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Peace at home, peace in the world

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Speech entitled "Vision 2023: Turkey’s Foreign Policy Objectives" delivered by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey at the Turkey Investor Conference: The road to 2023 organized by Goldman Sachs (London, 22.11.2011)

Ses Kaydı



Dear participants, ladies and gentlemen, first of all let me express my thanks and appreciation to Goldman Sachs for this very timely organisation. Politicians and business sector should meet as frequently as possible in this very critical time of transformation. And Goldman Sachs is not only a leading firm in financial sector but at the same time like a wise man of international relations showing the trends of the general economic and political transformations and therefore in these days meetings organised by Goldman Sachs are even much more interesting and important. The term BRICs is coined by Goldman Sachs; after a while became as if it is a club. So you are like a forecast, it was leading the international economic and political trends. I know that Turkey was listed in next eleven as the one of the rising countries in international political economy, but I will a little bit disagree about it, because I do not think that we are next 11, we are in the current. And when we talk about vision 2023, what we mean is from the category of next eleven, we want to be in current 10 in 2023. That is the main objective of what we are trying to achieve. And in order to understand this vision in a much more detailed manner, I will try to first to give how we see the regional and global environment as policy makers in Ankara. I am sure you have discussed the economic issues with Deputy Prime Minister Babacan, therefore I will not give details of the economic objectives but I will try to establish a link between the economic objectives and foreign policy orientation. When we look at Turkey from the west, from Greece up to Spain, there is a huge economic crisis. And from the south, from Syria up to Morocco, there is a huge political crisis. Usually when we look at the Greece, Spain, Italy, we refer to economics, but the consequences will not be only economic. The consequences will be political as well and we are seeing now these consequences in Italy, in Greece, now we have technocratic governments. When in the southern side of Mediterranean, we are encouraging Arab societies to have democratic governments. In the north of the Mediterranean, we prefer technocratic governments for the purpose of economic stability. And here we can see close connection between politics and economics. In 2008, it was a financial crisis which had started. It has been transformed into an economic crisis then into a social crisis. It is Unemployment and a political crisis now. Similarly when we talk about the transformation in Syria or in Libya, in Egypt, we should not only focus on politics. The masses, yesterday in Tahrir, the youth even yesterday, they are making a political demonstrations aiming at politics. The main slogans are not economics, the political slogans are there. Political participation, democracy, freedom etc. But the consequences will be economic, as well. Why? Because of the energy security and energy politics in the coming years. If there is a huge political crisis in the Middle East, nobody can say that the energy security will not be under the risk in global economics. Or even trade roots. Yesterday some Turkish buses were attacked in Syria. Our connection with Syria is not only connection with Syria, but it is a connection with South Arabia, Egypt, Jordan; so all these politics and economics are interrelated. And this is not a crisis in Greece or in Italy. Economic crisis should be seen individual, crisis of individual nation states. Even it should not be seen a crisis of EU or EU zone. It is an indication, a symptom of a much bigger crisis or a consequence. Similarly a crisis in Syria is a political crisis. It is not a Syrian crisis alone or Tunisian crisis or an Egyptian crisis. When we look from Ankara, we see that there is a transformation, on-going transformation in all surrounding regions of Turkey. In fact in the global sphere. Why? Because the global international environment, order, system, whatever you call it, is changing. And this is not something new. When we look at the history, when there is an economic transformation, a political transformation and even the relations between these transformations with the war, we can see some similarities. Therefore, we have to be much more careful. And we have to have much more systematic consistent coherent foreign policy objectives. For example, in last hundred years, after every war, there was some sort of resetting international order. And there was an economic counterpart of this. After the Thirty Year Wars in Europe, we had Westphalian peace, Westphalian order which started nation states, nation level economy, politics and the consequences of this emerged parallel to this process. There was a war and after the war there was a new order. After Napoleonic wars, we had the Congress of Vienna. There was a new setting. And all the relevant actors came together in the Congress of Vienna to discuss 19th century’s foreign, European and global system. And it was just after industrial revolution and there was a new rise of European powers in early 19th century. The share of Asia was around 60 percent, share of Europe was fifteen to 20 percent. In the middle of 19th century, the share became almost equal. The political and economic transformation