The Foreign Service of the Republic of Turkey is founded on the well-established traditions and legacy of Ottoman diplomacy with a long history. The foreign affairs of the Ottoman Empire were conducted by the “Reis-ül Küttap” (Head Secretary) until the 19th Century. However, the “Reis-ül Küttap” was also entrusted with other functions such as maintaining the records and administering the correspondence of the State.
In 1793, during the reign of Selim III, the first permanent Embassy was established in London and Yusuf Agah Efendi was appointed as the first Ottoman Ambassador. The Ambassadors of the Ottoman Empire appointed to European capitals, while fulfilling their duties in respect to bilateral relations, also served as pioneers of modernization by accelerating the process of westernization and reform within the Empire by way of the information they transmitted to the Porte regarding the countries they were assigned to.
The cornerstones of Turkish foreign policy in the Republican era were laid during the initial years of the War of Independence. Immediately following the inauguration of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on April 23, 1920, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was officially established on May 2, 1920 as part of the first National Government and Bekir Sami was appointed as the first Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry which was established with extremely limited resources performed the functions and duties demanded by the increased contacts with the outside world in a diligent and committed manner despite all the hardships of the period and played an important role in the process leading up to the Lausanne Treaty.
Since the inception of the Republic to this day, the vision and principles of the great leader and founder of the Republic, Atatürk, have not only guided Turkish foreign policy but his maxim “peace at home, peace in the world” also continues to constitute the fundamental objective of this policy. Accordingly, Turkey has pursued an active and peaceful foreign policy since the 1930’s.
Following the Cold War, the transformation that took place and the challenges experienced in the geography that we inhabit introduced various new risks and opportunities for Turkish foreign policy and further enhanced the significance and role of Turkey in securing peace, stability and prosperity in this fragile neighbourhood.
The Republic of Turkey, which had a total of 39 missions abroad in 1924, is now represented by 214 missions throughout the world. These missions comprise of 123 Embassies, 11 Permanent Missions to international organizations and 80 Consulate Generals. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently serving with 1992 diplomatic career officers in Turkey and its outer organizations.
The Turkish Foreign Service continues to operate with its modest resources and number of personnel to conduct and further promote our international political, economic and cultural relations in the bilateral and multilateral context as well as to contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in our region and beyond.