Article Of H.e. Prof. Ahmed Davutoğlu, Minister Of Foreign Affairs Of The Republic Of Turkey, Published On "diario De Noticias" On 29 October 2009

Lizbon Büyükelçiliği 02.11.2009

A STRONGER EUROPE WITH TURKEY

The Republic of Turkey is celebrating its 86th anniversary this year. As we are getting ready to leave behind the first decade of the new century, there is definitely a new and stronger Turkey on the world scene. As the 15th largest economy in the world (6th largest in Europe), with a GDP approaching the trillion dollar mark, a young and vibrant population, and a continuously growing market for investment, Turkey is on its way to joining the ranks of major global actors by most parameters.

This ascent is already clearly visible in the profile of Turkey in international fora. Besides our strong standing in Euro-Atlantic institutions such as NATO, and our ongoing negotiations towards full accession to the EU, today, we are a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. We are currently chairing the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP), and next year we will assume the chairmanship of the Council of Europe as well as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA). But not everything is politics and economics in today’s global village. The rising tide in extremism, xenophobia and intolerance is a major challenge that threatens to undermine the international community’s efforts to bring about a better future. In this regard, Turkey, recognizing the urgent need for inter-cultural dialogue, has been one of the co-sponsors of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative. This effort has evolved into a full-fledged UN enterprise, which benefits from the extensive statesmanship of His Excellency Jorge Sampaio as its Special Representative.

As Turkey passes another milestone in its Republican history, the international community is struggling to cope with serious issues ranging from global financial downturns to climate change, from energy security to poverty. Its geostrategic location compels Turkey to play active roles in all these spheres. As a secular country, deeply attached to such universal values as democracy, the rule of law and human rights, Turkey has long proved its mettle as a reliable partner in international affairs, capable of engendering confidence and facilitating the solution of long-standing problems in a difficult neighborhood and beyond. Alongside the regional challenges, which we cannot be indifferent to; Turkey also determinedly pursues a policy of solving all existing problems at the bilateral level, the most recent example being the protocols signed towards normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations.

Turkey will continue to contribute to global efforts aimed at preparing a new and better world for coming generations. Needless to say, we will persist to be in close partnership with other responsible members of the family of nations in this regard.

As such, we firmly believe that our eventual full membership in the EU, besides being a strategic national goal for us, will also constitute an opportunity for the Union to enhance its global status, by injecting the EU with the fresh energy and dynamism that it will need in the future. In this context, it must be underlined that Europe and Turkey are bound together by deep and essential ties, and both share a truly common vision for the future of our continent: a Europe that strengthens its soft power and advances its universal values; that promotes diversity; that is much more influential in global politics. Turkey’s membership will help Europe achieve this common vision. It will boost Europe’s ability to induce positive change both in its immediate neighborhood and beyond. With Turkey on board, the cultural diversity and human fabric of the EU will also be greatly enhanced, in turn bolstering the vision of a Europe whole and free.

I am confident that as long-standing allies and friends, Portugal and Turkey will continue to work closely together towards the achievement of this worthy goal.

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