Between Japan and the Republic of Turkey
On the Occasion of the Visit
by H.E. Mr. Abdullah Gül,
President of the Republic of Turkey to Japan
June 6, 2008
H.E. Mr. Abdullah Gül, President of the Republic of Turkey, made an official visit to Japan on June 4-8, 2008. H.E. Mr. Yasuo Fukuda, Prime Minister of Japan, welcomed the visit, which was the first official bilateral visit to Japan by a Turkish President. Both leaders held a wide-ranging and future-oriented meeting and issued the following statement for the further development of bilateral relations.
I. Strategic importance of the countries' bilateral relations
- The two leaders confirmed that Japan and Turkey, located at the eastern and western ends of the Asian continent, began their relationship of the modern era in the late 19th century, including a dramatic encounter in the famous Ertuğrul Incident in 1890, and that they have steadfastly developed their friendly relationship through the 20th century and into the present, based on a sense of affinity and mutual respect between the peoples of the two countries.
- They shared the view that the fundamental changes taking place worldwide in the 21st century require Japan and Turkey to develop a firmer and more dynamic relationship in order to work together to address various international issues that the international community faces.
- The Turkish side stressed that Turkey is beginning to pay more attention to the dynamic development of Asia in this era of globalization and look for a new partnership with the East, under the name of "Look East," and that many people in Turkey feel that they can learn much from the experience of Japan, which has successfully modernized while maintaining its own unique culture.
- The Japanese side reiterated that Japan regards Turkey as a key country for the attainment of regional peace, stability and prosperity, in light of its strategically important role as a crossroads of many civilizations and cultures that brings together Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and that in recent years Japan is becoming increasingly aware of the important role of Turkey for the stability and development of the region that stretches from the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Balkan Peninsula to the Black Sea, a region to which Japan attaches great importance.
- The two leaders confirmed that this increased bidirectional attention provides a tremendous opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations between Japan and Turkey in all spheres, including political, economic and cultural areas, with globalization in progress. They also confirmed that both countries are ready to strengthen their partnership to tackle common challenges for the international community in areas such as the global environment, peace-building, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), counterterrorism and the development of Africa, sharing common fundamental values and principles, such as freedom, human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the market economy.
- The two leaders confirmed the importance of further cooperation to make maximum use of the potentials that exist between the two countries, and that the visit to Japan by President Gül provides an ideal opportunity to elevate the level of cooperation to a new and higher stage.
II. Political relations
- The two leaders welcomed the outstanding increase in mutual visits by leading political figures, including the visit of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo_an of Turkey to Japan in April 2004 and the visit of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan to Turkey in January 2006. They also welcomed the activities of the parliamentarians' leagues of both countries and appreciated their contribution to bilateral relations. They expressed their willingness to pursue more frequent ministerial consultations, including between the Foreign Ministers.
- Welcoming the high-level political consultation by the Vice-Minister/Undersecretary of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs held in Ankara in May 2007, the two leaders decided to continue high-level regular foreign policy consultations, including the existing consultation between Foreign Ministry Directors-General, to review bilateral relations as well as international issues. They decided that the Vice Minister-level meeting would be held, in principle, once a year and alternately in the two countries.
III. Economic relations
- The two leaders, recognizing the economic potential of Turkey, one of the promising emerging economies with an abundant young and excellent labor force and an important strategic point in energy transport, expressed their continuous support for activities and efforts by the private sector in order to further promote economic relations including trade and direct investment. They welcomed the Japan-Turkey Business Forum held on June 5 in Tokyo and appreciated the important role the Japan-Turkey Joint Economic Committee has been playing since its establishment in 1987. They also highlighted the importance of dialogue between the public and private sectors.
