Speech By His Excellency The President Of The Portuguese Republic, Hosted By The President Of The Republic Of Turkey And Mrs. Abdullah Gül, Ankara 12 May 2009

Lizbon Büyükelçiliği 25.05.2009

Mister President, Excellency,

Mrs. Hayrünnisa Gül


Ladies and Gentlemen

I wish to express my heartfelt thanks for Your Excellency’s honourable invitation to visit Turkey, as well as for the warm welcome accorded to me, as well as to my Wife and the delegation, which accompanies us.

Relations between Portugal and Turkey have secular roots. Their beginnings were marked by the encounters which characterized the assertion of our empires. We learnt mutual respect. A solid friendship was born from this respect, based upon shared values and principles which is reflected in our common membership of Organizations such as the Atlantic Alliance and the Council of Europe as well as, in a future which we hope not too distant , a joint participation in the European Union.

Turkey is aware of the unequivocal Portuguese support to its accession to the European Union. Today’s Europe is fruit of a History – past and present – of which Turkey has been a main protagonist.

Tomorrow’s Europe, the Europe that we need to face the challenges of the present and of the future – stronger, credible and assertive in the international scene, capable of guaranteeing and projecting peace, security and social and economic progress – this Europe needs Turkey’s contribution. Just as Turkey has much to gain from its accession to the European Union. An accession which will allow it to consolidate its modernization and development and which will guarantee it an even grower regional and international influence.

We do not ignore that the process is complex and demanding. But we cannot allow that existing difficulties lead us to lose sight of the objective. This imposes, when obstacles are faced, that the strategic vision which characterizes the true builders of the future prevails.

I am certain of Your Excellency’s commitment, as well as that of the Government and the People of Turkey, to pursue the process of reform and adjustment to Community legislation. And I sincerely hope that it will be possible to quickly overcome the difficulties which hinder greater speed in the negotiations.

Mister President,

I wish to pay my tribute to Turkey’s action on behalf of peace, stability and security.An action that takes it to countries with which Portugal feels particularly attached, such as East Timor. An action present in the search for a solution to the problems affecting the Middle East, in the support for the building-up of a stable and democratic Iraq, in the engagement in Afghanistan and in the efforts for a dialogue between this country and Pakistan, in the promotion of stability in the Caucasus, or in the courageous initiatives regarding Armenia. An action which also include the paternity of the Alliance of Civilizations, an initiative with great strategic value, whose High Representative is the former Portuguese President, Jorge Sampaio.

Mister President,

We must place our economic and entrepreneurial relations on the same level of excellence that characterizes our political relations. There are several areas where greater mutual cooperation is amply justified, whether at an official level or through entrepreneurial partnerships. On the other hand, investments and trading are standing at levels still too far from what existing circumstances would justify.

It is true that we are living difficult times. But we cannot resign ourselves to the adversities of the moment. This is the time to prepare the future. That is why I am bringing with me a business delegation representing some of the most dynamic sectors of the Portuguese economy, whose programme was designed to further the identification of new business and partnership opportunities with Turkish entrepreneurs.

Turkey, due to its special characteristics and geographical situation, has many relevant opportunities for Portuguese companies and is a natural partner for those who look for greater access to this region. CIMPOR, the largest industrial investment in this country, is a fair illustration of what I say.

Portugal, on the other hand, is a modern and stable country, whose accession provided it with capabilities in areas privileged by Turkey’s development programme. With enterprising and increasingly internationalized entrepreneurs, with privileged links in regions where Turkey intends to gain market share, such as Africa, including Angola and Mozambique, Portugal offers the possibility of advantageous partnerships for both Countries.

Mister President,

Closer links between Peoples imply a better knowledge of their cultures and heritage as well. This is the objective of the exhibition that Your Excellency and I will have the opportunity to open officially, in Istanbul, and of the “fado” concert that I and my Wife will have the pleasure to host in your honour and that of your Wife. Turkey is already one of the favoured tourist destinations for the Portuguese People. I hope that these initiatives will increase the Turkish people’s curiosity regarding my Country.

Mister President,

Referring to the best formula to narrow the bonds between peoples, Atatürk said it was necessary to strengthen the bridges that united them. I sincerely hope that my State Visit contributes to reinforce the bridges of friendship that link Portugal and Turkey, the two outer edges where Europe begins, opening the path to a future ofgreater cooperation between our two Peoples and Countries.


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