Wrapping up his visit to New York, Erdogan sends a message of universal values and pushes for a common future with Balkan states
Speaking alongside leaders of the Balkan states at the New York Balkan Forum (September 22nd), Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed the cultural and historical ties between Turkey and the Balkans, while calling on the region to overcome its troubled history to co-operate and integrate to form a common future.
"In the future, the Balkans' most pressing need is to learn a lesson from its experience and start working towards prosperity, development, and peace," he said, adding that any problems experienced in the Balkans directly reflect on Turkey because of historical ties of brotherhood.
However, the absence of Serbia and Greece at the forum due to the presence of Kosovo and Macedonia, respectively, was a clear reminder of a Balkans still divided.
Intra-Balkan economic integration and investment were key themes, while Turkey's fast-growing economy and investments in the region provided the backdrop to the growing importance of Turkey.
Describing the Balkans as "Turkey's door to the West", Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) President Rizanur Meral said Turkey has undergone an economic transformation since 2002, with the world's second fastest growing economy and a jump in exports from $35 billion to $135 billion.
Balkan countries will need to expand markets due to the small size of domestic markets, Deputy Governor of Turkey's Central Bank Ihbrahim Turhan said, adding that countries like Turkey and Russia afford opportunities.
According to Timothy Ash, the head of emerging markets research at RBS global banking, as Europe faces financial trouble Turkey can play a role as a driver for Balkan growth. However, he warned, Balkan states will have to do more to attract FDI as European financial resources run dry.
As the largest investor in Kosovo, Turkey plays a unique role in the country due to a "common past, religion, geographic position and the big support we've got from the Turkish government" Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhai explained.
Pointing to the free trade agreement between Albania and Turkey, Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha said that Turkish investment in Albania increased four fold between 2005 and 2010.
Meanwhile, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nickolay Mladenov said that energy co-operation with Turkey, especially finalising Nabucco, are his country's top priority.
"Connecting energy markets, making sure we have a southeast European energy market with a common strategy to make sure energy networks are connected," is one area Mladenov said the Balkan states could make tangible efforts at co-operation and integration.
On the political front, Mladenov said working together to overcome the difficulties of the past is necessary for regional co-operation. "One of the very important examples over the past few years has been the role Turkey has played in pushing and helping countries strengthen their co-operation together, particularly Bosnia and Serbia," he said.
All the states including Turkey said their future is within the EU and NATO, which will act as an anchor for regional co-operation and security.
However, Erdogan highlighted that for a common future there needs to be more than economic growth and material gain: human rights, democracy, and the rule of law are also of equal importance.
Speaking on Saturday (September 24th) at an event organised by the Turkish Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), Erdogan said the age of autocratic regimes is over and that Turkey would act according to universal principles and the will of the people.
By framing the Balkans as being the heart of Turkey and stressing universal rights, Erdogan tried to place ideology and principles to the forefront of his message.
"Sarajevo's fate is Edirne's fate, Skopje's fate is Kosovo's fate, Palestine's fate is Istanbul's fate, in that case the fate of humanity should become the fate of Ankara," he said.
- Provided by Southeast European Times
- Hard Facts: The World Is Getting Better
- United Nations Can't Save the Oppressed, But It Can Give Them a Voice
- Obama's International Outsourcing
- Radical Islamist Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki Killed in Yemen
- Anwar Al-Awlaki's Death Major Victory For Counter-Terrorism
- United States Gaze Turns to Uzbeks
- Fiscal Union for the Euro: Some Lessons from History
- German Parliament Approves Hike in EU Loan Guarantees
- Preparing for Greece's Failure
- Despite Austerity Measures Greece Will Still Miss EU Budget Cut Targets
- Greece Working to Convince EU it Can Meet Austerity Demands
- Greek Parliament Approves New Property Tax
- Greeks to Face Further Tough Measures
- Albania's Unsettled Past
- Balkans Summit Extols Regional Co-Operation
- Erdogan Pushes for Common Future with Balkan States
- Turkey's Sinking Lira Defies Soaring Economy
- Kukan: Dialogue Not Barricades
- Arab Spring Turkish Harvest
- Iran at a Crossroads
- Iran's Support of Syria Is Backfiring
- The Mottled Relationship: Iran and Latin America
- Is It a Mistake to Draw Solace From Iran's Long Bomb Gestation Period?
