CARICOM AND TURKEY TO STRENGTHEN RELATIONS: Issues Declaration on a new era of cooperation and consultation
The Turkey-CARICOM Consultation and Cooperation Mechanism Meeting of Foreign Ministers re-committed to strengthen existing fields of cooperation and to explore new areas to deepen interaction, according to the outcome document issued on its conclusion. The Meeting held last July 18, 2014 in Turkey at the invitation of that country’s Government, and attended by Foreign Ministers and Heads of Delegations of CARICOM and Turkey, “noted, with satisfaction, the steady and continuous progress… since the Turkey-CARICOM High Level Meeting in İstanbul in 2008”.
Trade and investments and possibilities for a CARICOM-Turkey Free Trade Agreement; cooperation in the field of education, particularly through Turkey’s offer of scholarships for youth; and support for each other’s culture through cultural exchanges were among the issues which received the attention of this meeting.
Turkey signaled its “clear and long-term engagement” to strengthen relations with the CARICOM Region. Its intention to open an embassy in the Region and to establish a Joint Chancery “for the common use of CARICOM Members that would appoint Ambassadors to Ankara, to facilitate diplomatic representation in Turkey”, were among its decisions, in this regard.
According to the Declaration, the two sides affirmed their commitment to address a number of global challenges. These include: poverty; inequality; racism; intolerance, including Islamophobia; transnational organized crime; climate change and energy security. They also expressed “determination to work together and [to]combine efforts for sustainable development in the course of shaping the post-2015 development agenda”.
The CARICOM’s ministers noted Turkey’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the term 2015-2016 and acknowledged “Turkey’s positive role in supporting the efforts of the UN for fostering global peace, security and sustainable development…”.
Earlier this year, Turkey’s Foreign Minister H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu was a Special Guest, at the Twenty-Fifth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Turkey was also represented at the Thirty-Fifth Regular Meeting of the Conference in Antigua and Barbuda in July.
At the latter meeting, Heads of Government approved the Community Strategic Plan for 2015-2019; and deepening foreign policy co-ordination was listed as one of eleven top priorities for the Community.