went hand in hand. After the First World War, there was the League of Nations, a new setting and there were Anglo and Frank blocks of colonial economies. And the end of continental empires including the Ottoman, Austria-Hungarian and Russian Empires. After the Second World War, again after a war, there was a new setting which was United Nations. And there was a new global order, economic order around Bretton Woods system, IMF, World Bank, etc. And the nation state times emerged in the Middle East after the long centuries. Countries lived together, societies lived together, they were separating from each other first by colonialism, then by nation states. Suddenly Iraq and Syria, Syria and Lebanon, Egypt and Libya, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, they became separate national entities. Now after the cold war, it was a war like Thirty Year Wars, Napoleonic Wars, First World War; Cold War was a war in different parts of the world and the continents almost half a century. After the Cold War, there was a need of restructuring. Politics in every country, restructuring of regional politics and restructuring of global politics. But unfortunately, from 1989 until now almost after 22 years, today we did not have either a congress like Vienna Congress or a treaty like Westphalia Peace or a new organisation like the League of Nations or United Nations, what we tried to do was to reform the United Nations, but it was not completed. Still the reform of the United Nations is continuing. What we are looking for economic order, everybody realise that after global crisis like 1929, it led to a new order at that time the League of Nations and parallel to this, everybody realise that there is a new, there is a need of new restructuring of global economic institutions. Still we are talking o this. Therefore G-20 became much more important than G-8. And it was right, because the new rising economic powers should be considered as important economic players and political players as well. And this was the right choice. But what will be the future of G-20 and how it will be integrated to the system of the UN, this is important. Once you have UN Security Council still reflecting the post-Second World War geopolitical balances. And on the other hand, you have G-20 which reflects the existing economic rising powers. How will this fit together? Where will the issues be discussed? What will be the veto power and if it affects economic consequences. Similarly after the clash of civilisations, culture clashes, there is a need of a new cultural, global order. Because now we cannot claim that we, Europeans, we are the centre of the world. When one fourth of the humanity is Chinese, they have a long history of civilisation tradition, or a rise of Latin American African culture and Muslim culture, there should be a new rise of inclusive global cultural order. What we think as Turkey about global order issue? We think that in UN there should be a much more participatory political order, much more justice oriented and economic order and a much more inclusive cultural order. And therefore starting with this global issue I will come to later from this, one by one. Turkey wants to play a much bigger role in the United Nations. We, after fifty years, first time became member of the UN Security Council in 2009-10. Now we now again applied for 2015-16. Why? Because if you take the agenda of the United Nations, if you have ten agenda of United Nations Security Council at least eight or nine of them are directly related to Turkey. If it is Libya, we are there. If it is Syria, we are there. If it is Afghanistan, we are there. And you know we recently organised Afghanistan Conference last week. If it is Somalia, we are there. Today Turkey is one of the four countries that have Embassy in Somalia. And Prime Minister Erdoğan was the only Prime Minister, as a world leader, who went to Somalia in the last 20 years. If it is Palestine, we are there. If it is security, we are there. We can give ten examples, all the agenda items. They are either directly related to Turkey or Turkey can contribute this way or the other way. This was not the image ten years ago. Turkey was seen more if Cyprus is in the agenda, Turkey is there. But if other agendas, Turkey is not there. Today we are there and we will continue to be there forever. When I say forever, I do not mean the end of history, but at least until 2013. That is our objective. It is poverty, Turkey will something in Somalia. If it is geopolitical issues, Turkey will have a Turkish vision. In the UN, we will have a much bigger role. In economic sense, we are a member of G-20. I am sure Deputy Prime Minister Babacan gave the details, but when there is an economic meeting today, everybody is talking about Turkish success, Turkish miracle. When these two crises are around, Turkey is one of the fastest growing countries compared to our Western neighbours; I do not want to give the names not to humiliate. That is not my intention. Turkey has performed an excellent election and will have a new constitution based on liberty. So, in G-20, we are there not as a passive observer. We are there as an active contributor based on our own experience. And in global cultural order, we initiated with Spain the Alliance of Civilisations just to ease the tension in the world cultural tension and to contribute cultural peace. So this is on global scale our objective. Turkey today, in short I can say, in global sense, today there is a need of a new global cultural, economic, politic order and Turkey is and will be even bigger contributor to this attempt of