Last update:
29 June. 1999

Onur Öymen

Turkish Ambassador


In this module :
  • contribution by President Demirel
  • contribution by Foreign Minister Cem
  • contribution by Ambassador Öymen
  • contribution by Ambassador Öymen (Turkish version)

    Turkey and the Alliance

    Canakkale, Troy

    NATO has been the guarantor and protector of the Western societies with its strong and solid collective defense mechanism in the last 50 years. Through a carefully designed policy of deterrence and dialogue, it has played an important role in the development of a climate of détente in Europe and helped to bring the Cold War to an end. Its success has also been one of the key factors that led the steps towards a more secure and stable Euro-Atlantic area in the last decade.

    As part of the Western society Turkey is a member to this effective institution since 1952. During the darkest years of the Cold War, Turkey, with her well-trained, equipped and disciplined armed forces, was always ready as a staunch, powerful and reliable ally to defend the values that we all cherish, and has always been an indispensable element of regional stability in the adjacent peripheries. She has made a significant contribution to the common security of Allies by assigning most of her armed forces to NATO, which is the second largest army after that of U.S. This has been achieved at a tremendous cost, requiring a major sacrifice of diverting much needed resources.

    The times have certainly changed. There is no longer a Soviet Union or the Warsaw Pact. Totalitarian chains that strangle the peoples in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia are no more. In the area where the Cold War was felt the most, peace and trust flourished. In order to realize the aim of establishing a just, peaceful and prosperous international order for next generations, Turkey, which is a member of various other regional and international organisations, is willing to sustain and enhance her contribution to the promotion of peace, stability and international cooperation.

    AtaturkAs we are now celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Alliance, new forms of relations are carved out of the rubbles of the Cold War for a broader security. Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and enhanced Partnership for Peace (PfP), the NATO-Russian Permanent Joint Council, the NATO-Ukraine Commission and the Dialogue initiated with several Mediterranean countries coupled with the enlargement of the Alliance, and internal adaptation efforts in NATO such as the Common Joint Task Force Concept, creation of the European Security and Defense Identity within NATO, the new Command Structure and redefining of the strategy of the Alliance are all heralds of a new system.

    The aim of the Turkish foreign policy has always been one and the same which was defined in the words of Atatürk, the founder of our Republic: "Peace at home, peace in the world". Turkey will not hesitate to exert every effort where peace is the goal. Her attitude since her foundation is a solid proof for her determination in this direction.

    A lot has been achieved in the security field especially in the last couple of years. However these steps can not be considered fully sufficient. We need to go forward by clearing every obstacle that may be a risk for the international security system that is now taking shape. We should be prepared to confront the new risks like instabilities stemming from terrorism, mass migration, arms and drug trafficking, civil breakdowns, possible spread of weapons of mass destruction. The risks, threats and uncertainties prevailing in her surroundings dictate her to maintain adequate deterrence and an active approach in dealing with the new forms of threats.

    The Turkish Air Force Acro-team of NF-5A

    In fact she has been an influential player in all steps to cope with these new risks and will continue to make every possible contribution to preserve the existing momentum. Turkish forces serving in the NATO-led IFOR/SFOR, which is at work in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1995, is only one of the concrete examples that could be highlighted as part of her efforts.

    In this context, Turkey's contributions toward enhancing PfP should also be underlined. Turkey has actively participated in the deliberations on the PfP, a concept, which we believe, contributes to the strengthening of security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region in general, and to the fostering of good neighbourly relations in particular.

    With the same spirit, we have initiated the establishment of Southeast European Multinational Peace Force and moreover, a Partnership for Peace Training Center which is already in operation in Turkey since June 1998. The Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group is another promising security project, which is also worth mentioning.

    As our future prosperity will depend upon the achievements of today, Turkey will continue her determination in NATO as well as in all Euro-Atlantic institutions to better the international environment. Turkey will continue to be a reliable member of NATO, which undoubtedly is the most successful alliance that history ever witnessed.