COLOMBO : Guided by the enduring objective to achieve “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” as set out by the founder of Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Türkiye has been implementing an “Enterprising and Humanitarian Foreign Policy”. In line with one of the many objectives of this policy, Türkiye has endorsed a leading role in conflict resolution and mediation in order to expand the sphere of peace and prosperity, generate stability and security and pave the way for prosperity and human development in its region and beyond.
The latest example in this regard is Türkiye’s mediation role between Ukraine and Russia. Türkiye facilitated the exchange of war prisoners by opening a channel for a humanitarian corridor and played a major role along with the United Nations to achieve what is known as “the grain deal”, which not only permits the safe export of the Ukrainian and Russian grains but also the Russian fertilizer. The “Joint Coordination Centre” established in Istanbul helped the safe export of more than seven and a half million tonnes of grain, which has helped stabilize the global food inflation which had serious ramifications for Asian countries such as Sri Lanka.
Although relations with the western world has been a central part of Turkish foreign policy (Türkiye is a founding member of the Council of Europe, joined NATO in 1952, is a negotiating partner with EU), Asian region has also been a key component of her multidimensional foreign policy. Based on her unique geographical position and deep-rooted historical and cultural ties with Asia, Türkiye announced the “Asia Anew Initiative” in 2019. With this initiative, Türkiye aims to further strengthen her bilateral and regional cooperation with Asian countries in a more comprehensive and systematic way while contributing to regional peace and prosperity in Asia.
Within Asia Anew initiative, a particular focus is being given to the economic dimension, including trade and investments. Hence, increasing as well as diversifying both trade relations and mutual investments with the Asian partners for the mutual interest of our peoples are one of Türkiye’s priorities. Türkiye’s relations with Asian countries have seen a rising trend over the past decade. Having the 5th largest diplomatic network globally, Türkiye is represented by 54 diplomatic and consular missions in countries under “Asia Anew Initiative”, including all 10 ASEAN countries. This is a tangible step to overcome the “distance” issue both in the minds of the business circles and in physical terms.
In this regard, Türkiye is also looking forward to developing new avenues in a range of areas including the economic relations with Sri Lanka. The official visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to Sri Lanka on 28 January 2022, which marked the second visit at the level of Foreign Minister from Türkiye to Sri Lanka, reflected this desire. During the visit, the agreement on Elimination of Double Taxation was signed. It has also been agreed to expedite the negotiations of other agreements, which will be strengthening the basis of the relations in many still untapped areas of cooperation.