During his foreign policy speech, held in Berlin at the invitation of the Körber Foundation, Ahmet Davutoğlu, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, emphasised that Turkey is a safe haven for many victims. During the current conflict in the Near East his country has received almost two million Syrian refugees alone. Humanitarianism is an important pillar of Turkish foreign policy, continued Davutoğlu. He could never work together with dictators. He also spoke of the many earthquakes which have changed politics and international security concepts following the end of the Cold War. To this day, the aftershocks of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the September 11th attack, the war in Afghanistan and the Arab Spring continue to be felt. Global economic crises have led to further frustration.
In 2007, as Davutoğlu sketched Turkey’s political visions at the Körber Foundation’s Bergedorf Round Table in Istanbul, no one could have predicted current developments in the Near East and the Ukraine crisis. In secret negotiations on Syria as well as during the nuclear dispute with Iran, Turkey played an important role as mediator. However it was unable to bring matters to a conclusion due to the premature actions of the conflict parties. Finding solutions to inter-state conflicts always requires vision, stated Davutoğlu. According to him there are three categories of states: Some have visions and a stable government enabling these visions to be realised, others lack vision but have a stable government. However, there are also states which have neither the one nor the other, states where the government is unable to exercise its power.
In addition to upholding humanitarian values and human rights, achieving stability through democracy is an essential component of Turkish politics. Davutoğlu stated that democracy in Turkey has advanced and that Turkey has also supported the moderate democratic opposition in Syria. Unfortunately, the international community has not supported these negotiations. Today, in order to achieve stability and economic development, the appropriate instruments and new political mechanisms must be created. Cooperation between states is a very important part of this, which is why regular intergovernmental consultations have also been agreed with Chancellor Merkel.
In response to the issue of restrictions on the freedom of the press, as raised by Thomas Paulsen, Member of the Executive Board of Körber Foundation, Davutoğlu emphasised that the Turkish press is free. Anyone reading Turkish newspapers on a daily basis would be aware of the journalistic criticism of Turkish politics. In order to make a judgement about a country one needs to know it in detail. Davutoğlu also rejected criticism that Turkey is too tolerant towards Islamism. No one could prove this, such campaigns are not based on detailed analyses. In Paris he and many other European politicians protested against terrorism. If Turkey were already a member of the EU it would be stronger, continued Davutoğlu. This picture has shown that Muslims and other religions can live peacefully side by side.