Statement by H.E. Mr. Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the 59th Plenary Meeting of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, 20 November 2015, New York Statement Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Turkey, at the National Launch of the Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan 2015-2016 (3rp), 19 March 2015, Ankara Address by H.E. Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at Somalia’s New Deal Compact Ministerial High Level Partnership Forum, 19 November 2014, Copenhagen Statement Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Turkey at the Conference on the Syrian Refugee Situation - Supporting Stability in the Region, 28 October 2014, Berlin Statement by H.E. Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey at the Sixth Global Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, 29 August 2014, Bali Speech Delivered by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Ambassador Naci Koru In The Symposium Entitled “Peace In The Balkans And Turkey: Cultural And Commercial Diplomacy”, 28 May 2014, Istanbul Opening Remarks by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Ambassador Naci Koru at the 20th International Junior Diplomats Training Program, 5 May 2014 Speech Delivered by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Ambassador Naci Koru at the Gallipoli Symphony and the Gallipoli Photograph Exhibition, 28 April 2014, Ankara Statement by Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the Informal Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP), 18 February 2014, Bucharest Speech Delivered by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Ambassador Naci Koru on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, 27 January 2014, Istanbul Statement by Ambassador Naci Koru Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs On the Occasion of the 68th Anniversary of the United Nations, 24 October 2013 Speech Delivered by Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the International Symposium Entitled " Asia's Rise On the Global Landscape: Perspectives from Turkey, Japan and Malaysia", 23 October 2013, Istanbul Speech Delivered by Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the International Symposium Entitled " Asia's Rise On the Global Landscape: Perspectives from Turkey, Japan and Malaysia", 23 October 2013, Istanbul Speech Delivered by Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey at the "New Deal for Somalia - Brussels Conference", 16 September 2013, Brussels Speech Delivered by Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey at the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP) Foreign Ministers meeting, 31 May 2013, Ohrid Address by Mr. Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey to the Members of Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 17 April 2013, Ankara Speech Delivered by Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the Workshop Entitled “Rethinking Turkey’s Current Role and Engagement in The Balkans”, 16 April 2013, Ankara Address by Mr. Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey to Turkish Honorary Consuls in North and South America and Australia, 15 April 2013, Ankara Opening Remarks by H.E. Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the International Junior Diplomats Training Program Address by H.E. Mr. Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey at the ACD Ministerial Meeting, 29 March 2013, Dushanbe Address by Mr. Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey to the Stanford University Graduate School of Business Senior Faculty Members, 26 March 2013, Ankara Address by H.E. Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey to the MUNESCO 2013 Conference, 21 March 2013, Ankara Speech Delivered by Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the 20th Annual Turkey-EU Conference of Journalists, 11 March 2013, İstanbul Speech Delivered by Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the Meeting Entitled “Turkish-Russian Relations in the Post-Cold War Period: Current Dynamics, Future Prospects”, 19 February 2013, Ankara Speech Delivered by Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the Meeting Entitled “Arabs and the World, a Future Perspective”, 12 February 2013, Kuwait Address by Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey to the “UK Joint Services Command and Staff College” Participants, 5 February 2013, Ankara Opening Remarks By Mr. Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the Antalya International Security and Cooperation Conference by the Atlantic Council of Turkey, 14-15 December 2012, Antalya Speech Delivered by Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the Bosphorus Regional Cooperation Summit Organized by the International Cooperation Platform (ICP), 13 December 2012, İstanbul Speech Delivered by Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey on the occasion of Permanent Neutrality Status Day of Turkmenistan and the 5th Anniversary of the Foundation of the UNRCCA, 11 December 2012, Ashgabat Speech Delivered by Ambassador Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the Caspian Forum, 6 December 2012, İstanbul
Address by Mr. Naci Koru, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey to Turkish Honorary Consuls in North and South America and Australia, 15 April 2013, Ankara

Honorary Consuls,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentleman,

 

Before I begin my remarks, let me extend to you a warm welcome to Turkey.

