Remarks to International Strategic Research Organisation (USAK)

Australia-Turkey: Old Friendship, New Partnership

Ankara, Turkey

Transcript, E&OE, proof only

1 February 2011

During the course of the 20th century, Turkey and Australia have shared critical parts of a common history.

The challenge that I wish to address today is how, in the 21st century, we not only commemorate and celebrate this common history, but that we now draw on these strengths and forge a new partnership to face the common challenges of the future.

We are all familiar here with the common tale of what you call Çanakkale, and what in Australia we call Gallipoli.

It is perhaps one of the strangest things in international relations, that our two countries effectively discovered each other on the field of battle – and on the opposing sides.

And yet this combined experience helped frame a friendship which has endured for nearly a hundred years.

War so often causes people to hate each other, even after the embers of conflict have begun to dim.

But remarkably, not in our case.

I wish I could claim this having been the product of a particular Australian virtue. But I think the truth lies closer to the fact that your wartime leader, and later founder of the modern Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, displayed such magnanimity towards those of us who sought to invade this country all those years ago.

Practically all Australian children today know the story of Gallipoli. Many know, almost by heart, those great words of Ataturk when he said:

"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives (in Gallipoli). You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears. Your sons are now living in our bosom and are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."

Some decades later, this strong sentiment between us, led to wave after wave of Turkish immigration to Australia. Together with waves of migration from Greece, from Italy, from the Balkans, from Eastern Europe and, over the years, from practically every corner of the globe.

Together, Turkish Australians make up part of the mosaic of the modern multicultural identity which we as a nation have today.

Because apart from the indigenous Australians, in Australia we all belong to a nation of immigrants.

Turkish Australians have made a rich contribution to our country's post war achievements. And they have become not only good citizens, but also welcome members of our wider Australian family.

Our challenge today is to draw on the bonds that have built up between us through the troubled years of the last century, to forge a new partnership as we confront together the challenges of the next century.

And this I believe represents a new phase in the history of the relationship between our two countries.

So what does the Australia of the 21st century bring to this table?

Australia is a middle power with global interests. We have one of the world's oldest continuous democracies. Our $1.3 trillion economy is the 13th largest in the world and the 4th largest in Asia. We are part of a region, the Asia-Pacific, to which global economic and strategic influence is shifting, driven in part by the emergence of economic giants like China and India. Asia is expected to account for 40 per cent of global output by 2030. With strong links to our region, a resilient economy and sound banking system, Australia weathered the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) without going into recession.

In foreign policy, Australia is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20 and the East Asia Summit. We are active members or partners in most of the major councils of the world. We are committed to creative, middle power diplomacy and to using this as a basis to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

Australia has been active in the UN from the beginning – having deployed more than 65,000 troops in more than 50 peacekeeping operations under the auspices of the UNSC – including deployments today in Afghanistan, in East Timor, the Solomons, the Sudan, Sinai, Lebanon and Cyprus.

We were the prime drivers of the Cambodian peace settlement in the 1990s through a complex and creative piece of diplomacy under my distinguished predecessor, the Honourable Gareth Evans, then Foreign Minister of Australia.

In the UN system, we've also been the principal drivers in the conclusion of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Most recently, we co-chaired with Japan the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (the ICNND) which provided critical policy impetus in the lead up to last year's NPT review conference.

We currently co-chair with Japan the new Cross Regional Group on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament dedicated to the implementation of the NPT Review Conference's 62 agreed recommendations.

We are active in the WTO as one of the handful of principal negotiators on previous WTO rounds, and on the current Doha Round.

We have been globally active both in Copenhagen and in Cancun in driving outcomes through the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

We are fully committed to the Millennium Development Goals and to give effect to our responsibilities, we have doubled our foreign aid over the past five years and are on track to double it again over the next five.

Globally, Australia, as a founding member with Turkey of the G20, is fully engaged with the complex agendas of the Financial Stability Board and the Basel Committee to develop and implement a new and effective regime of global financial regulation which reduces the risk of a repeat of the Global Financial Crisis.

Let us never forget this crisis pushed the global economy to the edge of the abyss only a year or two ago.

