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Peace at home, peace in the world

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Speech Delivered by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, in the University of London School of Economics and Political Science, 7 March 2013, London

Professor Pamuk,

 

Distinguished academicians,

 

Dear students,

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

It is a great pleasure for me to be with you in LSE and addressing to such a distinguished audience. Whenever I visit academic institutions I feel myself more an academician than a minister. Therefore, please be ready for a long lecture rather than a diplomatic speech.

 

Today we had Friends of Yemen Group Meeting in London and when I received this invitation, of course, it was a great honor for me to visit LSE Chair of Contemporary Turkish Studies.

 

Thank you very much Professor Pamuk for this introduction and invitation. Because this Chair is very important for us which started in 2005 as the only Chair on Contemporary Turkish studies in Europe and made great contribution as a channel, intellectual reach within Turkish and European academia as well as statesmen and leaders. Therefore I am also grateful and I would like to express our appreciation for the contributors to this Chair, Central Bank of Turkey, Federation of Turkish Chambers of Commerce, Aydın Doğan Foundation and Akfen Holding company for their great contribution.

 

In these years we need to have more intellectual interaction, because we have many challenges in front of us, and I am also very proud of having 400 Turkish academicians and 2.500 students in British academic institutions which shows how Turkish-British relations are deep. The future of Turkish-British intellectual relations will be much brighter than before. Therefore, I also want to express my thanks to organizers and also to students especially from network of students group for their presence here and their organizing contribution to this organization.

 

The title of my speech is “Transformation in World Politics” How can we address the challenges, regional challenges during this transformation of world politics? In 1989, when the famous article of Francis Fukuyama was published on the end of history, I was almost completing my PhD thesis on alternative paradigms, a comparative analysis of Western and Eastern political thinking. After that article being published, I wrote an article and the title was “The History Will Not End”. The history will flow faster than before. The speed of history will be accelerated. After 20 years - of course I never planned to be a minister or a politician - I was planning to write more books and to be with students rather than to be with bodyguards in London streets. But it was a great test for me. After publishing my book on Turkish foreign policy in post cold war era which is Strategic Depth published in 2001, I was asked to be chief adviser. In the last ten years I tried to make a bridge between theory and practice in a very challenging atmosphere, political atmosphere, in a very challenging international environment. Therefore, I want to share some of my both theoretical as well as practical experience with you, how to understand this transformation in world politics.

 

I said; I strongly believe that history will flow faster and we - intellectuals and statesmen - are like drops of waters in a very fast flowing river. “History is flowing like a river and we are in that river”, that was my introductory part of Strategic Depth. We have to understand how this river is flowing. If we want to have a role in this flow, then we have to understand the flow of history. In that sense, of course we can make a long historical analysis, but at least I can say in last 400 years including modernity there has been always a search for order in European as well as in world politics, after great wars. Before we had imperial traditions Alexandrian, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Chinese dynasties, Indian dynasties. They had another logic of global order. But during modernity, after every war there was some sort of congress or conference or search for a new order. Like after 30-years War we had Westphalian peace, after Napoleonic war we had Congress of Vienna and balance of power system in Europe. After I. World War we had the League of Nations, after II. World War we had United Nations and Bretton system of economics.

 

Now the question is here, what happened after cold war? Cold war was as well a global-scale war and there was a need of reconstruction of world order after cold war like, what happened after II. World War. There were several conferences, meetings, in order to identify the basic dynamics of the new global context. But after 20 years now we can ask to ourselves, was there a re-restoration of world order within the context of the changes in the post cold war situation. Unfortunately, we should say no. What happened in last 20 years, now more than 20 years after cold war? The domestic structures have changed in the Balkans, in many countries, I will come to that point. The regional context has changed in many regions, including Middle East or Central Asia or Latin America or Africa. The global context have changed and there are new challenges. It is not like when I was a student - like some of our students here - in 1970s. Our imagination of world politics was much more different than today. It was more static, two super-powers, two blocks, dividing almost all regions in between these two blocks and the role of other nations were less compared to super powers and great powers. Now the situation is much more dynamic.