re-establishing global order. And there is a need of restructuring regional and sub-regional orders based on this new global experiences. And therefore our regional politic should be consistent with the global objectives. What are today, when we talk about Turkish role in international politics and if there is a rise of Turkey some people say and Time in the cover this week analysed Prime Minister Erdoğan’s way. We can say if there is a way there are three pillars. The political pillar is democracy and reforms. The economic pillar is economic growth and sustainable economic growth. And foreign policy pillar is an active, even pro-active peace oriented foreign policy. And these three are interlinked. If you do not have democracy in your country, you cannot teach or preach others or you cannot advise them. Today if we turn our face to Libya, to Egypt, to Syria and if we say you should listen to the voice of your people, you must respect the demands of your people because these demands are not the demands of your people only. These demands are the demands of all humanity. Transparency, rule of law, political participation, freedom, constitutional reforms, we can say these to our neighbours, because we are observing these values, human rights and all these. When you compare then years ago with Turkey today, you can see the change of democratic spirit and institutionalisation. And this June, we had a fair and free election. Now our parliament is working for a new constitutional reform and our party got almost 50% support of people. When I met one leader, I can tell President Bashar Assad, I said, “we got 50% in the election. But in all of the elections in the Middle East, leaders are getting 99% or 95%. Which one is better? I would prefer to have 50% in a competitive way in multiparty politics rather than having 99% with one candidate. Now if you look to the world, who is stronger? These leaders who are getting 99% or Prime Minister Erdoğan? Everybody praises him as this third term getting 50%, because it is a competitive politics. And our advice to all of you is allow these compete and get what your people want from you”. Democracy will continue to be the basic. Why democracy is important? This Saturday, we had another meeting in Istanbul, the Turkish entrepreneurs from all over the world I think around 200 Turkish entrepreneurs came and we have spoken with them. Democracy is the best regime not only because of human rights and others but because of economy. Why? Because democracy is mobilising the hidden energy of the people. If there is a freedom of movement, if there is a freedom of thought, if there is a freedom of investment, economic freedom, then the energy which was oppressed came out of the Pandora’s Box. This is the blessing of democracy. Today a Syrian or Egyptian entrepreneur, they cannot see the future, because they cannot know how to move, how to mobilise their resources. Therefore, whatever happens, Turkey will see democracy as the basic backbone of everything. The second pillar is the economic road, economic stability. I am sure you listened much about this by Minister Babacan. Therefore I will not say. But everybody is saying how Turkish economy is sustainably growing. And the third is active foreign policy. I want to mention here a relation between active foreign policy, visionary foreign policy, not crisis oriented foreign policy but visionary foreign policy, and economic growth. These are supporting each other. For example, in last two years we opened 22 new embassies in Africa. And all the past 87 years, we only had 12 embassies in Africa. In the next few months, the opening will completed. We will be having 34 embassies functioning in Africa. The interesting observation here; if we did not have a strong economic background as a Minister of Foreign Affairs, if I will not be able to ask for a budget for me to open these embassies. If we do not have enough growth, we would not open it. But if we did not open those embassies, Turkish economy would not be effective in Africa. One of my very close colleagues asked me a question. He said “We, European Countries and other countries are closing embassies in Africa or in other continents because of economic crisis. You are opening new embassies. And not only one or two. 22 embassies in two years. What do you want to do in Africa?” I told him the difference is in other countries the bourgeoisies are, there is high rank business class but the medium scale business is not so effective. And it is more established old bourgeoisie. But in our case, we have a very young, dynamic entrepreneurs’ class and they want to go everywhere. And wherever there is one Turkish business or company in any country, it is my mission as the Minister of Foreign Affairs to open an embassy or consulate there. To facilitate this, I can give one interesting example. I went to Ethiopia in 2005, when we started African opening, there was only one Turkish company functioning in Ethiopia and around 50 million Turkish investment. In 6 years now, I was told that there are 341 Turkish companies and total Turkish investment is about 1 billion USD dollars. You can see the change in 5-6 years. We opened 5 new embassies in Latin America. The president of Colombia was in Turkey a few days ago. And in 2001 our total trade with Colombia was around 20 million USD, before we opened the embassy it was 350 million. We opened the embassy, this year it is 500 million and we hope that this year, end of this year and maybe next year around 1 billion. We want to respond, we want to satisfy the needs the business class. Similarly, visa policy. People are