 

It is a great pleasure for me to host this dinner on the occasion of the Meeting of the Honorary Consuls of the Republic of Turkey in North and South America and Australia.

 

This meeting enables us to exchange views on Turkish foreign policy and to learn from your experiences.

 

You are representing Turkey in remote geographies, though I must qualify the word “remote” in my statement. We believe that there is no longer room for characterizations such as “far away” or “remote” in today’s proactive and multidimensional Turkish foreign policy.

 

It is apparent that Turkey has become a major player in international relations based on its geo-strategic location and growing means and capabilities.

 

Indeed, in the past decade, Turkey has been actively engaged on almost every issue on the international agenda.

 

In the general terms, I can define two factors giving rise to this new activism and a greater sense of responsibility in Turkish foreign policy.

 

The first of these can be referred to as push factors, by which I refer to the domestic developments in the political, economic and foreign policy realms.

 

Politically, in the last ten years Turkey has had a stable single party government with a sweeping reform agenda. Starting the accession negotiations with the EU in 2005, Turkey’s reform process gained impetus transforming the country’s legal and institutional setting.

 

Economically too, we have seen a resurgent Turkey with an average growth rate of around 6 % in the last ten years. As a sign of increasing confidence in the fundamentals of the Turkish economy, the amount of total foreign direct investment surpassed 110 billion USD in the same period.

 

Today, Turkey is Europe’s 6th largest economy, and according to the OECD, will be second only to Germany by 2050.

 

At a time when our major trade markets were suffering from the global economic crisis, we were able to diversify our trade by finding new partners. This has not only helped our economy in weathering the storm, it has also been used as an instrument to stabilize the political environment around us.

 

We believe that we can lessen volatility among out neighbors by creating a higher degree of economic interdependency. This is precisely what we have done in promoting the regional trade by various policy measures. As a result, our neighbors’ share in total trade volume increased 6 times in the last ten years, comprising 32% of our total. Last year for instance, our trade with the countries in the wider Middle East region was on par with our trade with Europe. 

 

Along the line, we also encouraged human-to-human contact in our region. We used our visa policy as a tool of increasing soft power capability, lifting visa requirements with more than 30 countries in the last 5 years. In addition to its political and cultural benefits, these agreements boosted our tourism. Today Turkey is the 6th most popular tourist destination in the world.

 

We complemented the political dimension of our regional policy by establishing high level political consultation mechanisms with almost all of our neighbors, from Greece to Russia, and from Azerbaijan to Iraq.

 

Convening annually in a joint council of ministers, these mechanisms, 12 in total, play an important role as dialogue channels, enhancing the sense of regional ownership around us.

 

Thanks to its increasing economic and political capabilities, Turkey is pursuing a multidimensional and proactive foreign policy.

 

In fact this activism goes well beyond the regional dimension I just summarized. Turkey today is reaching out to distant geographies as well as the emerging powers of the world. It is increasingly taking on global responsibilities in the framework of international organizations and initiatives.

 

Turkey is a co-founder of important global initiatives, such as the Alliance of Civilizations, which has more than 130 members and is currently the largest UN initiative, the Global Counter Terrorism Forum, which fills an important void in cooperation against scourge of terrorism at the global level, and the Mediation for Peace Initiative, which is carrying out significant activities in raising awareness on the importance of mediation as the most cost-effective way of conflict prevention. 

 

It is our conviction that Turkey’s geography, history and future dictate us to pursue a multidimensional foreign policy. We would like our relationships with different actors to complement, rather than to substitute each other.

 

This is why, for instance, we deepen economic integration with countries to our south and east while still pursuing EU membership. We share deep historical ties with Europe, and have closely been following its ongoing crisis.

 

The outcome of the crisis will no doubt define the trajectory of the integration process. Our economic and institutional links with Europe mean that we will be effected by this outcome. We are convinced that the Turkish accession process, which came to a halt sometime ago, should be given fresh impetus. The repercussions of re-energizing this process will go well beyond of technical nature.

