Japan-Turkey Relations

Japan-Turkey Summit Meeting

November 14, 2015

On Friday, November 13, commencing at shortly after 5 p.m. (shortly after 12 a.m. on November 14, Japan time) for approximately one hour and 30 minutes, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, held a summit meeting with H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey, at the President’s Office (Yıldız Palace), during his visit to Istanbul. The overview is as follows.

1 Small-group meeting

At the beginning, a small-group meeting was held for approximately 50 minutes.

(1) Opening remarks

(a) President Erdogan stated the following:
  • It is a pleasure to be able to welcome Prime Minister Abe to Turkey on this day and meet again within a short space of time. I look forward to Prime Minister Abe’s meeting with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu tomorrow, meeting with Prime Minister Abe again in Antalya, and watching the joint Japanese-Turkish film production ‘‘Kainan 1890’’ together. I believe that this film will become a new symbol of the friendly relationship between Japan and Turkey.
  • Japan is Turkey’s most important partner in the Asia-Pacific regıon. Bilateral trade is still only worth 3.5 billion US dollars, and I hope to expand trade in the future. I would also like to express my gratitude to Prime Minister Abe for kındly attending the opening ceremony for Marmaray’s tunnel project. This project is a precious symbol of the relationship of cooperation between Japan and Turkey, and thus far 100 million people have been transported using this tunnel.
  • I am also grateful to Prime Minister Abe for attending the Japan-Turkey Business Forum being hosted by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) tomorrow and I hope to promote economic relations between Japan and Turkey.
  • It is my hope to engage solidly in building the strategic partnership between Japan and Turkey, and to move ahead together with a major infrastructure project to follow the Marmaray tunnel and the Izmit Bay Bridge. I believe it would be beneficial for Japan and Turkey to engage in a joint project in a third country. I also hope to see growth in exports of agrıcultural products produced in Turkey to Japan and in tourism from Japan to Turkey.

 (b) Prime Minister Abe stated the following:

  • I would like to express my gratitude to President Erdogan for visiting Japan last month, as well as my joy at being able to visit Turkey for the first time in two years. In addition, I would like to offer my congratulations on the ruling Justice and Development Party’s strong showing in the general election.  I also wish to extend sincere condolences to those who lost their lives during the recent terrorist attack in Ankara, and I pray that those who were injured would recover as soon as possible.
  • I believe it is highly meaningful that I am able to hold this bilateral summit meeting and exchange views fully with President Erdogan on the day before the G20 Antalya Summit, which the President will chair. Japan will cooperate as much as possible to ensure the success of the G20 Summit.
  • I intend to further deepen the amicable and long-standing relationship between Japan and Turkey, as well as my personal friendship with President Erdogan, through frank exchanges of views.

(2) Bilateral relations

(a) Prime Minister Abe stated the following:
  • With regard to Japan’s security policies, from the perspective of proactive contribution to peace based on the principle of international cooperation, and based on the recently enacted Legislation for Peace and Security, Japan intends to continue further contributions to the peace and stability of the international community.
  • In regard to strengthening economic relations, I believe that there is still much potential in the economic relationship between Japan and Turkey, and hope that we will move solidly ahead with further strengthening the trade and investment relationship. Furthermore, I hope to advance thorough discussions regarding the negotiations on the Japan-Turkey Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). With regard to infrastructure projects, Japanese companies are participating in a variety of infrastructure projects in Turkey, and I hope that they will continue to proactively participate and contribute going forward.
(b) President Erdogan stated the following:
There is still potential for exporting food and agricultural products from Turkey to Japan. In addition, expectations over the Sinop Nuclear Power Plant project are increasing among Turkish citizens every day.
In response, Prime Minister Abe stated the following:
I intend to move the Sinop project steadily ahead in order to realize President Erdogan’s wish of having the plant start operating from 2023.

(3) Regional affairs

(a) Prime Minister Abe stated the following:
  • In order to prevent outflows of Syrian refugees, it is important to have stable livelihoods that allow all people to live with peace of mind regardless of ethnicity, denomination or region. Based on the concept of ‘‘the best way is to go in the middle,’’ Japan will focus attention on providing the necessary assistance to restore stability to the Middle East region.
  • I welcome the agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue and believe that it will contribute to a stronger non-proliferation framework and the stability of the Middle East.
  • Last month I visited five countries in Central Asia. Turkey has close ethnic ties to Central Asia and many Turkish companies operate businesses there. 
(b) President Erdogan stated the following:
  • I would like to express my gratitude to Japan and Prime Minister Abe for their warm responses and words over the recent terrorist attack in Ankara. It is my intention to put terrorism on the agenda at tomorrow’s G20 Summit.
  • Turkey has accepted over 3 million refugees and is already shouldering a budget of 8.5 billion US dollars for our refugee responses alone, whereas aid from the rest of the international community is only 420 million US dollars. I believe a framework of future support from the world is needed.
  • I believe that Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Central Asia has yielded extremely fruitful outcomes. 
(c) In response, Prime Minister Abe stated the following:
Japan intends to engage in careful collaboration with Turkey in connection with the refugee issue.
(d) Additionally, the two leaders discussed regional issues such as the situations in Syria and Iraq.