- Recognizing the importance of tourism for mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples, the two leaders welcomed the fact that the number of Japanese tourists visiting Turkey exceeded 160,000, a record high, in 2007. The Japanese side stated that Japan intends to support efforts by the Turkish side to further promote tourism among the Japanese people, while the Turkish side confirmed that Turkey appreciates the importance of the Visit Japan Campaign and seeks to increase the number of Turkish tourists visiting Japan. In this context, the two leaders decided to designate the year 2010 as the Japan-Turkey Tourism Exchange Year. The two leaders stressed the important role of direct flights between the two countries for the promotion of tourism. In this regard, the Turkish side requested that the relevant Japanese authorities would consider permitting additional flights to Tokyo for Turkish Airlines. The Japanese side took note of this request. They also expressed their expectations for the success of Japan's project for the next-generation regional jet, which excels in energy and environmental aspects.
IV. Economic cooperation
The Turkish side expressed its appreciation for Japan's active implementation of large-scale Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan projects, including the Bosphorus Rail Tube Crossing Project, as well as for assistance in the field of earthquake disaster countermeasures. The Japanese side stated that a Japanese policy consultation mission for economic cooperation would be dispatched, with a view to discussing the future direction of economic cooperation with the Turkish side.
V. Cultural exchange
The two leaders highlighted the importance of cultural, student and youth exchanges to further promote mutual understanding between the two peoples. In this regard, they appreciated the positive role Turkish Japanese Foundation Cultural Center in Ankara has been playing. They also appreciated the activities of the Japanese archaeological team in Kaman-Kalehöyük, which started its work more than two decades ago, and welcomed the progress of facility construction by the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology of the Middle Eastern Culture Center in Japan, as well as of the project for the construction of the Kaman-Kalehöyük Archaeological Museum with the financial assistance of the Government of Japan.
VI. Cooperation in the international arena
- The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate for stability and prosperity in the Middle East, attaching utmost importance to the Middle East peace process, the reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan, cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan and the fight against terrorism. Regarding the Middle East peace process, they expressed their strong support for the ongoing negotiation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority relaunched at the Annapolis Conference in November 2007. They also decided to enhance information sharing and cooperation regarding their assistance to the Palestinians, including Japan's "Corridor for Peace and Prosperity" initiative and Turkey's "Tarqumiya industrial zone" initiative. They emphasized that these projects are of profound importance for creating a viable Palestinian economy and for promoting socio-economic capacity building of a future Palestinian state, as envisaged in Paris Conference in December 2007, and called upon the relevant parties to do their utmost to facilitate the implementation of these projects. In addition, the Japanese side highly appreciated the recent efforts by Turkey to mediate the negotiation between Israel and Syria.
- Addressing the development of Africa, the Japanese side welcomed the participation of Turkey as an observer in the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) held in Yokohama in May. The two leaders decided to strengthen cooperation in the development of Africa, taking into account that Turkey will hold a Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit in August this year.
- Recognizing the importance of global environmental problems, and in particular climate change, the two leaders shared the view that Japan and Turkey will be actively engaged in a process to establish an effective framework beyond 2012 in which the two countries will participate in a way commensurate with their international responsibilities, and that, under such a framework, they will make appropriate efforts and cooperate with each other in order to tackle global warming. In this context, the Turkish side welcomed and expressed its support for the Japanese initiative "Cool Earth 50" presented in May 2007 and the "Cool Earth Promotion Programme" outlined in January 2008.
- The two leaders shared the view that the risk of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) poses a serious threat to the peace and stability of the world, including those of the Middle East and East Asia, and decided to strengthen cooperation in international efforts to enhance disarmament and non-proliferation regimes, including the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), as well as in other efforts such as the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). Regarding North Korea, the two sides confirmed that they will continue to cooperate in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, on the basis of the agreement at the Six-Party Talks, eliminating the threat posed by missiles and addressing the human rights concerns including the abduction issue and called upon North Korea to take concrete actions to achieve these objectives.
VII. Japan Year 2010 in Turkey
Recalling the successful "Turkey Year 2003 in Japan," the two leaders expressed their high expectations for the success of "Japan Year 2010 in Turkey," in which a variety of commemorative events encompassing wide-ranging areas such as culture, economy, sports and youth, will be held throughout 2010, the year marking the 120th anniversary of the Ertuğrul Incident. The two leaders welcomed the establishment of the Executive Committee chaired by Mr. Fujio Cho, Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation, and expressed their full support for the success of this "Japan Year."
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