Peace at home, peace in the world

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Article by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu published in Estado de Sao Paulo Newspaper (Brazil) on 9 October 2011

It has been 20 years since the end of the Cold War. Yet, the parameters of the “new world order” are still in the making. It is obvious that in the new order the global risks and opportunities have become much more diversified, requiring the transformation of global institutions to be more representative and participatory. The world is facing a diffusion of power with more centers of decision making in the history of humanity. It has also become a fact that no single country would be able to steer the change by itself. Thus effective multi-polarism and cooperation would be the order of the day.

In this new environment, we have also witnessed the emergence of new global actors, which have increasingly become more active and effective in world politics. Brazil and Turkey are certainly two examples of these newly emerging power centers. While Brazil is becoming a global powerhouse in both economic and political terms Turkey stands as a pivotal country at the epicenter of a rapidly changing strategic international environment spanning from Central Asia to the Caucasus, and Middle East to the Balkans.

As the world order goes through such a major transformation, it became apparent that Brazil and Turkey can play an important role in shaping the political, economic and cultural spheres of the new world order both individually, congruent to their capabilities, and also in a joint manner. Indeed, in the last couple of years, we had some examples of these joint efforts in political, economic and cultural spheres.

In the political domain, we as Turkey, started pursuing a more proactive and visionary foreign policy in our vicinity and beyond. Our bilateral relations with neighboring countries present a strong case in point. We have taken several steps and launched new initiatives in addressing intricate problems with our neighbors. The long-term objective is to create an atmosphere where problems and disputes can be discussed openly and eventually solved peacefully between partners.

Along the same line, Turkey has also launched several mediation and facilitation initiatives with a view to helping parties to a conflict, reconcile their differences and solve their disputes peacefully. We have been particularly active on issues concerning Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Iran. It is in this context that Turkey has mediated for the solution of the most durable question in the Middle East, namely the Palestinian question, and also supported the international efforts to bring this conflict to a peaceful end.

Regarding the latest uprisings and demands for political change in the Middle East, on the other hand, Turkey has supported the democratic processes and favored a peaceful transition from authoritarian regimes to democratic and accountable governments. Turkey urged the leaders in the region to respect rightful demands of the public and offered its political, economic and diplomatic help for the establishment of democratic institutions.

In fact, we worked very closely with our Brazilian partners on these and other political issues, especially during our non-permanent membership to the UN Security Council for the term in 2009-2010, and showed the whole world how two emerging powers can cooperate in earnest and make an effective contribution to world peace.

Here, Brazil and Turkey’s joint diplomatic mediation effort in May 2010 to help revive the diplomatic track with respect to the Iranian nuclear program is a case in point. This effort was commendable in the sense that it opened alternative venues for the peaceful settlement of an international dispute. It also proved that when we have a value to add, we must not shy away from taking responsibility and acting upon it. This is exactly what drives Turkey in its approach to conflict prevention and resolution; the two areas which need more concerted action and fresh ideas on the part of the international community.

As mentioned above, emergence of regional blocs in global economic order is a fact of life. Latin American economy for instance is growing rapidly and as a member of the BRIC, Brazil is taking the lead in this direction with its political, economic and diplomatic capabilities. That said, in today’s globalized world Brazil’s role as the seventh largest economy of the world is crucial not only for the Latin American region, but for the whole world.

Turkey on the other hand is the 16th largest economy in the world and 6th leading economy in Europe. According to OECD, Turkey is projected to become the second largest economy in Europe by the year 2050. As an emerging donor we have contributed more than 1.5 billion USD as development assistance last year. Furthermore, the progress Turkey achieved toward improving its democracy has enhanced its soft power and boosted its self-confidence.

It is in this context that, despite the geographical distance, political and economic relations between Turkey and Brazil are developing steadily including by reciprocal high-level visits and represent an important example of transcontinental relationship. Indeed, Turkey and Brazil, as two members of the G-20, are two complementary actors and partners in global economic activities. Our cooperation in different economic institutions and fora along with the G-20 will be crucial for the future of the global economy.

Turkey’s cooperation with Brazil in addressing the challenges of the new world order is not only confined to political and economic issues. Joint efforts by Turkey and Brazil within the framework of the UN Alliance of Civilizations constitue another good example of cooperation between our countries in facing the cultural challenges of new world order. By hosting the 3rd meeting of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, Brazil, as a responsible actor of the global order, showed its desire and determination to overcome questions relating to the cultural differences.

As a consequence of all these efforts today Turkey and Brazil are featured among the leading emerging countries which are projected to play greater roles in global affairs in the coming decades. Our partnership shows a clear example for what two nations, while geographically apart, can undertake together in the pursuit of global peace and stability. We both have vast potential with our vibrant and well educated populations. Our democracies have sound bases and we are still looking for ways to further improve them. Our growing economies have also proven their resilience in the face of the global financial crisis.

In other words, sharing similar values, guided by similar principles and driven by similar aspirations Brazil and Turkey are taking bigger responsibilities in the resolution of international issues. And they are doing so in close cooperation and consultation with each-other, which makes me confident that our relations are and will continue to be based on a sense of strategic partnership.

As with my colleague Minister Patriota’s visit to Istanbul in September, President Rousseff’s visit to Turkey on the 7th of October will give us an opportunity to underline the strategic nature of our relationship and reconfirm our commitment to take it even further. We have a lot to do to further improve our bilateral relations in economic, social, cultural and political domains. But our potential goes beyond that.

As two centers of gravity in world politics and economic development, Turkey, and Brazil are well poised to play pivotal roles in their respective regions and beyond towards the attainment of global peace, welfare and stability.

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