2 Expanded meeting

Following the above meeting, an expanded meeting took place for approximately 40 minutes.

(1) G20

(a) President Erdogan stated the following:
  • Turkey’s hosting of the G20 Summit as the chair country is highly significant and I intend to make it a meeting that ensures this year remains in the history of the G20 as a year of success. Furthermore, I hope to make the G20 a platform for resolving the world’s various challenges, and cooperation toward that end. As the chair country, Turkey will do its utmost to advance the promotion of cooperation by the G20 countries, and has held 10 ministerial meetings and 100 G20-related events as the G20 chair country thus far.
  • There are three items on the agenda at the G20 Summit starting tomorrow. These are known as the three ‘‘I’’s, representing Inclusiveness, Implementation and Investment, and Turkey will hold the summit with these three ‘‘I’’s as the key words.
  • While I will focus my attention on relations with the G20 countries in particular, I will at the same time advocate the importance of support frameworks for developing countries and their small and medium-sized enterprises. Additionally, I believe that the energy field and access to food are also important challenges, and that it will be important to implement various plans in order to achieve sustainable development.
  • The cooperation of the G20 countries will also be important in responding to terrorism. 
(b) In response, Prime Minister Abe stated the following:
Japan will cooperate to the fullest extent to ensure the success of the G20, which President Erdogan will chair. I would like to express my respect for the deepening of discussions that has resulted from the adoption of the three Is.
  • I hope to explain that Japan intends to proactively contribute to global economic growth that is robust, sustainable and balanced, through the steady implementation of our growth strategy, and to emphasize that Quality Infrastructure Investment is important for realizing robust and inclusive growth.
  • It is essential that the G20 leaders issue a strong message towards agreeing on a new framework that is fair, effective and in which all countries participate at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) at the end of this month. I have high hopes for President Erdogan’s leadership in this regard.
  • Japan intends to contribute to addressing the terrorism and refugee issues, to which President Erdogan attaches importance. 

(2) Bilateral relations

(a) Prime Minister Abe stated the following:

(i) Opening remarks

  • It gives me great joy to be able to visit Turkey for the first time in two years and I would like to offer my congratulations on the strong showing in the general election.
  • I would like to extend my condolences to the victims of the terrorist attack in Ankara, and pray for the prompt recovery of those injured.
  • Japan and Turkey are the two ‘wings’ that support Asia from the east and west, and our two countries have held two summit meetings in the space of one month by maximizing the momentum provided by this commemorative year, which is the 125th anniversary of the Ertuğrul Frigate Disaster and the 30th anniversary of the rescue of Japanese citizens by Turkish Airlines.
  • I intend to cooperate to the fullest extent to deepen the strategic partnership between our two countries, and to ensure the success of the G20, which President Erdogan will chair. 

(ii) Economy

  • I would like to express my gratitude to President Erdogan for personally attending the opening ceremony for Sumitomo Rubber AKO’s Cankiri factory. Furthermore, I intend to take positive steps to meet the high expectation and trust President Erdogan places in Japanese companies.
  • During this visit, I am being accompanied by a delegation of executives from 15 companies. A business seminar hosted by JETRO is scheduled to be held, and I understand that there are plans for Prime Minister Davutoğlu to attend. It is my hope that this will be an opportunity to boost exchange activities between companies in our two countries.
  • I will continue moving the discussions on the Japan-Turkey EPA firmly ahead.
  • I am pleased to learn that Japanese companies were able to contribute to the project for the Turksat-4B, which was successfully launched last month. 

(iii) Culture

  • In regard to the Japanese-Turkish science and technology university, I am happy that the joint exploratory committee agreed on all the points in question at last month’s meeting.
  • I am grateful for President Erdogan’s cooperation in bringing about the premiere screening of the Japanese-Turkish film production ‘‘Kainan 1890,’’ which is a superb film for conveying the bonds between our two countries to our respective citizens.
  • I am delighted by the fact that the Baltalimani Japanese Garden has been renewed with the cooperation of Shimonoseki City and Japanese companies. The garden is the outcome of the sister city exchanges between residents of Istanbul and Shimonoseki, and I hope it can be utilized to further deepen the bonds between our two countries. 

(iv) United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reform

  • I was encouraged by President Erdogan’s speech at Waseda University, in which the President stressed the need for UNSC reform.
  • I believe that making the UNSC into an organization that better reflects the realities of the international community in the 21st century is a pressing task, and I hope to achieve concrete outcomes during the current session. 
(b) President Erdogan stated the following:
  • Responding to energy demands in the Sub-Sahara is an extremely important issue. Despite the fact that this region has a very large population, electricity is only available for part of the population. 
In response, Prime Minister Abe stated the following:
I recognize the importance of energy in the Sub-Sahara and intend to cooperate with Turkey to thoroughly consider what can be done.
(c) The two leaders discussed the large number of refugees flowing into Turkey, and the sharing of responsibilities by the international community.