Turkey connects Europe and Asia

Turkey connects Europe and Asia

Ion Iliescu
The 15th meeting of the Eurasia Economic Summit is undoubtedly an anniversary moment. Yet, it is also a moment of assessment and if we consider Turkey’s current economic situation, which is a privileged one in spite of the global financial crises, we can say that the summit has had its own contribution to it.

I have had tight connections with its leaders in the last 22 years. We launched together the Economic Cooperation at the Black Sea, which was an example of regional cooperation in a world seeking new directions right after the fall of the communist regimes.

I truly believe that the present situation in Turkey recommends it as a European country. Although it is geographically placed at the border, it is the way Turkey is building its identity and the hierarchy of its own priorities that is important.

Its whole history gives Turkey the advantage of understanding and revaluating its privileged connections with the countries around its territory, with the Middle East and Russia. Economically speaking, Turkey is a regional power with an original approach.

For Romania, Turkey is a special partner because of both our past and present. I have strongly supported Turkey’s joining the EU and I hope it will happen as soon as possible. I also hope that Romania and Turkey will get involved in more substantial bilateral and regional future projects. I trust that we will be able to galvanize the Economic Cooperation at the Black Sea, which can become a prosperous area for all the countries in this region. Things have settled down lately, there are good perspectives for solving some of the frozen conflicts, and energy is a domain of interest for all the countries in the area.

I would like to end here expressing my deep appreciation for the activity of the Marmara Foundation and of its president, Dr. Akkan Suver, a man of vision who has managed to make the foundation a very active debate event, full of ideas and projects.

Ion Iliescu is the former President of Romania. Mr. Iliescu will speak at the President’s Session in İzmir at 2 pm tomorrow.