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Peace at home, peace in the world

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Speech by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at the high-level seminar entitled “Together for Enhanced and More Stable Europe” as part of the year-long activities commemorating 90th anniversary of the Turkey-Finland Friendship Agreement, 18 November 2014, Ankara

President Martti Ahtisaari,
My dear friend Erkki,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At first let me thank the Center for Strategic Research and the Finnish Embassy in Ankara for organizing this meaningful event. The presence of honorable President Mr. Ahtisaari makes this event more meaningful. They are primary leaders who have made substantial contribution to the discussion on the future of the European Union. Their mutual dedication to furthering Turkey’s accession process to EU has been appreciated globally. Today, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of Turkish – Finnish diplomatic relations, we will have the chance to discuss this important topic.

Turkey and Finland upheld their common values which are also at the basis of the European Project at the two extreme corners of the continent during the last 90 years.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At present we need an enhanced Europe more than ever. This enhanced Europe should be regionally and outward looking. It should be inclusive and multi-cultural. An enhanced Europe has the potential to show the stronger and regional leadership. It must depend on the two basic pillars, soft power and hard power. Has the EU been able to exert its true potential in using its soft and hard power? Has it been able to garner enough universal appeal? Let us ask some questions together today.

Excellencies,

The EU emerged in the post World War II era. It has proven to be a successful peace project both on the European continent and beyond. Enlargement policy has been the driving force of the Union’s soft power. It has contributed to the peace, security, prosperity, democracy and rule of law in Europe and beyond. However, now Mr. Juncker has stated that the EU will take a break from enlargement for the next 5 years. Then I would like to ask my first question, how does the EU intend to maintain this soft power? We strongly believe that it is indispensable for the EU to continue its enlargement policy if it aims to strengthen this global role, and we shouldn’t forget that enlargement is actually the most important part of EU’s integration policy. The EU created a momentum of role in constructing stability and prosperity in the candidate countries to the EU throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s. The policies of enlargement that the EU followed were historical and effective. The prospect of membership was given in such a way as to mobilize these countries towards democracy and human rights.

I have my second question. Has EU been able to export so effectively such stability to the countries such as Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and even Azerbaijan and Armenia?

My third question is related to the fact that the increase in global role of the EU has been declared among the top ten priorities of the new EU leaderships. How does the EU intend to achieve this goal? How will the EU extend its influence across the European continent to the Mediterranean, Africa and to the Middle East? The multiple crises in the Middle East require international action based on comprehensive strategies with clearly defined goals. To our north, the crisis in Ukraine has clearly showed that the stability and security cannot be taken for granted anywhere. Initiatives such as the Eastern Partnership may contribute to the regional stability if tailored to the specific conditions of each country. Otherwise, they risk reversing their intended outcome. This is what we have witnessed in the Ukrainian crisis. In order to contribute to the promotion of fundamental principles, democratic government and the rule of law on its continent and beyond, the EU should use effective means and tools to perceive human right policies.

Now my fourth question is, to what extent has the EU recently been effective in this? Does the EU benefit sufficiently from rich expertise of the countries of Europe and its mechanism to help all those countries and the eastern part of Europe?

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Apart from the soft power that we always speak of, the EU also makes efforts to hard power. The EU efficiently sends missions to difficult areas such as Mali and Central African Republic as the EU doesn’t and cannot act in a vacuum, therefore non-EU members such as Turkey also contributes to these missions. However, we are excluded from decision-making process. There’s my fifth question.

Wouldn’t countries such as Turkey with different experiences have valuable suggestions to EU’s common defense and security policies? The EU today is economically the most developed continent in the world. With its single market, the EU has created a common space where people, money, goods and services can move freely. It has stimulated competition and trade. However, the credibility of the single market as well as the economic and monetary union depend heavily on the institutions and political construct behind it. That is the political union behind the economic mission. Today, has this not become the weakest link in the chain?

I have my sixth question now, has the EU been able to effectively overcome the economic and financial crisis? Furthermore, has the European Union been successful enough in the fight against international terrorism and organized crime? Has it been able to establish certain common principles for policy of migration and integration that promise to bring further peace to the societies? An enhanced Europe should be able to lay down and implement the policies that combat the points increasing racism, xenophobia and extremism, since these are the main threats to the peace and harmony in the European societies today.

We are seriously concerned with the increasing the public support extended to the political parties with extremists this course that is particularly anti-immigration. Xenophobia tendencies cause a serious threat to the EU’s appeal in terms of its founding principles.

And my final question, do the mainstream political powers in the European Union countries combat these issues effectively today?

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Excellencies,

Today the EU needs to enhance itself if it wishes to continue to be a soft and a hard power in this region and beyond. The world has changed. The majority of the challenge is that I have tried to outline here require joint efforts to overcome. This is where Turkey comes in, Turkey will continue to be European and will contribute to the stability in its surrounding region. Turkey believes that the key role in the achievement of the EU’s goal of a more powerful secure and stable future is through the following: partnering with the Finland on Mediation for Peace Initiative under the UN umbrella, co-chairing with Spain in the Alliance of Civilization, co-chairing with the United States to Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, chairing the Global Forum on Migration and Development and G-20 presidencies in 2015.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The missing link in the creation of an enhanced Europe is clearly Turkey’s membership to the European Union. An EU project without Turkey’s membership will carry the risk of being narrow-minded, non-universal and limited to the EU’s soft power. Turkey now is ready for accession to the European Union more than ever. However, certain narrow-minded, -it is unfortunate that I have to use this word-, certain narrow-minded circles of the negotiation process because of their political interest. Nevertheless we continue our preparations as if we will be a member of the EU tomorrow. I have no doubt that Finland will and always continue to be with full support to Turkish EU accession process.

Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a profound pleasure and a privilege to address such a distinguished audience on such a meaningful day. I thoroughly hope that the next generation will celebrate many 90 years of our relations and our common endeavor of having a more united, prosperous and free Europe will continue and I hope the questions that I raised today are not put back to us during the debate.

Thank you very much.