the Opening Session of the Eighth Annual Ambassadors Conference, 11 January 2016, Ankara

Distinguished Guests,

Esteemed Colleagues,

Distinguished Members of the Press,

I would like to respectfully greet you and express my wish that the Eighth Annual Ambassadors Conference will serve to benefit our country, foreign policy and humanity.

Today, we are in a family like atmosphere with my colleagues, who are working diligently in all four corners of the world and, along with our guests, honouring us with their presence. Please allow me to express my pleasure to be here with you.

Throughout this week we will be taking stock of the previous year. We will be consulting on the subjects that are at the centre of world politics. Together we will be assessing how the Turkish foreign policy will be shaped in the coming period.

We will gather with the heads of our public institutions and non-governmental organizations as well as our ministers.

We will host Foreign Ministers from different continents in Ankara. Moreover, during the sessions we will have the opportunity to hear from experts and academics from around the world, a different feature from past years.

Distinguished Ambassadors,

Distinguished Guests,

With its strong traditions, principles and a well-trained workforce, our Ministry is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions of our country. Our diplomats have gained the respect and appreciation of the international community with their knowledge, experience and skills.

I have always witnessed with pride that each of our Ambassadors represents the conscience and sense of justice that is championed by Turkey.

With our diplomatic missions across the world, we are on duty on a 24 hours basis. We take is pride in this.
On this occasion, I would like to thank the families of our members for their understanding and solidarity despite all the difficulties. The support of our children and spouses underlies our success.

Distinguished Friends,

You are the eyes, ears and tongues of our country from Latin America to the Far East and from the Balkans to the farthest point of Africa. You are the closest witnesses of global developments. Therefore, through this Conference you are bringing the pulse of the world to Turkey.

Moreover, on the occasion of this meeting, we are bringing our Ministry to Anatolia and Thrace, as well as visiting a different city each year.

We are very well aware that we cannot properly fulfil our duties without facing the troubles or taking part in the grief and enthusiasm of our country.

As Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi said, while our compass travels and covers the world with one leg embracing the whole of humanity, it holds its other leg steady on our values.

With this understanding, on one hand we are the compassionate hand on the shoulders of our citizens abroad, and on the other we are "yörük" in Antalya, "dadaş" in Erzurum and "efe" in Izmir.

This year we will hold the final leg of the Conference in Gaziantep, the pearl of Southeastern Turkey, upon the invitation of its Mayor, Mrs. Fatma Sahin.

Antep, which is the “Gazi” (Veteran) city of our struggle for liberation in the past, has also enormous wealth to give inspiration and strength for our struggle for future.

Finally, in Gaziantep, which earned one more accomplishment to Turkey by entering the "Creative Cities Network” of UNESCO in the field of gastronomy, we will draw strength for our efforts in the new period.

Esteemed Members of our Ministry,

Distinguished Guests,

Our social and institutional traditions are the elements that render the Turkish foreign policy strong.
While determining our foreign policy, we are guided by our conscience and the sense of justice that percolate from of the fertile lands of Anatolia.

One the values we have inherited is tolerance and benevolence.

By opening our doors to the Jewish community in 1492, extending help to our brothers and sisters in Aceh in 1560, helping those who had been left to starve in 1847 in Ireland, our ancestors tasked us with an important duty in this sense.

We took this duty that we inherited into consideration while deciding on the theme of this year’s Ambassadors’ Conference.

In this context, we determined this year's topic as "Crisis Management and Humanitarian Solutions".

In determining this theme, we have taken into consideration the two important events we will host in the coming period.

We will organize the first-ever UN World Humanitarian Summit to be held in Istanbul on the 23-24 May.

At this summit, we will evaluate all aspects of humanitarian issues. Together, we will discuss what we can do to tackle global problems.

Immediately after that Summit, we will convene the leaders and ministers of the Least Developed Countries on the 27-29th of May in my hometown of Antalya. We will seek solutions to the problems of these countries.

Distinguished Guests,

Distinguished Colleagues,

Looking at the humanitarian crises in the world today, unfortunately, we see that a terrible disaster confronts us.

Over the past two decades, 218 million people have been left destitute as a result of natural disasters. According to the UN figures, today 60 million people have abandoned their homes because of the conflicts or violence. There have never been so many refugees in the history of the world.

