Impression about Yemen [Archives:1999/34/Law & Diplomacy]

August 23 1999

H.E. Sanli Topcuoglu,
Ambassador of the Republic of
Turkey to Yemen
In 1996 when I was appointed as the Turkish Ambassador to Yemen, I knew that I would be serving in a friendly country with which we have deep-rooted historical and cultural ties. Yemen occupies an important place in Turkish history and culture. Yemen, today is no stranger to the Turks nor are the Turks strangers to the Yemenis. We have even several popular folksongs regarding this country. Thus, I was very enthusiastic to start my office in Yemen.
It is now almost three years that I have been in Yemen. Within this time I have had the chance of observing the country and the Yemeni life in all aspects. I have been following with deep appreciation the progress of the brotherly people of Yemen in all spheres of their lives.
In my very first days here, I was deeply touched by two distinctive characteristics of the Yemeni people. One was the traditional Yemeni hospitality and the other one was the warmth and modesty of all people, from the man in the street to the highest level dignitaries.
Historically, one should remember the glorious times of the Queen of Sheba in order to comprehend the magnitude of the contribution made by Yemen and its people to the history of the peninsula. Therefore, I think it should not be wrong to say that Yemen was one of the most important cradles of civilization in the region.
In our time, from the geopolitical point of view, Yemen still continues to have a very important place in this peninsula.
I am so happy that following some painful years, the strong desire for unity among the people of Yemen prevailed and the Yemeni unity has been fully realized.
It is my sincere conviction that unity of Yemen represents a pillar of peace and stability in the Arabian Peninsula.
Today, democracy in Yemen is yet another common important factor that complements and bolsters the Yemeni unity. In this regard I would also like to emphasize the fact that Yemen has become a model of genuine and efficient democracy in this part of the world. I must stress how very happy I am to have the opportunity to closely observe the last general elections and to witness the achievement of the democratic process in Yemen.
The increasing role of the women in democratization and modernization of the country is also worth mentioning.
I have no doubt that coming presidential elections would constitute yet another important step in the democratization process.
From the economic point of view, Yemen is a developing country and is giving sustained efforts to provide economic progress. I do not share the comments that Yemen is a poor country. In fact it has very important natural resources such as oil and gas. Yemen has a very young and dynamic population as well. Furthermore, the country enjoys a very rich historical and cultural heritage, which constitutes an important asset. And I sincerely believe that inspired by its cultural welfare and making use of its rich natural resources Yemen will achieve further progress in all the fields. Of course, optimum use of all the resources is highly essential in this regard. Undergoing substantial economic and administrative reform programmes will certainly contribute to the development process of Yemen. The accomplishments in the Yemen’s economy in the last three years are quite visible and noteworthy.
As an ambassador serving in Yemen I have had the chance to closely observe the basic principles of the foreign policy consistently pursued by the Government of Yemen. In this regard I should emphasize that peaceful ways which Yemen prefers in solving the problems and conflicts with its neighbours deserve appreciation.
Having all those impressions about Yemen, I can comfortably say that with its mainly young population of 17 million, its cultural heritage, natural resources and highly strategic location, Yemen will be playing an increasingly important role in its region and the international arena.
I would like to conclude by underlining the fact that the strong sense of the independence of our peoples, the strategic importance of the two countries, the multi-party parliamentarian democracy and basic principles of foreign policy adopted by Turkey and Yemen are the major factors bringing our two countries together. Such basic values and factors that we share contribute greatly for further strengthening the relations between our two countries and to promote in all fields a mutually beneficial cooperation.
It is my sincere hope that during my tenure the relations between our two countries will grow even stronger.