Visit to the Republic of Turkey by Mr. Katsuya Okada, Minister for Foreign Affairs (Overview and Assessment)

  • (Photo) Visit to the Republic of Turkey by Mr. Katsuya Okada, Minister for Foreign Affairs-1
  • (Photo) Visit to the Republic of Turkey by Mr. Katsuya Okada, Minister for Foreign Affairs-2
January 5, 2010

Mr. Katsuya Okada, Minister for Foreign Affairs, visited the Republic of Turkey from January 3 (Sun.) to 4 (Mon.). During his visit, he met with Turkish dignitaries and attended the opening ceremony of "Japan Year 2010 in Turkey." The following is an overview and assessment of the visit.

1. Main Schedule

Jan. 3:
Arrived in Istanbul
Observed the Bosphorus Rail Tube Crossing Project (yen loan project)
Conversed informally with Japanese living in Turkey (members of the "Japan Year" local executive committee)
Proceeded from Istanbul to Ankara
Jan. 4:
Courtesy call on Mr. Abdullah Gül, President of Turkey
Paid floral tribute at Anýtkabir (the mausoleum of the founder of the Republic of Turkey)
Japan-Turkey Foreign Ministers' Meeting (including a working lunch)
Speech at the Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassadors' Meeting (attached)
Attended the "Japan Year" Opening Ceremony
Departed Ankara

2. Overview of Meeting with Turkish Dignitaries

(1) Both parties agreed to take advantage of "Japan Year" to further deepen friendly relations between the two countries, and to augment policy dialogue to extend the mutual cooperative relationship between the two countries.

— Exchange views on issues in the Asian region and deepen cooperation
— Extend coordination on global issues, including the G20, climate change, and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation

(2) Foreign Minister Okada and Dr. Ahmet Davutoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, agreed to cooperate closely on the stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan.

(3) Minister Okada invited Foreign Minister Davutoglu to visit Japan at an early date, and Foreign Minister Davutoglu suggested that foreign ministers should visit each other's countries every year. The conversation also touched on the Vice-Ministers' discussions that are already being held, and the implementation of talks concerning the state of affairs in Caucasus and Central Asia.

(4) Both parties confirmed their commitments to further develop the economic relationship between the two countries, especially to strengthen cooperation between businesses in the two countries, and to invigorate a meeting of the Japan-Turkey Joint Economic Committee to be held this November.

(5) The parties confirmed mutual cooperation to ensure the success of "Japan Year."

(6) In addition, opinions were exchanged on the situation in Iraq, Middle East peace, the situation in Cyprus, the situation in East Asia, relations with the United States, and other matters.

3. "Japan Year" Opening Ceremony

The ceremony was held with the attendance of Foreign Minister Okada and Mr. Ertugrul Günay, Minister of Culture and Tourism and minister primarily in charge of "Japan Year" on the Turkey side, in attendance.

4. Assessment

(1) Turkey is a regional power located at the intersection of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, and especially in recent years, the country's diplomatic efforts toward peace and stability in the surrounding regions (policy of "zero problem with neighbors") have been spotlighted. Moreover, Turkey is a member of the G20 along with Japan, and is currently a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

(2) When President Gül visited Japan in 2008, the two countries issued a joint statement agreeing to strengthen their partnership. It is substantial that, during Minister Okada's visit to Turkey, both sides agreed to explore new avenues of cooperation on international issues in a format that further expands the relationship between the two countries, is substantial.

(3) Particularly, it is significant for the effective implementation of Japan's assistance package to Afghanistan that both sides agree on close consultation for cooperation on the stability and reconstruction of Afghanistan.

(4) Many Japanese businesses and a broad range of other concerned parties are participating in the executive committee for the upcoming "Japan Year," with His Imperial Highness Prince Tomohito of Mikasa serving as honorary president on the Japan side and President Gül serving as honorary president on the Turkey side. It is significant for the future development of Japan-Turkey relations that such a magnificent opening ceremony was conducted to celebrate the commencement of "Japan Year," which spans this entire year.

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