Those who consider these figures just as statistics are gravely mistaken. The humanitarian, political, economic and sociological factors of this state of affairs should not be condoned.

Unfortunately, each passing day the humanitarian crises are getting worse. The gap between the prosperous communities and those who live in depravity is constantly growing.

In Turkey we are constantly asking ourselves "what more can we do”.

Our people have been hosting with great sacrifices more than 2.5 million Syrians and about two hundred thousand Iraqis. Today, Turkey hosts the highest number of refugees in the world. Our expenses have exceeded 8 billion dollars while the amount of assistance provided by the international community is only 455 million dollars.

We are continuing our humanitarian activities beyond our borders. Since our party came to power in 2002, Turkey has become one of the most important actors in the global humanitarian system.

Today, our development assistance is about 3.5 billion dollars. In addition, we extended about 1.7 billion dollars of humanitarian aid.

Distinguished Guests,

Dear Ambassadors,

I would like to underscore one point: We do not only help the kindred communities or neighbouring countries, but we also try to reach everywhere we can and to provide help from Africa to Afghanistan, from the Caribbean to Asia-Pacific.

Our solidarity with the Somali people who suffered from a severe drought in 2011 is still remembered.

Turkey is not a country that sees exploitable underground resources when it looks at Africa. Therefore, our contributions to the development of the continent have gained us a privileged place in the hearts of the African people.

We also continued our humanitarian diplomacy efforts in 2015 without any discrimination based on religion, language or race.

While assisting Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Palestine, we also paid attention to the calls for help from thousands of Bengali and Rohingya people, who are confined in the Andaman Sea by human traffickers.

We extended our hands to Malaysia and Tajikistan when they experienced flood disasters, to Vanuatu when it was affected by the hurricane, and Nepal and Afghanistan when they suffered from earthquake. We were one of the first countries that came to the help of Sierra Leone, Benin, Guinea, and Liberia when they were affected by Ebola virus epidemic.

Our country has reached the victims of various disasters in 54 countries in the last five years.

We proudly emphasize that human-oriented diplomacy has become an integral part of our foreign policy.

In one of his recent statements, President Erdoğan reminded us a very significant fact. He said that "What makes us different from other states in history is our benevolence that makes us build nests even for migratory birds.”

The President’s remarks is a perfect summary of our humanitarian foreign policy in just one sentence.

Esteemed Colleagues,

Distinguished Guests,

Our people gave a strong message of stability and confidence in the general elections that took place on the 1st of November the last year. The next four-year period is an important opportunity for our efforts to reach the objectives we set for the year 2023.

Our Republic will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2023 and this will also mark the 500th year of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since this important anniversary is imminent, we have to carefully consider what the duties of our Foreign Ministry are. During this conference, I especially request from you to approach every issue that you are going to discuss through the perspective of our vision for 2023.

In this context, I would like to share with you the general framework that will shape our foreign policy and the roadmap we will follow in the coming period.

Distinguished Guests,

A large part of the current global crises occurs in the Eurasia region, where Turkey is at the centre. In this process, through which the geopolitical equation is being reshaped, we are faced with significant challenges. Without a doubt, our priority is to influence the developments in a positive direction.

While doing so, we will continue to safeguard the rights and interests of our country. Peace and prosperity of our people will be our guide in every step we take and every decision we make.

We will strengthen the prestigious position of Turkey in the international community and continue to make our presence felt in every corner of the world.

In recent years, there has been a criticism voiced by opposition circles: They call us "dreamers". Yes, we have dreams. We have dreams and goals for our country, our people and humanity.

In this context, I believe that the following three elements will enable us to reach our 2023 goals in foreign policy.

The first is to make no concessions on human dignity.

The second is to adhere to the rule of law, justice and universal values.

The third is to be realistic and to take initiative and responsibility in the face of new developments.

Distinguished Friends,

Dear Colleagues,

The situation in Syria today is perhaps the greatest disaster that we have encountered since World War II. Approximately one half of the country’s population, around 12 million people, had to leave their homes. Nearly 5 million Syrians live in neighbouring and foreign countries as refugees.

We always keep in mind the notion that “The person who can sleep on a full stomach while his neighbours are starving is not one of us.”

Throughout history, these lands have opened their hearts and doors to everyone who is in trouble or distress. Today we also feel at peace since we do what is necessary to live up to this heritage that we received from our ancestors.

