AN OVERVIEW OF TURKISH-CZECH RELATIONS AS THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE TURKISH RECOGNITION OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC DRAWS CLOSER

AN OVERVIEW OF TURKISH-CZECH RELATIONS AS THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE TURKISH RECOGNITION OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC DRAWS CLOSER

 

With its friendly people and rich history and culture, the Czech Republic has a special place in our ties with Central Europe. It is a pleasure for me to pay a visit to Czechia as we are approaching the centennial anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations in 1924 under the leadership of the two visionary statesmen, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk. Actually, the year 2023 will also mark the 30th anniversary of my country’s recognition of the Czech Republic on 1 January 1993, the very same day when the modern Czech Republic came into being.

Post-Cold War era poses several challenges for our region. As two NATO Allies which have common interests and shared values, enhanced cooperation between Türkiye and Czech Republic is essential to overcome these challenges. Problems of global scale such as the C-19 pandemic and regional developments like the crisis in Syria and the war in Ukraine have been the most recent examples of common challenges where we need further cooperation.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Türkiye has been providing substantial political, and humanitarian assistance. At the same time, we are trying to open a space for diplomacy by encouraging both sides to work for a viable political settlement.

The risk of a long-term war can have detrimental effects on European, even global security architecture. Therefore, diplomatic efforts should continue to reach a just and lasting peace. Any viable settlement must preserve Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

In the face of these international and regional challenges, Türkiye and Czech Republic have a joint political will to develop our friendly relations on the basis of cooperation and mutual respect. We enjoy vibrant relations which are free of any acute problems. We are ready to further our bilateral relations in every aspect.

Our trade volume reached 4.4 billion Dollars in 2021. We are getting closer to our common target of 5 billion Dollars. Defense industry is a promising field for our cooperation. Turkish construction sector is also very much willing to work together with Czechia to meet its housing and infrastructure needs.

I am confident that Czechia’s upcoming EU Presidency will help to move forward Türkiye’s EU membership process. Türkiye is well placed to contribute to the EU, in terms of security and defense, foreign policy, energy security, economy and migration management.

The fast growing refugee crisis from Ukraine reminded us once again the importance of cooperation in the field of migration.  Hosting the largest refugee population for the last 8 years, no other country can understand the situation in the neighboring countries of Ukraine better than Türkiye. Migration is a global issue which requires fair burden sharing and tackling challenges at the very source. Türkiye does its part in this regard and remains ready to cooperate with the willing parties to this end.

As a politician coming from Antalya and a Foreign Minister who is following developments in the tourism sector closely, I am pleased that Türkiye became the fourth popular tourist destination in Czechia last summer. This year we are expecting that Türkiye will be the top destination for Czech tourists. Indeed, Türkiye and Antalya are looking forward to hosting more Czech citizens.

I believe that Türkiye and Czechia, which maintained their cooperation and intense people-to-people contacts even under very difficult conditions of the C-19 pandemic, will elevate their multi-layered relations to higher levels in the coming years. As the Turkish side, we are willing to make sincere efforts in this direction.

By Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu

Minister of Foreign Affairs of

The Republic of Türkiye

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