Ambassador Elvis Antonio Alam Lora: “This global crisis requires solutions at the multilateral level. The post Covid-19 world will be defined by the wise actions taken today.”
We hosted the Ambassador of Dominican Republic to Turkey, Mr. Elvis Antonio Alam Lora, which is one of the most famous countries in Turkey because of a famous TV show.
Ambassador and we had the opportunity to talk about the history of relations between the two countries, their presence in Turkey and the possible order after the epidemic with Mr. Ambassador.
Please kindly find the detailed and informative answers given by Mr. Ambassador to our questions.
Diplomatic Observer: Bilateral relations between the Dominican Republic and Turkey continue to develop. First, we would like to ask you for your comments on the current state of relations between these two countries. How does the Dominican Republic's embassy in Turkey contribute to the development of relations?
Ambassador Elvis Alam Lora: We are working to continue strengthening relations between the two countries. Turkey currently represents the main commercial partner of the region, however, while we have imported US$ 57,387,990.05 million for the period (January-May 2021) we only sold US$ 3,414.338.50 million, which represents a commercial exchange of US$ 60,802.328.55 and a negative trade balance for the Dominican Republic of the amount of US$ 53,973,651.55.
In coordination with the Foreign Policy of our president, Mr. Luís Abinader and our Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E Roberto Alvarez, the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Turkey has prepared a strategic plan in order increase the imports from Dominican Republic and to attracts investor to our country ,which is full of opportunities in every field, having the fact that we have free trade agreement with USA, Europe and Central America .Those countries represents a market of more than 900 million people.
Dominican Republic, during the last 20 years has been among the fastest growing economies in Latin American, one of the oldest democracies as well and a very stable as a whole country.
In this year we are expecting a grow of at least 10% in our economy.
There are several Memorandum of Understanding in final phase as well, that ranges from environmental, education and investment protection.
We have the goal to increase the number of Dominican students to attend education centers in Turkey and, in that sense, the Embassy recently sponsor an academic cooperation agreement between the University of Ankara and the Ibero-American University (UNIBE).
Likewise, it has been proposed to implement the Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation that exists between the diplomatic academies of both countries and the Protocol for Academic Cooperation between the University of Ankara and the APEC University (APEC)
And finally, Dominican Republic shall be present in cultural activities in Turkey, which will further strengthen the ties of friendship between the two countries.
Diplomatic Observer: In connection with the above question, the Dominican Republic is unfortunately not a very recognized country in Turkey. Do you have any work to introduce the people of the Republic of Turkey to the culinary culture of your country that is actually quite interesting or the touristic places that should be visited?
Ambassador Elvis Alam Lora: While living in Turkey and visiting from big cities to small ones, from Bazaars to Malls, I concluded that the Dominican Republic is quite well known, thanks to a tv program, recorded in my country called “Survivor.”
But it is not enough, the Dominican Republic is a paradise in the Caribbean, which has a huge natural beauty and has fantastic places to vacation, it also a varied gastronomy, inherited by the influence of the first settlers who inhabited our island called “Taino”, the influence of the Spanish who were our colonizers and the influence of the Africans due to the numbers of slaves that were brought by the Spanish to work the land and jobs considered strong.
It is important to point out, that the immigration of thousands of citizens from the Ottoman Empire, at the end of the 19th century and beginning the 20th and with them brought their customs and gastronomy, which deeply influence the Dominican gastronomy. Today there is not a social activity in which İçli Köfte, Humus or dolma are not present.
We shall organize gastronomic festival, photography, and painting exhibitions, in such a way, Turkey will be able to know why we” have it all.”
Diplomatic Observer: Your country continues to open embassies in many countries. Can you interpret the current political relations of the Dominican Republic, both with its neighbors and with other countries? What is the main policy of your country in foreign relations?
Ambassador Elvis Alam Lora: We have in focus for the near term to open three new embassies.
Our ministry is reinforcing the capacity of concurrence. The Dominican embassy in Turkey shall be concurrence in five other countries.
