TURKEY’S ENTERPRISING AND HUMANITARIAN FOREIGN POLICY

A SYNOPSIS

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At a time of volatilities and uncertainties on the world stage, our policies adapt to constant changes and strive to shape the dynamics around us towards peace, prosperity and stability. Humans are at the heart of our endeavors. We are living in a politically and economically fragile geography at a time when the world is undergoing radical changes. Turkey pursues a foreign policy that does not shy away from taking initiative and in the words of our President, “reflects the enterprising spirit and humanitarian values of our nation.” This is, as our Minister calls it, an “Enterprising and Humanitarian Foreign Policy.” It is guided by our enduring objective to achieve “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” as set out by the founder of our Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Turkey enjoys a deep-rooted tradition of statehood and democracy, and draws strength from her central geographical location, profound historical experience, young and educated population, strong institutions and dynamic economy. Turkish foreign policy employs several political, economic, humanitarian and cultural cooperation tools in a complementary fashion and conducts a diplomacy that thinks globally but also acts locally in every corner of the world.

With a total of 243 diplomatic and consular missions, Turkey has spawned the fifth largest global diplomatic network.

A member of NATO and G20 and accession candidate to the EU, Turkey has developed an extensive network of cooperation including High Level Cooperation Councils with 25 countries, trilateral or other multilateral regional formations, as well as 20 Free Trade Agreements. Turkey maintains close ties with the countries in the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa, Southern Caucasus, South and Central Asia. In a world where technology shrinks distances, Turkey is deepening her African Partnership Policy and expanding the scope of its outreach policies to Latin America, the Caribbean and the Asia-Pacific.

Turkey aims to strengthen her existing strategic relationships and establish new ones. She has a strategic partnership with her NATO-ally, the United States, and considers the transatlantic link vital to European security and prosperity. An active member of NATO and one of the top five contributors to its operations, Turkey has been making significant contributions to the North Atlantic Alliance and its fundamental principle of “the indivisibility of security”.

Turkey is also fully committed to pursuing European Union membership, underlining that her accession would benefit both the EU and Turkey. Turkey is actively contributing to the efforts to address multiple challenges that also affect Europe. Turkey is a part of Europe and member of almost all European institutions including among many others the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), both of which Turkey is a founding member.

Around the globe, terrorism and various forms of extremism have reached a menacing intensity. Terrorist groups threaten international peace and security. Terrorism is a crime against humanity that cannot be associated with any race, ethnicity, faith or geography. It is a global scourge demanding global response and solidarity. Turkey has been actively countering terrorism unleashed by whichever organization under whatever pretext.

Resolution of global challenges depends on collective efforts forged by cooperation and effective multilateralism. This reality guides Turkey’s active diplomacy within multilateral fora. Turkey has also been an active member of the G20 since its inception and held its term presidency for 2015. Within the G20, Turkey has been promoting the humanitarian-development nexus, as well as inclusive economic growth and equitable distribution. Turkey served at the UN Security Council during 2009-2010 as a constructive member contributing to global peace, stability and security. Under the motto of “the world is bigger than five” coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has been advocating the reform of the UN and the UN Security Council to meet the current needs of the world.

Turkey plays a leading role in mediation as the only country that co-chairs groups of friends of mediation at the UN, OSCE and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Additionally, Turkey organizes annual Istanbul Mediation Conferences to contribute to the conceptual work on mediation and the “Mediation for Peace Certificate Program” to build capacity in this field.

Humanity is plagued by various scourges, including terrorism, ethnic or religious hatred, discrimination, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Islamic trends, while other forms of exclusion are also causes for concern. In addressing such widespread menaces, Turkey stresses the need for transparency, diversity, dialogue and inclusive policies. Conflicts incur great costs to humanity. With this mindset, Turkey has assumed a leading role in endeavors to foster mutual respect and common values among different cultures and religions. The UN Alliance of Civilizations initiative, co-sponsored by Turkey and Spain, represents a solid response to the scenarios based on the so-called clash of civilizations.

Supporting regional ownership and solutions to regional problems, Turkey is a founding member of several regional organizations and initiatives such as the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, the Southeast European Cooperation Process, and the Economic Cooperation Organization. Furthermore, Turkey has spearheaded the “Heart of Asia: Istanbul Process” for regional cooperation in support of a stable Afghanistan.

Turkey is a prominent member of the OIC, Developing Eight (D-8), the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (Turkic Council) and MIKTA, among others. Currently, she is performing her duties as the co-chair of the Heart of Asia: Istanbul Process, the term president of the Asian Parliamentary Assembly, Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean, D-8 and the Asian Cooperation Dialogue.

Turkey’s human-centered state tradition compels us to work with an enterprising spirit in the humanitarian dimension of her foreign policy as well. With 8.6 billion USD of humanitarian assistance in 2018, Turkey is the largest humanitarian donor in the world, and the most generous country on the basis of per capita humanitarian spending. According to the UN High Commission for Refugees, Turkey hosts the largest number of externally displaced people in the world. She is accommodating around 4 million externally displaced people, 3.6 million of whom are Syrians, who have had to flee destruction in their home country. Turkey has spent around 40 billion USD to deliver aid and services to the Syrians. On top of these, the first ever World Humanitarian Summit was held in Istanbul in 2016.

As an energy transit country, Turkey’s central location plays a vital role in European and global energy security.

In 2023, the Republic of Turkey will proudly celebrate its centennial anniversary. Achievement of the solid goals set by our Presidential Government will not only raise the standards of peace and prosperity at home but will also reinforce Turkey’s contributions to her own neighborhood and beyond. It is our primary goal to ensure that our region follows a robust sustainable development and peace agenda, instead of struggling perpetually with fragility and conflicts. Turkey’s Enterprising and Humanitarian Foreign Policy will continue to secure her national interests while simultaneously contributing to the common goals of humanity.