asking why suddenly Turkey is implementing visa exemption policies. Again we are observing general economic trends. I will give you now. I am telling like an academician just forecast. We are claiming or we want to make Turkey in one of the first ten country big economic powers in 2023. The question is, I asked the same question in Turkey, which countries will be the other nine. All the other nine countries except one are continental powers. Not optimum scale nation states. Like the USA, it is a continent. Even Texas is bigger than Turkey. Like China. One fourth of humanity. A continental power. Like India. One fifth of world’s population. Again another continental power. Like Russia. You can see when you look at the map as if Russia is like an umbrella of the world. Canada, Australia, Brazil, ten times bigger than Turkey. Even Brazil as land. Now you can see it already nine. So how can we compete with them? And of course the European countries Germany, France, Britain. They are also inside EU. A continental European economy is part of their economic life zone. How can we challenge this? Only with one mean; human power. We do not have natural gas like Russia. We do not have big geography like China, like the USA or Brazil. We do not have huge population like China or India. But what we have is a very self-confident manpower. On the way we were talking with, in the plane, with Deputy Prime Minister Babacan about budgets. I said we have to give the most important share to education. Because our only source is manpower. Education, education, education. Why? Because that is the only competitive force in our hand. Manpower. With us, like Japanese, the only optimum scale nation state like us. All the others are more continental economies. Why we are implementing exemption of visa? Because we want our economic borders, frontiers bigger than our political frontiers. Of course, we respect the territories. And it is not an era of conquest. No. And we do not have any imperial objective. Neither in the Middle East nor in the Caucasus nor in the Balkans. But what we want is, we want free mobilising of economic resources, especially free mobilisation of our manpower, of our businessman, throughout the world. Therefore even with Colombia, the first think we offered to them “OK, can we make visa exemption?” They said “Of course.” And nobody was imagining five years ago, when we were talking about that there will be no visa between Turkey and Russia, nobody believed it then. But we did it. And this is a link between political objectives, foreign policy issues and economic objectives. Again another interesting example is the rise of Turkish Airlines. We want Turkish Airlines to reach everywhere. If we have 34 embassies in Africa, but if our businessmen or ambassadors use other destinations to come to Turkey, then it will not be functional. So this is a new integrated strategy. I do not say foreign policy, strategy. Our strategy of transportation, our strategy of energy, our strategy of economics, financial relations, they all should be integrated. And today we are implementing such an integrated foreign policy. And the new instruments of foreign policy is parallel to these strategic objectives. When Turkish Airlines was privatised in 2003, I was the Chief Advisor of Prime Minister Erdoğan at that time and we have spoken with them. And we said to the new Turkish Airlines Board, “You are a private company now, you will look to the commerce, but we want as our strategic objective, we want three things from you, if possible. One, we want you to have access to all regional destinations around us. Second, we want you to open new lines when we start African or Latin American Strategy or any other strategy. Because without having access, no strategy can be functional. Third we want to have more than one destination in certain countries which are important to us. Not just one capital destination, but if Turkish companies for example in Russia are functioning in all the cities in Ukraine or in China, we want to have more destinations there. And this transportation strategy, our energy strategy, they are integrated with our foreign policy. Therefore to these very respected distinguished investors, I want to give this picture, just to make sure that none of our economic objective is without base. There is always a preparation and when you invest Turkey, you will see a zone around Turkey, not only Turkey. When you look at Turkey, do not see only a country with 786.000 square kilometre. But you see a hinterland; you can see where you can reach from Istanbul. If you want to go to somewhere, because Istanbul is one of the main destination of transfer. Or if you have a headquarter in Istanbul, it means you can have access to all the surrounding regions and the globe. You will have these facilities around you. If these are the three pillars, what are the democracy, economic growth and active foreign policy? What are the visions for 2023? The main vision is to achieve these goals. I will mention four important visions we want to achieve. Then if there are questions, we can discuss. One is, we want to integrate with our neighbours. When in 2003, we declared zero problems with our neighbours, as a former academician, I was heavily criticised that I am naïve, stupid, typical, utopic academician and does not know the realities around Turkey, because Turkey has a very risky environment. Almost all neighbours are our enemies etc. This was the general psychology. I was in the Parliament last week to defend my budget. They criticised zero problems; in fact they did not criticise the principle. They said “you claim zero problems with the neighbours and it was very good”. Now you have problems with Syria. It is interesting that last year they were criticising zero problem policy with neighbours, the principle they were criticising and now they are defending the principle. They are claiming that we are not implementing the principle to Syria. In fact, we are implementing this principle. I know as a somebody who knows psychology, even in the families, you cannot have zero problems. You will have problems. The most important thing at that time was to change the mentality, the psyche that we are surrounded by enemies. No, we are not surrounded by enemies. They are all our friends. In the Council of Europe last year, there was a question by an Armenian parliamentarian; she said “What do you think about Armenian-Turkish relations“. I said we have two categories of state. She thought that I will be saying friends and enemies. I said “friends and potential friends. No third category”. Yes, today historically in the last 400 years, Turkey made many wars against Russia. Especially during Cold War, Russia was the main enemy in the minds of Turkish people. But today Russia is being seen as one of the main partners. And if you make a poll, nobody would say Russia is the main threat to Turkey. Ten years ago this was not the case. With Greece. Many people thought even Greece and Turkey are historic enemies. But today, Greece and Turkey are best friends. In fact, there was no change of government in Greece, this week or next week we were planning to have High-Level Strategic Council meeting between Turkey and Greece, co-chaired by two prime ministers. Last year we organised this on 15th May 2010 and in one day we signed 25 agreements. In 87 years, Turkey and Greece signed only 35 agreements. In one day we signed 25 agreements. Now nobody thinks that Greece is Turkey’s eternal enemy. In Bulgaria and Ukraine, we will have High Level Strategic Council Meetings next months. I should mention these are highly strategic council meetings. It means two chairmen, two prime ministers are chairing a joint cabinet meeting and we are talking all the issues same day around the table. And we are signing all the necessary agreements. In order to prevent bureaucratic barriers and long term procedures in integration with the neighbours. Yes, today we have problems with Syria. I will come to that issue about Arab Spring. It is not because of us. It is because of the oppression by Syrian administration against their own people. We had the best relations until August. Why I said August? Because this year from January to August, we try to use all the diplomatic, psychological, political means to convince Syrian administration to prevent bloodshed and to do reforms. We want to have a stable Syria. And we want to have stable, prosperous, free neighbours in principle. But we think that only through reforms this sustainable stability come to Syria. The continuation of this regime will create much bigger problems not only for Syria but for all the regimes, for all the regions around us. So this policy of reintegration I am saying not integration, reintegration with our neighbours will continue. Antep and Aleppo, Edirne and Plovdiv or Filibe, Istanbul and Selanik, İzmir and Athens, Rize and Batumi will be reintegrated. This is our strategy. With Georgia I am sure you know, now we did not only implement visa exemption, but we even do not use passport. Turkish and Georgian citizens can go to each other. We want to have the same relations with all neighbours until 2023. Full integration with all neighbours. Second objective that is of course parallel to this is to have a belt of stability, security, prosperity in the surrounding regions. In the Balkans, in the Middle East, in the Caucasus, in Central Asia we want to have a belt of stability, security and prosperity. And we want to help restructuring regional orders, and at the same time we want to help individual national states around us in order to help to go through this historic transformation. Here Arab Spring is important. Why Turkey did support the demands of the masses? Now I want to remind you my analysis regarding post-cold war politics and historic transformation. When the first Jasmine Revolution started in Tunisia, Ebu Azizi burned himself one individual Tunisian. We had a cabinet meeting and we had a long consultation with Prime Minister Erdoğan and I briefed the cabinet about the events in Tunisia. And the main argument of that briefing was this is not a Tunisian issue, this is not a North African issue. This is the issue of end of cold war politics in our region. And the Arab world all together will be transformed. The region will be mobilised. Today there is a new telecommunicational revolution and Arab streets, Arab youth, they felt they are humiliated by Israel, they felt they are humiliated by their own leaders. Now they want to have one single thing. There is one secret term, concept in Arab Spring, it is dignity. Dignity, dignity. And if a group of people rises for their dignity, nobody can stop them. Therefore many people found it risky, but we established two principles. And we are still following these two principles in the Arab Spring. One is Turkey will support the demands of the masses, the demands of the Arab people, because we cannot be inconsistent. For our own Turkish people, in 2002, we promised them transparency, we promised them the rule of law, we promised them more democracy, more political participation, more liberty. Now we cannot say these are the rights of Turkish people, but the Arab people have to be under autocratic