Within the Asia-Pacific region, we are founding members of APEC and the East Asian Summit – the latter being a newly emerging institution empowered with a wide mandate and a region-wide membership capable of developing the habits and forms of cooperation across the Asia-Pacific. Such cooperation will be necessary to underpin regional strategic security for the future, and, in turn, necessary to underpin continued long-term economic growth.

This is consistent with the vision we in Australia articulated several years ago for an Asia-Pacific community – to build an institution in Asia and the Pacific with a comprehensive political, security and economic mandate and with a wide enough membership to develop regional rules for the road for what otherwise could become a brittle and fractious environment in the decades ahead.

We are also actively engaged in trade liberalisation across our region through a Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement – at the same time, holding it alongside our highest trade priority, the conclusion of the multilateral Doha Round.

When it comes to soft power, Australia also has a range of attributes. We have an extensive and long established global diplomatic network. Our economy – both in substance and perception – is strong. We are in the process of wiring our country for the 21st century with a nation-wide public investment in delivering fibre-optic to the premises through a National Broadband Network.

This network that will deliver 100mb per second to more than 90 per cent of the residences, businesses and institutions of our country. The remainder will be delivered at slower speeds through a combination of wireless and satellite technologies.

Our education institutions are world class with five of the world's top 100 universities being in Australia.

And perhaps above all, Australians are a creative, fair-minded and resourceful people who seek to be friends with people from all over the globe.

And, we are blessed, so far in our history, with remarkable social cohesion notwithstanding the fact that, since 1945, we have welcomed more than seven million migrants from more than 200 countries into our community.

Turkey today is a modern nation built on the foundations of an ancient and high civilisation.

I spent yesterday morning reflecting, as millions of other foreigners have done before me, on the architectural splendour of the Blue Mosque.

This is a building of extraordinary beauty. Just as Istanbul is a city of extraordinary beauty.

Turkey's art, its architecture, its literature, its music and its dance are all reflective of a fine aesthetic – in turn reflective of a unique contribution to the civilisations of the world.

Today you are a vibrant democracy – and as an amateur student of Turkey's modern history, I fully understand that this achievement has been hard won.

In this context, Turkey stands out as a democratic beacon across the Middle East and the wider Islamic world.

Earlier this year in Australia, I said that the 'global democratic deficit' represented one of the ten great challenges facing the international community for the decade ahead. And today we see the problems that deficit manifests in recent developments in Tunisia and Egypt.

There are some who argue that in the Arab world, and sometimes in the wider Islamic world, there are only two alternatives on offer: an authoritarian secular regime or a fundamentalist Islamist state.

I do not subscribe to that view. Nor, do I believe, does Turkey. And the reasons I believe are twofold.

The first is we uphold democracy as a universal value as opposed to one that is suitable for only certain cultures at certain times.

The second is modern democracies such as Turkey and Indonesia underline the fact that developing countries both in this region and the wider Islamic world can develop strong, successful and stable democracies.

Turkey's political openness has been matched by the openness of its economy – an economy which has also exhibited considerable success.

Turkey is the world's 17th largest economy, and the seventh largest in Europe. Its strong financial sector withstood the GFC and its energetic economy has bounced back from the global recession. Its economic reforms, work ethic and youthful population - over two thirds of its population are of working age and predicted to remain so beyond 2040 - ensure it will climb the league table of European and world economic powers.

By 2017 the OECD predicts Turkey will be the world's second-fastest-growing economy, and Goldman Sachs expects it to be among the top 10 world economies by 2050.

Indeed Turkey's growth has already been so strong and so consistent that it is now a significant aid donor.

Turkey also pursues an activist foreign policy.

Turkey has just completed a two-year term on the UNSC, and was an active contributor. It is a valued member of NATO – indeed it maintains the second-largest number of troops in NATO behind the USA. Turkey is a founding member of the G20. A Turk is Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Furthermore, Turkey is Chair of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia.

I am confident that the future Turkey will also be an active and respected member of another important grouping in its region, the European Union.

There are some in Europe who doubt Turkey's compatibility with Europe.

There are commentators who therefore fear that such European doubt might push Turkey away from Europe and from the values, which Turkey now shares, of the wider West more broadly.

Put bluntly, that Turkey might be "lost".