- Arab Spring Added Pressures to Middle East Peace Process
- Israel Accepts Quartet Proposal to Resume Peace Talks
- Blocking Palestinian Statehood
- The Occupation That Time Forgot
- Israeli Parliamentarians Call for Annexation of West Bank
- U.S. Congress: Standard Bearer for Israeli Expansion
- Michele Bachmann 'Blames' Obama for Arab Spring
- Saudis Tussle Over Textbook
- Saudi Arabia Grants Women Limited Right to Vote
- Egypt Eyes New Arms Suppliers
- Saleh Return Deepens Crisis In Yemen
- Other Leaders Should Copy Brazil's Anti-graft Measures
- Obama's U.N. Omission: The War Next Door
- The Drug War Spreads the Bloodbath South
- Mexican Cartels and Pan American Games: A Threat Assessment
- Mexico: Death by Social Media
- Big Agriculture's Latin American Exploits
- Is Free Trade Good for Colombia
- China in Search of Energy Security
- Cuba's Domestic Reforms Surge Past Immobilized United States
- Fears Over Environmental Affects Prompt Court To Halt Mega-Dam Project
- Bolivian Workers Strike to Protest Controversial Highway
- Afghanistan is Obama's Gordian Knot
- Why Are Pakistan's Militant Groups Splintering?
- Questions Raised About Haqqani Network Ties with Pakistan
- Russia Strives to Clarify Vision for Central Asian Alliance
- Azerbaijan Faces Difficult Choice Between Turkey and Israel
- Azerbaijan Wrestles with Iranian Predicament
- In Post-Soviet Central Asia Russian Takes Back Seat
- Stabilizing Congo
- The Balkanization of Somalia
- Refugees Still Vulnerable in Southern Kordofan
- Al Shabaab Attacks Kill 16 at Key Somali Border Town
- Is Africa New Breeding Place for Terrorism?
- Somali Media Press on with Work Despite Deadly Challenges
- China-Indian Trade: Smoothening the Rough Edges
- The Survival of North Korea
- The 'Orchid Revolution' in Singapore
- Counterinsurgency and 'Op Sadhbhavana' in Jammu and Kashmir
- Indian Foreign Policy in Search of a Balance
- Philippines Struggles After Two Typhoons
- Typhoon Nesat Death Toll Rises to 20
- Turkey's Neo-Ottoman Foreign Policy
- Germany and the US: Toward a 'Special Relationship'?
- Britain - Russia: Beyond Politics
- Central Banks Lend Dollars to European Banks
- Eurozone Pushes Greece to Speed Up Economic Reforms
- S&P Downgrades Italy's Debt Rating
- Libyan Relationship With Italy Expected to Survive Regime Change
- UK Official Favors More Worker Say on Boardroom Pay
- London Court Charges UBS Trader With Fraud
- Denmark Elects First Woman Prime Minister
- Serbia's Markovic Fights Corruption and Public Skepticism
- Kosovo to Boost Privatizations
- Italy and Greece Ask Albania to Unify on European Agenda
- Greece Unveils New Measures to Prevent Default
- Germany: The Beleaguered European Island
- Merkel: Europe Must Avoid 'Uncontrolled' Greek Default
- Kosovo an Obstacle to Serbia's EU Bid
- The Eurozone Debt Crisis: Why the IMF Proposal is Flawed
- Italy: An Economy in Denial
- Should We Break Up Britain's Banks?
- Innovation and Foreign Ownership: New Evidence from Spain
- The Crisis of Europe and European Nationalism
- Europe's Palestine Problem
- Turkey-Israel: What's next?
- Turkey's Akyol, An Apostle Of The Third Way
- Balkan Countries Work To Round Up Privately Held Weapons
- Eurozone Manufacturing Slowing
- European Union Spending Cuts and Tax Hikes Hurt GDP Growth
- Who's Worse Off: Europe or the United States?
- Germany: German Tiger or European Growth Engine?
- Greece Forecasts Economic Contraction to be Worse than Expected
- Collateral Deals will Have Negative Impact on Greece
- Spain Announces Temporary Tax Cut to Stimulate New House Sales
- Eastern Mediterranean Olive Oil Producers Seek Markets in Far East
- High North: The New Frontier
- The Politics of the London Riots
- Young Westerners -- Deprived or Decadent?
- Explanations and Excuses for English Riots
- Many British Households See Steeper Rise in Debt
- Young Turks Returning Home to Chase Economic Dreams
- The Pain in Spain
- Multiculturalism and Dutch Political Culture
- Macedonia Eyes Its Future in Antiquity
Available at Amazon.com:
Copyright 2011, iHaveNet.com