The Sixth Annual Ambassadors Conference ends
The Sixth Annual Ambassadors Conference ends

The Sixth Annual Ambassadors Conference was held in Ankara, Adana and Mersin between 13-19 January 2014. The conference, entitled “Strong Democracy, Dynamic Economy, Effective Diplomacy,” began with the Ambassadors’ visit to Anıtkabir on Monday morning, January 13th and ended on Sunday, January 19th, following the Adana segment of the program.

The Ambassadors Conferences, which have been held regularly since 2008, bring together Turkish Ambassadors serving both abroad and at headquarters. The Conferences, while serving as a platform for providing assessments of issues on our foreign policy agenda, setting priorities and targets for the period ahead, enabling coordination among institutions and organizations involved in foreign affairs, informing various domestic audiences about our current foreign policy, also play a significant role in terms of public diplomacy.

Setting off from the fact that a country which lacks a developed economy and democracy cannot conduct effective foreign policy, the Conference highlighted that Turkey’s achievements in these fields provided it with the opportunity to pursue a unique foreign policy with the ability to constructively contribute to regional and global issues. The Conference also confirmed that, in line with its increasing capabilities, Turkey implements a confident, multi-dimensional and visionary policy aimed at protecting its national interests and values.

In the course of the Conference, Ambassadors participated in 42 sessions, most of which were chaired by H.E. Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey. Also addressing the assembled Ambassadors were H.E. Mr. Abdullah Gül, President of the Republic of Turkey, H.E. Mr. Cemil Çiçek, Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, and H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey.

In addition, the Ambassadors met with four Deputy Prime Ministers and seven Ministers.

In this context, Deputy Prime Ministers H.E. Mr. Bülent Arınç, H.E. Mr. Ali Babacan, H.E. Mr. Beşir Atalay and H.E. Mr. Emrullah İşler, as well as H.E. Mr. Bekir Bozdağ, Minister of Justice, H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator, H.E. Mr. Nihat Zeybekçi, Minister of Economy, H.E. Mr. Taner Yıldız, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, H.E. Mr. Efkan Ala, Minister of Interior, and H.E. Mr. Lütfi Elvan, Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications addressed the Ambassadors in Ankara, while H.E. Mr. Ömer Çelik, Minister of Culture and Tourism, addressed them in Adana during a dinner that he hosted in their honor.

Senior officials of relevant institutions accompanied the distinguished Ministers during their presentations. Ambassadors also exchanged views with the President of Supreme Electoral Council Mr. Sadi Güven, the Undersecretary for Defense Industry Mr. Murad Bayar, the Acting Deputy Undersecretary of the Prime Ministry Mr. İbrahim Kalın, the Public Diplomacy Coordinator Cemalettin Haşimi and the President of the Investment Support and Promotion Agency, Mr. İlker Aycı.

The sessions provided the Ambassadors with the opportunity to receive first-hand information on developments in various fields which constitute the driving force behind Turkey’s active and multidimensional foreign policy. The sessions were also useful for furthering coordination and cooperation among institutions, which is an essential prerequisite for effective diplomacy.

In addition, the Conference included presentations on digital diplomacy as well as on the international botanic exhibition that will take place in Antalya in 2016.

Ambassadors held internal sessions to evaluate developments in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Bilateral relations with countries in these regions were also discussed in detail.

In this context, with regard to the historical transition process in North Africa and the Middle East, the existence of strong challenges in various countries was underlined and the importance of focusing on the objective of establishment of an order that meets the legitimate demands and expectations of the peoples of the region was stressed. It was reiterated that the close attention Turkey gives to the developments in this region with which it enjoys special historic ties and the support Turkey provides to countries in transition would continue unabated.

Likewise, in the session on relations with European countries, it was expressed that Turkey’s efforts towards EU membership, which is a strategic objective, will continue resolutely.

It was noted that the cooperation between Turkey and Africa has turned into a diversifying and deepening partnership after having successfully completed the initial phase of opening up to the continent. Turkey’s determination to further enhance this cooperation on the occasion of the Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit has been emphasized.

It was confirmed that Turkey’s policy of opening up to the Asia-Pacific region, which forms the center of gravity of the current world economy, and to Latin America, with which the level of our relations has been increasing steadily, would be continued.

Additionally, major issues on Turkey’s foreign policy agenda were evaluated thoroughly during the Conference.

Turkey continued the practice of inviting foreign dignitaries to address its Ambassadors, so as to give the conference an international dimension. In this regard, H.E. Mr. Borut Pahor, President of Slovenia and H.E. Mr. Iyad Madani, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation addressed our Ambassadors.

During the Adana segment of the Conference, H.E. Mr. Ömer Çelik, Minister of Culture and Tourism, addressed our Ambassadors, while in Mersin the Ambassadors received a presentation on the city from the Mersin Governor and enjoyed a cultural performance by the Mersin State Opera and Ballet. In both Adana and Mersin, Minister Davutoğlu addressed large audiences of local leaders in industry, trade and public opinion on foreign policy.

These contacts in Adana and Mersin played a useful role in promoting both cities, which are important to Turkey’s economy, society, and culture. They also gave the local public an opportunity to become better informed as to Turkey’s foreign policy priorities.

The Sixth Ambassadors Conference proved valuable for thoroughly discussing issues on Turkey’s intense foreign policy agenda, for coordinating with the relevant institutions and organizations that are stakeholders in Turkish foreign policy and for reviewing priorities for the future.

The Annual Ambassadors Conferences will continue to convene in the coming years on the basis of the established structure. A part of the next year’s Conference will be held in Çanakkale on the occasion of 100th Anniversary of the Çanakkale Land Battles.