We in Australia have a different view. The fact is, Turkey, in so many fundamental respects, is of Europe. Turkey has a long-standing determination, articulated consistently by its leaders, to join the EU. This is an objective that Australia wholeheartedly supports. Turkish accession would also seem to us overwhelmingly in the economic, political and security interests of the EU itself.

Turkey is located in a complex neighbourhood. Turkey holds a pivotal position at the meeting point of regions. It rightly has a deep interest in the stability and prosperity of all of them.

I appreciate therefore Foreign Minister Davutoğlu's insistence that his country pursue a doctrine of "zero problems" with its neighbours, that it maintain ties with those on both sides of difficult regional issues.

Turkey can and should pursue its European ambitions.

And at the same time increase the scope and tempo of its engagement with the Middle East, the Caucasus, Africa, the Balkans, and other regions beyond.

Given its unique geostrategic circumstances, and its status in the wider world, Turkey in recent times has also begun to deploy its own creative diplomacy to assist in diplomatic problem-solving within its own immediate region and beyond.

Sometimes this has been controversial and we may not always agree on the details. But any form of diplomatic activism beyond the set-piece diplomatic manoeuvring of the great powers is invariably controversial. That of itself is not an argument against an activist diplomacy.

Turkey and Australia have a growing capacity to articulate a stronger regional and global voice for the future.

A stronger voice, however, is one thing. The content of that voice is another.

All nation states aspire to have greater influence on the international order. But the critical question is what principles animate such a voice.

What is the sort of order we seek to construct or improve?

How is that in any way different from the existing order?

And would our voice, if heard, deliver a greater benefit for citizens of the world?

These are important questions.

They are important because they are ultimately driven by what values we share – values that might inform our future international engagement.

I have already noted that we now share the fundamental value of an open political system – democratic elections, pluralist politics, and freedom of expression.

We also manage open economies because we know that economic freedom should be the inseparable partner of political freedom; and because we also know that an open global economic order is more likely to increase growth, employment and global living standards.

Both Turkey and Australia are also animated by a principle of justice in the international relations system – that is, that the international order should not simply be for the benefit of the powerful but instead should also give voice and opportunity to the vulnerable and the weak.

Furthermore, because we have both benefited from globalisation, both Turkey and Australia are big believers in the fundamental importance of a regional and global rules-based order. Building, nurturing and enhancing that order is critical for the stability that underpins the security and prosperity of all states.

Neither of us believes we can risk the return of the anarchic regional and global orders we have seen at various times in modern history. The stakes have simply become too high. And this requires continuous work.

Finally, there is another perspective, perhaps even a value, that both Turkey and Australia share.

And this value proceeds from the unique geopolitical and geo-economic circumstances in which we find ourselves in our respective parts of the world.

Turkey sits astride Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East.

Australia is a nation of Western traditions located in the midst of the great civilisations and high cultures of the East – China, Japan, India and the various Malay cultures of South East Asia, with whom we are increasingly integrated.

Our unique geostrategic circumstances require us both to understand our immediate neighbourhoods particularly well.

We are not in a position to deliver administrative fiats to those who live around us – nor would we want to.

Instead, we must have about us a culture that understands, respects and works comfortably with the political and cultural diversity around us.

Such an approach abroad of course, is consistent with our capacity to tolerate differences and diversity at home.

These therefore are the values which we seek to bring to bear in addressing the great challenges we both face for the future – values of political and economic systems and associated transparency; values of fairness; a deep belief in the merit of a rules-based order; and security and prosperity of all. As well as the perspectives we bring to bear as nations that have made their way in the world, notwithstanding the great diversity that surrounds us in our own immediate regions.

How then can countries like Turkey and Australia deploy these common values to the great challenges that lie ahead?

I call this the principle of creative middle-power diplomacy. A diplomacy that is not simply nationalist. But a diplomacy that is both outward looking and that seeks to add value to the international order that benefits us all.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, recognised this truth as early as 1937:

"Almost all nations of the world are related or in the process of being related to each other today. So people should think about the peace and prosperity of all nations of the world as much as their own nation's peace and prosperity".

I believe that activism by significant countries of good will like our own is especially important right now.