Our minister of foreign affairs, H.E. Roberto Alvarez, fallowing instructions from our president Luis Abinader, his tenure in office started august 2020 during the harshest times our present memory can recall, has focused on having a defined, ethical, transparent, and initiative-taking international policy based in three pillars:
A.-Protection of the Dominican diaspora.
B.-To promote our exports and attraction of investment.
C.-Promoting democratic and human’s rights values.
Diplomatic Observer: Mr. Ambassador, as of December 2019, our world is under the influence of a new virus epidemic. Because of the epidemic, governments have implemented measures, and the social habits of all of us have changed. As the rate of vaccination increased, the possibility of returning to our normal lives after a long break began to appear on the horizon. However, it will not be pessimistic to think that nothing can be the same. After the epidemic, what kind of world do you think is waiting for us, both socially and politically?
Ambassador Elvis Alam Lora: If we analyze the pandemics that have shaken the world in different ages, we find that, in the last century, the world suffered from the Spanish flu that claimed the lives of millions of people. The virus finally relented, and the population acquired immunity. But, although the pandemic ended, the virus never disappeared, in fact, new variants of the 1918 flu virus caused deadly outbreak in the following years.
The Covid-19 is the new pandemic of this century and the same can happen with the Covid-19. We should have in mind that we already have vaccines, and the population must realize of the importance of being vaccinated.
Exactly, predict what awaits us post Covid-19 is a bit complex, a macro analysis must be implemented, but we might have a world at a social level more conscious, especially the teaching that this pandemic has left us, is that we are interconnected, and we are interdependent on each other in ways we have never imagined. The health and well-being of oneself depends on the health and well-being of all.
Regarding the political level what awaits us? There are pieces of the global geopolitical puzzle that must be analyzed carefully, but if we manage to reach a certain normality, the situation will lead to inflation in the world economy and therefore we will have higher prices for necessities.
This global crisis requires solutions at the multilateral level. The post Covid-19 world will be defined by the wise actions taken today.
Diplomatic Observer: And I want to ask you some questions about your life here. Because of your profession, you have been to many different countries and had the opportunity to observe different cultural habits. Have you encountered a tradition or social life habit that surprises you in Turkey? What do you prefer to do in your life outside of work in Turkey? Finally, I want to ask; after your term in office is over, what will you miss most about Turkey?
Ambassador Elvis Alam Lora: Besides been a diplomat, I am also civil engineer and a writer. In the book titled, between two lovers, Turkey has a special place within the chapters of the mentioned book. Since the first time visited the country in 1998, I have organized many tours with Dominicans to share the long history, gastronomy and experience the great hospitality of Turkish people with them. Never thought at that time I will be here representing my country.
In all those years coming to Turkey, I have seen the huge advances in terms of infrastructure and human development thru the years.
Not at all, Turkey is a familiar place for us, we have been visiting this country in the past 25 years ago in a constant manner and besides that, our origens are osmanli, my paternal family emigrated to Dominican Republic a century ago from the Ottoman Empire as well as our president H.E Luis Abinader.
I love the open areas, the beautiful parks and breathe history that is everywhere here.
You never miss a memory that is your heart and Turkey is a big part of my heart. Never will miss Turkey, you never miss what is deeply rooted in you.
Diplomatic Observer: How can you describe your country, the Dominican Republic?
Ambassador Elvis Alam Lora: I will share with you some verses of our national poet, Pedro Mir, that by chance was born in the same town I was born, San Pedro de Macoris, that I always say, describes in the best manner own homeland.
There is a country in the world situated right in the sun’s path.
A native of the night.
Situated in an improbable archipelago of sugar and alcohol.
Simply light, like a bat’s wing leaning on the breeze.
Simply bright, simply fruitful. Fluvial.
Four cardinal mountains
and an immense bay and another immense bay,
three peninsulas with adjacent isles
and the wonder of vertical rivers
and earth beneath the trees
and earth beneath the rivers
and at the edge of the forest
and at the foot of the hill
and behind the horizon
and earth from the cock’s crow
and earth beneath the galloping horses
and earth over the day, under the map, around and underneath all the footprints
and in the midst of love.