October 20, 2012
“The foreign ministers of Turkey, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina yesterday attended the conference “From Balkan Wars to Balkan Peace” in Istanbul which was organized on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Balkan Wars and hosted by Ankara. Speaking at the conference, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said, “It is time for the Balkans to distance itself from fragmented identities and start solving its problems itself. The solution lays with the peoples of the region. The joint cultures of the Balkan peoples should be utilized to overcome disagreements between politicians.” Davutoğlu also called on the international community and the UN to take necessary steps in Syria to stop the massacre before it becomes too late as was the case in Bosnia in the 1990s. “Today the situation in Syria resembles Bosnia. There are similarities between the bombings of Damascus, Hama or Homs and the bombing of Sarajevo in Bosnia. Just like Bosnia, Aleppo has great historic richness. The international community which was insensitive to the massacres in Bosnia had to repent and apologize later on,” Davutoğlu said, adding that the fact that foreign ministers of five countries gathered there was an indication of a joint commitment to establishing peace in the Balkans. Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Foreign Minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina Zlatko Lagumdzija said that Turkey has never walked away from them, but lent them impetus.”
“Delivering the opening remarks of a meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG) for Afghanistan at Ankara’s Hilton Hotel on Friday, Ahmet Davutoğlu stated that the meeting was not crucial only for Afghanistan but all countries with special ties to Afghanistan and the international community.
“Afghanistan is the first and greatest test for the international community in the 21st century. We have no chance for failure in Afghanistan,” Davutoğlu noted.
“Turkey, as an old friend, always gave shoulder to shoulder with Afghanistan. We have always extended support to Afghanistan for political stability, peace and economic development,” Davutoğlu stressed.
“We consider Afghanistan as ‘the heart of Asia’. It was poet Muhammad Iqbal who made such description and from whom I have been influenced,” Davutoğlu said.
“If peace can not get established in Afghanistan as the heart of Asia, then peace could not be realized in Asia. As the heart of a body, if Afghanistan is healthy and functions well as a state, then whole Asia would be a region of security and peace. We should never think that Afghanistan is far from us,” Davutoğlu stated.
“Our mission is to facilitate peace and security in Afghanistan. If we can not achieve peace and security in Afghanistan, we would not be able to facilitate peace, security and stability within the international system,” Davutoğlu noted.
“Afghan-Turkish relations are some of the oldest in history. The first strategic alliance agreement of the Turkish government was signed with Afghanistan, during Turkey’s War of Independence, in 1921,” Davutoğlu indicated.
“As we struggled for independence on our own territory, some of the best Turkish officers were sent to Afghanistan to establish the Afghan army. Since then, Turkish and Afghan institutions resemble each other. There is a close relationship between our two countries,” Davutoğlu noted.
“Mevlana Rumi, who lived in my home province of Konya, actually was born in Belh city of Afghanistan. Mevlana arrived in Konya with his father and later passed away in this province. You can understand what I feel when I visit cities in Afghanistan. I feel Afghanistan as my own soil. Whenever I hear the poems of Mevlana Rumi, I can smell the Afghan soil and feel the spiritual depth of Afghanistan,” Davutoğlu also said.”
“The efforts exerted by the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) for high-speed trains have been praised by international railway experts who attended the International High-Speed Seminar which was organized in Ankara on October 3-5. Jean Pierre Loubinoux, Director General of the Union of International Railways (UIC), said that Turkey has joined the high-speed club with the implementation of Ankara-Eskişehir and Ankara-Konya high-speed train lines (YHT). Stating that Istanbul, Izmir, Bursa, Sivas and Kayseri would also meet with YHT in the upcoming years, Loubinoux reiterated that the TCDD has successfully implemented many great projects. Loubinoux also defined the Ankara-Istanbul YHT which will be launched in 2013 as the “project of this century.” Abdolali Saheb Mohammadi, Deputy Minister of Roads and Transportation, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Railway of Iran, said that Turkey’s investments in railways had been followed with great interest. “Turkey has advanced greatly in its railways in a short period of time. We would like to benefit from experiences of the TCDD and carry out important projects together in our region,” Mohammadi added. Eduardo Romo from the Spanish Railways Foundation also defined the railway investments made by Turkey as “impressive,” adding that Turkey is getting more and more important in the sector.”
