Final Declaration of the Fifth Annual Ambassadors Conference
Final Declaration of the Fifth Annual Ambassadors Conference

1. The Fifth Annual Ambassadors Conference was held with the theme of “Humanitarian Diplomacy” in Ankara and Izmir between 2 and 7 January 2013. The Conference began with a collective visit of our ambassadors to Atatürk's Mausoleum on Wednesday morning, January 2nd, and ended with commemoration ceremony conducted at the Monument for Martyred Turkish Diplomats in Izmir on Monday, January 7th.

2. Ambassadors Conferences which has been held regularly since 2008, constitute a significant opportunity to discuss our multidimensional foreign policy aimed at maintaining peace and security in our region and beyond from various standpoints as well as to evaluate the steps taken by our Ministry in 2012 and to assess our primary goals for the upcoming period.

In this framework, it was stated throughout the Conference that the Turkish foreign policy would continue to be carried out with a multi-dimensional, visionary and self-confident approach in order to protect our national interests and values in the most efficient manner. Moreover, it was emphasized that the active foreign policy that we pursue on the basis of these principles is amongst the most crucial instruments for our country to reach the vision of Turkey 2023.

3. Within the scope of the Conference, the Ambassadors attended 44 sessions, most of which were held under the chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, and were received by H.E. Abdullah Gül, President of the Republic of Turkey, and H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey.

The Ambassadors met with 11 Ministers and participated in internal evaluation meetings in the Ministry regarding various regional and thematic aspects of our foreign policy.

In this framework, H.E. Mr. Bülent Arınç, H.E. Mr. Beşir Atalay and H.E. Mr. Bekir Bozdağ, Deputy Prime Ministers, H.E. Mrs. Fatma Şahin, Minister of Family and Social Policies, H.E. Mr. Egemen Bağış, Minister for EU Affairs, H.E. Mr. Zafer Çağlayan, Minister of Economy, H.E. Mr. Taner Yıldız, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, H.E. Mr. İdris Naim Şahin, Minister of the Interior, H.E. Mr. Ertuğrul Günay, Minister of Culture and Tourism, H.E. Mr. Binali Yıldırım, Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications, addressed the Ambassadors.

The Ambassadors also held meetings with Mr. Hakan Fidan, Undersecretary of the National Intelligence Agency and Prof. Gökhan Çetinsaya, Chairman of Higher Education Council.

In all these sessions, first-hand information was received regarding the progress made by the Republic of Turkey in various fields from fight against terrorism to justice reform, from transportation to energy, from economy to social policies, from culture and education to humanitarian development. They also discussed the steps to be taken together in order to further advance these developments which in essence constitute the fundamental impetus behind our active foreign policy.

These sessions also contributed to the enhancement of inter-agency cooperation and coordination which stand as a fundamental requirement for the execution of an effective foreign policy and for providing top-quality services, in every respect, to our citizens living abroad.

4. As mentioned above, the main theme of the Conference this year was defined as “Humanitarian Diplomacy”. As it was stated by H.E. Mr. Davutoğlu in his inaugural speech, this concept has been selected since it truly reflects the compassionate and competent character of the Republic of Turkey and depicts the human oriented nature of our foreign policy which merges our interests with our values.

Turkish foreign policy takes human dignity as a point of reference and remains determined to use all its means and capabilities in this direction. In this regard and in light of the historical transformation taking place in our immediate neighborhood, the deliberations in the Conference has confirmed the need for Turkey to continue to implement humanitarian diplomacy in an effective and decisive way in a broad geography stretching from Syria to Afghanistan and Myanmar to Somalia in the forthcoming period.

5. Furthermore, in the main session of the Conference titled “Political and Economic Transformation in the Mediterranean Basin”, it was also confirmed that Turkey cannot be indifferent to the developments taking place in the southern and northern basins of the Mediterranean, with which it enjoys special ties stemming from history. On the contrary, it is stressed that Turkey, having had a central position in this geography, should continue its active efforts with a view to steering the developments in the right direction.

In this framework, it was decided that the legitimate demands by the peoples of the region in the south of the Mediterranean to lead a life in dignity and establish a democratic order should continue to be firmly supported. The importance of the contributions by the international community to the developments in the region was also emphasized. It was pointed out that this process, which brings with itself difficult challenges as well as great opportunities, should be continued in a peaceful manner without causing new divisions amongst the nations of the region.