 

When I wrote my book “Strategic Depth”, I tried to analyze these from Turkish perspective. You can change everything in foreign policy, economic capacity, technological capacity or military capacity, but you cannot change two things. Your geography, space, and your history, time. These are the limits which are given to you. Therefore first as a human being, then as an intellectual of a nation or statesman of a nation you have to understand what is the time, the existing time constraint in order to respond to these challenges.

 

In the last 20 years we had three big earthquakes. Earthquake is a good analogy for Turks, especially after 1999 earthquakes. One  earthquake was in 1991, two years after fall of Berlin wall, this is a geo-political earthquake. All geo-political scene from Balkans to Central Asia has changed because of the collapse of Soviet Union and wars in Balkans. And Turkey was right at the center of this change. I will come to this analysis back. The second earthquake was security earthquake in 2001, after 9/11. Because there was a change of rhetoric, political rhetoric of conceptualization of world politics. After the first earthquake the main rhetoric was democracy, freedom, the new world order, I am sure those who know those years, they know very well the new world order in early 1990s, democratization. After 9/11 instead of liberty and democratization, the political paradigm has shifted to security and more control. You can feel this in airports or other places. Of course, the world politics have changed, responding to this security challenges of terrorism. And it has affected cultural relations, it has affected intercommunal relations in many places, even the personal lives have been affected. My former special adviser, a diplomat, now he is ambassador to Prague, he told me one of his experience. His name is Cihad. He came to New York after 9/11, he was appointed to New York. In the airport somebody, some people were waiting for him, and they were not able to see each other and they shouted “Cihad”, “Cihad”. Suddenly all those who were in between these two groups they lied down and tried to escape. “Jihad” is a Muslim concept and it does not mean only war but several other ethical meanings. But suddenly, the concept have changed, the attitudes have changed. I remember, Hrant Dink, a prominent Armenian Turkish columnist, we were in 2000 in the same panel. He told me his son was at the time in the US. He was beaten by some people thinking he was a Muslim because his skin was dark, although he was a Christian. So, suddenly, compared to 1990s, the political rhetoric has changed, as if there is a new cold war and cultural polarization. And Turkey had to respond to these as well, as a Muslim nation in Western block, to accept certain challenges. The third biggest earthquake was in 2011. It started from 2008, global economic crisis and in 2011 it reached to the peak, in European economic crisis parallel to the Arab Spring. An economic crisis and a political crisis in the North and South of Mediterranean created new challenges for all those who are living in the region, as well as global challenges.

 

Now we are living in such an accelerated flow of history, we cannot be static. We cannot have prejudices in our minds, we cannot have stereotypes, if we want to understand this new global transformation. How should we address to this? First of all, there is a political change. There is no - like Cold War - a Eurocentric or Euroatlantic plus Soviet Union center of world politics any more. There are new rising powers, language of politics have changed, structures of politics have changed and there is a need of a new response to this. For example, as a question, as a global order, UN system based on 5 permanent members who are able to decide for the entire political issues of humanity, do they? What is the legitimacy of having this structure? In 1950s, 60s, 70s they had a legitimacy because of being winner of II. World War. But now, I can give you 2 examples, just to show the gap, the gap between the human conscience and political mechanisms of UN Security Council. Which institution represent human consciousness in world politics? Is it UN Security Souncil or UN General Assembly? UN General Assembly is composed of all nations, 192 nations, while UN Security Council 15, 5 permanent members, the rest non permanent. Of course, if you look at the inclusiveness, UN General Assembly represent the general human conscience, while UN Security Council represent operational capacity and efficiency and power politics. We need both. But at the end of the day, which one will be prevailing? The judgment of which of these bodies will be representing human  judgment?

 

