Παρασκευή, 9 Νοεμβρίου 2012

Saudi-Turkish relations flourishing, says diplomat




General of Turkey Fikret Ozer, right, and Saudi official Salem Bashahab cutting the cake prepared for the celebration of the 89th anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic at Crowne Plaza in Jeddah, Tuesday. — SG photo

Roberta FedeleSaudi Gazette

JEDDAH — The 89th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey was celebrated on Nov. 6 at the Jeddah Crowne Plaza in the presence of Saudi officials, Turkish nationals, several members of the diplomatic community, and officials of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Islamic Development Bank.

The celebration was above all an opportunity for Turkish Consul General Fikret Ozer to express his condolences to Saudi Arabia and the United States for the incidents and natural disaster that recently struck the two countries, highlight the flourishing bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey and emphasize the latter’s economic achievements and increasing political role in the international arena.

Ozer added: “We are glad to see that the relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia keep on developing, progressing and diversifying at every level on the basis of a historic friendship and brotherhood.

“This is proved by the increasing number of high level visits between the two countries, the twofold growth to $6.2 billion of the bilateral trade since 2006 and the $2 billion value of projects assumed in Saudi Arabia by Turkish companies in 2010 and 2011.

“The Turkish economy registered an 8.5 percent growth in 2011.

“Great efforts were made within the past 10 years to bring Turkey’s GDP from $148.1 billion to $772 billion and raise the country’s per capita income from $2.160 to $10.444.

“These numbers are the result of well-defined and well-organized political and economic strategies that protected the country from the effects of the 2009 global financial crisis.”

After describing Turkey’s economic growth in the last decade, Ozer emphasized the political achievements and increased international role and visibility of a country whose strategic geopolitical position always obliged it to remain particularly alert to the political and economic developments in neighboring countries.

Ozer added: “Faithful to the bedrock principle of its foreign policy, ‘Peace at Home, Peace in the World,’ Turkey took an active part in trying to solve crises of global concern.

“The country supported Somali people during a period of dire famine, paid close attention to the fate of the Rohingya Muslim minority (in Myanmar), served in the International Contact Group that played a key role in the signing of the framework agreement between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and labored hard as a mediator to bring to an end the conflict between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.”

Ozer also reminded his guests about Turkey’s continuous efforts to support from the very beginning the legitimate aspirations of people who started the Arab Spring: “In Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, where political transformation still goes on, Turkey provides technical and financial assistance in order for the transformation process to be concluded successfully and democratic norms and values to be well rooted.”

With regard to Afghanistan, Palestine and Syria, three areas of major concern for the international community, Ozer said his country continues to follow an active policy for the peace and development of Afghanistan, offers its full support to the efforts exerted by Palestinians to be internationally recognized and calls for an immediate intervention in Syria by the international community.

Ozer discussed the significant role that Haj and Umrah play in strengthening diplomatic relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

He said: “I want to express all my gratitude to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and other Saudi leaders for the hospitality displayed toward Turkish pilgrims. In 2011, Saudi Arabia hosted a record number of 400,000 Turkish Muslims for Umrah and this figure is expected to reach 1 million in the medium term.”

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