ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
All the Turkish heads of mission from all over the world are set to gather for the first time in Ankara on July 14 to map out a future for the country's foreign policy.
Diplomatic sources told the Turkish Daily News that global actors, including the United States and Russia, annually hold extensive foreign policy meetings, and that the upcoming summit in Ankara would mark a first for Turkey in this respect.
Turkey has been proceeding toward being a global power from being a regional actor and, therefore, foreign policy meetings should be regular and institutionalized, said a Turkish diplomatic source.
Turkey has been playing an active role in a wide geography, extending from the Black Sea to the Caucasus and the Middle East. Currently, the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has been facilitating indirect peace negotiations between Israel and Syria and Turkey was one of the countries that mediated an agreement between the U.S.-backed ruling coalition and the Hezbollah-led opposition alliance in Lebanon's presidential election process.
The TDN has learned that the Ankara meetings will last for three days under the leadership of Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and will be made up of three phases: the past, the present and the future of Turkish foreign policy, which will all be discussed thoroughly from the perspectives of Turkey's different envoys.
Reflections on Turkey's 10-year foreign policy will be registered in the archives as the country's covert foreign policy documents, said the diplomatic sources.
In the run-up to the high-profile event, diplomats held preliminary meetings at the Foreign Ministry last week.
Diplomatic sources said Babacan and Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ertuğrul Apakan would open the plenary session on July 14 and that later 103 ambassadors would participate in region-based subgroups for detailed three-day discussions.
Foreign policy independent of political turmoil
The timing of the prestigious gathering in Ankara coincides with the tension between the government and secular front in the country that eventually boiled over with the closure case filed against the ruling party and the series of arrests of key secular figures in the so-called Ergenekon case.
But diplomats, who requested anonymity, said the project was planned long before the current political turmoil at home and underlined that Turkey's foreign policy was independent from domestic developments. Continuity is essential in foreign policy, was the message they communicated to the TDN.
While pursuing its bid to join the European Union, Turkey -- located in a strategic geographical location -- has frequently been finding itself in major roles in its region, a development that observers say has forced the country to redefine its long-term foreign policy interests. The upcoming meeting is expected to give a fresh direction to Turkey's foreign policy.