I will give two examples. One is Palestine. In 1947, 29th of November, UN General Assembly promised to Palestinians that they will be having a state of their own, parallel to Israel. Israel was established, but for many decades Palestinians have been waiting the fulfillment of that promise. Last year Mahmud Abbas applied for full membership for UN system. This application was not able to go through the UN Security Council mechanisms and they went directly to UN General Assembly. And I was in that meeting on 29th November 2012 and 138 countries said “Yes” for Palestinian state. Only 9 countries said “No”. And that was such a clear message by the international community that they want to see Palestine as a member state of UN. But are they able to be there? No, because even if one country uses veto at the UN Security Council, they cannot be member. Second example, Syria. Next week will be the second anniversary of Syrian people requesting their legitimate rights at the beginning with peaceful demonstrations. From that time until now, more than 70.000 people were killed, those who we know the names, and other 72-100 thousand is lost. Only in Turkey we have around 350.000 refugees, 187.000 are in camps. Just to view the human aspect of this, in last two years 2.904 babies were born in our camps. 26.000 children are getting education everyday. So a life is continuing there. But 3 million people inside Syria are IDPs. Two years passed. What has been the response of the UN system? Because of veto  - this time of two other countries, I don’t want to name the country, here I will be diplomatic, but everybody knows who vetoed Palestine and everybody knows who two countries vetoed  for Syria. Again this resolution in the UN General Assembly submitted by Arab League, supported by Turkey was accepted with 135 or 36 votes. Only 11 or 12 were against. But that common rationale or human conscience was not reflected to the UN Security Council. Two countries can block, even one country can block. What is the response of the UN to the people of Syria on the ground now who do not have any food, shelter, food, or basic needs of their lives?

 

It means there is a crisis here. We have to respond. This is the political challenge of global system. The UN today does not respond these challenges properly. I can give you many other examples on environment, climate change etc. etc… where a national interest prevails the common destiny of humanity. I remember, two years ago in the General Assembly, in a meeting chaired by my dear Mexican colleague, on environmental issue, I took the floor, I said in all issues we are representing our nations as ministers of foreign affairs, but there are certain issues we should act not as foreign ministers of nation states but as interior minister of humanity. And here as well, one of these cases, an environmental issue, because the human destiny, the human future, the future of humanity is under danger. Here we cannot speak just in the name of our nations, we have to speak in the name of all humanity because there is no ontological existence that cannot be political existence.

 

But do we act really with this conscience in environmental issues or other issues? This is a challenge. History is flowing very fast but our response of our international organization is too slow to address these challenges. Therefore today two years passed and still there is no UN Security Council resolution. The same thing happened in Bosnia in 1990s. Three years passed, there was no UN resolution and after so many years UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon went to Srebrenitsa to apologize. Because of this delay, because of that more than 100.000 ladies were raped, more than 300.000 people were killed, there were thousands of orphans etc… Why do we need UN? We need UN right in these critical times. I am sure maybe after 5 or 6 years or 10 years some, another UN Secretary General will go to Humus and apologize from Syrian people.

 

There is another change in the paradigm of economic order. Before we had a paradigm of developmental change in economic order. There are developed countries and the others should reach to these countries, that was the paradigm before. But now there is a shift of economic paradigm, economic power is shifting from transatlantic to other regions. At the same time there is a question of new economic order in the sense of consumerism against economic justice. If people in Somalia are dying because of hunger, and if 4 or 5 or 10 five-star hotels are consuming more food than total Somalian people are consuming in one year, is this order sustainable? We went to Somalia with Prime Minister Erdoğan in 2011 August, we observed how they suffer. Now Turkey is chairing LDC, Least Developed Countries Group in order to help. How we can have access to these least developed countries? Wherever I go Africa or Myanmar, when we see and observe this imbalance between lifestyles and economic power and consumption of different regions, we can only say - without a new understanding of justice and distribution of economic wealth - there cannot be a sustainable economic order. Then we cannot blame those who will be challenging to this order. Again here, we can adjust, try to maximize our national economic interest. But we have to look for a new solution. How to help those who do not have even the basic needs for their daily life? People were asking us, why? Even in Turkey. We spent 6 hundred million dollars to Syrian refugees. We were criticized in Parliament, why we spend such a money, we are not oil rich country. We are spending this money from the pocket of our people. Yes, but this is a test, an ethical test for all of us. If one day we will be living with Syrian bothers and sisters next to each other, it is right today to help them, to share our wealth, to share our destiny. Many people questioned, again, why Turkey spent 300 million dollars to Somalia. We don’t have any national interest. Yes, but we have a huge ethical ideal to help them. And today, if you go to Somalia, all Turkish NGOs are there, there is only one flight, one access to Mogadishu, it is Turkish Airlines. One flight, international flight from Istanbul to Mogadishu. There is only Turkish Embassy functioning in Mogadishu and there are only Turkish NGOs. Now we are building Parliament, we are building ministerial buildings, etc. etc…  I am not here to praise Turkish efforts but we have responsibility to all humanity. National interest and human responsibility to respective regions and global issues should be balanced.