Unfortunately, the international community heeded our calls on the migration crisis very late. Many countries realized the seriousness of the matter only after the little body of baby Aylan washed ashore and immigrants knocked on their doors in waves.

We have opened our doors to everyone who fled the brutality in Syria without making any religious and ethnic discrimination and have mobilized every possible means at hand.

We did not discriminate between Aleppo and Antep; Hama and Urfa. We have treated a brother from Tartous with the same feelings as we treat one of our citizens from Tarsus.

The effect of the tragedy and violence experienced in Syria on the stability and peace of the region is obvious.

Some circles have criticized our Syrian policy. We are always open to constructive criticisms. However, there are some aspects that should be well-known by all.

From the first day, we have advised the Syrian regime as necessary at every level. We explained the necessity for reforms. However, Bashar Assad did not listen to us. He began to massacre his people with heavy weapons.

Like many other countries, we made our position very clear. What else were we supposed to do? Sit back and be a spectator to the events? Turn a blind eye to the massacres, the use of chemical weapons, chlorine gas and barrel bombs? Of course there would be a limit to our patience in the face of this unconscionable violence.

Is it possible for a fire that started in our neighbour not pose harm our country’s stability and peace? Within this framework, we took the initiative and shouldered responsibilities.

Together with other like-minded countries, we have stood by the opposition that represents the majority of Syrian people. Today this opposition has a say in the future of Syria.

The Vienna process accelerated the efforts for a political solution at the heart of which lies the opposition. And we contribute to the meetings within this framework.

In every meeting, we stress that the opposition should be listened and if a ceasefire is to be declared it should be based on a political perspective.

From now on everybody should see that there is no place for Bashar Assad in the future of Syria, as he has lost his legitimacy.

As you know, the members of the opposition elected their negotiation delegation and designated their coordinator in Riyadh.

The regime and some circles try to weaken the opposition. Such attempts could undermine all efforts for a solution. We are warning all our counterparts in this regard.

The opposition has done its part. All eyes are on the regime now. Pursuant to the Vienna process, the regime should also designate its negotiation delegation.

Achieving peace and stability in Syria is possible only through free and fair elections by which the people can directly reflect their will.

To this end, a fully authorized transitional government should take office and Bashar Assad should leave the scene as has recently been emphasized by the opposition in Riyadh.

We will continue to contribute to the efforts to bring peace and tranquillity to Syria.

On the other hand, Daesh terrorism which threatens the whole world today has once more justified our concerns about the Assad regime.

The incidents in Paris, the attacks in Lebanon, Mali and Libya, and the hateful terrorist acts in Ankara profoundly wounded us all.

In the last 40 years, Turkey has been one of the countries that has suffered the most from terrorism. We understand the sorrow and destruction caused by terrorism the best.
We regard DAESH as a threat to Turkey, to the region and to humanity. We decisively fight against this terrorist organisation and give active support to international efforts in this respect.

We take all the necessary measures to prevent the transit of the foreigners who are planning to join the terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq. Until today, we have imposed entry bans on more than twenty-eight thousand people. We have also detained and deported 2.700 people.

Risk Analysis Groups set up in various airports and bus stations have interviewed more than 7.000 foreigners. We rejected the entry of more than 1.600 of these persons.

Domestic and foreign press should acknowledge these facts and should refrain from ignoring these.

We maintain our resolute stance in the fight against terrorism. There is no “good” or “bad” terrorist for us. The PYD/YPG and DAESH are the same as the PKK, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, Al-Qaida and Al Nusra.

Our presence in Bashika camp, which was an issue of contention during December, is one of the steps we have taken within the context of our efforts to fight against terrorism.

It is obvious that the groups who have the will to fight against DAESH do not receive sufficient military and political support. A significant part of the military assistance that is delivered, unfortunately goes to the Shia militias that are under the control of another country.

As a result of the sectarian policies of the previous Iraqi Government, certain segments of the society, particularly the Sunnis, do not trust the Iraqi security forces. They even consider them as occupying forces. This is a fact.

It is for this reason that we began to train national guards in Bashika region near Mosul since March 2015. I would like to reiterate that we started this project upon the request of the Governor of Mosul and with the knowledge of Iraqi authorities.

