The Turkish War of Independence started when Atatürk arrived in the Black Sea port city of Samsun in 1919. Following Anatolia’s liberation from occupation the new Turkish state was recognized under the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. On the 29th of October 1923, Atatürk officially declared the country’s status as a republic.
Türkiye this year proudly celebrates the centenary of its Republic.
With the launch of the national struggle for independence under the leadership of Atatürk in Samsun, a brand new page was opened in Turkish history in which the foundations of Türkiye’s foreign policy principles were laid.
Since the establishment of the Republic of Türkiye, Atatürk’s motto “Peace at home, peace in the world” has been the guiding principle of Turkish foreign policy.
Today, Türkiye with 260 diplomatic missions and the fifth largest diplomatic network in the world, continues to contribute to prosperity and stability in its region and beyond by actively using humanitarian diplomacy to seek peaceful resolutions to international problems.
A humane approach remains at the heart of Turkish foreign policy. Türkiye is a compassionate power. During the coronavirus pandemic, Türkiye sent urgently needed medical aid to 160 countries and 12 international organizations and proved itself to be a world leader in terms of medical assistance. Türkiye also repatriated more than 100.000 Turkish citizens from 142 countries in the largest evacuation operation in the history of the Republic. Türkiye evacuated more than 18,000 citizens and enabled their safe return home from Ukraine following Russia’s attacks.
Türkiye’s humane approach is also reflected on our development and humanitarian aid programs. Türkiye is the largest humanitarian donor in the world, and the most generous country on the basis of per capita humanitarian spending. At the same time, Türkiye is currently the top refugee hosting country in the world. It hosts more than 4 million externally displaced people, approximately 3.7 million of whom are Syrians under temporary protection. Türkiye has spent more than 40 billion Euro to provide aid and services to Syrians.
As the Easternmost European, and the Westernmost Asian country, Türkiye is an active member of NATO which it considers vital for the security of Europe. As an active member of NATO Türkiye is one of the top 5 contributors to its operations and top 8 contributors to its budget.
Today, Türkiye is very much a part of Europe. It is a founding member of almost all European institutions including the Council of Europe, OECD and the OSCE, among others. The EU is our main economic partner. For Türkiye, full membership of the European Union remains a strategic priority. Türkiye actively works towards addressing multiple challenges that affect Europe, including mass migration. As an energy hub and transit country, Türkiye also plays a vital role in terms of energy security.
Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Türkiye has been an important mediator and facilitator in negotiations between the two countries. The Black Sea Grain Initiative, which took effect as a result of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s intensive diplomatic efforts and has been one of the few diplomatic achievements since the start of the war. The initiative agreed by Russia, Ukraine, Türkiye and the United Nations made a significant contribution to global food security.
Ethnic and religious hatred, discrimination, extremism, Islamophobia and xenophobia are reaching dangerously alarming levels in Europe. Türkiye continues to call on policy makers and the media to adopt a responsible approach to enhance mutual understanding and tolerance between communities and refrain from statements that would exacerbate this issue. In addressing such widespread challenges, Türkiye has repeatedly emphasized the need for transparency, dialogue, and inclusive policies. With this mindset, Türkiye has assumed a leading role in endeavours to foster mutual respect and common values among different cultures and religions. The UN Alliance of Civilizations initiative, co-sponsored by Türkiye and Spain, represents a solid response to the scenarios based on the so-called clash of civilizations.
Terrorism and various forms of extremism have reached a menacing intensity around the globe. Terrorist groups threaten international peace and security. Turkiye has emphasized time and time again that terrorism is a crime against humanity that should never be associated with any race, ethnicity, faith or geography. It is a global challenge demanding global response and solidarity. Türkiye has been actively countering terrorism in all its forms and manifestations for decades ranging from ethnic separatist PKK, the FETÖ terrorist organization which was responsible for a bloody coup attempt in 15th of July 2016, terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS.
Türkiye has certainly accomplished a great deal in the past 100 years. We are proud of celebrating these achievements at the centenary of the Republic of Türkiye. Under the leadership of H.E. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Türkiye will continue to raise the standards of peace and prosperity at home and contribute to the shared goals of humanity while continuing to make every effort to defend its national interests in an unstable and uncertain regional and global context.