The Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey AhmetDavutoglu made two important visits in the past week. First to Iran, which recently had sanctions lifted by the United States and then to the EU leaders struggling with the issue of hundreds of thousands of refugees on their borders. Both of these meetings resulted in critically important decisions being made with regards to Turkey and the region. Turkish government officials and foreign affairs spokesmen stressed that Turkey has been acting as a bridge between the eastern and western civilizations for many years. These negotiations proved once again that Turkey is both a member of the decision-making body in the West and in the East
These meetings were not only of an economic nature but of a social, cultural and political nature as well. The Turkish-Iranian cooperation has been especially critical and important to find a solution model for Sunni-Shiite differences which have increased rapidly in the Middle East.
Mr. Davutoglu was hosted by Iranian President Rouhani and Iran’s first vice president Jahangiri during his visit to Iran. Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, attending the funeral of Ayatollah Tabasi, an Iranian scholar, could not attend the negotiations. On this occasion, we would like to extend our condolences to our brothers in Iran on the passing of Tabasi in the presence of Mr. Khamenei.
During these meetings, Turkey, aside from exchanging the details of many projects in several sectors, offered an extensive plan to promote economic cooperation. In a joint press conference, reminding of the support given by Turkey during the embargo imposed on Iran, Prime Minister Davutoglu stressed that the economic cooperation between the two friendly countries will be based on the brotherhood of the people and said that the two countries complement each other as Turkey acts as the gateway for Iran to the West and Iran will be the gateway for Turkey to enter Asia. Mr. Davutoglu underlined the fact that Turkey is a friend during the time of need and said that we always regard Iran as a friendly state, as a brother nation.
Having taken the initiative to strike the nuclear deal during his term as Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Davutoglu, congratulated his Iranian counterpart, preparing the grounds for an agreement in the result of the process. The presence of a high-ranking delegation involving the Minister of Economic Affairs, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, the Minister of Transport, the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Turkish representatives outlined the broad scope of the visit. Iranian Minister Rouhani announced that a visit to Turkey with a similarly high-ranking delegation soon is on their schedule.
Important steps have been taken with respect to the region’s politics during this visit. Reminding that the internal problems of Muslims can only be settled through the alliance of Muslims, Mr. Davutoglu stated that it is not the actors outside the region, but Muslims themselves that should come up with a solution to the war between brothers in Syria. The alliance of the two Muslim states for the establishment of the longed-for stability and peace is our greatest expectation as well.
Mr. Davutoglu’s second visit was to the EU. The deliberations were designed to address the refugee crisis and took place with the participation of a group of high-ranking politicians throughout Europe, including German Chancellor Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, the term President of the EU Council of Ministers and the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and EU Council President Donald Tusk. On the last day of the summit, Davutoglu with 28 EU leaders agreed on a plan that is expected to put an end to the refugee crisis. The personal efforts of Davutoglu, Merkel and Rutte were considerably instrumental in the realization of this important agreement. The plan that will be implemented upon the approval at the European Council on March 18, is expected to regularize the refugee flow.
As per the agreement the refugees illegally brought to the Greek islands and kept in the camps will be returned to Turkey and Turkey will ensure the legal transit of the same amount of refugees that were readmitted by Turkey from the Greek islands, to Europe. In this way, the illegal migration that has been going on today under the control of human traffickers will be settled in a legal framework. Another nice result of this agreement is that it will enable EU states to share the huge load currently undertaken by Turkey. The humanitarian aspect of the agreement far surpasses its economic aspect. The agreement provides the opportunity for us to prevent a disgrace, by which we would have been characterized for generations. Actually, by carrying out the agreement, we will show the world that altogether we, as Christians, Muslims, Europeans and Middle Easterners, can find solutions to our common problems and can look out for each other.
On the one hand, the agreement brings about the responsibility for the EU states to host the refugees. Thus far the European Union has proven that they have turned a deaf ear to the unloving, uncharitable, unkind, anti-refugee sentiments among them.
The statement of Prime Minister Davutoglu saying; “This summit itself shows how indispensable Turkey is to the EU and Europe for Turkey. It also shows how import Turkey’s stability and her spreading stability is for Europe,” is indeed a very nice outline for the notion of Turkey serving as a bridge between the East and the West.
The EU’s promise to Turkey for an economic aid of a total of 6 billion euros as a part of the agreement, is a great indication that they are willing to shoulder the responsibility in the resolution of this humanitarian tragedy. Furthermore, the agreement offers Turkish citizens visa-free travel through Europe and that is a breakthrough setting the stage as a melting pot for Turkish and European citizens. The refugee problem is not something to play politics with and should not be made a part of the political disputes. The responsibility of the innocent people losing their lives while travelling across the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Balkans is one that all of humanity shares the responsibility.
Turkey is a bridge connecting the East and the West both in the material and spiritual sense. The Bosphorus serves as a canal drawing together the two continents. The third bridge, the construction of which was completed recently with prayers, now unites the Asian and European continents for the third time. The city of Istanbul is the crossroad of continents and civilizations. The lands of Anatolia are a bridge not only in geographical sense but also in a spiritual sense. The world needs these bridges of peace. Today, the presidential candidates of the United States continue to make statements that’ll drive a wedge between the East and the West. The right-wing parties in the EU are striving to drive a wedge between these sides. The bigoted mindset in the Islamic world is in an endeavor for alienating the eastern and western civilizations. These policies of hatred and division would toss our world that is already on the brink of a burn pit, swiftly into the flames. The fire of sedition burns everyone, not excluding anyone, be it innocent, guilty, oppressed or traitor. The reasonable thing is to establish friendly relations between the East and the West. Otherwise, the 21st century will witness many incidents even more embarrassing than those in the previous century, and the next generations will be in shame when speaking of those who rule the world today.
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The 2018 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference is scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, Hainan Province. The forum will be themed "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity."
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily