First Workshop Final Report "the Relations Between Turkey - Latin America
Süleyman ŞENSOY
Süleyman ŞENSOY
TASAM Başkanı / Chairman
Release Date : 9/8/2009

First Workshop Final Report "the Relations Between Turkey - Latin America and Caribbean"

 

PRESENTATION
The relation between Turkey and Latin America has started in 19.Century. Turkey has embassies in Argentina, Brazil, Chili, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela. Also, Turkey tries to strengthen its relations with the countries of this region such as Argentina, Brazil, Jamaica, Colombia, Costa Rika, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Chili, and Venezuela with treatises and dialogues. Turkey’s relations with this region’s countries have been always closely and friendly. However, these relations have not improved until 1990s. The geographical distance is one of the major factors to remain these relations in certain level.   This distance has removed with globalization and the relations begun to accelerate on social base.
Turkey has improved its relations within its region and different countries from all over the world in the frame of its multiple foreign policy expansions and as a part of this Turkey has started to follow an active policy on Latin America and Caribbean. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey had organized the meetings with participation of public and private sector in 1998 in order to define how to develop these relations. As a result of these meetings Turkey’s Latin American and Caribbean Action Plan has been accepted and started to implement. In the framework of “Action Plan 2006”, the year of 2006 has been declared as Latin American and Caribbean Year in Turkey.  
Especially, when the efforts to improve the relations and commerce between European Union and Latin America recently have assessed, the importance of this region for EU has seen. Likewise, closeness relations of the United States with this region and bilateral relations display the importance of this region for global actors. When these developments are evaluated in the framework of Turkey’s multidimensional foreign policy, the importance of Latin America and Caribbean expansion efficiency and increasing the relations appears in short and long terms.
This region is really important with its 530 million populations, wealthy natural resources, and developing economy. Especially, within the globalization economic system, major amount of foreign investors have interested with Latin America and they made their majority of investments in Latin America.  Especially, the investments of United States of America, EU, and Canada are noticed among these investments.  Turkey has shown its interest to Latin America in the last decade and in this framework, Turkey has started to accelerate its works. The progress of communication and cooperation should be developed in the framework of Latin America and Caribbean expansion through the official and civil agencies.
This region has become more effective in world’s markets with its economic integration organizations and with this aspect also this region gets attention of many foreign investors. Especially, CAN Union among Ecuador – Columbia- Venezuela- Bolivia which is oriented to free trade and MERCOSUR among Brazil- Argentina- Uruguay- Paraguay (partner members: Bolivia- Chili- Venezuela) which is oriented to create common markets can be seen  among these organizations. The Summit between EU and these organizations had organized in 2002 and 2004 and the relations have increased in each field. In this context, Turkey’s approach and gains to this region coincide with EU politics.
Turkey has followed an active foreign policy in whole world with classifying its priorities within the international system. Especially, Turkey has made a successful African expansion and built its economic and social relations with this continent on solid bases and this expansion shows that Turkey has took a sample and important steps. Latin America and Caribbean will become more important in the near future and its importance will be seen clearly. 
There is a need for cooperation, interaction, and communication between related civil and official agencies, and opinion leaders for proceeding in a solid infrastructure and introducing economic and social potentials mutually. As TASAM we have tried to make some studies on Latin America and Caribbean since 2006.  We always talk about this issue in different places. However, we did not want to start this process unless we would not finish our activities about Africa, Asia, and Europe.  The other important point is we just find an opportunity to start this process due to technical facilities, human researches and other facilities. We should have done these activities earlier. 
There is a concept as “public diplomacy” which became more important in last decade. In current situation, businessmen or private sector, civil society organizations, universities, think thanks, cultural and sportive institutions provide assistance to increase the relations among countries. In this sense, we would like to contribute works on region and countries of this region in our area within the public diplomacy concept.  As TASAM, we would like to start the meeting series which will provide assistance about making Turkey and concerned countries and region known better, making academic studies in this sense, increasing mutual cooperation among related institutions and making strategies and politics. We will organize these meetings in each three months with your active contributions and participations. Within this period as a think tank we will try to provide assistance in our areas for improving cooperation possibilities among the region of Latin America and Caribbean, related countries and Turkey. Thank you very much again for participating to this meeting.     
 
