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Peace at home, peace in the world

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Speech by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, During the Working Lunch Given to the Ambassadors of the African Countries Resident in Ankara, 4 November 2014, Ankara

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

I would like to thank you all for joining us today in this family event. Since I was Minister of EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, we have been planning this event. It didn’t work in the past but I’m very grateful that finally we managed. As we prepare for the second Turkey – Africa Partnership Summit in Malabo in less than three weeks, I want to touch base with you today. Your valuable views and guidance is vital for the success of this event.

Let me first start by making some remarks on how we see our partnership with the region and with the continent in general before focusing on the summit.

Excellencies, dear friends,

Expanding our relations and cooperation with Africa is one of the prime orientations of our foreign policy. Turkey’s Africa policy is not just a reflection of temporary political and economic considerations. On the contrary, it is the process with strong historical and cultural aspects. As part of Turkey’s partnership policy, we pursue a multi-layered approach in Africa. We have established closed political relations by intensifying bilateral high level visits. We advocate the rights and positions of African nations both at bilateral and multilateral forum. As we declare during our campaign for non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council, we have been and will continue to be voice of Africa at international platforms. We build ties with African nations in the economic field. This will help overcome their challenges through more trade, investment and humanitarian, technical assistance.

We also stand ready to play our role through diplomacy to contribute to the peaceful settlement of conflicts and disputes. In short, we do not consider ourselves as outsiders to the continent, rather a strategic partner.

Dear friends, Africa is now reemerging with many promising developments. We have seen remarkable progress on the way towards democracy and good governance. Lastly, we witnesses a series of successful elections and peaceful transitions of power. Lately, fair in democratic elections held in the Republic of South Africa, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique and Botswana have boosted this trend.

The continent has recorded an annual growth rate of 5 pct. over the last decade and is expected to continue this trend. According to World Bank economic growth in Sub-Saharan African will significantly outpace the global average over the next 3 years. The natural resources of the continent are rich and diverse. In 2050, Africa is expected to become a 29 trillion dollar economy. These positive developments and achievements in economic and political fields are reshaping the image of Africa. African countries have all together recorded a significant progress in the field of regional cooperation and integration in pursuit of conflict prevention and economic development.

Today, African countries are increasing their efforts to overcome their challenges and resolve their problems with their own resources and through their own mechanisms. Turkey adheres the principle of African solution for African problems. I would like to stress that the African Union is a success story having celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. African Union has promoted and enhanced good governance, democracy and economic integration across the continent. Along with the African Union, sub-regional organizations have proven themselves as important instruments in regional cooperation, mediation and conflict prevention. That is why as a strategic partner, Turkey formulates her African policies in line with the decisions and declarations of the African Union.

Excellencies, dear friends, we are sensitive to immediate needs of African continent. We have immediately extended financial assistance to Sierra Leone and Guinea to combat the Ebola epidemic. Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency TIKA is working to provide medical equipment and assistance and the Chairman of the TIKA is also with us today, he will be more than happy to answer your questions regarding the technical assistance in the region. We are currently working to finalize the additional support package up to 5 million US dollars that will contain both material and financial assistance to combat Ebola epidemic.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, we continue to strengthen our links with Africa. We have now 39 Turkish Embassies across the continent, we are pleased to see that the number of the Embassies of African Countries in Ankara has reached to 32 and I’m pleased that almost all African Embassies are represented here today. People to people contacts have also been gaining strength. Thousands of people from Africa study, work and live in Turkey and vice versa. Turkish Airlines has become of the major international carriers of the continent having flight to around 40 destinations in the continent. There are ever-growing Turkish investments in a number of African countries that employ local labor force, use home produced resources and export final products to third countries. Since 2005, which we declared the year of Africa in Turkey, there has been increased engagement with the African countries. Our bilateral trade volume with the continent has reached 22 billion dollars in 2013. In the first 8 months of 2014, we have almost reached to 13 billion dollars and our common goal is to reach the target of 50 billion dollars trade volume by 2018.

Turkish contractors are among the major undertakers in the continent. Within the period between 1972 and the first six months of this year, share of African countries in the overall international business volume of Turkish contractors is 18.4 pct. Dear friends, Turkey has become a leading country in humanitarian activities all over the continent. TIKA currently operates 11 program coordination offices in Africa. Turkey became the fourth largest donor in 2013 after the US, UK and the EU in the world. Turkey’s total humanitarian assistance reach 2 billion US dollars per year. Africa had a share of 31 pct. from Turkey’s official development assistance, ODA, in 2012, which represents an amount of 772 million dollars. In 2013, Turkey …. 3.3 billion dollars of ODA, which represents an almost 30 pct. increase compared to 2012.

Under the government scholarship program, we have provided more than 1071 scholarship for students from Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to many technical training programs undertaken by different ministries and institutions, my Ministry has hosted more than 200 junior diplomats from African countries within the framework of the annual training program since 1992.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends, as you all know, 2nd Turkey – Africa Partnership Summit will be held in Malabo between 19 – 21 November 2014, the theme of the summit is a new model of partnership to enhance a sustainable development and integration of Africa. A declaration and joint implementation plan of Turkey – Africa Partnership for 2015 – 2018 will be adapted during the Summit. Joint implementation plan includes priority areas such as agriculture, education, health, trade and investment and energy, peace and security. The Summit will start with high level officials meeting on November 19th, continue with Ministerial meetings on the second day and end with the summit of Head of States Governments on November 21st. The summit will be held in accordance with the formula of African Union. Taking this opportunity, I would like to stress that as well as we all attach great importance to the Summit, we expect participation at the highest level, namely Head of States of Governments. The second Turkey – Africa Partnership Summit will lead to a new era in our bilateral cooperation. I would like to thank you all for your attention and now I leave the floor to you and thank you very much once again for being us today.