(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) The Turkey-CARICOM Consultation and Cooperation Mechanism Meeting of Foreign Ministers re-committed to strengthen existing fields of cooperation and to explore new areas to deepen interaction, according to the outcome document issued on its conclusion. The Meeting held last July 18, 2014 in Turkey at the invitation of that country’s Government, and attended by Foreign Ministers and Heads of Delegations of CARICOM and Turkey, “noted, with satisfaction, the steady and continuous progress… since the Turkey-CARICOM High Level Meeting in İstanbul in 2008”.
Trade and investments and possibilities for a CARICOM-Turkey Free Trade Agreement; cooperation in the field of education, particularly through Turkey’s offer of scholarships for youth; and support for each other’s culture through cultural exchanges were among the issues which received the attention of this meeting.
Turkey signaled its “clear and long-term engagement” to strengthen relations with the CARICOM Region. Its intention to open an embassy in the Region and to establish a Joint Chancery “for the common use of CARICOM Members that would appoint Ambassadors to Ankara, to facilitate diplomatic representation in Turkey”, were among its decisions, in this regard.
According to the Declaration, the two sides affirmed their commitment to address a number of global challenges. These include: poverty; inequality; racism; intolerance, including Islamophobia; transnational organized crime; climate change and energy security. They also expressed “determination to work together and [to]combine efforts for sustainable development in the course of shaping the post-2015 development agenda”.
The CARICOM’s ministers noted Turkey’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the term 2015-2016 and acknowledged “Turkey’s positive role in supporting the efforts of the UN for fostering global peace, security and sustainable development…”.
Earlier this year, Turkey’s Foreign Minister H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu was a Special Guest, at the Twenty-Fifth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Turkey was also represented at the Thirty-Fifth Regular Meeting of the Conference in Antigua and Barbuda in July.
At the latter meeting, Heads of Government approved the Community Strategic Plan for 2015-2019; and deepening foreign policy co-ordination was listed as one of eleven top priorities for the Community.
Read: İSTANBUL DECLARATION ON A NEW ERA OF COOPERATION AND CONSULTATION BETWEEN TURKEY AND THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY
İSTANBUL DECLARATION ON A NEW ERA OF COOPERATION AND CONSULTATION BETWEEN TURKEY AND THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY
(18 JULY 2014)
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Heads of Delegations of the Republic of Turkey and the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) gathered upon the invitation of Turkey, on 18 July 2014, in İstanbul, on the occasion of the I. Turkey-CARICOM Consultation and Cooperation Mechanism meeting of Foreign Ministers. They issued the following communiqué:
We, the Foreign Ministers and Heads of Delegation of Turkey and CARICOM noted with satisfaction the steady and continuous progress that our relations have witnessed since the Turkey-CARICOM High Level Meeting held in İstanbul in 2008. We renewed our commitment to further strengthening the existing fields of cooperation and exploring new areas to deepen our interaction.
CARICOM Ministers welcomed the Turkish Foreign Minister H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu’s participation in the 25th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on 10-11 March 2014 as Special Guest and expressed its appreciation for Turkey’s attendance in the 34th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM held in Trinidad and Tobago on 4-6 July 2013 and recently in the 35th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government held in Antigua and Barbuda between 1-4 July 2014.
We stress the continuing importance of redoubling efforts aimed at sustaining these high level encounters in the future.
We are convinced that this Meeting of the Foreign Ministers will further boost the strong and long-lasting cooperation that we enjoy and will pave the way for deeper and more regular dialogue based on mutual interest and respect between Turkey and CARICOM, as foreseen in the Memorandum of Understanding for the Establishment of a Consultation and Cooperation Mechanism Between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and CARICOM which was signed on 21 September 2011 in New York.
We reaffirm that in further developing our relations, we will continue to be guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, with full respect for international law.
We reiterate our readiness to enhance our consultation and cooperation within international organizations, in particular the UN, which has a central role in the establishment and sustainability of global peace, security, stability, development and prosperity. In this context, CARICOM Ministers appreciate Turkey’s expression of support for Trinidad and Tobago’s bid to host the Arms Trade Treaty Secretariat in Port of Spain.
