Minister Faith Muthambi: 93rd anniversary of Proclamation of Republic of Turkey

Toast remarks on the occasion of the 93rd Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Turkey

Your Excellency, Ambassador Kaan Esener,

Your Excellencies Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Consul Generals,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Members of International Organisations accredited to the Republic of South Africa,

Distinguished guests,

Fellow South Africans,

Ladies and gentlemen.

On behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of South Africa, it is a pleasure and great honour for me to convey to you, Excellency, our warmest greetings and congratulations to the Government and the people of the Republic of Turkey on the occasion of the celebration of the 93rd Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Turkey.

The celebration of the 93rd Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic of Turkey comes at a time when Turkey is facing a number of challenges, which include the failed attempted coup d’etat to overthrow the AKP-led Government on 15 July 2016.

On behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma expressed South Africa’s strong condemnation of any attempts to seize power through unconstitutional means or the resolution of political disagreements through the use of force. President Zuma said that the incident is a serious violation of Turkey’s constitution and that South Africa supports democracy and the rule of law and is of the firm view that the will of the people must be respected.

South Africa is conscious of the fact that some of the challenges facing Turkey today have been, to a large extent, precipitated by developments in the global system of governance and therefore require a collective commitment from the international community to find solutions.

Your Excellency,

On this occasion, South Africa wishes to recall that the Republic of Turkey which was established in 1923 was founded on the principles of the rule of law, peaceful co-existence, democracy and fundamental human rights and freedom as some of the founding principles of the Republic of Turkey. These fundamental values have been an anchor in the development of Turkey as one of the 21st century democracies which have contributed to peace and stability in the world.

The resilience of any nation is measured by its resistance and ability to survive natural and man-made disasters. Turkey has weathered many storms throughout its history, from the time of the establishment of the Republic to the modern era to become the nation that it is today. Your Excellency, South Africa has no doubt therefore, that even during these trying times Turkey will draw strength from its history and confront contemporary challenges with the resilience that has enabled it to preserve its sovereignty and remain a bridge in the Eurasia axis.

The people of Turkey have been conscious of Turkey’s unique geographic location as a transcontinental country that spans Europe and Asia, a transit route for travellers, a hub for industry and business and a centre for a variety of cultures and have always welcomed all visitors to their country. Turkey’s tapestry of culture, art and traditions has been sources of attraction that have been influenced by and assimilated into other cultures. Tourists from around the world travel to and through Turkey to experience and enjoy your culture, traditions and the beautiful landscape.

Your Excellency,

South Africa attaches great importance to its relationship with Turkey and the joint commitment to mutual beneficial co-operation between our governments, the people and civil society in general. We hope that the bonds of friendship that exist will continue to grow for the benefit of current and future generations.

South Africa wishes take this opportunity re-affirm its commitment to the operationalization of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) which was established in June 2012. Following the ratification of the BNC by the Parliament of the Republic of Turkey in July 2015, the two countries have been working towards the hosting of the first Bi-National Commission (BNC). We hope that the busy schedule of our Principals will allow the first inaugural meeting of the BNC to be convened during the course of the year 2017.

It is our hope that through the Bi-National Commission and the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) South Africa and Turkey will be able to advance their political and trade relations and also address some of the obstacles to trade to enable both countries to realise their potential.

Your Excellency,

As active members of the international community, we should continue with our efforts to promote and strengthen the role and capacity of multilateral and regional institutions and to address complex global governance challenges that confront all of us.

Thus, we should continue to use our bilateral and multilateral engagements to support our collective contribution to global peace, sustainable development, security and the fight against terrorism

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

May I invite you to raise your glasses and join me in a toast to the President, the Government and the people of the Republic of Turkey on the celebration of the Republic Day, and to the good relationship and friendship between our countries.

I thank you!

Source: Government of South Africa