 

Third challenge, global cultural challenge. We are all here - when I look at the faces – 70 percent are European students and academicians. But we have to be aware that the eurocentric culture reached to limits. Now, there is a rise of authentic cultures, of old traditions. We have to admit them, we have to embrace them, we have to create a cultural inclusiveness. Otherwise global order, global cultural order couldn’t be restored. As Huntington or some people think that these cultures will be clashing, then based on that there cannot be order; there will be only chaos. There is a need for a new paradigm of cultural inclusivity and interaction of authentic cultures and modernity.

 

Just to share one experience in an academic atmosphere, that was a positive cultural shock for me. When I completed my PhD thesis I received two invitation, one from an American institution, another one from Malaysia. I especially preferred to go to Malaysia to study authentic civilization, especially Indian civilization, Chinese civilization and to write my book Civilizational Transformation. And I taught in a Muslim Malay university, lived in a Chinese neighborhood. I didn’t miss any Indian festival like Taifusan or Diwali with my children. I remember the first day when I entered the classroom. It was a positive culture shock, as I said. I was asked to teach history of political thought. I liked that course, combination of intellectual and historical events. But when I entered the room it was just the opposite of this structure. It was like a small United Nations. One third of the room were Malay, another one third were Chinese and Indian, another one third international students from Africa, from Latin America, I had even one student from El Salvador, I still remember. And I looked at my textbook which I brought to the classroom. That textbook was starting with Greek philosophy, continuing with Romans, then Christianity and Middle Ages, then Reform and Renaissance, then Modernity, Marxism, Hegel… end of history. Where is China? Chinese civilization was at least three-four thousand older than Greek. I don’t undermine Greek, I  admire Greek philosophy that we owe very much. But where is Indian history? Where is African tradition, Latin American tradition? When we teach these textbooks as Thomas Kuhn used as a paradigm, in fact we are re-creating a new mentality as if history started from Greece and continued with that sequence in Europe and around Mediterranean. The rest is not part of history. When I thought, if I teach this course with this textbook, I would say indirectly to those, all those students, at least 90% of the students that they are not part of history, their ancestors did not contribute to the history. What does it mean? It is not only historical rejection but it is also brainwashing that they cannot play a role in the future. Because if you don’t have any history how can you be part of the history in the future as a subject? Now, can this paradigm survive or prevail if we accept this cultural prejudice? Of course, I didn’t show my textbook, I wrote, collected, a new textbook starting with Confucius, going to Indian Rigvedas Upanishads, Muslim  philosophy, some African thinking, modern thinking etc.. whatever I found. Now what we need is cultural inclusivity. Not cultural clash.

 

As for these political challenges, political challenge of international organizations to respond to international issues, there is a need of a new political, approach of political participation and multilateralism, starting with the UN. Economic challenge, the key term is economic justice and efficiency together. And cultural challenge is cultural inclusivity, inclusiveness. If we want to have one day, we hope to have the real the end of history. It will not happen but, it could be a success only if all humanity is part of that process. Not declaring the victory of one side against the other. There should not be any feeling of being victimized or being defeated.  This is the old cold war regime, you have to defeat the other side in order to survive. Here, we should not be defeating each other for survivals, we need to show solidarity to each other for our own survival in the future. This is the global challenge and there is a need of a new global order, political, economic and cultural order.

 

Now coming to, closer to our regions, regional order, not global but regional order, I will give two examples. One example, one challenge regarding economic crisis in Europe. In fact EU was a good example of a regional or continental order. After so many wars in Europe, European nations came together and in fact created a new order through EU. End of Cold War meant the end of the division of Europe, European continent, Berlin wall or other continents and European Union was united. This is a success and we hope this success can continue. But now there is an economic crisis. There are new challenges in front of us. What are the challenges? Again we can use the same, not holy Trinity but the same three columns of our analysis. The political challenge of EU is geo-political relevance in the future. 19th century was European century and Europe got more share. We have a leading economic historian here. I don’t want to give a lesson on that, but until early 19th century the economic share of Asia was around 65-70% while Europe was just 12 to 20% in different analysis. But in 1920, after one hundred years, Europe had reached to the peak, especially after the colonial expansion of British and French colonial systems. Almost 78% were produced by European powers. But beginning of 21st century again it has been equalized and now back to 20-25%. In 2050 it will be almost same like early 19th century. So we have to see this economic challenge. First geo-political challenge, can euro still be so efficient? In defining and finding solution for these global challenges, geo-political relevance. Second economic competition, can Europe continue to be economically competitive against the new rising economic powers like India, like China, like Brazil. Third, can Europe be culturally inclusive as a new continent, rather than old eurocentric culture will prevail and Europeans will teach each other this European culture when the real cultural forces in the world is going to another direction?