regimes. Then we would not be convincing anybody. In order to be convincing and in order to respond these demands we said we support the demands of the masses. We will be on the side of change not on the side of statuesque. And we said we will not be implementing second principle, we will not be implementing wait and see policy. Let’s sit in Ankara and watch what is happening. And implementing a reactive policy to each individual issue. We did not do this. We said we will be implementing efficient, effective diplomacy in order to make this transformation peaceful and we will be against any violence, we will not support any violence, but we will be using diplomacy and economic means to support this transformation. From that time until now, that has been our policy. If there are questions in detail, I can answer, but this will continue to be our foreign policy regarding Arab Spring. Wherever they are, whoever is demanding these values, this is a value oriented foreign policy. Yes, it is realistic at the same time. Because we think that this is the flow of the history. In fact, all these revolutions should have been completed in the Middle East immediately after Eastern Europe in the early 1990s. But because international community preferred stability rather than democracy in the 1990s and because of the oppression by the autocratic regimes it has been postponed. Now it is time for change. And if this change is been completed, it will not be an easy process. It was not an easy process in Eastern Europe. We had the Milosevic wars, but that was the spirit of history. They would not be able to resist. Of course, it will be different in the Middle East, but at the end of the day, we have to have a vision in the post-crisis era. Which type of Middle East do you want? We want a Middle East without tension, without crisis, with democracy, freedom of economy and a spirit of integration rather than having Chinese walls between countries. We want to have one integrated region based on political dialog, based on a common understanding of common security, multiculturalism, multi-religious character of the societies. This is our vision for the Middle East, for the Caucasus, for the Balkans. We want to achieve in next ten – 12 years. We hope that these objectives, this strategic belt of stability, prosperity and security will be established around Turkey. Third important strategic vision is integration with the EU. Many people may think that if I told this last year it would have been a much more realistic vision. Now it is difficult to say that Turkey will be integrated to EU soon. You know the difficulties. And even more compare to last year, one of my colleagues in Europe, he said even if EU decided, I mean these political barriers will be over, today the main issue in Europe is not enlargement but it is much more how to make Europe much narrower, much deeper about the Euro-zone and the discussions, the future. Here is the strategic choice for Europe, we will make this choice and the European leaders in these months, years will have to decide whether Europe will be a geopolitically strategically relevant influential, economically competitive, culturally inclusive global continent, global power. This is one option. Secondly, geopolitically irrelevant, less significant, economically less competitive, culturally much more inward looking, exclusivist continental power. As Turkey our vision is the first option. And as for Europe and as for us, for Turkey, Turkey will be one of the main contributors of EU in this first option as a global power. Now European leaders should make a new reassessment. Despite of all the difficulties, economic political difficulties in EU, we still want to be a part of EU, because we know that the remedy of EU, one of the remedies at least is Turkish integration to EU. And the remedy for Turkey is for the future, for our democracy, for our values is integration with EU. This will be a win-win situation. But the problem here is the popular strategic and vision they are competing, but unfortunately popular politics are much more sometimes influential than strategic visions. The fourth vision is in fact I mentioned this in details is Turkey as a global power, Turkey as an active contributor to global order in cultural economic political sense. Turkey as a country having relations with all over the world with all international organisations. Today Turkey is amember of NATO, we hope will be member of EU, Turkey is a member of OIC. Turkey has established Turkish-speaking States Council, Turkey is in UN, in G-20, in Alliances of Civilisations, Turkey is the observer country of ASEAN, Turkey is the strategic dialogue country with the Arab League with GCC. We are a strategic dialog partner of the African Union. We will be meeting in December. Now we are either member or strategic dialog partner or observer of all international organisations.

Our role will be much more diversified in the next 12 years. Not only in strategic issues but as a strategic country we will be more active in human rights issues, environmental issues, poverty and prosperity type of social issues. In short this is our strategic objective. A democratic country with a strong economic structure. A regional, European and global power. Our dynamism will achieve that goal. Thank you very much.

Question: We invest in growing Turkish companies active in the Arab Spring countries and obviously this has an economic impact on the companies there. What’s your foresight on how long the Arab Spring will last and what’s going to be the impact of it on the Turkish companies active in those regions?