“Turkish Minister of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Binali Yıldırım said that direct flights to Cameroon will crown the developing relations with that country.
Yıldırım told a press conference after meeting with Cameroon Transportation Minister Robert Nkili that Turkey opened embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital, in 2010 as part of Turkey’s policy of “opening out to Africa”.
He said that direct flights between Istanbul and Yaounde will start at the end of December four times a week.
Cameroonian Minister Nkili said that the agreement will boost trade between two countries.”
“A crowded delegation of Mexican businesspeople, including Arrongoiz Crespo, a board member of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria Bancomer, a Mexican financial institution and the largest stake-holder in Spanish bank BBVA, on Thursday arrived in Ankara and met with Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan to receive information on Turkey’s new incentive law and make investments. Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Çağlayan said that trade volume between Turkey and Latin American countries reached $8 billion in 2011, and that the figure was $2.5 billion six or seven years earlier. For his part, Crespo said that they were in Turkey to seek opportunities without focusing on a specific sector, but that they thought there could be opportunities in aviation and electronic sectors. “Direct flights will increase trade and business volume between Mexico and Turkey,” Crespo added.”
“3M, the U.S.-based producer of a wide range of products from personal care goods to telecommunication systems, has chosen Turkey as the location for a $500-million regional production base, company executives said in a press conference Oct. 9. The facility will be built in the European Free Zone in Çorlu, an industrial district in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ, and will provide jobs for more than 1,000 qualified employees. The groundbreaking for construction of the facility is scheduled to take place in December. The investment targets 31 countries with high growth potential, including Turkey, said Giuseppe Castaldi, 3M’s vice president for central and eastern Europe. “We call these production facilities with such a high investment and sales volume ‘Super Hubs.’ This will be the third Super Hub in Europe,” Castaldi said, adding that the facility in Turkey is expected to reach an annual sales volume of $1 billion in the coming years. Turkey is positioned as a strategic production hub for 3M targeting the Middle Eastern, North African, Russian and European markets, Ilker Aycı of the Prime Ministry’s Investment Support and Promotion Agency said, speaking at the press conference. Turkey has attracted more than $7 billion in direct investments from the United States in the last five years, $1.4 billion of which was within the past year, Aycı said. In the first seven months of this year, the figure amounted to about $1 billion.”
“The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will organize memorial events in 2013 to mark the 500th anniversary of the famous world map of Ottoman admiral and cartographer Piri Reis. A meeting was held yesterday to launch the events which was hosted by Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay and attended by Transportation, Maritime and Communications Minister Binali Yıldırım and National Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz. Stating that they have applied for UNESCO in 2011 for the recognition of the year 2013 as the Piri Reis Year, and thus UNESCO accepted their request. “Remembering Piri Reis, who has marked his name in the history of the world’s cartography, after 500 years by other countries in UNESCO’s scientific, education and cultural commissions, is very important to refresh the world’s memory and to remember what Turks gained in the history of science,” said Günay, adding that a decision was also made to print memorial coins, stamps and to use of the Piri Reis logo and slogan in national and international events, and documentary films, animations for children and symposiums will be shown throughout the year. For his part, Yilmaz said that the map drawn by Piri Reis was the one showing America in the most accurate way at that period.”
PS. I think that the project of the 21st century is not the Ankara-Istanbul high speed train line but Marmaray (tunnels underneath the Bosphorus), which will connect Istanbul’s Anatolian shore with its European shore. Also, Asia will be connected with Europe. I am very happy that the Eurostar exists. But Isn’t Marmaray more grandiose than the Eurostar?cem