Our training efforts in Bashika was mentioned during in the press conference that we held with the Foreign Minister of Iraq Ibnrahim Caferi during his visit to Ankara in July 2015.

Until today 2.441 personnel have been trained in the camp by the Turkish Armed Forces. Furthermore, we provided training for 2.308 peshmergas in four different centres.

Lately, the security of the Bashika camp was under a significant risk. Against this threat, in the beginning of December we made a deployment to protect our soldiers in Bashika, who were there for training purposes.

This deployment created sensitivity in Baghdad due to the exaggerated news fuelled by the third countries. We took constructive steps to address this sensitivity.

Iraq is one of our most important neighbours. We respect Iraq’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. No one should have any hesitations about this.

Esteemed Guests,

Distinguished Ambassadors,

I do not want to go into the details of the latest incident we had with Russia. In this incident, our engagement rules were followed upon the violation of our air space.

At this stage, despite Russian authorities’ extreme reactions, we have chosen not to escalate the tension. We have maintained a calm and moderate stance.

We are continuing to call on the Russian Government to act with common sense.

On the other hand, we are closely following the cases of our companies and citizens that suffered damages.

Esteemed Guests,

Dear Colleagues,

As Turkey, we have always been on the side of peace and cooperation. Unless there is a direct threat to our national security and sovereignty, we have never used force. We adhere to the principle laid by the founder of our Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk- “War is a crime unless the survival of the nation is in danger”.

Until today, we were minimally affected by the threats around us. We owe this to our peaceful foreign policy on the one hand and to our deterrent military power on the other.

We will maintain this policy based on our values and principles in the upcoming period. We will refrain from double standards and a contradictory language. We have not remained silent and will not keep silent in the face of cruelty and injustice. We will keep on extending our friendly hand to the ones who need Turkey’s help.

Within this framework one of the matters which we must tackle is the problem of Israel-Palestine.

We continue to contribute to the Palestinian people in all areas. We have made significant contributions to Palestine’s recognition by 137 states. One of the steps taken in this direction was the raising of the Palestinian flag at the UN. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu personally attended this ceremony and once more displayed the support we provided to our brothers’ just case.

Lately, our relations with Israel have frequently been brought to the agenda. You are very well aware that what happened in the aftermath of Mavi Marmara massacre. taking this opportunity, I once more pay tribute to the fallen on Mavi Marmara. May God bless their souls.

Negotiations are underway to normalise our relations with Israel. We had three demands from Israel. First, they should apologise to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara attack and this was met. They apologised and we accepted their apology. The other two demands are compensation to the families of those who lost their lives in the attack and the lifting of the embargo against Gaza. However, an agreement has not yet been reached in these respects.

Dear Colleagues,

Esteemed Guests,

The agreement reached in Libya has once more demonstrated the role that Turkey could play in the resolution of international issues. Within this period, we have been continuously in touch with both parties. We gave the strongly supported the UN’s efforts.

The last phase of the negotiations was held on the 13th of December in Rome in a meeting that I also attended. Here, too, we endeavoured to reconcile the parties. As a result, a very important step that may put an end to the political division in Libya was taken.

We participated in the ceremony held on 17 December in Morocco for the signing of the Agreement together with Mr. Emrullah İşler, Turkey’s Special Representative for Libya. We will continue to contribute in a positive way to conclude this process.

Iran is one of the countries to which we attach importance in our relations with our neighbourhood. We strive to enhance our bilateral cooperation with Iran in all fields.

On the other hand, it is not a secret that we do not view regional issues from the same perspective as Iran. We discuss all matters frankly with our Iranian friends.

We encourage them to follow more constructive policies on regional issues, particularly on Syria.

Meanwhile, the tension in the Saudi Arabia - Iranian relations carries a potential which may further deepen the present problems.

For this reason, it is necessary to act with common sense and exhaust diplomatic channels to the end.

The region does not need new conflicts, but rather reconciliation and cooperation. Turkey is ready to make every effort to settle the problems between the two countries.

Of course, we also attach great importance to our relations with Saudi Arabia. During the visit of President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Saudi Arabia, we have taken the decision to establish a High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council. Thus, we have upgraded our relations to a higher level.

Our relationship with Qatar, with which we had previously established a similar mechanism, continues perfectly in every field.


