Turkey toasts founding father Ataturk
|Ahmet Akif Oktay, the Turkish ambassador to Viet Nam.
(VNS) On the occasion of the Turkish national day on October 29, Viet Nam News presents an article by Ahmet Akif Oktay, ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to Viet Nam.
Modern Turkey was established 89 years ago under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who led the nation's war of liberation, became its first president and set the country on a path of modernisation. Today's Turkey stands as a testament to his vision: an independent, secular, democratic and increasingly prosperous country.
Turkey has assumed many new responsibilities in the international arena, especially over the past decade. They now range from providing increased development aid and promoting inter cultural dialogue to supporting the stability of Afghanistan and playing an active role in the G-20. This process unfolded alongside Turkey's own transformation and achievement of higher standards at home.
Thanks to the structural reforms adopted earlier, Turkey was able to insulate herself against the impact of the latest financial crisis to a considerable extent. In 2011, the Turkish economy posted one of the highest growth rates in the world, and grew at a lower but still respectable rate in the first three quarters of this year.
This, in turn, had a direct positive effect on the volume of trade between Turkey and Viet Nam. Last year, bilateral trade crossed a significant threshold, reaching a record US$1.1 billion. Turkey thus became Viet Nam's largest export market in western Asia. Our next target is to hit the $2 billion mark in the near future. Several important economic agreements are also in the pipeline and expected to be concluded soon. Furthermore, there is a marked rise in the interest of Turkish companies toward more investments in Viet Nam.
|Panoramic: Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, viewed against the Bosphorus Strait. — Photos Courtesy of Turkish Embassy
Turkish interest in Viet Nam is by no means limited to the economic field. More and more tourists from Turkey are now drawn to the cultural and natural riches of Viet Nam, made all the more attractive by the heart-warming hospitality of the Vietnamese people. For its part, Turkish culture is slowly making its way into Vietnamese homes through popular TV shows, which Vietnamese channels started airing for the first time this year.
The upward trend in Turkish-Vietnamese relations can be seen in many other areas as well, including co-operation at the multilateral level. Turkey signed ASEAN's TAC during Viet Nam's successful presidency of the organisation in 2010. The same year saw Viet Nam joining the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia with active support from Turkey as the CICA Chair. At the bilateral level, mutual official visits are steadily increasing, as our partnership expands into new areas including academic, scientific and technological co-operation.
Earlier this year, the Turkish Embassy moved to a larger chancery to better handle the new tasks generated by the dynamic growth of our relations.
Next year, we will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic ties. We are currently working on a number of projects to mark the occasion. One of them involves creating a network among the four largest cities in Turkey and Viet Nam. In addition, book publications and other cultural activities are being planned.
Next month, the Turkish-Vietnamese Business Council will send a large delegation to Viet Nam for meetings with their Vietnamese counterparts.
In May next year, the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce will organise the first Turkish Products Exhibition in HCM City, which is already connected to Istanbul by daily flights run by Turkish Airlines. I am confident that these steps will be followed by many others.
The evolution of the Turkish-Vietnamese partnership over the recent years has been truly remarkable. However, the possibilities of co-operation that remain unexplored still outnumber those actually being tapped. In the period ahead, the Turkish Embassy will continue to work closely with the relevant Vietnamese institutions toward fully activating this potential for the mutual benefit of both countries. — VNS