TURKEY’S ENTERPRISING AND HUMANITARIAN FOREIGN POLICY

A SYNOPSIS

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Turkish Foreign Policy aims to protect Turkey’s interests in a volatile regional and global environment, while also shaping conditions for sustainable peace and development in our neighborhood and beyond. In the pursuit of this primary goal, Turkey contributes to peace, prosperity, and stability around the world. Guided by our enduring objective to achieve “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” as set out by the founder of our Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, we implement an “ Enterprising and Humanitarian Foreign Policy” that, in our President’s words, “reflects the enterprising spirit and humanitarian values of our nation.”

The coronavirus pandemic has affected the entire world in a short span of time and further accelerated the major trends recently observed in international relations. Globally speaking, we are going through a period characterized by increased uncertainties, unpredictabilities, crises, and conflicts threatening peace and stability in our vicinity, accelerated rivalries among various powers, as well as the erosion of multilateralism and universal values. The international setting.is shaped by the inadequacy of the current global governance mechanisms, fragilities that are increasing globally but especially in our region, rising inequalities, and acceleration of digitalization.

In order to eliminate the threats and challenges emanating from that backdrop, and to take advantage of emerging opportunities, Turkey is compelled to pursue a foreign policy that is strong on the ground and at the table by implementing an insightful and agile diplomacy. In this regard, Turkey benefits from deep-rooted traditions of diplomacy and derives strength from several factors including her central geographical position, rich historical experience, robust institutions, strong human resources, and a dynamic economy. As such, Turkey’s foreign policy is the embodiment of a bridge between the tradition and the future.

In line with the enterprising aspect of her foreign policy , Turkey uses several complementary political, economic, humanitarian, and cultural tools and conducts a diplomacy that thinks globally but also acts locally in every corner of the world. With 253 diplomatic and consular missions, Turkey has spawned the 5th largest diplomatic network globally.

Turkey has developed a globally extensive network of cooperation including High Level Cooperation Councils with 27 countries, 4 Intergovernmental Summits, and a host of trilateral or other multilateral regional formations. Turkey maintains close ties with the countries in the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa, Southern Caucasus, South, and Central Asia. Beyond these neighboring regions, Turkey deepens her partnership policy in Africa, and reaches out to the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Asia Anew initiative announced in 2019 has given Turkey the opportunity to lay the foundations of a holistic and comprehensive policy towards Asia and the Pacific, home to the rising powers of the 21st century.

As the Easternmost European, and the Westernmost Asian country, Turkey aims to strengthen her existing strategic relations and establish new ones. Full membership of the European Union remains a strategic priority. Turkey has a strategic partnership with the United States as a NATO ally and considers the transatlantic link vital for security and prosperity in Europe. As an active member, Turkey contributes fundamentally to the principle of “the indivisibility of security” within NATO. As such, we are among the top 5 contributors to NATO operations and top 8 contributors to the Alliance’s budget.

Turkey is a part of Europe. She is a founding member of almost all European institutions including the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, among others. Turkey is actively contributing to the efforts to address multiple challenges that also affect Europe including mass migration. As an energy hub and transit country, Turkey plays a vital role in European and global energy security.

Turkey supports regional ownership and solutions for regional problems. We are a founding member of several regional organizations and initiatives such as the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, the Southeast European Cooperation Process, and the Economic Cooperation Organization.

As a prominent member of the OIC, the Developing Eight (D-8), the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (Turkic Council), Asia Cooperation Dialogue and MIKTA (Mexico, Indonesia, Korea, Turkey, and Australia), we have brought additional efficiency and dynamism to all institutions during our Term Presidencies.

Solution of global challenges depends on collective efforts forged by cooperation and effective multilateralism. This reality guides Turkey’s active diplomacy within multilateral fora. Turkey has also been an active member of the G20 since its inception and held its term presidency for 2015. Within the G20, Turkey has been promoting the humanitarian-development nexus, as well as inclusive economic growth and equitable distribution. Turkey served at the UN Security Council during 2009-2010 as a constructive member contributing to global peace, stability, and security. Under the motto of “the world is bigger than five” coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has been advocating the reform of the UN Security Council and the UN, and other multilateral organizations, in order for them to be fit for purpose today.

