The era in which we live is an age of rapid changes. Accordingly, foreign policy issues have also gained a more complex and complicated character. Today, taking the necessary steps in keeping with the speed of these changes and developments is the most important task laid before decision makers. In such an environment, developments show us that international legitimacy, economic interdependence, respect for human rights, pursuing a sustainable environmental policy and harmony between people belonging to different religious and ethnic origins stand as the most important tools to build lasting peace, stability and prosperity.
The realities of our time also compel us to analyze international dynamics with a global perspective of peace. Located in one of the important intersections of different foreign policy dynamics, this extraordinary process also shapes Turkey’s basic foreign policy issues. In light of the many opportunities created by globalization, we were in fact hoping for the emergence of a new environment conducive to lasting peace. However traditional security issues as well as new and evolving risks and threats such as terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, cross-border organized crime and illegal immigration continue to overshadow our optimism.
The Afro-Eurasian geography where Turkey is situated at the epicenter is an area where such opportunities and risks interact in the most intensive way. Under these circumstances, to follow a stable and constructive Turkish foreign policy has become all the more important. History has shown us that great civilizations has prospered in peace in our region when the correct steps are taken and the existing potential is appropriately utilized, while the cost of mistakes can be devastating for the entire world. It is with this understanding that Turkey pursues a dynamic and visionary foreign policy with a view to steering the developments in a positive direction, in a region where the impact of global changes are greatest. In this context, Turkey’s multi-dimensional, constructive, proactive, realistic and responsible foreign policy is one of the most important assets in realizing its national and international goals.
As a result of this principled approach and its continued efforts, as well as thanks to its increasing means and capabilities Turkey has in fact become a leading country that works to expand the sphere of peace and prosperity in its region; generate stability and security; help establish an order that paves the way for prosperity, human development and lasting stability. Rise of Turkey to such a prominent position is also a consequence of Turkey’s solid stance that vigorously seeks legitimacy and of the belief that its own security and stability can only be achieved through the security and stability of the region.
Behind this stance lies intensive efforts and major initiatives intended for the creation of an environment of sustainable peace, security and tranquility in the region and beyond. Thanks to this foreign policy vision, Turkey is today considered as a country that not only safeguards but also disseminates human rights, democracy, rule of law and social equity. Turkey’s deep-rooted tradition of statehood and democracy, its advantages emanating from geography and history, its young and educated population and dynamic economy plays a key role in the success of this policy. Turkish foreign policy is pursued by mobilizing many and complementary political, economic, humanitarian and cultural means and its sphere of interest has achieved a global scale. In this framework, Turkey is determined to become a full member of the European Union as part of its bicentennial effort to reach the highest level of contemporary civilization.
Furthermore, believing that an ever enlarging NATO has much more to do in serving global peace, Turkey is striving to keep the spirit of alliance high at all times. On the other hand, attaching particular importance to its Transatlantic ties Turkey is strengthening its relations both with the US and the European countries; while further developing its relations with the countries in the Balkans, Middle East and North Africa, Southern Caucasus, South Asia and Central Asia by making use of its close ties. In a world where globalization renders distances increasingly insignificant, Turkey is also deepening its policies of reaching out to Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific regions that is home to many emerging powers. In other words, Turkey does not only develop its bilateral and regional relations in its close neighborhood, but seeks to create a positive synergy on a much wider scale and thus aims at contributing to global peace, stability and security.
Cognizant of the fact that global problems can only be resolved through cooperation on a global scale, Turkey is also conducting an active diplomacy in the multilateral fora, notably within the United Nations, the unique universal forum in which such cooperation is realized through broadest possible participation and on a robust basis of legitimacy. As regards the UN, for instance, after concluding its non-permanent membership in the Security Council during 2009-2010, Turkey announced yet again its candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the Council this time for the years 2015-2016. The aim is to bring an added value to the work of the Council and shoulder more effectively its global responsibilities. On the other hand, taking account of the direct relationship between security and development, Turkey has started assuming an active role in global development diplomacy efforts, too. In this regard, Turkey hosted the Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries, between 9th and 13th of May in Istanbul and contributed to the adoption of the Program of Action for the decade 2011-2020.
In sum, Turkey is aware of the necessity to foster the linkages between political stability, economic welfare and cultural harmony in order to attain sustainable global peace. To this end, Turkey is committed to further enhance political dialogue with all countries, search for new economic and commercial areas of cooperation and increase its humanitarian aid and assistance to the developing countries. As an emerging energy hub and a major transit country, Turkey plays an important role with respect to global energy security. Likewise, as an active member of the G-20 which gave a new impulse to the quest for global governance Turkey is pursuing a more representative and democratic global system. Turkey also assumes active role in endeavors to foster mutual respect and common values among different cultures and religions. In this regard the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, cosponsored by Turkey&Spain, represents the strongest response ever to the scenarios of the so-called “clashes of civilizations”.
On the other hand, Turkey has added a relatively new aspect to its foreign policy in recent years which indeed complements its global vision via helping third countries in resolving their domestic as well as bilateral problems through facilitation and reconciliation. Indeed Turkey is now playing a more active role compared to the past in mediation and resolution of conflicts. While doing so Turkey prioritizes opportunities and initiatives improving cooperation and friendships between states based on a win-win principle rather than perceived problems and threats. Overall, Turkey conducts a foreign policy guided by the principle of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” as set out by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. It has a broad and constructive vision and is committed to make use of all its means and capabilities towards this end. Turkey will resolutely continue its efforts in this direction which will not only guarantee its national interests but will help achieve the common goals of humanity.