We acknowledge the importance of dialogue and recognize the opportunity provided by both regional and international meetings, including the UN General Assembly’s high level meetings in New York.
Acknowledging Turkey's positive role in supporting the efforts of the UN for fostering global peace, security and sustainable development, as well as Turkey's determination to further strengthen its relations with the member countries of the Caribbean Community, CARICOM Ministers took note of Turkey’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the term 2015-2016.
We express our determination to work together and combine our efforts for sustainable development in the course of shaping the post-2015 development agenda.
We appreciate Turkey’s proposal to establish a working group for addressing issues of shared interest in relation to the upcoming Turkish presidency of G20 in 2015, and to the first ever World Humanitarian Summit to be held in Turkey in 2016.
CARICOM welcomes Turkey’s contributions to the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States to be held in Samoa in September 2014
We affirm our commitment to address global challenges such as poverty, inequality, racism, intolerance including Islamophobia, transnational organized crime, climate change and energy security.
Recognizing the urgent need for enhanced global efforts to address both mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, as well as affirming that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a significant tool in the fight against climate change, we reiterate the urgent need to address the serious and unprecedented threats to mankind caused by current and projected adverse impacts of climate change, such as more frequent and severe climate-related disasters, sea level rise, coastal erosion, threats to water supply and food security, increased natural resource scarcity, and forced displacement.
We reaffirm that climate change represents the gravest threat to the survival of CARICOM SIDS and its adverse impacts, including sea-level rise and ocean acidification, pose a significant risk to SIDS and put additional burden on their efforts to achieve sustainable development.
We declare our readiness to further our political dialogue and expand our cooperation to other areas of mutual interest including trade, investment, transportation, education, scientific and technological exchange, tourism and development projects. We welcome the establishment of a Caribbean Business Council within the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) of Turkey.
We express our appreciation for Turkey’s contributions to the CARICOM Development Fund, its active involvement in the development cooperation in the Caribbean and projects carried out by Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) which has recently dispatched technical delegations to the region, in the fields of education, health, disaster management and capacity building. We encourage TİKA to open a coordination office in the Caribbean.
CARICOM welcomes Turkish Government’s efforts to make its voluntary financial contributions to the organization on a more regular basis.
We welcome Turkey’s decision to open an Embassy in one of the CARICOM countries as a sign of its clear and long-term engagement towards strengthening our relations; and appreciate the support by the Turkish Government for the establishment of a Joint Chancery for the common use of CARICOM Member States that would appoint Ambassadors to Ankara, with a view to facilitating their diplomatic representation in Turkey.
In order to increase trade and investments, we agree to complete the necessary legal framework as well as to explore the possibilities of concluding a Free Trade Agreement between Turkey and CARICOM.
We acknowledge the fact that promotion of tourism and cultural exchange will further contribute to establishing people to people contacts. We underscore the importance of culture in sustainable development and consequently recognize the importance, richness and diversity of our cultures. In this regard, we reiterate our determination to support each other's culture by promoting cultural exchanges as these are viewed as an essential component of our development and cooperation strategy.
Being conscious of the fact that our future lies with the youth, we declare our determination to further our cooperation in the field of education. CARICOM expressed its gratitude for the scholarships offered by Turkey. We pledge to cooperate in encouraging students throughout CARICOM countries to apply for these scholarships.
We welcome the offer by the Diplomacy Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey to enhance the cooperation with CARICOM member states on the training of young diplomats.
In light of the great potential for further cooperation between Turkey and CARICOM, we task our senior officials in an ad-hoc setting to prepare a Cooperation Action Plan to be submitted to our next meeting in this format.
CARICOM Member States expressed their deep appreciation to the Government of the Republic of Turkey for hosting the Turkey-CARICOM Foreign Ministers Meeting in İstanbul on 18 July 2014 and expressed its interest in holding the next round of the meetings in a CARICOM country at a date to be determined.