Distinguished Guests,

Dear Colleagues,

In all matters concerning our country, we are in close consultation, cooperation and solidarity with our friends and allies, particularly the United States.

We are constantly making efforts to harmonize our relations with the United States to adapt to the changing regional and international environment. We are strengthening our solidarity against global challenges, especially terrorism.

2016 will be an election year for the United States. We disagree with the statements of some candidates who incite Islamophobia and target Muslims. We do not want the scourge of Islamophobia to spread from Europe to the US.

Important tasks fall to the central parties and Governments in order for Europe to get rid of this scourge. On this occasion, I would like to appeal to the parties and the Governments: in order to fight against terrorism, racism, discrimination and intolerance, you need to defend the values of Europe more than ever and more strongly than ever.

Dear Ambassadors,

Dear Guests,

Many years ago, I conducted my doctoral studies at the LSE with the scholarship given by the EU Commission. Previously, I had finished the EU programme at Ankara University.

Soon after I entered politics, I served for many years at the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, including the Presidency which lasted for two years. I served as Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator.

So I was involved in issues related to Europe both in my academic and political life.

Indeed, Turkey's EU vision, beyond our personal preferences, is a strategic and indispensable target of our country.

We detailed the steps we will take in the field of reforms that we will carry out in our 64th Government Program. As has been the case since 2002, the most important item on the agenda of our government will be again the reform process.

We do not shape our relations with the EU in the light of daily political developments. Turkey-EU relations should not be carried out with short-term emergency plans, but with a solid, consistent and long-term vision.

The EU’s need for Turkey is not limited to the issue of migration. The EU needed Turkey yesterday; needs it today and will need it tomorrow. Therefore, the EU should not consider its relationship with Turkey on a daily basis.

The Turkey-EU Summit held in November in Brussels constituted a milestone in terms of revitalizing our relations.

The Migration Action Plan was also adopted at the end of the summit. Furthermore, Chapter 17, entitled, “Economic and Monetary Policy" was opened. Work on other chapters also started.

One of the most important issues on our agenda in the context of the EU is visa liberalization. We strive to implement visa liberalization in October 2016.

At the same time, in working to update the Customs Union, we are cooperating with our other relevant ministries.

We held the first meeting of the Turkey-EU High-Level Energy Dialogue in 2015. We will organize the second one this month.

I hope that this dynamism will become a success story with the joint efforts of both sides.


The values and the visionary perspective that Turkish Foreign Policy has been built upon have brought us to an important point on the path to the EU. I am very pleased to see that all of our state institutions and civil society organizations share the same vision.

On this occasion, I want to emphasize another success we achieved in 2015.

We increased our share of annual contributions to the budget of the Council of Europe, the Parliamentary Assembly, which I chaired as President, from about 13 million euros to 33 million euros. Thus, as of May 2015, we ranked as one of the highest contributing countries.

The number of our members in the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities has risen from 12 to 18. In addition, Turkish became one of the six working languages of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly.

Dear Colleagues,

Distinguished Guests,

Hopefully, we will not have to wait much for the settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Turkey fulfils its responsibility in close cooperation with the Turkish Cypriot side to reach the settlement within this year. We believe that a just and lasting settlement will have positive implications not only for the parties on the island, but for a vast geographical area, including the Eastern Mediterranean.

With the "peace water" project inaugurated in October by our President and Prime Minister, also called "the project of the century", we will contribute to the peace and stability of the Eastern Mediterranean Basin.

Distinguished Guests,

Very Dear Colleagues,

Our citizens living abroad, our kin and relatives of our community have always been our top priority in foreign policy.

You all know that one of the key strategic elements of our foreign policy is our relations with the Turkish Republics. We have developed our relations with these countries in all fields in recent years. We are further deepening our special relationship with Azerbaijan and Georgia through concrete projects.

In so doing, we do not forget our kin. We are offering help to the Ahıska, who are dispersed in all four corners of the world, to return to their homeland. We are struggling for the reinstatement of the usurped rights of the Crimean Tatars.

We are continuing our constructive cooperation in the Balkans, with which we enjoy a deep-rooted history, along with humanitarian and cultural ties. We effectively use Turkey-Bosnia and Herzegovina-Serbia and Turkey-Bosnia-Herzegovina-Croatia trilateral mechanisms.