H.E. Davutoğlu: I think there are two aspects for your question. One is about the forecast the other is about how to protect the interests of the Turkish companies there. About the forecast, it is difficult to give a date. It depends on how the community will own this process, it depends on the reactions of the several international organizations including the Arab League. When I look at such an issue I look more from the perspective of necessity, naturality, spontaneity of this process. Today we don’t have a choice whether to support the status quo or support the winds of change. If there is a support for status quo, these forces of change will not be oppressed. Especially in the economic sense this new era of oppression by status quo will be much stricter than before in order to control the masses using twitter, communicational links. They have to be, the regimes I mean, more restrictive. But if we support this change it will be very challenging but at the end of this process there will be a new Middle East, a new Africa. And resources will be used in a much more rational manner not as the personal property of a single leader. They will be used more rationally. Similarly if there is a democratic regime in Egypt it will be one of the main economic powers in the region despite the lack of natural resources. Egypt, like Turkey, has a strong institutions and manpower. I can give you many examples so it is difficult to say in one month or five years. But like Ceausesku and Milosevic left Eastern Europe and now it is a more efficient economic region despite all the difficulties, similarly the new Middle East will be much more open and dynamic. I am sharing my personal view for analysis. The most important country for transformation is Egypt. Libya is important but is not the determinant force. Tunisia can manage itself. Libya has resources. We hope that Libya can recover easily. But Egypt means the brain of all Arabs. If it becomes a success story it will be the flag ship of a convoy. Therefore as Turkey we are trying to support the Egyptian process. In the last eight months I visited Egypt five times while our PM went to Egypt with 200 Turkish businessmen. We give full guarantees and support in economic sense as well in these difficult times. So despite the risks, international community should support these countries in economic sense especially those which do not have rich natural resources like oil or gas. There should be some sort of Marshall Aid contributed by Arab countries as well as by the international community, Turkey and all of us in order to support this democratic transformation in the region. Then it will be much easier. But we cannot expect from Egypt to deal with the economic crisis and the demands of the masses at the same time. So it depends on how we will be reacting to those countries in each case. Syria is even much more critical because of the social character of the Syrian society as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi sectarian society. About our companies, of course as I said our foreign policy towards Arab countries is very oriented. We did not look first at the economic interest at the same time we have to protect the interest of our companies of course. For example in Libya we faced a huge situation. First how to protect our civilians and then how to protect the rights of our companies and how to develop a new vision for Libya. In one week as you know we evacuated 25,000 Turkish citizens and around 10,000 foreign nationals including British or European friends. This was achieved. That was the first responsibility. Second, how to protect the rights of our companies. In UNSC Res. 1973, 1970 and in all international resolutions and agreements we especially asked these closure regarding the previous of our companies and other companies. Now immediately after the change in Libya our PM went there. He specified what should be done and ten days ago our Economy Minister went to Libya with a good number of businessmen almost all companies in order to see the situation on the ground. There is no guarantee in business; there is always a risk. My father was a businessman. From him I learned that there’s always a risk in life. In foreign policy there is always a risk. But if you calculate the risks and take the measures you will be winner in the next stage. But Turkish Republic will be the supporter of our companies and international companies partnering with our companies. We will do everything possible to protect their rights in Arab Spring. 

Question: In addition to the Arab Spring we are seeing changes in the Western hemisphere. The GDP growth is also diminishing in the West and we are seeing more protests from the general public. So with regard to all this what kind of transformation do you envisage for the next five or ten years for the EU and US? 