                                   
Süleyman ŞENSOY
Chairman of TASAM

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AN EVALUATION ABOUT OUR RELATIONS WITH LATIN AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN REGION’S COUNTRIES
Ambassador Vefahan OCAK
Director General, Bilateral Political Affairs,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Turkey

In my presentation, I will try to mention the activities which have made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey lately.
For the first time from one of the small island states which is in Caribbean, St. Vincent & Grenadines’ Prime Minister visited to Turkey. The Deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Chili, Guatemala, Jamaica, and Bahamas, the Chairman of Foreign Affairs of Cuba Communist Party, the President of the Commission of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Chief of the General Staff and Force Commander of Chili had visited Turkey in recent years. Furthermore, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey went to Mexico and made some contacts with them. The President of Foreign Affairs Committee of Grand National Assembly of Turkey had visited Argentina and Peru. Moreover, Senior Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey paid official visits to Cuba, Paraguay, Chili and Colombia.    
In addition to them, Turkey had attended to the annual meetings of  Organization of American States and Association of Caribbean States, the regional integration organizations, which Turkey has “Observer Country” statue in Medellin and Panama City and to the Santo Domino Summit of Rio Group. “The Meeting of High Level Officers” had been organized in Istanbul with CARICOM which comes together 14 small Caribbean’s countries. Our analyzing on building organic cooperation link between Turkey and OECS, MERCOSUR, UNASUR and Rio Group besides CARICOM, and gaining  a “non- borrowing member country” statue  in Inter- American Development Bank have been still continued.
TPIC, the organ of TPAO for developing relations out of Turkey, has opened its branch office in Bogota for forming the energy production and commerce connection which TPIC aims to build in Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Besides, TPIC tooks a special license for prospecting its activities in two exclusive areas.
Turkey has been planning to open an Embassy in Bogota and Lima and a Consulate General and the Commercial Consultancy with in the scope of this Consulate General in Sao Paulo in 2009.
Also, Turkey’s international airline THY has been planning to start direct flights from Turkey to Sao Paulo which is one of the global economy centers within its 20 million population. Our Minister’s foresight is to plan another THY flight direction which can arrive the countries from the north cost of the continent and Caribbean and Middle American countries and Mexico for common point in these areas and to reach the passenger potential of the north part of South America with code-share connection which will arrange for this flight direction, after this flight which is provided to reach the passenger potentials from the south part of South America with “code-share” connections.
Certainly our relations with 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries have been developed in various areas in parallel with these developments and our commercial rate has been increased in every day within these developments. Turkey which has accepted technical and human assistance in the past, has become a donate country rapidly. Moreover, the negotiations of large scale free trade agreement will be completed between Turkey and Chili in the first half of 2009. Undoubtedly, following years later singing this agreement our trade volume will be increased rapidly with South American countries which have large trade volume. 
Negotiations with MERCOSUR and some other countries which have relations with these organizations have been started for free trade and similar projects have been planned for other Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Bilateral labor councils have been set up with Brazil and Mexico under the structure of DEIK. Our primary goal is enlarge the concept of these councils and setting up new ones with other countries.
Mexico will spend 300 billion $ for infrastructure-investment projects in 4-5 years. In order to make possible to get business as much as we can for our contractor firms, we encourage to send committees to Mexico and other Latin America and Caribbean region in cooperation with related state institutions and business world.
We aimed to deepen and intensification the level of motivation, knowledge towards Latin America and Caribbean’s .Actually in one of our university there is a Latin America and Caribbean Centre is about to open and scholarship is given to teach Turkish language to those countries citizens and strengthening the relations between Turkey and region and finally the amount of people who learn Spanish as Portuguese as well are encouraging us and make us believe that we follow the high level aim.
It can be said that there are some similarities between Turkey and Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Peru on how the global financial crisis will affect the region and how they will take measures against the crisis. Because they are similar with Turkey on their National Gross and foreign trade figures. During 2000’s they have shown stable growth. The main difference on Latin American and Caribbean’s experience is the rise of prices on particular products during the crisis and some countries were able to turn this to their advantage. Oil for Mexico and Venezuela, some minerals for Peru and Colombia, copper and agricultural products for Chili, sugar cane for Brazil and small Ireland states in Caribbean and nickel for Cuba.
On 26 of January 2009 forum was organized to discuss possible affect of crisis to Latin America by France Ministry of Economy, Industry and Employment with the cooperation of OECD Development Centre and Inter-American Development Bank. But Brazil and Venezuela did not send any participant to the forum and they blamed capitalist economies for this crisis.
The average growth rate in Latin America and Caribbean’s was 4.6 % and expectation for 2009 is 1.9%. Keeping the reserves on satisfactory level and holding the national parities above their real values will help to Latin American economies in terms of income distribution in comparison with today.
Due to our predictions if the rate of trade between Turkey and Latin America and Caribbean’s Region will be kept by order of 25%, 15% and 10% in the next three  a five years term duration; the total trade volume will reach the 35-40 billion $, academic, cultural and social interaction relations will enlarge.

 

STRATEGICAL REPORT NU:35, SEPTEMBER 2009

FIRST WORKSHOP FINAL REPORT "THE RELATIONS BETWEEN TURKEY-LATİN AMERİCA AND CARİBBEAN"

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