Turkey to expand diplomatic presence in Asia-Pacific

Foreign minister says on sidelines of ASEAN that new embassies in Papua New Guinea, Laos and Fiji integral part of second pillar of Turkey's foreign policy

Turkey to expand diplomatic presence in Asia-Pacific

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkey's foreign minister has said the country plans to continue its diplomatic expansion worldwide by increasing its presence in Asia Pacific with the opening of three new embassies.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 48th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Foreign Ministers Meeting in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, Mevlut Cavusoglu said the missions were an integral part of the second pillar of Turkey's foreign policy - "opening-up to Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific."

 "We have elevated our relations to strategic partnership with six countries in the region: Malaysia, China, Japan, Indonesia, Korea and most recently with Singapore," he told a conference at the International Islamic University in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.

"We opened new embassies in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Brunei. We will have Embassies in Papua New Guinea, Laos and Fiji soon."

On Wednesday, Cavusoglu underlined that Turkey had always been a part of Asia, "but today, more than ever, Asia is home to us." 

"Our political, economic and cultural ties are expanding fast. Ask any scholar around the world; they all agree that the defining theme of the 21st century will be the 'Rise of Asia'," he added 

As the current chair of G20, he said Turkey is working to reduce existing inequalities by promoting inclusive growth, increasing food security, and improving access to energy.

"We cannot do this without the full cooperation of G20 members and five of them [China, Japan, India, Indonesia and Korea] are from this continent," he said. "That’s why, we have to remain in close dialogue and cooperation."

Cavusoglu expanded on what he had referred to as the second pillar - "opening-up to Africa, Latin America and Asia-Pacific."

"In Africa, we have increased the number of our embassies from 12 to 39 in just about five years... We became a strategic partner to the African Union. We increased our trade with Africa from 3 to 23 billion Dollars in the last 12 years. 

"In Latin America and the Caribbean, the number of our diplomatic missions has reached 12 and our trade increased from $1 billion to $8 billion."

He said that bilateral trade with Asia Pacific has increased significantly in the last decade - "from $15 billion to $50 billion" - and a total of 1,300 companies from Asia-Pacific had invested $3 billion in Turkey in the last 10 years.

"Establishing more structured institutional ties with the regional organizations is also our priority. We regard ASEAN as the key regional organization in this respect.""

He again emphasized Turkey’s intention to elevate relations with ASEAN to the level of Dialogue Partnership.

On Tuesday, Cavusoglu met with Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak, with stepping up trade volume and defense cooperation, and the fight against "terrorism" on the agenda.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, he said Turkey had welcomed the invitation to the three-day meet by Malaysia and that its dialogue partnership to the organisation is supported by many ASEAN states.

Speaking later Tuesday at a joint press conference with Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed, Cavusoglu announced the entry into force of an FTA between Turkey and Malaysia as of Aug. 1, negotiations of which started in May 2010 and continued until it was signed in April last year. 

He said he hoped that the existing trade imbalance between two countries would be eliminated thanks to the FTA, and added that there was a need to increase investment.

Earlier Wednesday, Cavusoglu elaborated on what he called "the four pillars of our foreign policy": to create a belt of security, stability and prosperity in our vicinity, to reach out to the world and establish new partnerships in a wider geography, economic growth, and actively using international platforms to find common solutions to our problems. 

Cavusoglu left Malaysia after attending the ASEAN meeting's farewell dinner.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Ağustos 2015, 17:52