H.E. Davutoğlu: For US, after 9/11, I as an academic, that time I was free, easy to comment and write and now I have to be much careful, after 9/11 I said at a conference at Princeton which later became a book that there should be a new approach for the future of the US global power. 9/11 should not make US to be defensive in the sense of defending the existing power structure, the status quo inside the American society, the status quo of the WASP, or against all other migrants, or defending the economic position of the US as the leading economic power. And I compared the US with the Roman Empire: Now the US needs Marcus Aurelius rather than Ceasar because the American power now is not at the peak of its formation but it is at another stage. There are other rising powers. Here another strategy is needed rather than a strategy of power. Therefore I said Ceasar was at the peak of the Roman imperial power but after two centuries Marcus Aurelius was trying to adapt this imperial structure to a multicultural society and how to manage the big Roman Empire. Here it was a prediction at that time. In 2002 on a TV program conference it was an analysis and I said what the US needed was a black president in order to achieve this inclusiveness as a global power. The 19th century US was a continental power. In the 20th century it became an international power. But a global power means you have to represent everyone not only one. In the Middle East the US is losing credibility because people think that the US represents only the Israeli interests or in other parts as well the US as a leading global power should be as much inclusive as possible. And President Obama therefore was a good symbol for the new global approach of the US. His promises, speeches were reflecting, comparing to my analysis in 2002, like a philosophical approach of Marcus Aurelieus. Now President Obama is going to enter a new election and it will affect the next four years. We strongly supported his speeches in Cairo, in Ankara in many places, in early years of his administration. I think he should be defending and focusing on these values. Only on these values he defended in his early times. The good thing is that the US society is more participating. Compared to the President Bush era, it is more multilateral and less unilateral. This is also needed. More multilateral I do not mean only in the crisis of Libya or other crises. In economic administration as well in economic global management, the governments should be more multilateral. If they prefer to continue to disperse multilateralism, inclusiveness I think that will be good. But if they go back to unilateralism and more assertive foreign policies trying to protect the status quo of the US global hegemony, that will create more discussion and problems. For the EU, the situation is even more critical. Now I am speaking very frankly, EU today is like a company of five CEOs. When we look at the EU, as Turkey, we wish to negotiate but with whom should we negotiate within the EU? This is the problem. For integration I have excellent relations with Cathy Ashton; she’s great, she understands the significance of Turkey she knows but what is her mandate, the limit of her mandate? After Lisbon Treaty there is a new presidency, but is he the person who decides at the end of the day? Or Mr. Barroso? They are all good at balancing power but at the same time we have a German, British, French strategy and all the leaders of those big countries are talking about the future of the Europe and more dangerous I know all of us we can predict that all the divisions regarding the EU on the minds of these leaders. If you give them one paper, what is the future of Europe in the next five years and write an essay just to see, you will be seeing different pictures. One will be more sophisticated, integrated, focused while another one will be much more confederate Europe, another one will be just about defending Europe against immigrants, the new barbaric trends. It is different. What we need in Europe, not for Turkey, is there should be a new strategic re-assessment. After the WWII when the leaders of Europe started the process of going to the EU, they had a vision but today I am afraid I don’t see that consistent vision. Responding to the crises as well, I once had a meeting with some European friends in Finland. An informal meeting with ten European Foreign Ministers last year. And they asked me how Turkey is responding so quickly to the crises. I said I will give you an example. Assume that today a crisis in country X, the Balkans, the Caucasus or the Middle East. It will take one hour for me to take a decision. I will get all the info on the phone then I will try to formulate a policy and I will consult Prime Minister Erdogan and President Gul and with their instructions and Prime Minister Erdogan’s mutual talking, formulation in one hour, two hours we will take a decision. I will take off on a plane and land there in five or six hours and I will start to implement our policy. But the EU has to deal with long procedures. First there will be an assessment in Brussels. Then this will be asked to all member countries. Even for a statement there should be the endorsement of all. Then it will take them at least three days to agree on a statement and when you make that statement- not implementing a policy- there will be another crisis in another country and you will have to start another process. We have to make a choice. Will the EU be like the US? I mean the federal structures and central bank organized, then there should be some sacrifices from national sovereignties. If national sovereignties and strategies are so important then it will be a much more confederal Europe and the Brussels will be less flexible. This is a strategic choice the EU leaders must do today. Not only in economic but also in political sense as well. Therefore in critical cases because of this long process inside the EU, some countries implement their own policies and it starts another discussion in Brussels. You can give many examples on your mind. In certain critical issues member countries were not aware when the decisions were taken and it created disturbances. So the EU, the US can survive as a global power, the potential is great, the policy towards migration is different and a Black President is in the White House one day we hope a Turkish chancellor will be in Berlin or an Algerian President will be in Paris. This is different; this is the new global politics. This is the European value multi-culturalism, opportunity for everybody. The US has that potential; it is a rising new power despite its short history. In Europe we have our own history, tradition, assets. But it is up to us how we will use these huge experiences for a new vision. Therefore maybe a wise men group should be formed to discuss the future of Europe and the EU in economic global and cultural sense but we have very big challenges in front of us. Thank you very much.