FM hails Turkish role in 21st century as ‘wise country’ January 4, 2011Posted by Yilan in Turkey.
Tags: Davutoğlu, Turkey
Likening Turkish diplomats to firefighters rushing to emergency situations in every corner of the world, Davutoğlu said this role would not suffice in the new era, which requires crises to be prevented before they break out. DAILY NEWS PHOTO, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
Turkey should take an influential role in the 21st century by predicting crises before they occur and producing alternative solutions rather than reacting to events, Ankara’s top diplomat told a meeting of the country’s ambassadors Monday.
“Turkey should be the front-runner on the list of wise countries in the international community,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said in his opening address to the weeklong meeting, saying the first task is to carry the Turkish Republic forward into future decades as a stronger and more influential country.
Likening Turkish diplomats to firefighters rushing to emergency situations in every corner of the world, Davutoğlu said this role would not suffice in the new era, which requires crises to be prevented before they break out.
“We do not only want firefighters but also city planners,” the foreign minister said. “Some do the planning and we rush when the fire breaks out. This is wrong. We cannot be a country that waits and reacts. Will our power be sufficient to play such a role? Yes, it will be.”
Emphasizing that a new period is ahead and that the international system is no longer static, Davutoğlu said: “We cannot make do with our current role. It is necessary to give dynamic reactions to a dynamic world.”
The weeklong meeting, on the theme of “Visionary Diplomacy: Global and Regional Order from Turkey’s Perspective,” is the third such gathering of the country’s approximately 200 ambassadors following the first conference in July 2008. The second leg of the meeting will continue in the eastern Anatolian province of Erzurum, where Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will join the participants.
Asked if Turkey reacted in the right way to events that occurred in the last year, Davutoğlu answered in the affirmative, saying Turkey can be listed among the top 10 countries that contributed the most to the restructuring of the global order.
In his remarks, Davutoğlu also referred to political scientist Samuel P. Huntington’s description in 1993 of Turkey, along with Russia and Mexico, as a “torn country,” saying: “We are not a torn country. We are a country in a torn world trying to unite broken pieces.”
The foreign minister also conveyed the message that Turkey’s march toward European Union membership would continue, but warned the country would not choose between the EU and Cyprus. “Wise ones would not force us to make such a choice,” he said, referring to the effect the Cyprus problem has had on Turkey’s troubled EU negotiations.
Touching on debates over his policy toward the Middle East and the Balkans, one described by critics as “Neo-Ottoman policy,” Davutoğlu said: “The Turkish Republic is a nation-state with no thought of ruling over others. But we cannot accept attempts by others to rule over us either.”
Indicating that Ankara’s efforts to sign visa-free travel and free-trade deals with neighboring countries would continue, Davutoğlu said the high-level strategic cooperation council, a mechanism of holding joint Cabinet meetings and striking cooperation deals – previously set up between Turkey and Greece, Russia, Syria and Iraq – would be established with Ukraine and Bulgaria as well.
Praise for Turkish diplomats
Davutoğlu praised the performance of his diplomats by using the example of the Mavi Marmara incident, the May 31 attack by Israeli commandoes on a Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla that left nine people dead. The foreign minister said he and his staff were in Brazil when the incident broke out and tried to fly to New York to call the U.N. Security Council to an emergency meeting, but his plane had to stop over in the Netherlands Antilles to refuel.
“After the six-hour flight, we produced a plan,” the minister said, adding that he called Ertuğrul Apakan, Turkey’s permanent representative to the United Nations, from his mobile phone. “We got curious when we couldn’t get any response and then discovered he was at the office with all his full staff, just like a firefighter,” Davutoğlu said. “We directly headed to the U.N. Security Council meeting later that day.”