Turkish Foreign Minister visits GU, talks diplomacy and nuclear weapons
Sponsored by the Lecture Fund, the International Relations Club, the McDonough School of Business, the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and Eastern European Studies, and the Institute for Turkish Studies, Davutoğlu’s address focused on the restoration he believes is necessary in the region surrounding Turkey and in the mentality of Turks themselves.
Davutoğlu praised President Barack Obama’s multilateralism and strategy of international engagement, and presented Turkey’s foreign policy of “zero problems” with its neighbors.
“I know very well it is impossible to have zero problems,” he admitted, but his plan of “proactive peace diplomacy” would nevertheless “try to prevent crisis before it emerges.”
Davutoğlu pointed to Turkey’s location as a potential advantage for the United States. Turkey’s unique ability to be classified as Mediterranean, Balkan, European, Asian, or Islamic presents the US with a useful link to these various groups.
Several of Davutoğlu’s comments elicited applause from the audience, including his adamant condemnation of nuclear proliferation in response to an audience question about Turkey’s relations with Iran.
“We are against nuclear weapons, wherever [they are], whoever has [them], because nuclear weapons will not bring peace,” he said. While he added that all nations have “an equal right to develop peaceful nuclear technology,” since the technology belongs to all of humanity, he views nuclear weapons as “a basic threat against human future for our next generation, regardless of the country.”
Davutoğlu offered a bright picture for the future of Turkey: constitutional reforms are planned for the near future, and he revealed aspirations for Turkey’s economy—currently the world’s 16th largest—to climb into the top 10 in the next decade. Above all, Davutoğlu stressed the need for diplomatic solutions to international crises, as well as for a new, non-eurocentric global order and culture.
Additionally, a few jokes about the Wikileaks scandal drew laughter, as did SFS Dean Carol Lancaster’s two botched attempts at pronouncing the Foreign Minister’s name.
Photo: Jackson Perry