Turkish embassy celebrates National Day [Archives:2005/883/Opinion]

October 6 2005

The Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Sana'a celebrated the 82nd anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic on Sunday, October 2nd, on the Embassy premises. The reception was attended by Yemeni officials, members of the diplomatic corps, Turkish and Yemeni businessmen, media representatives and members of Sana'a's Turkish community.

A secular, democratic republic founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk on October 29th, 1923, the Republic of Turkey is strategically situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and is surrounded by three seas and twelve neighboring states. Turkey's role as a physical and cultural bridge between the two continents is reflected in its international relations. Guided by its founder Ataturk's dictum “peace at home, peace in the world”, Turkey pursues a peaceful foreign policy with Western, Middle Eastern and Asian nations. It is a member of most international organizations including the Council of Europe, NATO and the OSCE as well as the Organization of the Islamic Conference. A founding member of the United Nations, Turkey has contributed to the maintenance of international peace and stability for over fifty years by participating in UN-mandated peacekeeping missions across the globe.

Turkey, for many years an associate member of the European Union, is currently an accession candidate to the EU. Taking into consideration the comprehensive political and economic reforms carried out in Turkey in recent years, EU leaders agreed last December to start accession negotiations on October 3rd of this year, with the aim of granting full EU membership to Turkey.

Turkey, with a dynamic population of over 70 million, is one of the most populous countries in its region. It is also among the most industrialized, and the Turkish economy has registered a steady growth in recent years. Turkey's average GDP growth rate rose to 8.9 percent in 2004, from 5.8 percent in 2003.

Turkey's economy and financial markets went through a process of liberalization in the 1980s. Turkey now boasts the world's 20th largest economy with a GDP of $302 billion, and the private sector has become the economy's driving force. The most competitive Turkish economic sectors are textiles, the iron and steel industry, construction, industrial and agricultural machinery as well as the agro-industry. A wide range of products are manufactured in Turkey, from durable household products to electronics, automobiles and aircraft. At present, over 70 percent of Turkey's exports are industrial goods and 60 percent of its exports are directed towards European markets.

In recent years, Turkey has become one of the world's most popular tourist destinations. Turkey's geographic placement as a melting pot of civilizations over the millennia has endowed the country with a large number of historical and cultural treasures, including sites dating from the ancient Greek, Assyrian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. Tourists are also drawn to the country's beautiful beaches, fascinating landscapes and rich culture. In this regard, and in terms of accessibility, Turkey ranks among the nations with the highest tourism potentials. Over 17.5 million tourists visited Turkey in 2004, including more than 2200 tourists from Yemen.

Yemen and Turkey enjoy friendly relations which stem from historical and cultural ties. Bilateral cooperation between the two countries has been increasing continuously since respective embassies were opened in Sana'a and Ankara in 1988. Turkish Embassy officials state that relations between Yemen and Turkey are developing satisfactorily to the benefit of the brotherly peoples of both countries. Cooperation continues in many fields, ranging from international politics to cultural affairs. Numerous agreements and protocols were signed in recent years covering economy and trade, energy, health, sports, higher education, national archives, transport and aviation, standardization, tourism, security and the fight against organized crime and drug trafficking. Turkey wishes to further develop its relations with Yemen in all areas, and Embassy officials believe that a huge potential exists for such increased cooperation.

Turkey welcomes the democratic and economic reforms achieved by Yemen after the nation's unification in 1990, and highly appreciates the Yemeni Government's poverty-eradication program as well as Yemen's efforts and cooperation with the international community in combating terrorism. Since 2004, Yemen, along with Turkey and Italy, is also a co-sponsor of the Democracy Assistance Dialogue of the G-8's Forum for the Future.

A highly successful third session of the Turkish-Yemeni Joint Committee, concerning trade, economic and technical cooperation, was concluded in Ankara this September. This meeting has paved the way for the signing of an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation between the two countries, which is expected to be finalized soon.

The trade between Yemen and Turkey has also been on the rise. Last year's bilateral trade volume exceeded $214 million in 2004, marking an increase of 25 percent from 2003. Yemeni businessmen are of the opinion that Turkish industrial products are of good quality and that their prices are competitive.

Political, economic and trade relations between Yemen and Turkey are expected to receive a further boost at the end of this month, when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo_an will conduct a three-day official visit to Yemen accompanied by a delegation which will include over a hundred Turkish businessmen.