 

Likewise, our model partnership with the United States continues to grow stronger, while our relations with Russia and China are parallel pillars of our foreign policy. We see no contradiction in these dynamics. Rather, they are part and parcel of our holistic foreign policy.

 

Of course, in order to support such a dynamic and far-reaching foreign policy, we are also expanding our diplomatic network.

 

To this end, we have opened many new diplomatic missions abroad, mostly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In other words, given our growing relations with those regions as well as the increasing number of Turkish citizens and business people active in these countries, we now rely on our diplomatic missions more than ever. 

 

In view of the historic transformations taking place around us, such active foreign policy is a necessity as much as it is a choice for us.  

 

These are the push factors compelling us to pursue such a proactive foreign policy. There are also the pull factors, by which I mean the rapidly changing regional and wider political landscape around us, that creates significant volatility.

 

Chief among them are the momentous events in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which have the potential to change the entire international landscape.

 

Turkey took a principled stance in its unwavering support for the legitimate aspirations of the people from the start. For us, this transformation represents an opportunity for the democratization of the entire region. Thus we consider it to be an irreversible process based on the will of the people.

 

As such, our support went beyond the political support and took concrete shape in our financial assistance to the tune of almost 4 billion USD to the countries in transition, in the form of credit, loan and grants.

 

Entering its third year, the transformation in the MENA region is at a critical juncture. We are aware of the fact that Turkey is uniquely positioned to serve as a source of inspiration to the countries in the region. We are encouraging our regional partners to implement comprehensive and inclusive reforms.

 

Meanwhile, a human tragedy is unfolding in Syria. The regime responded to the peaceful demonstrations and legitimate demands with brutal suppression. The Syrian people were forced to defend themselves. The regime therefore bears the entire responsibility for the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.

 

Today with more than 70.000 people killed and more than a quarter of the Syrian population in dire need of humanitarian assistance, the situation is getting worse each day.

 

Sharing a 910 km-long border and deep cultural bonds, the situation in Syria is first and foremost a humanitarian issue for Turkey.

 

The number of Syrians who fled to Turkey is above 300.000. We currently accommodate 190 thousand in 17 camps and the numbers rise day by day. We have spent over 600 million USD.

 

Turkey is in the forefront of international efforts to alleviate the misery in Syria. We are arguing that as the international community, we should increase our efforts and assistance. Furthermore, we should also coordinate the flow of assistance inside Syria. For that, we should optimize our resources and avoid overlapping efforts and duplication.

 

Dear Guests,

 

Before I conclude, allow me to touch upon our activities in the United Nations. As you know, Turkey started playing a prominent role in many areas of the UN, particularly in development issues. Turkey has now become an emerging donor country filling the gaps and acting as an enabler in the developing world through many bilateral and multilateral assistance projects that our Development Agency, TICA sponsors. Humanitarian and development assistance provided by Turkey was more than 2 billion Dollars last year.

 

It was also largely due to its active foreign policy that Turkey was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the term of 2009-2010, with overwhelming support from the UN member states. During this two-year term, we again contributed to all the issues on the agenda. The feedback we received from a wider membership was very encouraging. In order to continue our positive contribution to the regional and global peace and stability efforts, we have decided to put forward our candidacy once again for the 2015-2016 term.

 

In our foreign policy agenda, our network of Honorary Consuls on five continents plays a crucial role. You make valuable contributions to advancing Turkey’s bilateral relations in your respective areas of responsibilities. And this is why we attach utmost importance to this gathering with a view to strengthening the ties between you and our Ministry, and thus, helping you better discharge your duties.

 

Your task is as simple as it is challenging. As honorary consuls, you contribute to Turkey’s relations with your respective regions. You extend your services and support to Turkish interests abroad and form a connection between our communities.

 

To further this cooperation, we decided to set up these periodic meetings. Each of you brings valuable thoughts and experiences. Please do not hesitate to share them with us. We are always eager to hear from friends of Turkey across the globe.

 

I sincerely hope that the conference will be mutually fruitful, and wish you all a pleasant stay in our country.

 

Thank you.