Türkiye Cumhuriyeti

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STATEMENT BY HER EXCELLENCY AMBASSADOR DAMLA YEŞİM SAY ON THE OCCASION OF THE 89th ANNIVERSARY OF THE PROCLAMATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY (29 October 2012, The Boatshed 18:15), 29.10.2012

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa,
Good Evening, İyi akşamlar,

Honourable Members of the Parliament,
Distinguished Ambassadors, High Commissioners,
Distinguished Mayors,
Members of the Turkish Community,
Dear Friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, this joyful day, we are celebrating with a great pride the eighty ninth anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey. I warmly welcome you all. Hoşgeldiniz, Cumhuriyet Bayramımız kutlu olsun.

I would like to thank His Excellency John Hayes, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee of the Parliament for being with us today on this special occasion.

Distinguished Guests,

I will start with paying tribute to the greatest statesman of the 20th century, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, father of the Turks, on this glorious day. We are resolved to follow the legacy of Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkey. He had dedicated all his life to bringing Turkey to the highest level of modernization. As a result of comprehensive reforms carried under his leadership, Turkey's political and economic structure had drastically changed.

Today we can proudly look back at the most remarkable political, economic and social
transformation we Turks have achieved under the leadership of Atatürk. We have been
resolutely continuing this transformation since then.

This transformation has particularly gained momentum during the last decade. That is why today we are proud of our democratic and secular political system and our robust free market economy. And that is also why Turkey has become a source of inspiration in its region and beyond.

Turkey today represents the 16th largest economy in the world, and the 6th in Europe. In a global environment where many countries registered either little or no growth at all, Turkey grew 8.5 % last year, the second biggest growth rate globally.

We attracted over 110 billion Dollars of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the last nine years. Our GDP reached almost to 1 trillion Dollars. The strong performance of the Turkish economy has also boosted foreign trade. Our foreign trade volume was over 375 billion Dollars last year.

Turkey has also become a powerhouse in manufacturing. Turkey is the 16th largest
automotive manufacturer worldwide and the leading maker of commercial vehicles in Europe, producing more than 1 million motor vehicles each year. Furthermore, it is the top TV manufacturer in Europe. We are proud of the fact that one in every 6 electrical household appliances in Europe bears the seal of “Made in Turkey”.

Turkey is also transforming herself to a knowledge based economy. The Turkish “software” market with a 100 % growth in recent years reached to the level of 2 billion Dollars. Mobile phone subscriptions reached almost to 65 million whereas the number of broadband Internet users is around 50 million.

Turkey has been home to a mosaic of people and offers travellers the chance to glimpse and savour the marvels of ancient civilisations, as well as to experience all that is expected from a dynamic, modern and industrialised nation. Anatolia, cradle of civilizations, is an open-air museum that has yet to be fully discovered. Therefore it is not surprising that Turkey is one of the top 10 tourism destinations across the globe. Last year we hosted 32 million tourists.

As a caring nation, we sincerely believe in the merit of helping and sharing. Turkey, an emerging donor, has been increasing its official development assistance programs in all corners of the globe. Our official development assistance has exceeded 3.5 billion US Dollars in the last 5 years.

We have set a number of goals for 2023, the year when we will celebrate the 100th
anniversary of the establishment of our Republic. In 2023, we will

- Take our place among the top 10 economies in the world.
- Achieve a gross domestic product of 2 trillion Dollars.
- Raise per capita income to 25 thousand Dollars.
- Increase annual exports to 500 billion Dollars.
- Reach to a foreign trade volume of 1 trillion Dollars.

Yes, these goals are ambitious, but we believe that they are attainable. We believe that we can achieve these goals by further strengthening and diversifying political, economic and cultural relations with our friends.

Distinguished Guests,

When I say friends, as the Ambassador of Turkey, I will naturally distinguish one: New Zealand. As you all know, the story of Turkish-New Zealand relations started with the battles of Çanakkale in 1914. The ANZAC soldiers played a key role in these battles. Both sides displayed remarkable heroism, gallantry and mutual respect during this “gentlemen’s war”. For us the “Çanakkale Battles”, for you the “Gallipoli Campaign” resonated profoundly among all nations involved. For us it was a defining moment in our history as it has laid the grounds for the Turkish War of Independence and the foundation of the Republic of Turkey. For New Zealanders it marked the birth of the national consciousness.

Following the First World War, Turkey and New Zealand, former enemies of the past, very young independent states of the time, became very close friends. This friendship was reinforced with the extraordinary message of compassion and comfort of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk to the families who lost their loved ones in our lands.

There are few countries today whose relations are motivated mostly by the mutual affection and sincere feelings of their people. Turkey and New Zealand are an excellent example of this.

We do not only share a common history but also a common vision for democracy, peace and stability in our regions and beyond. We both share similar views on a vast number of multilateral issues. Both nations are active contributors to international peace keeping activities as they firmly believe in the importance of creating a better and prosperous world for all.

We are extremely happy to observe that our cultural, economic and commercial relations have been expanding significantly based on this solid ground. Thousands of New Zealanders visit Turkey every year; the ceremonies take place every year in Gallipoli contribute more and more to deepening the existing friendship and understanding between our people; number of reciprocal high level visits is increasing; number of Turkish students attending universities in New Zealand is on the rise. We even have a Kiwi Basketball player in one of the leading clubs in Turkey.

Yes, we are on the right track. But I think we could do more. Therefore, our target is to further enhance and add more substance to our relations in every possible field, with a particular focus on people to people contact and on economic and commercial relations. We also have a very important item on our common agenda. We will commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Çanakkale Battles in 2015. We are confident that our cooperation will once again set an example for others in this huge undertaking.

Distinguished Guests,
Dear Friends,

I had barely touched the ground before I fell in love with the coolest little capital of the world and reaffirmed my belief on the well-known friendliness of New Zealanders. I feel not only honoured but privileged as well, to represent my country in this beautiful and friendly “Land of the Long White Cloud".

It is with these feelings that I ask all of you to join me in a toast to the personal health and happiness of Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand and to the prosperity of people of New Zealand as well as to the excellent Turkish-New Zealand friendship and cooperation.

Cheers.