Ahmet Davutoglu, appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of the 60th Government of the Republic of Turkey in May 2009, boasts an educational and professional background that puts him in a very unique position. Mr Davutoglu graduated from Bosphorus University with a joint honours degree in Political Science and Economics. Later, he completed his MA at the same university, in the Department of Public Administration, and received his PhD from the Department of Political Science and International Relations.
As a result of his education and work experience teaching in various universities, Mr Davutoglu brings a wealth of experience to his current position as Minister of Foreign Affairs. His concepts, as explained in his articles Strategic Depths and Zero Problems with Neighbours, are the guiding principles of Turkish foreign policy today.
“We have historical ties with all the important economies as well as ties with our neighbouring countries,” explains Mr Davutoglu. “Turks are very well-educated people and they are elite in terms of entrepreneurship and business, in politics and intellectual life. We have been a dynamic population.”
As the Middle East undergoes historic transformation and upheaval, Turkey is quietly enjoying levels of prosperity and stability. Even more, Turkey is perceived as having successfully combined democracy and Islam.
“We wish to underline that a country that has hosted different civilisations and has different backgrounds can play an important role in the world order. If we have ties with different countries and different cultures and civilisations, our role must be that of a peace-building country that deals with conflict resolution,” Mr Davutoglu says. “We are trying to show that it is possible to have a dynamic democracy with an active foreign policy and economic development in a very critical geopolitical environment. Turkey, in this sense, is a source of stability.”
With the Mediterranean as their common group, both Turkey and the UK have become important players in terms of international diplomacy over the past centuries. Moreover, there are no troublesome political issues between them and the UK has excellent relations with Turkey in terms of trade: it is Turkey’s third largest export market.
“The United Kingdom is one of the few countries with which Turkey has a trade surplus. As of 2009, the trade surplus reached £1.6 billion,” says Ünal Çeviköz, Ambassador of Turkey to the UK.
“British investors are also showing great interest in the Turkish market. We have over 2,200 British companies operating in Turkey. Sectors of interest for UK investors include energy, infrastructure and telecommunications. They are the main sectors that fuel growth.”
In addition to the growing trade between the two regions, they share a similar approach in regards to many issues. “I believe the UK understands Turkey’s concerns and its perspective in the EU, and the UK is the main supporter of the Turkish-EU integration process,” Mr Davutoglu says. “The UK’s policy regarding relations with Turkey has continued, because with strong historical ties, Britain understands Turkey and vice versa.”
Turkey aims to maintain a position that promotes harmony and helps solve global problems. “We want to create an image of Turkey doing its best for humanity and supporting and contributing to world peace,” Mr Davutoglu states. “Turkey can help create solutions.”