 

There are two options for Europe. Either EU and European continent, but EU here, will be geo-politically relevant and influential, economically competitive and efficient, culturally inclusive and accommodative, then Europe continue to be one of the leading force in world affairs or  Europe will be geo-politically irrelevant, is not able to decide in a quick manner to regional crisis - I will give a good example but let me complete this -  economically less competitive, culturally exclusive. That Europe will be out of history, will be inward looking, reactive, defensive continent. Now I can ask a question here. What is the key for the first option? Proudly and humbly I can say the key is Turkey. If Europe wants to be geo-politically relevant, it should have access to Asia, should have access to Middle East,  should have access to Caspian Sea, Indian Sea and even Africa. They need Turkey. To be competitive against cheap labour of India or young population of China, they need Turks, not only Turkey but Turks in Europe. To be culturally inclusive, the easiest culture, closest culture, if compared to China or India or other Muslim countries, cultures, Turkey is the most European culture in that sense. If you cannot include Turkey, which other culture can you include? If you cannot accept history of a nation which ruled - you may like or dislike - half of Europe for 4 centuries. If you do not include this or understand this history, how can you understand Chinese or Indian history? If you don’t use Ottoman archives you cannot write history of Europe. If you cannot use Ottoman archives, how can you refer to Chinese or Indian archives? Will you go back to Aryan history in order to reach India. You will go to India or China through Turkey. This is the challenge.

 

As Turks, we are well aware and we are self-confident. In last ten years, what we are trying to do is to understand this global history, to respond to these challenges in a fast manner. Once, three years ago, with some European colleagues - I don’t want to give the names but they are all very close friends of mine - we were in a meeting. They were talking on the efficiency of European foreign policy, around ten, eleven leading ministers, they asked me a question. How come Turkey is following such an active foreign policy? I told them, let me give you an example. If today, at this moment, we were far away from, in a (41.46)…. area, let me say in Finland, Scandinavia, if there is crisis in any country right now, I got information, in one hour latest, I will collect all the information and I will make an analysis and I will produce a solution or an approach or a policy. Then I will consult with my Prime Minister, with my President by phone and in two hours latest we will have a national position regarding to this crisis. My plane is waiting in 20-minutes distance, I will take the plane, I will land to that country in up to the distance in three-four hours, but latest in six-seven hours we will be part of this process. This way or the other we will have a position. But if you want to develop a position, first all of you will get your national informations. Then Brussels will ask to all of you, what is your national position? Each of you will have different position, most probably, at least three or four positions will emerge and Brussels try to bring them together in one policy. If there are three-four positions and if you try to make a compromise out of four positions, it means you will have a position of no position. Because in order to make a compromise you will cut some parts of these policies. After three-four days, maybe sometimes a week, you will make a joint statement. This time that crisis will be over, another crisis will start. If history runs so fast, political leaders cannot act slowly. Otherwise, history will be faster than you and you will try to catch history.

 

As Turkey - I said in one of our lastest ambassador’s conferences to our ambassadors - you will not run after history. You will run in the history and you will lead in front of the history. You may do wrong. We are not perfect. We may sometimes do mistakes. But even doing a mistake could be corrected. But if you don’t have any position, there is even nothing to be corrected. For many decades that was my main critique towards Turkish policy when I wrote my book. Turkey was neutral, was a bridge. I don’t like the term bridge. Bridge is a passive entity between two sides. There are two sides and you are bridge. No, we are part of both of the sides. We are part of all the events. So this is the challenge for EU as a continental and regional order.