Turkey has a leading role in conflict resolution and mediation and is the only country to simultaneously co-chair the Friends of Mediation Groups at the UN, OSCE and the OIC. Turkey also hosts the annual İstanbul Mediation Conferences to make conceptual contributions to the field mediation, prioritizes capacity-building, and organizes the “Mediation for Peace Certificate Programs” for young diplomats from the OIC Member States.

In addition to the enterprising character of our foreign Policy, the human factor remains at the heart of our efforts. As such, Turkey is positioned as a compassionate power. During the coronavirus pandemic, Turkey acted with the understanding of “a friend in need is a friend indeed.” By extending a helping hand to 157 countries and 12 international organizations, we became a world leader in terms of medical assistance, yet another manifestation of the humanitarian nature of our foreign policy. Turkey has also repatriated more than 100.000 Turkish citizens from 142 countries in the largest evacuation operation in the history of the Republic, and made her compassionate power felt by its citizens.

We encourage the active participation of our citizens living abroad in the political, economic, and social life of the countries they live in, while maintaining their ties with their homeland and culture. We continue our efforts to increase the quality of the services provided to our citizens abroad.

Humanity is plagued by various scourges, including terrorism, ethnic or religious hatred, discrimination, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Islamic trends , while other forms of exclusion are also causes for concern. In addressing such widespread menaces, Turkey stresses the need for transparency, diversity, dialogue, and inclusive policies. With this mindset, Turkey has assumed a leading role in endeavors to foster mutual respect and common values among different cultures and religions. The UN Alliance of Civilizations initiative, co-sponsored by Turkey and Spain, represents a solid response to the scenarios based on the so-called clash of civilizations.

Terrorism and various forms of extremism have reached a menacing intensity around the globe. Terrorist groups threaten international peace and security. Terrorism is a crime against humanity that cannot be associated with any race, ethnicity, faith, or geography. It is a global scourge demanding global response and solidarity. Turkey has been actively countering terrorism unleashed by whichever organization under whatever pretext.

Turkey’s human-centered state tradition is also reflected on our developmental and humanitarian aid programs. The first ever World Humanitarian Summit was held in Istanbul in 2016. Turkey is the largest humanitarian donor in the world, and the most generous country on the basis of per capita humanitarian spending.

At the same time, Turkey is currently the top refugee hosting country in the world. It hosts more than 4 million externally displaced people, approximately 3.7 million of whom are Syrians under temporary protection. Turkey has spent more than 40 billion USD to provide aid and services to the Syrians. On the other hand, Turkey supports the voluntary and dignified return of Syrians to Syria and thanks to our efforts, hundreds of thousands of Syrians were able to return to their homes.

Ensuring the efficiency of foreign policy requires keeping abreast of change and diversifying policy instruments accordingly. By designing innovative initiatives, Turkey is also shaping the diplomacy of today and the future. The Digital Diplomacy initiative aims to capitalize on the transformative power of technology in all avenues of foreign policy and increase our efficiency and effectiveness from consular services to public diplomacy, and from digital infrastructure to strategic foresight and analysis.

Similarly, the Antalya Diplomacy Forum is designed as an innovative platform to exchange views on global and regional issues and provide solutions to key foreign policy issues. With various online events in 2020, the ADF has already started to contribute to the global agenda and the world of policy debate.

A strong Turkey means a guarantee for sustainable peace and development and a driving force for all surrounding basins. In 2023, the Republic of Turkey will proudly celebrate its centennial anniversary. Achievement of the solid goals set out by our Presidential Government will not only raise the standards of peace and prosperity at home but will also reinforce Turkey’s contributions to her own neighborhood and beyond. Turkey’s Enterprising and Humanitarian Foreign Policy will continue to secure her national interests while simultaneously contributing to the shared goals of humanity.