Davutoglu: ”Turkey will speak for those without voices”
Often called a bridge between East and West, Turkey is now poised to span the divide between the North and South, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said over the weekend. Although Turkey is part of the group of developed countries known collectively as "the North," it is speaking up for the concerns of the poor and underdeveloped "South," Davutoglu told a press conference. "Turkey will speak up about political inequalities," he said, adding, however, that this should not be seen as "Third Worldism." According to Davutoglu, a country can't carry weight in the international arena unless it voices the problems of the South, a position Turkey will seek to carry out as it leads the UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC) for the next 10 years. As part of Turkey's efforts to spread awareness of the problems of underdeveloped countries, the government will merge two summits that Istanbul is hosting next May. Though the Fourth LDC conference and the foreign ministerial meeting of the Council of Europe (CoE), which Turkey is presiding over through next year, will be held separately, Ankara will arrange for a one-day joint meeting of both groups, in the biggest world gathering since the fall UN General Assembly meetings. There are 50 countries in the LDC and 47 in the Council of Europe. With this initiative, Turkey will try to ease economic tensions and continue to play the role of the conscience of the international system, Davutoglu said. Turkey's performance as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, ending this week, seems to testify to Ankara's rising interest in global issues. While Turkey has presided over UN committees on Korea, Somalia and Congo, it is also preparing to form an "international mediation group" as part of an initiative it started with Finland. Davutoglu reiterated his desire to make Istanbul a center for mediation and preventive diplomacy, and added that Turkey is now working on nuclear disarmament alongside Austria and Japan. In line with Turkey's growing international role, several Turkish officials have recently taken up high-level posts in multilateral platforms, he added.