We efficiently maintain our relations with the People's Republic of China at a strategic level.

Turkey will host the 13th Summit of the Islamic Cooperation Organization in İstanbul on 14-15 April with the theme "Unity and Solidarity for Peace and Justice". At this meeting, as the Islamic world, we will discuss the steps we will take to overcome global challenges.

Another event we will host this year will be the World Energy Congress in October. On the occasion of this meeting, we will host a number of politicians, businessmen and experts in our country.

This summer, Antalya will host the EXPO 2016 international botany exhibition. This event will be very useful in terms of the promotion of Antalya and Turkey.

Touching upon the regional and global areas of our relationship, I want to open a special bracket for Africa. Until 8-10 years ago, our presence in this continent was extremely limited.

A lot has changed since those years. In the past, we would hear the question “In which African countries do you have embassies?" Now they ask us "in which country do not you have an embassy?” Some countries invite us to open an embassy. Some of our diplomatic missions in Africa have become an address where foreign citizens in need also apply. We are very proud of this.

Turkish Airlines’ flying to Africa's most remote points, the efforts of TIKA, the Turkish Red Crescent and AFAD, the interest of our businessmen and the aid delivered in many areas, have won the admiration of the African peoples.

Distinguished Guests,

Esteemed Ambassadors,

We are an active member of the G-20, which is the super league of the international financial and economic system. Our Presidency of the G20 proved highly efficient.

Above all, we had many firsts in the history of the G20.

A framework document on Low-Income, Developing Countries was adopted. For the first time, a Women-20 initiative group was formed for the women to take their rightful place in the economy. We organized the first Energy Ministers meeting in the history of the G-20.
G20 Leaders adopted a communique for the first time. Terrorism and the refugee crisis was included in Final Declaration of the Antalya Summit with strong language.

We held about 60 official meetings, 10 of which were at Ministerial level, during our Chairmanship. We hosted more than ten thousand participants in the Antalya Summit. 2,500 press members, mostly foreigners, attended the Summit.

Everyone agrees that the Antalya Summit hosted by Turkey was the best G20 Summit ever.

It was a pleasure for me, as a native of Antalya, to hear many leaders after the G20 say that they wanted to visit Antalya again for a holiday at the earliest opportunity.

Distinguished Guests,

Global actors are no longer the only determinants for the common problems of the world.

As Turkey, we also speak in the name of many countries having difficulty making themselves heard. A system deprived of regional actors is destined to falter.

The existing structure of the UN Security Council cannot be the common voice of global conscience.

The fact that these five permanent member countries cover 23% of the world’s surface area, 27% of the world population, and 45% of the world’s Gross National Product have a share of 58% in military spending is quite ironic.

When we say, “The world is bigger than 5”, our purpose is to draw attention to this injustice and distortion.

Speaking of the international mechanisms, I would like to draw your attention to another aspect. Many Turkish citizens, most of whom are members of our Ministry, serve in the decision mechanisms of international organizations today. This contributes to global stability, welfare and peace.

I will not mention their names one by one. But I would like to commend all of them wholeheartedly and wish them continued success.

Esteemed Guests,

Distinguished Ambassadors,

The style of implementation as well as the content of diplomacy and foreign policy has evolved in recent years. In this context, cultural diplomacy and promotional activities are indispensable elements of our foreign policy.

In this sense, Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Centres are the best examples of our cultural diplomacy activities.

Similarly, cultural activities organized by foreign missions establish the bridge of affection between Turkey and the peoples of world.

We attach great importance to our foreign policy activities that directly improve the lives of our citizens.

Our citizens abroad do not feel alone any more thanks to the policies of our Government.

Prime Minister Davutoğlu made significant promises to our citizens abroad in May.

Within this framework, we have taken and are taking steps to fulfil these promises to decrease the military service fee in foreign exchange, extend the duration of stay for vehicles with foreign license plates, decrease passport fees and obtain a 20% discount for families from Turkish Airlines. We will fulfil the rest of promises within the shortest time.


Distinguished Guests,

Dear Colleagues,

Turkey, with 234 foreign missions, has become the number 6th country in terms of having the most diplomatic missions in the world.

The total number of missions will be 252 with 18 new missions that we plan to inaugurate, which will elevate us to the 5th rank.

We attach importance to the quality as well as quantity of our missions.