 

The second challenge is now in the Middle East and North Africa. There is a new search for a new regional order in North Africa and the Middle East. When Ebu Azizi burned himself in Tunisia we made an analysis. First theoretically, I try to understand what is going on and then I submitted our analysis to our Cabinet. In one Cabinet meeting chaired by our Prime Minister we took a decision. Our analysis was this: What is going on in Tunisia is a first indication of a change which has already been delayed. This change is not a change because of a clash between sects or ethnicities or religions. But this is a change of reacting to cold war structures. Cold war structure has ended in Balkans in the 1990s but continued to survive in Middle East 20 years more. These regimes were out of history, in the sense of following the new technologies, the new instruments, the new structures, the new logic. I told this in Egypt, immediately after the revolution when I went there, when I met with the revolutionaries of Tahrir youth. The basic search was dignity. Dignity for individual dignity, national dignity, national pride. And the question was the adaptability to the new international context. I gave this example there. I have a daughter, now 14 years old, two years ago we went to Istanbul. Istanbul for me is a place to escape. Not from Ankara but from boring official meetings, dinners and everything. I have a library there - a library house which I prepared to write books but now I can only go once a month. I went there, with my daughter. I was reading some books and writing. My daughter from another room shouted: “Father”, “Father”. I thought that something dangerous was happening. I went and she showed me my typewriter with which I wrote my PhD thesis in 1986. “What is this father?” As if she discovered an archeological discovery from Roman Empire. I said this is typewriter. I explained to her the typewriter. I bought it from an old store, I bought this parts of typewriter and she tried to write. The speed of change… For her this was like one thousand years ago. It was 25 years ago when I wrote my PhD thesis. I went to Egypt in 1988 when I was writing my PhD thesis with that typewriter. I was at the American University in Egypt. That time Mübarek was in power. Then computer came, Mübarek was in power. Mobile phone came, Mübarek was in power. Facebook came, Mübarek was in power. But he was not able to resist Twitter. Why I am giving this example, right at the beginning the flow of history is fast and Mübarek was trying to keep Egypt as if cold war was continuing, as if he can tell his people, “look Israel is threatening us, we have to have an autocrat regime or you have to listen me.” No, young generation doesn’t listen anyone except their own conscience. We and my old generation are questionable but we should understand that new conscience of the young generation in order to respond for the future and understand their psychology. Why I am giving this example, in Syria now people are claiming that this is a sectarian war or religious war. Syrian regime wants to make it a sectarian war in order to continue to be in power through consolidating a minority regime based on a minority army. No, no Arab young revolutionary was looking for a sectarian or ethnic revival. They were looking for a new political order domestically. In Tahrir or in Tunisia or today in Syria. I saw many Christian and Alevite revolutionaries in Syria, in Humus leading the demonstrations. Because for many years Syrian regime tried to keep them in that order. You may ask, why did you have relations with them? We try to make this change within the country, not like imposed from other side. Therefore, we had free-trade agreement, we had visa regime in order to open Syria to the world. In fact with that opening Syrian people saw other experiences, other models and wanted to have the same. Here, domestic challenge in this political restoration is legitimacy.

 

When we came to power in 2002, in one of the first interviews, I identified six basic principles of new Turkish foreign policy. The first principle was a new domestic culture based on a balance between security and freedom. Without that legitimacy and balance, you cannot have a foreign policy. If you sacrifice security for freedom you will have a chaos, if you sacrifice freedom for security you will have a dictatorial regime. Both of them will be seen illegitimate by the eyes of the people. In fact, young Arab generation, everywhere in the Arab world wanted to see this balance. For many decades, Arab leaders told their people “We are at war against Israel” or “We are at war against another country” or “There are so many challenges”, “They may be pro-west or pro-Soviet based on their challenges, therefore don’t ask freedom from us”, “We will provide you security but you will not ask freedom”. If you ask me as a political scientist, the ultimate goal of political legitimacy is that a state says to its citizens “I will provide you maximum security without limiting your freedom and maximum freedom without risking your security.” That is the ultimate search of all human beings from the time of Adam and Eve until now.