With regard to the global economic crisis, the effects of which are still felt in the north of the Mediterranean, it was stated that the crisis has the characteristics that can bring radical changes in the future institutional set-up of the EU and that at this critical period our country's membership to the EU gains further importance for both parties. Hence, it was agreed that all necessary steps should be taken with resolve to realize our membership to the EU, while our views and recommendations concerning the EU’s future set-up should be voiced in a timely and constructive manner.

On the other hand, it was noted that the crisis in the EU may also have certain political and social ramifications in addition to its economic implications and that the possible rise of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia is a particular source of concern. It was agreed that all efforts should be exerted to work closely with the countries concerned against this danger; to keep the issue on the agenda of all bilateral and multilateral for a; and to take any necessary measures against developments that may jeopardize the culture of coexistence in diversity.

6. Developments in Europe and the Middle East and our bilateral relations with the countries of these regions, as well as with Africa, Asia and Latin America, were also discussed in five separate regional sessions where our policies towards these regions were evaluated in all dimensions.

In the case of Africa, Asia and Latin America, it was agreed to maintain our active policies towards these regions and further enhance our relations with the regional countries which have been flourishing in the recent years. In this context, particular attention has been called to the rising multi-dimensional profile of our country in the African continent and possible additional steps have been assessed which may be taken in the run up to the Second Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit to be held in 2013.

During the conference, the events of 1915 and the Cyprus issues were also discussed and possible developments for the coming period were addressed.

7. On the other hand, the practice of inviting high-level foreign guest speakers to the Ambassadors Conference was continued. Within this framework, Mr. H.E. K Shanmugam, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Singapore, attended the Ankara segment of the Conference, while Mr. H.E. Antonio Patriota and Mr. H.E. Carl Bildt, Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Brazil and Sweden respectively, participated in the Izmir segment and addressed Turkish Ambassadors.

On this occasion, the second trilateral meeting between the Turkish, Swedish and Brazilian Foreign Ministers was also held in Izmir as a follow-up to the first trilateral meeting which was organized in New York in September 2012 on the margins of the 67th UN General Assembly. Following the meeting, a press release was issued under the title of “Trilateral Solidarity for Building Peace” and it has been stated that a consensus was reached for the continuation of these trilateral consultations in a regular manner.

8. Moreover, in the Izmir segment of the Conference, detailed information regarding the candidacy of Izmir for EXPO 2020 was received from the authorities, in particular from Mr. Cahit Kıraç, Governor of Izmir and Mr. Aziz Kocaoğlu, Mayor of Izmir Metropolitan Municipality. Extensive consultations were made on the possible additional steps which can be taken to ensure the success of the candidacy of Izmir, a city which represents the driving dynamic force behind the Turkish economy.

Our ambassadors, on this occasion, expressed that they are determined to continue to exert every effort to support this candidacy and ensure that İzmir is elected to host the EXPO 2020.

During the meetings, it has been stressed that, in addition to the benefits in terms of tourism and promotion abroad, EXPO 2020 will provide the city of İzmir also with a new mission and contribute to the attainment of the rank it deserves as a global city.

In İzmir, the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) organized a working lunch in the honor of our Ambassadors. This meeting where 109 Presidents of the Business Councils and our Ambassadors came together has been useful as to the reinforcement of cooperation and coordination between the business world and the Turkish diplomats.

In Izmir, also, a visit was paid to the Monument for Martyred Turkish Diplomats erected by the municipality of Karşıyaka and a solemn commemoration ceremony meeting was conducted for our martyr diplomats who fell victim to terrorism while representing Turkey abroad.

9. Overall, the Fifth Annual Ambassadors Conference, as it has been in the past years, has paved the way for the stimulation of the common institutional intellect within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, contributed to the more efficient conduct of our foreign policy through the coordination it has enabled and has been useful in terms of the review of our priorities for short, medium and long terms.

As a result of the evaluations made during this conference, it has been confirmed once again that Turkey had emerged into prominence as an active, constructive and dynamic actor with its developing democracy, rising economy and active foreign policy on a global scale particularly in the Mediterranean basin and that Turkey has placed itself amongst the countries which are able to influence developments in their regions and beyond and shape the new world order.

Ambassadors Conference will continue to be held in the coming years on the basis of its existing institutional foundation. The next conference is planned to be held in Ankara and Mersin.