Posted on 12 December 2009
The Turkish government will likely go down in history as one of the most adept at building and strengthening international relations and building the country’s international presence.
Erdogan has just returned from official meetings in Mexico and in Washington, where he met with the President. During the visit Erdogan secured observer status for Turkey at the next Latin American and Caribbean trade summit, and solidified Turkey’s position as a staunch and much needed Muslim ally of the US.
Now, the observer status at the trade summit is a very astute and strategic move, which clearly and efficiently ties in with Turkey’s efforts to increase its trade footprint around the world.
This week, Erdogan has made a statement that Turkey will always strive to become a full member of the European Union until they are definitively rejected anyway. He highlighted that Turkey is currently entering a new phase of negotiations to this end.
“Turkey is not going to become an additional burden for the EU, it will actually lift some of the existing burdens of the EU. There are countries already in the EU which cannot compete with Turkey in terms of freedom and the economy. Why do they not accept Turkey? When you take a closer look at this, you see political reasons,” he added.
It is no coincidence that the EU has recently begun to take a more conciliatory tone towards Turkey’s accession, at a time when many EU countries are still struggling to stay afloat and many economists are forecasting stronger than average growth in Turkey next year. Nor is it a coincidence that Erdogan continues to increase Turkey’s influence and connections around the world.
The more connected Turkey is the more of a benefit it will be to increasing EU trade relations around the world. Erdogan will himself go down in the history books for having a unique ability to identify strengths and weaknesses and play to them to the benefit of Turkey.