The world of the 21st century is globalised, highly connected. It faces great challenges that require action in concert by a large range of players.

No one country can hope on its own to fight global terrorism, counter nuclear proliferation, or establish a global system to stabilise climate change.

No one country can implement reforms to return the globe's financial and economic systems to health, achieve trade liberalisation, or spur development to achieve the Millennium Goals.

Some of the old certainties have gone, like twin superpowers, like security threats emerging solely from state actors, like a world of limitless resources, like the clinical divisibility of foreign and domestic policy.

In summary, it's a more complex, multi-polar world.

The need for multilateral action is greater than ever; but marshalling multilateral consensus is now more difficult than ever. Grindingly slow progress in the UNFCCC and the WTO over the past decade have contributed to a growing disillusionment with global governance.

This is a world that needs creative, constructive middle powers to help produce results.

On our own, our input may not be decisive in the way that the great powers might be. On our own we may be less able to drive outcomes, less able to shape the world around us. But by working creatively and constructively with others as 'coalitions of the policy willing', we can produce results.

If we are willing to contribute real intellectual effort, if we proffer creative solutions, we can be more agile than the great powers.

And of course we have sufficient critical mass to contribute the manpower, skill and financial resources, without which regional and global diplomatic initiatives would not be possible.

If this analysis is correct, then countries like Australia and Turkey are presented with special opportunities and special responsibilities in this period of history.

Are we prepared to do the hard work, the heavy lifting this calls for?

I believe so. Our track record demonstrates this.

First, we both know that it is essential to stabilise Southwest Asia. We know the desperate need to provide security, stimulate development and ensure that there is no haven there for terrorism.

That is why we are both members of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

Australia has 1550 military personnel on the ground in Afghanistan. We are the largest non-NATO troop contributor to Afghanistan, the eleventh-largest overall. In the southern province of Uruzgan we are training the 4th Brigade of the Afghan National Army, and we are building the capacity of the Afghan National Police. We also lead the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Uruzgan through our team of 50 civilians.

Turkey has shown commitment just as strong to international efforts in Afghanistan. We recognise your substantial military deployment – around 1740 troops at present – and your contribution to reconstruction. Turkey leads both the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Wardak province and the Kabul Regional Command, a role it has recently taken on for a second term.

We both know that success in Afghanistan is not possible without a stable and prosperous Pakistan.

Turkey was among the earliest to perceive this essential link. That is why Turkey has for five years hosted trilateral summits with Afghanistan and Pakistan, promoting regional dialogue.

And that is why Australia and Turkey are both active members of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan, a group of twenty-six countries and institutions committed to supporting Pakistan as it faces its complex security, economic and social challenges.

It is also why both Turkey and Australia were quick and generous donors to Pakistan following devastating flooding in 2010, and why we both remain committed to helping Pakistan recover and rebuild.

Second, both Turkey and Australia are working for a secure, stable and prosperous Iraq. I pay tribute to Turkey's enormous efforts to support its regional neighbour.

For its part, Australia is providing $165 million over three years to support Iraq's reconstruction and development. Since 2008 Australia has trained almost 1,000 Iraqis in areas such as governance, human rights, agriculture and trade, as part of our development assistance program.

Third, we share a firm commitment to nuclear non-proliferation.

Turkey is a member of the cross-regional non-proliferation and disarmament initiative.

Australia and Japan launched this initiative as a way of bridging current divides, and of sustaining momentum in the wake of last year's successful NPT Review Conference.

We share the same objective on Iran: a proven assurance that its nuclear activities are exclusively for peaceful purposes. Like Turkey, we would prefer to see Iran as a full and active member of international community. We appreciate Turkey's role in hosting the recent permanent five plus one talks with Iran. We were disappointed that Iran again failed to take steps to resolve deep concerns about its nuclear program.

We urge Iran to engage constructively. So far it has not done so. As Catherine Ashton said in Istanbul, "the door remains open, the choice remains in Iran's hands".

Fourth, both Turkey and Australia are strongly committed to peace and security in the Middle East. We support a just and enduring peace, based on a negotiated two-state solution, which allows Israel and a future Palestinian state to live side-by-side in peace and security.

During my December visit to Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinian Territories and Israel, Australia underlined to both parties and to regional leaders that now is the time to seize the opportunity for peace.