In this scope, we give more priority to meeting the needs of new missions.

On the other hand, training of new officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is of the utmost importance for us.

Master-apprentice relations are of great importance in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For this reason, I am sure that in the future our young officials will make significant contributions to Turkish foreign policy through the guidance of our distinguished Ambassadors.

Likewise, we have a lot to learn from the energy, ideals and visions of the young officials.

I would like to express once again that I am glad to undertake the responsibility of this dynamic community. I would like to extend my thanks to President H.E. Erdoğan and Prime Minister H.E. Davutoğlu.

Distinguished Guests,

Esteemed Ambassadors,

We hope that Turkey will have achieved the aim of accession to the EU and will be among the largest 10 economies in the world by 2023.

We have succeeded together in many areas that were deemed to be dreams before. We will also achieve these new aims together.

Accordingly, we will maintain our foreign policy, which takes its power from our traditions and principles, in a more positive direction.

First of all, we will initiate a consolidation process to reinforce past foreign policy achievements.

In addition, we will adapt our capabilities to new threats and challenges. We have the will for change and the power to actualize it.

We will continue to act in a sensible, consistent, realistic and rational way.

When needed, we will not refrain from undertaking our regional and global responsibilities to ensure peace and security. We will improve and deepen our relations based on common principles and values with allied and like-minded countries.

We should be able to better explain the attitude of Turkey on international issues particularly to global public opinion in the upcoming period.
We should develop an efficient communication strategy. We should be able to benefit in the best way from all the possibilities of public diplomacy.

There is no place for populism and heroism in our foreign policy. We will always adopt a moderate and deliberate tone and bring forward constructive and creative proposals.

We will continue to reject ethnic, religious and regional nationalism.

Distinguished Colleagues,

As you know, operations to change the perception of Turkey that were recently carried out at the national and international levels have been one of the tactics used by those who are against a stronger Turkey.

Those complaining about Turkey with unfounded and offensive slanders all over the world and trying to isolate Turkey in the international arena have never succeeded and will never succeed.

Referring to these efforts, I would like to draw your attention to the parallel structure which is trying to incite chaos in Turkey.

The National Security Council categorized this organization as an “illegal structure under the disguise of a legal structure”.

This structure which is trying to abuse the sincere feelings of our people, to exploit their money as well as their faith, is an explicit threat to the unity and peace of Turkey.

One of the most important fields targeted by this structure is our foreign policy.

We have always found this parallel structure behind any campaign we encounter against Turkey abroad and in every heinous plan we expose.

We, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have taken very significant steps in fighting against this parallel structure and we will continue to do so. We are doing our share and will continue to do so.

I have expressed to our Embassies and foreign missions about our determination to fight against this organization abroad as well as in Turkey. Our attitude and instructions in this matter are clear and explicit.

Esteemed Deputy Prime Ministers, Esteemed Ministers,

Distinguished Guests,

Dear Colleagues,

It is quite natural that political parties may have different views, as well as different approaches in foreign policy. However, when it comes to national interests, all political parties should act in unison. Everyone should provide the necessary support to the country’s interest and close their ranks.

Today, we witness with sorrow that some circles drag our foreign policy into daily political debates.

We have witnessed some attitudes that dare to say that they would be on the side of another country if Turkey were to go to war with them.

We have also witnessed the betrayal of those who escaped to Moscow when we had troubles with Russia, obstructing peace and tranquillity in Turkey.

I hope that such approaches are excluded by Turkish people as well as their political parties in the following process. We would like to see all political parties adopt the approach upholding national interests in dealing with foreign policy.

Distinguished Ambassadors,

You, as representatives of the State, President and the Government, are our greatest power with your accomplishments, wisdom, experience and common sense.

Yusuf Has Hacip specifies the characteristics of a good envoy in Kutadgu Bilig as follows: “An envoy should use a plain language and be a sentimental person. He/she should be skilled in words and a master of rationality.”

I would like to express my pride that each of our Ambassadors possesses these qualities.

On this occasion, we pay tribute to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, his fellow comrades in arms and all of our martyrs, particularly our diplomats who lost their lives in heinous terrorist attacks.

Through you, I would like to extend my sincere and heartfelt greetings to all our citizens who are physically far, but spiritually close to their homeland.

I wish every success to the Conference and I would like to thank you all.