Peace at home, peace in the world

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Statement by Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the Meeting of Group of Friends of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, 2 April 2014, New York

High Representative Mr.Nasser Abdulaziz Al-Nasser,
Special Adviser Ms. Amina Mohammed,
H.E. Mr. Roman Oyarzun, Permanent Representative of Spain,
Special Adviser Mr. Iqbal Riza,
Distinguished Colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to first express my pleasure for being here in New York with the Alliance of Civilizations family again. Taking this opportunity, I thank the High Representative for organizing this meeting with a special emphasis on the link between peaceful coexistence and sustainable development.

The Alliance of Civilizations has come a long way in a limited time span. It has grown stronger in time and has both deepened and widened. It gives me pleasure to note an enlarged Alliance family at each meeting I attend. Equally important is the significant increase in the activities of the Alliance within its priority areas.

Excellencies, My dear friends,

I am aware that the United Nations General Assembly is preoccupied with one of the most important processes of the last 15 years, which is crafting the post-2015 development agenda. When we are meeting today here, our delegates are working on defining the sustainable development goals (SDGs) under this roof.

Turkey has long advocated that peace and development are mutually reinforcing. No peace will occur without sustainable development and there will be no sustainable development without peace.

Mutual respect and understanding are sine qua non for a sustainable peace and long-term stability whereas only peaceful and stable societies can prosper. On the other hand, economic growth and sustainable development brings employment, wealth and prosperity which are essential for a genuine peaceful co-existence.

UN Alliance of Civilizations is well-situated in that sense. By fostering tolerance and understanding, and thus contributing to peace, which I consider vital for prosperity, the Alliance can contribute to development as well.

We all should agree that development is for the people and all development efforts should be human centered. Without peace, stability, the rule of law and good governance, we cannot ensure the well-being of our people.

It is a fact that violence in all its forms, conflicts, lack of the rule of law and weak public institutions have hampered the progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in many parts of the world. Preventing conflicts, ensuring peaceful societies and promoting good governance should be regarded as parts and enablers of the UN sustainable development agenda.

It is unfortunate that large portions of the world’s poor are mainly concentrated in conflict-affected and fragile states. This fact itself proves how much peace can contribute to sustainable development and prosperity.

Over the course of the last years, Turkey has strived for investing in this unbreakable bond between peace and development both through this initiative and the Group of Friends of Mediation.

We have strongly advocated the Least Developed Countries and argued that underdevelopment should not be a destiny for any country.

We firmly believe and have witnessed that, with increased efforts, this destiny is susceptible to change.

Let us have a look at Africa. Africa is now re-emerging with many promising developments. The Continent has recorded an annual growth rate of 5% over the last decade and is expected to continue this trend in the coming years. 6 out of 10 fastest growing economies in the world are now in Africa.

I am pleased to note that my country has made a modest contribution to this development trend through its trade, investment and humanitarian assistance, through our Embassies, whose number have increased from 12 to 35 in the last couple of years as well as our development agency offices.

When it comes to development assistance, Turkey has been supportive of LDCs in all fora including the United Nations. LDCs should be supported according to the “priority areas” defined under Istanbul Program of Action.

Turkey’s total development assistance almost reached 3.5 billion US Dollars in 2012, with approximately 2.5 billion US Dollars through public entities as official development assistance.

Turkish Development Agency, TİKA, with its 35 coordination offices in 32 countries, including 9 in Africa, plays a major role in technical cooperation and coordination of Turkey’s ODA.

In short, with a holistic approach, we deem it our responsibility to disseminate the development we achieved by sharing our experiences with others.

Excellencies, Friends,

When we came up with the idea of the Alliance initiative in 2005 with Spain, our mere aim was to say loud and clear that Civilizations are not destined to clash. Since then, we have spoken out that no matter what our beliefs are, we can live in unity, peace and harmony among all civilizations in history. We have believed that our commonalities overweigh our differences. We have advocated that promotion of dialogue and tolerance can defuse tensions. We have argued that fostering religious and cross-cultural understanding can help us create an environment of mutual respect.

The UNAoC was just a spark. In time, it has proven worthy of investing in. It is now our duty to strengthen it and work vigorously to make our goals come true.

Rest assured that our unwavering commitment to the Alliance will continue.

To conclude, I would like to wholeheartedly wish all the best of success to Indonesia for the Sixth Global Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations to be held in Bali this year. We will work with Indonesia for the success of this Forum and to turn it into a turning point for the Alliance. We have no doubt that the Forum will be yet another major progress in the work of the Alliance in the able hands of the Government of Indonesia and the Alliance Secretariat.

I thank you.