I fully agree with Foreign Minister Davutoğlu when he says that what is needed is not just another peace process, but a peace outcome; not another roadmap, but the actual end of the road.

Australia actively supports a two-state solution. We have provided nearly $150 million in capacity building and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people since 2007, and will continue our practical support for the establishment of a viable future Palestinian state.

Fifth, we both proudly sponsor interfaith dialogue. Australia co-chairs a regional interfaith dialogue in Southeast Asia with Indonesia. Meanwhile, Turkey, a member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, is a founding co-sponsor of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, a high-level interfaith group it co-chairs with Spain.

I would like Australia and Turkey to explore closer cooperation between our respective interfaith dialogues.

For these reasons, Turkey and Australia each have a track record of recognising global challenges, and contributing strongly to their resolution.

We will need to keep doing so.

One of the key forums in which I recommend we will do this is the G20.

I believe the G20 is an important mechanism for harnessing the creativity and capability of both major and middle powers.

The G20, in replacing the G7/G8 as the premier forum for global economic governance, reflects the modern reality of global power shifts.

The G20 represents 85% of global GDP, 80% of global trade flows and two thirds of global population.

It brings together five from Europe, five from Asia, five from the Americas and five from elsewhere - including for the first time three Muslim countries including Turkey and Indonesia.

The G20 is not perfect. But it is big enough to be representative. And small enough to be effective.

The G20 broke through in response to the GFC by bringing to the table those economies and those leaders that had to act to avert global economic catastrophe.

It worked.

G20 action stabilised global financial markets by restoring private credit flows in November 2008.

G20 action stabilised the global economy and averted economic depression through unprecedented coordinated fiscal and monetary stimulus in March 2009. This stimulus deployed the equivalent of US$ 5 trillion and saved something like 21 million jobs worldwide.

G20 action delivered World Bank reform and strengthened public finances through an agreed timetable for deficit reduction in June 2010.

At the most recent Summit in Seoul last October, the G20 broke the deadlock on IMF reform – by boosting the resources the IMF has to prevent crises and changing IMF governance to reflect new economic realities.

Turkey will rightly take a seat on the Board for the first time.

Many of these results, like IMF reform, reflect the work of middle powers, like Australia and South Africa who co-chaired the G20 IMF Working Group, demonstrating the potential for effort and intellectual contribution to make a real difference.

So after two years, the G20's achievements are substantial, but the tasks ahead remain formidable.

Some debate the legitimacy of the organisation's membership; but the real test of its legitimacy is its effectiveness - the results it delivers.

The G20 has the potential to break deadlocks on critical global challenges. It can meet these challenges as a policy "brokering house". It will complement, but not replace existing global institutions, like the UN and Bretton Woods institutions. It can help them do their job better through harnessing political momentum to deploy afresh to the great outstanding challenges of the global agenda.

G20 is already discussing development, energy security, commodity price volatility and anti-corruption – all with direct links to global economic growth and stability.

I believe that Turkey, Australia, together with other middle powers like Indonesia, Korea, Mexico and others should begin to work closely on the widening agenda of the G20 that confronts us.

But more broadly, I propose that Turkey, Australia and others also – through the agency of creative middle power diplomacy – also engage other critical challenges on the global agenda. The non-proliferation agenda. Climate change. Food security. The challenge of development. And many others.

Turkey and Australia have a long and unique friendship that binds us together.

But it's time to build something more.

It's time we saw each other as significant partners on global challenges.

Capable I believe of achieving more together than simply acting on our own.

As Foreign Minister Davutoğlu wrote in his important contribution to Foreign Affairs magazine last year, "in this new world, Turkey is playing an increasingly central role in securing international security and prosperity."

The Foreign Minister is right.

Australia too is engaged in an activist foreign policy.

My message today is simple – we both stand to gain, and the international order of which we are part stands to gain, if on critical challenges we work together.

Therefore let us look at this time as the beginning of a new period of global cooperation between our two countries.

Hadi bunu birlikte baþaralým.

Together we can do much more – and, I believe, in a way which would make our grandfathers and great grandfathers back on the beaches of Çanakkale very proud of us today.

END

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