10 July 2014 - The AIM Stephen Zuellig Graduate School of Development Management hosted the Ambassador’s Forum last 09 July 2014 with Turkish Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Esra Cankorur as special guest speaker.
The Ambassador emphasized that development is the foundation of peace and stability. Following this principle, the Ambassador said that Turkey has attached great importance to international development cooperation. It has extended international assistance to various countries primarily through the Turkish International Cooperation Agency (TICA). In 2013, Turkey’s development assistance reached USD3.2 billion, making it the world’s fourth largest humanitarian donor country. Turkey also fosters mutual respect and common values among different cultures and religions. It co-sponsored with Spain under the auspices of the United Nations, the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative, which is considered the strongest response to the so-called “clashes of civilizations” (a thesis that was first suggested by Samuel P. Huntington whose major argument was that the primary source of conflict in the post- Cold War era would be based on civilizational, cultural or religious identity.) This initiative contributed to the ongoing efforts for the promotion of cooperation among different cultures, and for countering the rise of polarization and extremism.
“Turkey’s foreign policy takes its strength from its deep-rooted tradition of statehood and democracy, disadvantages emanating from geography and history, its young and educated population and its dynamic economy. In this sense, Turkish economy as a rising powerhouse at the global scale, has achieved an outstanding performance with its steady growth over the last ten years.”
The Ambassador presented Turkey’s excellent economic performance over the past decade. The country experienced an average economic growth rate of 5.2 percent per annum during the period 2002-2012, and saw its GDP per capita increase to USD10,500 from USD3,500 in 2002, making Turkey the 17th largest economy in the world and 6th largest economy in Europe. This progress was largely due to the structural reforms that were implemented to strengthen the macro-economic fundamentals of the country, the Ambassador explained.
Turkey and the rise of Asia
While strengthening its ties with its neighboring countries, Turkey is also deepening its links with Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific. The rise of Asia, not only in the economic field but also in political, military and cultural arena, has made many nations race for influence and market share in the Asia-Pacific. And Turkey follows the development trends in Asia with keen interest, the Ambassador added. “Turkey is an Asian country among its many vocations. We have historic, linguistic and religious ties with the wide-range of countries along the Asian silk road. “
Due to the growing significance of the region, Turkey has also increased the pace and depth of its engagement in the region by fostering economic and trade relations, enhancing political dialogue, and strengthening cultural ties. In the region, the country is pursuing “country-adoptive” policies given the varying degree of economic and political development of countries in the region.
Turkey has strengthened its ties with China, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which Turkey regards as the leading framework of cooperation in Southeast Asia. Turkey has opened new embassies in the region, increased cultural and educational exchanges, and developed institutional ties with regional organizations. The country has been a party to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, development partner of the Pacific Islands Forum, and member to the Asia Cooperation Dialogue. Turkey’s next target is to be a Dialogue Partner of ASEAN, regarded as the highest level of institutional relationship with the ASEAN.
Turkey - Philippines relations
According to the Ambassador, the Philippines is a valuable partner of Turkey in Southeast Asia. Diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Philippines started way back in 1949 when the Treaty of Amity was signed. In the 1990s, the relationship was strengthened with the opening of embassies in each other’s capital. Turkey is contributing to attaining peace in Mindanao through the International Contract Group and the Organization of Islamic Conference Peace Committee for Southern Philippines. The Ambassador emphasized that Turkey hopes to intensify the economic and bilateral ties with the Philippines in the future. Although foreign trade volume between the two countries has increased over the years, the Ambassador pointed out that the figures still correspond to an insignificant portion of foreign trade for both countries. Thus, there still remains ample potential for further improvement of the two countries' bilateral economic and commercial ties.
In the end, the Ambassador highlighted Turkey’s foreign policy, which is guided by the principle of “peace at home” and “peace in the world” based on the statement uttered by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Republic of Turkey on 20 April 1931 – "To describe the stable and general diplomacy of the Republic People's Party, I think this short sentence is enough: We work for peace at home, peace in the world." Turkey is committed to forging closer ties with the countries of Asia-Pacific region in the years to come.
About the Ambassador's Forum @ AIM
The Ambassadors’ Forum @ AIM is a venue for the professional exchange of knowledge and skills related to international development issues and trends. Its objectives are: (1) to broaden the regional and global perspective of AIM students taking up both the Master in Development Management and the Masters in Business Management, (2) to provide a venue for the exchange of information for foreign ambassadors in Manila, and (3) to educate the community at large on internal relations and development issues and trends as they affect the Philippines and the region. Through the forum, ambassadors and embassy officials have been invited to discuss their countries’ views on Asian issues including political regimes, economics, finance, trade systems, demographics and migration, climate change and energy, strategic security, and world view.
These fora are free and open to the public, unless stated otherwise. For information on our future events, visit the News and Events section of this website or like us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/aimszgsdm).