Speech Delivered by H.E. President Abdullah Gül On Occasion Of The Official Dinner Hosted By President Ilves Of Estonia

Abdullah Gül 10.10.2008
Mr. President,
Distinguished Guests,

I am very pleased to be your guest in Estonia and at your beautiful capital city of Tallinn .

I am also honored that this visit coincides with the celebration of the 85th anniversary of the Turkish Republic and the 90th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia .

Although the relations between our peoples date back to the 19th century and perhaps earlier, official relations between our newly independent countries were initiated formally in 1924.

The dates of inauguration of our parliaments have interesting similarities.

The Estonian Parliament was inaugurated on April 23, 1919 and the Turkish Grand National Assembly on April 23, 1920.

Both Parliaments were established when our two countries were fighting their wars of independence.

In 1924, a short but very relevant document called the Friendship and Cooperation Agreement was signed between Turkey and Estonia .

To this day, the parties have remained faithful to the first article of this Agreement which stipulates “eternal friendship and peace between the two Republics and peoples that can not be violated.”

In the 1930s President Konstantin Pats of Estonia wrote a letter to Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic In this letter he described Turks and Estonians as relatives and requested the opening of a Turkish Embassy in Tallinn. Ataturk responded favorably to this request in 1935.

The fact that Ataturk took this decision at a time when there were very few Turkish diplomatic missions indicates his awareness of the importance of friendship and cooperation between two countries on two corners of Europe, stretching from the Baltics to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

That friendship has stayed strong and firm over the decades.

Turkey was one of the countries to immediately recognize Estonia when she regained her independence.

Today, Estonia is a valuable ally of Turkey in NATO and we supported your membership enthusiastically.

On the other hand, Estonia actively supports Turkey`s accession to the EU. We appreciate this greatly.

More recently we have been witnessing further diversification of our relations and cooperation in a number of fields, from culture to informatics, from tourism to trade.

Our nations strive to reconcile differences between countries and we work to create a more prosperous and peaceful world.

We share the basic values of commitment to democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and free market economy. This gives us a common outlook on the world.

Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I was very much impressed with the great developments realized in your beautiful country in the short space of time since my last visit four years ago when I was Foreign Minister.

I believe that the exchange of views we had today with your Excellency will shed light to the solution of international problems in our region in the future.

In recent months the world has been undergoing great volatility. Volatility in politically, culturally and economically.

I am convinced that strong friendships and solidraity such as ours will be instrumental in overcoming these difficult times.

Mr. President,

At the end of my remarks, I would like to thank you once again for the friendship and hospitality shown to me and my delegation.

On occasion of the 90th anniversary of Estonia`s independence, I wish to propose a toast to Your health and happiness, and to that of the Estonian people.

Thank you.

Süleyman İnan Özyıldız Ambassador
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