Final Report of the Seventh Ambassadors Conference
Final Report of the Seventh Ambassadors Conference

1. The seventh reunion of the Ambassadors Conferences, organized on regular basis by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2008, was held on the theme of “New Turkey: Continuity and Change in Foreign Policy" on 5- 9 January 2015 in Ankara.

The Conference started with the visit of Foreign Minister H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and the Ambassadors to Atatürk's Mausoleum and the Martyrs' Cemetery of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday morning, January 5th. Due to adverse weather conditions, the planned visit to Çanakkale, on Friday, January 9th, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Çanakkale Land and Sea Battles was cancelled and the conference ended with a session on the theme of Çanakkale held in Ankara.

2. In the Ambassadors Conferences, all issues involving the intensive Turkish foreign policy agenda are discussed in a comprehensive manner. While the Conferences provide a venue to determine the future priorities and to do planning, they also constitute an occasion for ensuring an effective coordination with institutions and organizations with which we cooperate in the implementation of our foreign policy. Moreover, the public is informed about our foreign policy priorities during the conferences thanks to its public diplomacy dimension.

3. Within the framework of the theme set for the Seventh Ambassadors Conference, we discussed the dimensions of our foreign policy influenced by waves of global transformation and maintaining its continuity and we established that Turkish foreign policy incorporates the elements of both durability and change which interact with one another.

We reaffirmed our will to establish a belt of peace, stability and prosperity in our region despite the presence of various conflicts and crises in the neighboring geography, on the basis of the principle ”Peace at Home, Peace in the World.“

Furthermore, we noted that in order to defend the interests of our country and our citizens in the most effective way, it is important to follow the transformation processes taking place in global politics and economy, to comprehend them fully and to try to give them a positive direction.

We emphasized our determination to take the necessary steps in foreign policy in order to reach our aspiration of creating a more powerful Turkey in all fields, from politics to economics and to culture in the centenary of the Republic. We underlined that Turkey will continue to contribute to the establishment of a new world order on a more equitable, more egalitarian and more humane axis.

We pointed out the leading role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in using the evolving technology in the most effective way and in imparting the accumulated knowledge and equipment required in the modern age to its members. We stated that our approach focusing on cooperation opportunities rather than problems in the neighboring regions; our policies of opening up to regions once called remote geographies; the international and regional cooperation processes in which we continue to take the lead; our increased visibility in the field of development assistance and humanitarian aid; and the international summits and meetings we host are all indications of the rising profile of Turkey in the international arena.

4. In the framework of the Seventh Ambassadors Conference, 32 sessions were held, most of them under the chairmanship of H.E. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, and with the participation of the Ambassadors. H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey, H.E. Cemil Çiçek, Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly and H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey received and addressed the Ambassadors.

The Ambassadors met with four Deputy Prime Ministers and seven Ministers. In this context, Deputy Prime Ministers H.E. Bülent Arınç, H.E. Ali Babacan, H.E. Yalçın Akdoğan and H.E. Numan Kurtulmuş, as well as H.E. Bekir Bozdağ, Minister of Justice, H.E. Volkan Bozkır, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, H.E. Nihat Zeybekci, Minister of Economy, H.E. Taner Yıldız, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, H.E. Mehdi Eker, Minister of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, H.E. Efkan Ala, Minister of Interior, and H.E. Ömer Çelik, Minister of Culture and Tourism addressed the Ambassadors.

Heads of TIKA, AFAD, Administration for Turks Living Abroad and Related Communities as well as Director General of Turkish Red Crescent participated in the session where H.E. Numan Kurtulmuş, Deputy Prime Minister addressed the Ambassadors. Director General of the Turkish Red Crescent made a presentation in this session, and we discussed the humanitarian and development assistance issues of Turkey. The Ambassadors were informed of EXPO 2016 Antalya during the session where H.E. Mehdi Eker, Minister of Food, Agriculture and Livestock addressed the Ambassadors.

In the sessions held with the participation of the Ministers, significant issues cross-cutting intensely with Turkish foreign policy were taken up and first-hand information was obtained regarding the progress registered in many fields by our country. All these sessions took place in an atmosphere of intense interaction and they proved quite helpful in enhancing the efficiency of coordination with the institutions with which we work closely and in terms of evaluating further development of cooperation opportunities.

