Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 39
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
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Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan Advocates for “New Global Order”

Dilshanie Perera

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey elaborated upon his foreign policy, urging nations to come together under a “new global order” based on trust and peace, during a Woodrow Wilson School address in Richardson Auditorium last week.

“The global problems of our age require solutions on a global scale,” he said, suggesting that “we must move from the understanding of a world solely based on a perception of risk and threat, to a global order which is based on solidarity and trust.” Differences should be embraced as a “source of enrichment,” he explained.

War, economic crises, hunger, poverty, energy security, terrorism, and climate change were listed as the major problems facing the world today by Mr. Erdogan, who delivered the talk in Turkish. Event attendees heard a simultaneous translation into English via wireless transmitters.

Addressing such problems effectively would entail an equitable and participatory global political order, Mr. Erdogan said, adding that Turkey strives for a policy of “zero problems with all of our neighbors,” something particularly important as Turkey is uniquely positioned as a bridge “between East and West,” and “between Europe and the Islamic world.”

In her introductory remarks, Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman said that “Turkey occupies a critical place in the world” and has an important role to play vis a vis global security, in a “region beset by ethnic, religious, and political tensions.”

As a key player and U.S. ally in the region, Turkey has a long relationship with neighboring countries like Greece, Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Syria, and Iraq, Mr. Erdogan explained, while also mentioning Turkey’s relationship with Armenia, noting that the two countries are currently engaged in diplomatic talks mediated by Switzerland.

Mr. Erdogan disapproved of the long delay regarding Turkey’s membership into the European Union and European Economic Community. “No other country has had to wait so long,” he said of the process, which began in 1959.

Praising President Barack Obama’s April visit to Turkey as one that “once again reaffirmed the mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries,” Mr. Erdogan called the relationship a “model partnership.”

The prime minister, along with a number of other Turkish officials, visited Princeton between meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, which preceded the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh.

Characterizing the 21st century as “the century of peace, not war; of trust, not fear; of justice, not injustice; of order, not terror; of prosperity, not poverty,” Mr. Erdogan said, “It is our responsibility to establish this kind of world.”

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