We live in an age of rapid changes and uncertainties. Thus our policies need to be able adopt to constant change and help shape the dynamics around us in the direction of peace, prosperity and stability. Humans are at the core of our activities. And, foreign policy needs foresight and action. It needs initiative. That is why Turkey takes initiative to pursue, in the words of Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, an “enterprising and humanitarian foreign policy”.
The issues on our agenda are complex and many of them are global in character. The political, economic, social and human aspects are intertwined. Principles do matter. Turkey conducts its foreign policy guided by the principle of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” as set out by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Turkey has a comprehensive, peace oriented, and principled vision and is committed to making use of all its means and capabilities towards this twin objective.
Turkey stands on the right side of history. She entertains a deep-rooted tradition of statehood and democracy. Her inherent advantages emanate from her central geography, profound historical experience, young and educated demography and dynamic economy. Turkish foreign policy mobilizes several complementary political, economic, humanitarian and cultural means and has global reach.
Turkey is pursuing membership of the European Union underlining that her membership would benefit both the EU and Turkey. Turkey is actively contributing to the efforts to address many challenges that also effect Europe.
As an active member of NATO, Turkey has been making essential contributions to the North Atlantic alliance and the core premise of the alliance, namely “one for all, all for one”.
Turkey has also been an active member of the G-20 since its inception and was its term chairman for 2015. At G-20 Turkey has been promoting humanitarian- development nexus, as well as inclusive economic growth and equitable distribution.
Turkey is part and parcel of Europe and almost all European institutions. These include the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as well as numerous other fora.
Turkey is also a founding member of several sub regional organizations and initiatives such as the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). Furthermore, Turkey has been the lead country in constructing the “Heart of Asia: Istanbul Process” regarding regional cooperation in support of a stable Afghanistan.
Turkey is an active member of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Developing Eight (D-8), Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States as well as MIKTA, among others. In 2017 Turkey is the term chairman of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization and the MIKTA group of countries, as well as the Energy Club of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
As an emerging energy terminal and transit country, Turkey plays a vital role with respect to European and global energy security.
Turkey has a strategic partnership with her NATO-ally United States and deems the transatlantic link vital for European security and prosperity. Overall, 28 strategic partnerships, High Level Cooperation Councils with 20 countries, Trilateral Regional Mechanisms and various mechanisms at Ministerial levels as well as 23 FTA’s provide a vast network of cooperation. Turkey puts emphasis on further developing her already close ties with the countries in the Balkans, Middle East and North Africa, Southern Caucasus, South Asia and Central Asia. In a world where globalization renders distances increasingly insignificant, Turkey is also deepening its policies of reaching out to Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific regions.
Turkish diplomatic outreach has grown immensely during recent years, now totaling 236 missions abroad, becoming the 6th largest network globally. E-visa system, online consular services and 7/24 consular call centers have strengthened the outreach.
Global problems can only be resolved through cooperation on a global scale. Awareness of this fact underscores Turkey’s active diplomacy notably at the United Nations and other multilateral fora. Turkey has served at the UN Security Council during 2009-2010 as a constructive member contributing to global peace, stability and security. Under the motto “the world is larger than five” as stipulated by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has also been advocating the reform of the UN and the Security Council to better meet the needs of the day.
Turkey has been recognized as a dynamic power in the field of developmental diplomacy efforts. Turkey hosted the Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries, on 9-13 May 2011 in Istanbul and contributed to the adoption of the Program of Action for the decade 2011-2020. Furthermore, the first ever World Humanitarian Summit was held in May 2016 in Istanbul. Turkey has been pursuing an open door policy for Syrians and others who have had to flee destruction in their own country. Close to 3 million Syrians took shelter in Turkey. Turkey is the biggest host country according to UNHCR figures.
Terrorism and various forms of extremism have reached a menacing intensity around the world. Terrorist groups are threatening international peace and security. Terror is a crime against humanity and cannot be associated with any race, ethnicity, faith or geography. It is a global scourge and requires global responses and solidarity. Turkey has been actively countering terrorism unleashed by whichever organization under whatever pretext.
In our day and age another widespread scourge is ethnic or religious hatred, discrimination, extremism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and other forms of exclusions. Turkey underlines the need for dialogue, openness, diversity, inclusive policies in addressing this phenomenon. In this regard, Turkey has assumed leading roles in endeavors to foster mutual respect and common values among different cultures and religions. Thus, the UN Alliance of Civilizations initiative, co-sponsored by Turkey and Spain, represents a solid response to the scenarios based on so-called “clash of civilizations”.
Turkey has also been active in efforts to contribute to global peace and security through facilitation and mediation. Turkey, together with Finland, as Co-Chairs at the Group of Friends of Mediation, has been active at the UN to increase awareness about mediation. The Group has promoted no less than four UN General Assembly resolutions on mediation. Turkey also co-chairs a similar Group at the OSCE and conducts or supports various mediation efforts in the world.
In 2023 the Republic of Turkey will celebrate her centennial anniversary. The Turkish government has set out a set of concrete objectives covering various aspects of governance. Realization of these objectives will not only raise the standards of peace and prosperity at home, but will also reinforce Turkey’s contributions to her neighborhood and indeed the world. Turkey’s enterprising and humanitarian foreign policy acts on that premise and will continue to endeavor to secure our national interests and contribute to the common goals of humanity.