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Statement by Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the Group of Friends Ministerial Meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations, 27 September 2013, New York

Secretary General,
Minister of Spain, Mr. Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo,
High Representative Al-Nasser,
Distinguished Colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me first express my pleasure of being here with the Alliance of Civilizations family in New York on the occasion of this Ministerial Meeting.

As our family grows further each passing year, we are now at a new stage for the Alliance. Membership in the Group of Friends continues to expand. The new High Representative Abdulaziz Al-Nasser has officially assumed his duties during the Vienna Forum in February this year. I believe that with his contributions, the role of our Alliance will grow stronger as a leading platform in inter-cultural dialogue and understanding.

Distinguished Ministers, Friends,

In the past year, since our last meeting here in New York, the Alliance has made notable progress in further entrenching its universal character. The Alliance's Regional Strategy for Latin America has been adopted. The League of Arab States and the African Union have stated their intention to develop their own regional strategies.

These are important strides towards deepening and widening the Alliance. I believe that such regional strategies will continue to play an important role in initiating and enhancing cooperation among countries in inter-cultural dialogue. As co-sponsor, we will continue to support and contribute to this important process.

We would also like to see member states of the Group of Friends adopting and implementing their national plans which are crucial in disseminating the ideals and philosophy of the Alliance at the national level. Turkey has already completed the implementation phase of its first National Plan and has adopted the second.

The Fifth Annual Forum of the Alliance held in Vienna on 27-28 February 2013, under the theme of "Promoting Responsible Leadership in Diversity and Dialogue" was a successful event with a special focus on the fundamental role that different segments of society should assume for living together in harmony.

We need more refined strategies to combat the challenges we face today, such as discrimination, inequality, xenophobia and Islamophobia. The Strategic Plan sets out the goals for the Alliance for the period ahead and it will be a guiding document for the members of the Group of Friends to achieve the goals of the Alliance stated in the High Level Group Report of 2006. It will also be instrumental in undertaking further initiatives in the priority areas, namely youth, education, media, and migration, to properly respond to dangerous currents of our times.

Meanwhile, it is rather unfortunate that the Alliance’s personnel and financial infrastructure has not grown to this date in pace with these developments. We all have to make an extra effort to help the Alliance attain a sustainable financial base. There has to be a regular and sound replenishment mechanism so that long-term planning could be done for new projects and activities. We expect the High Representative to develop ways and means to achieve this with a view to enhancing the capacity of the Alliance to deliver.

I assure you that Turkey will remain fully committed to this effort. We have contributed yet another one million US Dollars to the Trust Fund of the Alliance this year.

Distinguished Ministers, Friends,

Turkey continues to stand by the values of the Alliance, values of harmony, coexistence and cooperation and remains committed to contributing to all efforts in order entrench the role of the Alliance in combating prejudice, intolerance and polarization.

I am confident that the Sixth Global Forum in Indonesia will provide major impetus for further progress in the work of the Alliance of Civilizations. Taking this opportunity, I would like to convey our heartfelt thanks to our Indonesian brothers for their kind offer to host this Forum.

Thank you.