It is indeed an honor for me to carry out my first official visit to Turkey as Mexico’s minister of Foreign Affairs in such a significant year for my country, and to bring with me a testimony of goodwill from the people of Mexico.
Mexico and Turkey are friends of longstanding. Relations between our countries developed gradually over many years, but our formal ties date from the 1920s, a period in which both nations were undergoing profound transformations. Mexico was in the midst of social and economic reform under the governments that emerged from the Revolution, just as Turkey was developing into a modern state under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Diplomatic relations between both nations have always been characterized by mutual respect. They began with the entry into force of the Friendship Agreement between Mexico and Turkey, signed in Rome in 1927. Since then, in spite of the distance that separates them, they have grown closer together acknowledging the important role that each one plays in the world.
Turkey and Mexico are thriving democracies with strong institutions. Both have become major manufacturing and exporting powers. Turkey is nowadays the 17th largest economy in the world, whereas Mexico is the 14th. Given their strategic locations, both countries act as bridges between the developed and the developing world: Mexico between North America and Latin America, and Turkey between Europe and the Middle East and Asia. In terms of history or geographical location, population or economic might, Mexico and Turkey are among the most prominent actors on the world stage.
The many features that Mexico and Turkey share in common, along with those traits that are unique to each of our nations, should spur us to deepen our relations even further. There is vast potential to be developed in our bilateral ties, especially in trade, tourism and investment. And there also is much that our countries can achieve by working together to meet global challenges.
The visit to Mexico of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in December 2009, is a landmark in Mexican-Turkish relations. This important visit -- the second one by a Turkish head of state to Mexico after more than eighty years of diplomatic ties -- signaled the beginning of a new stage in our countries’ relations.
Strengthening the political dialogue
On that occasion, President Felipe Calderón and Prime Minister Erdoğan agreed to strengthen the political dialogue between both governments, to enhance trade and investment relations and to encourage bilateral cooperation in all areas. They also pledged to work towards increasing tourism flows, fostering contacts between the business communities of both countries and developing an active strategy of cultural exchange. Most significantly, both leaders agreed to deepen coordination in multilateral fora.
Mexico is determined to live up to those commitments. My official visit to Turkey, at the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoğlu, is a continuation of this enhanced dialogue between both countries, which includes the visit to Mexico of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ali Babacan, in December 2008.
Those exchanges have allowed us to identify key points of agreement in our governments’ positions regarding the new international agenda. The participation of Mexico and Turkey in the United Nations Security Council, as non-permanent members during 2009-2010, has provided ample evidence of the strong affinity that exists between our countries.
Equally significant has been our participation in the G20 negotiations to address the world economic crisis, but also our common positions on issues such as United Nations reform; nuclear disarmament and non proliferation; the fight against organized transnational crime and international terrorism; and the efforts of the global community against climate change.
Mexico will host the 16th session Conference of the Parties (COP16 )of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 6th meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP6), which will take place in Cancun from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10, 2010. Turkey will be a key player in that forum and its support will be essential to guarantee the adoption of an ambitious, integral and balanced outcome at the conferences in Cancun.
Turkey’s international influence and its firm policy on climate change will be of invaluable support in order to forge understandings on this central issue of our time. I strongly believe that our common stance in the fight against climate change will give further proof of a new stage in relations between Turkey and Mexico.
*Patricia Espinosa Cantellano is the minister of foreign affairs of Mexico.