News Center -TDO- ASEAN's 53rd anniversary was celebrated in Ankara. The ceremony, hosted by Indonesian Ambassador Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, was attended by the president of the ASEAN Ankara Committee, Ambassador Raul S. Hernandez, director general of Foreign Promotion and Cultural Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to the Ankara Committee of the Association of Southeast Asian countries Deniz Çakar, ambassadors of India, New Zealand, EU, ASEAN countries and invited guests attended.
Ambassador Raul S. Hernandez, who gave the opening speech at the ceremony, which began with the withdrawal of the ASEAN flag said: This is especially evident today when we gather in Bangkok fifty-three years ago to commemorate the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Through frequent and growing interactions for more than fifty years, ASEAN peoples have formed a common identity. It's about the lives of the ordinary person and they're trying to instill a greater sense of belonging and community.
Despite the effects of the covid-19 epidemic, which continues to the present day. The ASEAN Ankara Committee continues the tradition of celebrating ASEAN's founding day, which represents ASEAN unity and solidarity. This time, we asked all ASEAN envoys to attend this event.
Since the outbreak: ASEAN has quickly adopted measures to ensure a timely and effective response to COVID-19 in the region. ASEAN leaders pledged to continue working together to strengthen health systems, ensure food safety, support research and development on vaccines and strengthen preparedness for future outbreaks at the 36th ASEAN Virtual Summit. At the summit, they also announced the establishment of the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and the beginning of ASEAN's efforts to recover from the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19.
With the strong cooperation of all member states and the continued support of our partners, ASEAN will overcome this epidemic as we overcome many challenges that our region has faced throughout its history.
Fifty - three years ago, our five founding members signed a short, plainly worded document consisting of just five articles. It declared the establishment of a regional group in Southeast Asia whose goal is to promote economic, cultural and social cooperation and promote regional peace and stability through respect for justice and commitment to the rule of law.
Since then, ASEAN is the most successful community in the world. It is a growing process through the "ASEAN Way," a consultation-based process: consensus and collaboration. It is a ten-member country bloc that has experienced the longest period of peace in the region and has increased confidence through mechanisms such as the ASEAN plus Three, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the East Asia Summit (EAS).
ASEAN is committed to a world where the rule of law prevails in international relations and multilateral organizations have a key role to play in managing world affairs. We support ASEAN's principles of mutual respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all nations: non-intervention, the renunciation of the threat or the use of force, and the peaceful resolution of disputes and disputes between us. International partners guide us in emerging regional and global issues, these principles lend US regional peace and stability and our voice.
As a unified economy, ASEAN is the fifth largest economy in the world with a GDP of US $ 3 trillion and more than 648 million people. In our quest to build an Economic Community, ASEAN is committed to achieving sustainable, balanced and inclusive economic growth and keeping our markets open to trade and investment free of unnecessary trade restrictions. Progress in the implementation of ASEAN's Free Trade Area (FTA) and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements with major trading partners will transform the region into a global ASEAN while contributing to post-pandemic recovery and building resilient supply chains.
Today, we also celebrate the acceptance of the Republic of Turkey as a Sectoral Dialogue Partner at the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting held in Manila 3 years and 20 days ago. Since its acceptance as a Sectoral Dialogue Partner, we have seen the strengthening of institutional ties between our region and Turkey and the emergence of wide opportunities in all dimensions. And by expressing Turkey's angle to Asia with the Re-Asia Initiative, the confident relations between ASEAN and Turkey will be strengthened and expanded.
Together, we bring ASEAN to the awareness of the Turkish community and expect greater participation in all sectors in the coming days and years.
Ambassador Deniz Çakar also made a speech and said: Founded 53 years ago by five visionary statesmen, this flag gives hope and inspiration to Southeast Asian nations. As part of our humanitarian and entrepreneurial foreign policy, we actively interact with all regions of the world. From this global perspective, we see ASEAN as one of the most successful regional integration initiatives in the world.
In more than half a century, it has become a huge block, with a combined population of 640 million and a GDP in excess of $ 2.5 trillion. His achievements and his vision of creating an ASEAN community by 2025 are appreciated by the international community. It contributes to global peace and stability by maintaining a wide variety of international harmony in Southeast Asia in terms of language, religion and form of government. In this context, we appreciate ASEAN’s tradition of finding solutions to bilateral and regional problems through "quiet diplomacy". It is another important asset of ASEAN, despite its different levels of economic development and political systems that respect the consensus of all its members.
In fact, we are no strangers to Southeast Asia, as our earliest recorded contacts date back to the Ottoman Empire period of the 16th century. Based on this foundation, expanding our diplomatic network was an important step towards consolidating our presence in the region. Until recent years, Turkey was represented in only half of the ASEAN member states. I am proud to announce today that Turkish embassies are operating in every ASEAN Capital, similarly, 8 ASEAN members already have representative offices in Ankara.
In this context, we believe that we should speed up bilateral high-level visits once global pandemic conditions are under control.
We have many opportunities to increase this number further, taking advantage of our comparative advantages in sectors such as automotive, electronics, clean energy, agriculture, banking and fintech. As we have seen in our projects with Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, the defense industry offers certain new ways of cooperation.
In our relationship with ASEAN, this year we are also celebrating the third anniversary of the establishment of the Sectoral Dialogue Partnership (SDP) between Turkey and ASEAN. On this occasion, we invite actors from the business world and the public sector from your countries to take advantage of the opportunities offered by our SDP projects.
Minister of foreign affairs Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu attended the 52nd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM) held in Bangkok on 30-31 July 2019 and the second ASEAN-Turkey Trilateral Meeting was held with the Minister of foreign affairs of Thailand (president of ASEAN 2019) and the secretary general.
I would like to underline that we see our relationship with ASEAN in a broader perspective than our SDP. We wish to build on our friendly relations and our positive agenda in all areas.
As Director General of Foreign promotion and Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of foreign affairs, I am pleased to point out that culture, education and science are among these areas. We have very good cooperation in different fields with ASEAN members at UNESCO. These collaborations enrich our relations and strengthen our bonds of friendship.
In a rapidly changing world, we will need to identify new areas of cooperation and opportunities. As seen in the Covid-19 crisis, we must also act in solidarity in the face of global challenges.
To achieve this, we will work more closely with our colleagues from the Ankara embassies of ASEAN member states. Your contributions will always be valuable to our ministry.
I also believe that, as diplomats, you will play a crucial role in bringing our countries closer so that our peoples become the real drivers of our cooperation.
Before we finish, I would like to remind you that 2020 is the 7th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Indonesia. Last year, we celebrated our 70th year with the Philippines, and we are very happy to see our relations with both Indonesia and the Philippines and with ASEAN members progress in all areas.