Turkish Foreign Minister Gul: Turkey’s ‘silent revolution’ not finished
On February 8, 2007, the German Marshall Fund co-hosted a day-long conference entitled "Turkish Politics at a Crossroads," with the Foundation for Political, Economic, and Social Research (SETA). Abdullah Gul, the Turkish foreign minister, gave the opening keynote speech and offered comments on the situation in Iraq, the potential for a Turkish cross-border operation, the nuclearization of Iran and the Armenian resolution pending in the U.S. Congress.
In his speech (full text from Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Gul highlighted the AKP government's economic and political reforms and referred to them as a "silent revolution." In addition, he noted the stabilization of Turkish markets and praised the far-sighted approach to Turkish economic reform. With regard to foreign policy, he said that Turkey is pursuing a multi-dimensional approach based on problem solving and the goal of European Union membership remains a high priority.
Gul also touched on some problems prevalent in the post-9/11 world, such as continuing violence in Iraq and the imperative to keep this country together, the need to postpone the referendum in Kirkuk, question marks about Iran's nuclear program, and the instability in Lebanon among others. He ended with the upcoming Turkish elections, saying that Turkey, much like the United States, will enter into heated debate about both domestic and international issues, but reassuring the audience that elections are healthy for democracies anywhere.
The conference also featured a one-hour lecture by Professor Ahmet Davutoglu, Foreign Policy Advisor to Gul, as well as Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. He provided an outline of basic strategic parameters governing Turkey's foreign policy outlook. Davutoglu stressed the opening of Turkey to its neighborhood. The conference featured prominent analysts and experts from Turkey and the U.S. which dealt with issues such as the relationship between religion and politics, foreign policy and the Turkey-U.S. relationship.