In addition to the sessions held with the participation of the Cabinet members, the following sessions were held: a meeting with the participation of Deputy Chief of the General Staff, General Yaşar Güler and Mr. Hakan Fidan, Undersecretary of National Intelligence Organization where security issues were discussed comprehensively; a meeting with the participation of Mr. Recai Akyel, President of the Turkish Court of Accounts, in which financial audit issues were addressed,; a session with the participation of Mr. Ömer Vardan, Chairman of Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and Mr. Mithat Yenigün, Chairman of Turkish Contractors Association (TMB) in which the activities of the Turkish businessmen abroad were discussed. Ambassador Ayşe Sinirlioğlu, Deputy Undersecretary of Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Turkey's G20 Sherpa made a presentation on the Turkish Presidency of G-20 in a separate session.

5. In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ internal evaluation sessions held on the occasion of the Conference, developments in North America, Europe, Eurasia, the Balkans, South Asia, the Middle East, the Far East, Africa, Latin America and Caribbean regions and our bilateral relations with the countries in these geographical areas were reviewed in detail.

The developments in the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf regions, and our bilateral relations with the relevant countries in every field were evaluated.

Current developments regarding the Balkans were reviewed in their various aspects; the opportunities to further enhance our bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation with the countries of the region in every field were discussed.

General perspectives in the geography of “Eurasia” which consists of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, and Middle Asian and South Caucasian countries were considered from political, social, economic and cultural aspects. The effects of international dynamics on the region, especially the crisis between the Russian Federation and Ukraine were also examined.

We emphasized in the context of Asia-Pacific region where Turkey pursued a policy of opening up in recent years that our ever-increasing bilateral contacts and the new diplomatic missions opened demonstrates the importance that we attach to this region, and we discussed our bilateral relations extensively. The significance of the commemoration events for 100th Anniversary of Çanakkale Land and Sea Battles in 2015 was underlined in the session where bilateral relations of Turkey with Australia and New Zealand were also discussed.

In the session where we discussed Turkey’s relations with Africa, we pointed out the importance of the development of Turkey’s relations with the regional cooperation organizations in the continent, especially with the African Union, as well as our bilateral relations with the countries of the continent. Director General of Turkish Airlines Temel Kotil participated in this session and informed the Ambassadors about the steps that will be taken in the period ahead with regards to the flights of Turkish Airlines, which functions as the locomotive to develop Turkey’s relations with the continent.

The issues on the agenda of Turkey’s relations with the countries in LAC (Latin America and Caribbean) regions were discussed from the perspectives of both Turkey’s relations with the aforementioned countries and our opening up policy towards LAC region. Within the context of our opening policy, we underlined the potential offered by the countries in this region and the challenges encountered.

Thematic sessions on issues such as EU, Cyprus and 1915 events were held during the conference, as well.

6. Administrative and personnel issues were taken up in a separate session. It was emphasized that our Ministry has made the services provided to the citizens in consular affairs more efficient through optimizing the technological facilities and enhanced the interaction with internal and external public opinions. The future steps in those fields were evaluated. Furthermore, it was noted that over 6 million visas have been issued to foreigners since April 2013 by e-visa application which in turn produced positive effects on our tourism and economy. Archive Automation Project which aims at the transferring of 65 million pages of documents into the electronic environment within three years was one of the issues discussed. The Project will conserve the State Archive, which sheds light on our history, under modern conditions and will facilitate the classification and use of the archival documents.

7. The tradition of inviting foreign guests which constitutes the international dimension of the Ambassadors Conference was continued also this year. With the participation of six high level guests from three continents of priority in our foreign policy and from three international organizations of significance to our country, this year’s Ambassadors Conference hosted the highest number of foreign guests so far.

In this framework, H.E. Héctor Timerman, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Argentine Republic, H.E. Bert Koenders, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Aminu Bashir Wali, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr. António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and Mrs. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO addressed our Ambassadors.

8. Since the Çanakkale segment of the Conference could not be held due to adverse weather conditions, a special session was organized to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Çanakkale Land and Sea battles in Ankara on Friday, January 9th.

During the session, we discussed the Çanakkale Land and Sea Battles in terms of their importance for the history of Turkey. We also discussed the preparations of the events which we will host on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary.

9. The Seventh Ambassadors Conference has been fruitful in assessing the issues on the agenda of our foreign policy, discussing our future priorities and coordinating with the institutions with which we are in close cooperation. Six high level foreign guests who participated in the Conference reinforced the international dimension of the event.

We will continue to hold the Ambassadors Conferences which have become a tradition, in the upcoming years as well. Part of next year’s Conference will be held in Eskişehir, which was the Cultural Capital of the Turkish World and the Capital of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013.