Every year, the 29th of October is remembered with the highest dignity as the Republic Day. The founding of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 is a foremost historical moment for the Turkish nation. On behalf of the Romanian Government and of my own, I am honored to convey to Turkey, our strategic partner, close friend and ally, and to the Turkish people, the sincerest congratulations and wishes of prosperity!
There are many aspects to be emphasized when referring to the Romanian-Turkish solid relations. Our current vigorous bilateral cooperation is based on the Strategic Partnership between Romania and Turkey, formalized in December 2011, and on the Action Plan for the implementation of the Strategic Partnership, signed in March 2013. Our political, cultural, economic and social ties grow stronger every year. During the 137 years of diplomatic relations the two nations have built a rich tradition mirrored today in a variety of issues of cooperation, both bilaterally and on the regional and international agenda.
Speaking of our current cooperation, one can witness a dynamic political dialogue between Bucharest and Ankara. In this regard, it is important to underline the visit to Romania of the President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on 1 April 2015, followed by the contacts at the level of ministers of foreign affairs on the sidelines of the NATO meeting held in Antalya and by the visit to Bucharest of the Turkish minister of foreign affairs on 10th of June 2015. These and other contacts, at all levels and on different issues of mutual interest, confirmed times and again the strategic profile of the Romanian-Turkish relations.
We are witnessing a fresh positive momentum for boosting our cooperation in all significant areas as economy, security, energy and culture among others. Worth mentioning is also the 4.3 billion Euros reached on our bilateral trade in 2014, which reconfirms the high level of mutual interest and a great potential for further development and diversification of Romanian-Turkish economic relations.
The Chairmanship-in-office of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) held by Romania until the end of 2015 represents another important opportunity to expand our close economic ties. Turkey is already Romania’s fifth economic partner and the first economic partner outside the EU and within BSEC. The common objective to reach the target of 10 billion dollars economic exchanges in the near future was reiterated during this year’s high level bilateral visits.
I firmly believe that there are still many economic cooperation opportunities untapped by our business communities and that the favorable example offered by the almost 14.000 commercial companies with Turkish capital registered in Romania will convince more Turkish businessmen to come and invest in Romania. I also encourage Romanian companies to further explore the Turkish market and to work with Turkish partners in other countries which are currently offering new business opportunities.
I am likewise confident that a driving force of our relations will always be people-to-people contacts, the Turkish community living in Romania and the Romanian community in Turkey, the business communities, the students and academics exchanges. We will continue to support and work with them in finding new opportunities.
Romania firmly supports further progress in Turkey’s EU accession process, based on the EU acquis, and is willing to offer its technical assistance and share its own experience gained during the period of preparation for EU membership.
As close allies, we stand ready to work together to develop further the security dimension of our Strategic Partnership, using our bilateral consultations at state secretary level and even upgrading this format to foreign ministers level. We share a common interest to promote stability and security in the Black Sea, an important component of Euro-Atlantic security, and to assist our partners in the region. It is no coincidence that I used the Antalya NATO foreign ministers meeting to propose an integrated Allied strategy with “two legs”, for our Eastern and Southern partners, as well as a reflection process of the importance of the Black Sea security for the security of the Alliance. Our joint participation in the U.S. European Phased Adaptive Approach on Missile Defence is a solid proof of the importance both Romania and Turkey attach to the transatlantic link and to increasing NATO’s capability to respond to the current threats. We will also continue to consolidate our trilateral consultations, where both our countries, together with Poland, exchange views on consolidating our joint security and that of our region.
We also express our commitment in dealing with crises in neighboring areas, particularly to overcome the current migration crisis, which is one of the most sensitive and urgent dossiers on the regional and international agenda. In this context, we strongly appreciate the remarkable humanitarian effort of the Turkish authorities in coping with the present difficult migration challenges.
Furthermore, I express my firm belief that we must join our efforts at NATO level and on the regional and international stage in the fight against terrorism and to ensure that perpetrators of terrible acts, such as the terrorist attacks near the central railroad station in Ankara on the 10th of October 2015, are punished to the full extent of the law.
I would like to conclude by acknowledging the robust partnership between Romania and the Republic of Turkey and to convey once again, on this festive occasion, the most heartfelt wishes of happiness and every success to our Turkish friends!