Türkiye marks 99th anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic which was established following a long War of Liberation under the leadership of our founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Proclamation of the Republic on 29 October 1923, sealed the victory in Turkish motherland in the aftermath of the WWI and marked the birth of modern Türkiye.
New modern Turkish nation-state lived up to what the contemporary political formations of statehood in post-Empire era of Europe entailed, whereas it also underlined Türkiye’s well-deserved and renewed place in the world family of nations.
The significance of Türkiye’s successful transformation is perhaps even more visible than ever today, as our entire region continues to grapple with wars, conflict and instability. Today, we can proudly say that Türkiye is a beacon of stability and prosperity in an inherently unstable geography. The motto of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” as phrased by our founding father, Atatürk, continues to guide our foreign policy.
Situated in a turbulent region, we attach particular importance to preventive diplomacy and finding peaceful solutions to conflicts, including through wider and more effective use of mediation. We play a leading role in raising awareness and capacity-building for mediation. Türkiye simultaneously co-chairs three distinct mediation-focused initiatives at the UN, the OSCE and the OIC in this vein.
Today we are witnessing a period characterized by uncertainties and conflicts which undermine peace and prosperity worldwide. In our near vicinity our region faces the most severe crisis since the Second World War. We are all deeply feeling all the effects of the war in Ukraine between our two important neighbors in the Black Sea. Since the outset, Türkiye has supported the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and extended comprehensive humanitarian and political support. Security and stability in the Black Sea basin have been among our top priorities. Having the longest coastline in the Black Sea and being home to the Turkish Straits we have always worked for the enhancement of peace and stability in the region.
On the diplomatic front, we have spared no effort to help bring an end to the war. We hosted the Ukraine-Russia talks as a facilitator in Antalya and İstanbul. In order to ease the negative effects of the food crisis, Türkiye has also played a key role in the UN plan for the safe export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea. The deal signed in this respect in İstanbul on July 22 is a big achievement. In this vein, grain export operations are conducted from the Joint Coordination Center in İstanbul, with the participation of Türkiye, Ukraine, Russia and the UN.
On the humanitarian side Turkish relief agencies were on the ground to provide urgent help to the people in need while our Embassy and Consulate in Constanta were busy organizing repatriation actions for a couple of thousands of people evacuated from Ukraine. During this difficult period Turkish community in Romania did not hesitate to provide support. Within this context, we are grateful to all Romanian authorities for their sincere and swift assistance extended to the Turkish citizens and others who fled Ukraine. This immense operation was successful thanks to the kind support of the Romanian authorities who pursued an open-door policy towards the refugees and rendered all necessary support during the evacuation.
Against this backdrop, the relations between Türkiye and Romania have further solidified as strategic partners and two close allies. The practical cooperation between our countries is at a very high level, being characterized by trust, mutual support and being based on common values and interests. Centuries-long affiliation between our two peoples; strong economic relations; active presence in the regional formats, and joint contributions to the transatlantic security under NATO Alliance make Türkiye and Romania pillars of a peace and stability.
Our countries are the largest trading and investment partners in Southeast Europe. Despite the global pandemic, our trade volume was 6.6 billion dollars in 2020 and reached a record level of 8.6 billion dollars in 2021. We are pleased that our bilateral trade has exceeded even the pre-pandemic figures. As of July we have a bilateral trade volume of 6,2 billion dollars. Turkish private sector also maintains its place among the largest investors in Romania with an investment value of over 7 billion Dollars, including those made through our companies located in third countries.
During the Joint Economic Commission meeting in İstanbul on 30-31 March 2022 the bilateral trade target for 2025 was revised as 15 billion Dollars, and for 2030 as 20 billion. Furthermore, an Action Plan was signed comprising a roadmap for cooperation in many areas from industry to trade and investments, from agriculture and energy to cultural partnerships.
Turkish-Romanian collaboration under NATO has generated a successful consultation platform. With our tradition of cooperation we extend our security dialogue to a wider area through the Türkiye-Romania-Poland Trilateral Mechanism which has already been operational for a decade. Within this context, the Foreign Ministers of Türkiye, Romania and Poland came together in İstanbul on 27 May 2022. On the margins of the meetings, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had the opportunity to discuss our bilateral relations as well as regional issues with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania H.E. Mr. Bogdan Aurescu.
The excellent level of bilateral relations is also highlighted by the frequency of mutual visits at all levels. The visit of the Minister of our National Defence H.E. Mr. Hulusi Akar to Bucharest on 1-2 June 2022 was timely both in term of strengthening our military and defence industry cooperation as well as discussing the regional security issues amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Romania’s support to Türkiye’s EU accession is another significant example of solidarity that we always appreciate. We will not forget the efforts exerted by Romania during its term presidency in 2019.
Romania’s Turkish-Tatar community sets a strong pillar of the humanitarian bond between our two countries. With their centuries-old presence in this country and the exemplary practices implemented by Romania through the Dobrogea model, the Turkish-Tatar minority provides a sound example of integration as proud and patriotic citizens of Romania.
The large Turkish business community in Romania represents a well-settled group of investors and professionals who are proud to call Romania their second home. The Turkish community living in Romania is a living example of our strategic partnership.
Romania occupies a traditionally prominent place in the Turkish foreign policy realm as a good neighbour and ally. Next year we will celebrate the 145th anniversary of our diplomatic relations.
I have been proudly representing my country as an Ambassador in Bucharest for the past four years. As I come closer to the end of my tenure in Romania, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Romanian authorities for their frank approach and kind assistance. I would be leaving this beautiful country and sincere friends with the conviction that we have everything to further develop our relations to the benefit of our nations and the region: political will, private sector involvement, human dimension and cultural element.