 

Terefore in Turkey, in the last ten years, we tried to democratize our country. For Turkey also, several years, I remember - Prof. Pamuk also remembers we are almost same generation – every winter in 1970s we were expecting that communism will come and we will die. This winter communism, we die. Why is this fear? In order to keep certain status quo of security of an elité. Because of the fear of communism we were accepting the autocratic regimes of 12th of September military coupe d’état or others. Every summer in 1990s because of PKK terrorism we were scared that Turkey will be divided. If a country is having such a psychology of being divided, being threatened, that country cannot act rationally. What we did in ten years in Turkey, first we addressed the self-confidence of our people. Today Turkish people are confident, they are not scared of being divided or they are not scared of being invaded, they are not scared of any other nation.

 

Therefore, I especially use the term, the second principle, zero problems with our neighbors. Why? Because  without changing the psyche of the people, we cannot motivate people. For many decades Turkish young generation including us, we were trained that Russians are our old enemies, Greeks are now contemporary enemies, Arabs betrayed us, Armenians we have problem. With that psychology you cannot be proactive. Again some nations have this psychology regarding to  Turkey. But what we should do? We should change. We should make a psychologic revolution first. That was the reason. Of course I know history, I know that even brothers and sisters may not have zero problems even at home. But the important thing is you have to make your nation confident, psychologically well established. If you have such problem, then you cannot motivate people.

 

Now Arab nations today wanted to be same, either in Tunisia, in Libya, in Egypt, in Syria they want to have a new political system which doesn’t ask them to sacrifice their freedoms for security, this is what they want, they want to be secure and free at the same time. Is it possible? Yes. Is it necessary? Yes. Then who can be against these voices of people? In that Cabinet meeting we decided that we will support these legitimate demands of Arab people wherever they are. Therefore we supported Tunisian Jasmine revolution, therefore we supported Tahrir Square, therefore we supported Yemen, therefore we supported the people in Benghazi. I was the first Minister of Foreign Affairs landing in Benghazi during the war. It is a risky process, there are many dangers, there are many risks. But if history flows and you see that flow, you cannot be secure of risk, being away of that flow. You have to understand and you have to respond to this properly.

 

Now we can make an analysis in last three years. 2011 was the year of revolutions in all these countries, especially in North Africa. In 2012 elections were conducted, many new elected governments, parliaments were established and 2013, this year, we will have elections in almost all of these countries for permanent governments and parliaments. This is a success and I salute Arab nations because of this success, despite of all the difficulties. We should not forget that the de-construction of cold war structures in the Balkans continued 10 years with the support of European Union money and NATO security umbrella. Was it easy for people of Romania to remove Chaushescu? Was it easy for Bosnian people to resist againsts cold war logic of Milosevich? In early days of Arab Spring, I was asked to give a lecture in El-Cezire. The title was “Has history arrived? Has the future arrived?”. I said not only arrived, it has delayed, it should have been 20 years ago.

 

Now, we have challenges in Syria and it is a big test for international community, for regional countries, for Turkey and for Syrian people. Every night before sleeping I am making my own personal assessment of our performance. Did we do correct, did we do enough for Syrian people? Because history will judge all of us. If we are silent to this oppression, why then did we call these political objectives? There will be many more challenges in the region, but at the end of the day the new regional order in the Middle East should base on - like in Europe, what I told in Europe - high level political dialogue, a common security zone, an economic interdependency and a cultural inclusivity of city life. We are looking and we are working for a new Middle East run by the people of the Middle East, not imposed by outsiders. We will respect borders, we will respect all nations. But like Europe, European Union, we have to make these borders meaningless. Because all the borders in the Middle East are artificially drawn. We have to see this fact. Tribes were divided, families were divided, cities, towns were divided between Turkey and Syria. Who divided? The natural connections were lost. Now this will be restored. Therefore, as Turkey, our regional vision for the Middle East is that one day we need to have a new regional order economically integrated, politically well structured, based on legitimacy and a common security zone. This is what we need in the new Middle East.

 

So in short, there are big challenges in global transformation of world politics. There are challenges for the Europe, for the Middle East. But at the end of the day, it is us who will decide what the future will be. All of us, either academicians or statesmen or students or intellectuals, we have responsibility today at this moment of history to understand the flow of history for our nations and for all humanity. Then we hope there will be a new world order based on peace and harmony.

 

Thank you very much.