Cumhuriyet Bayramı Resepsiyonu konuşması

A. Bülent Meriç 20.10.2008
Excellency Mr. Minister Lee Yi Shyan, Minister of State for Trade & Industry of the Republic of Singapore
Member of Parliament Dr. Ahmad Magad
Member of Parliament Mr. Arthur Fong
Members of the Turkish Community in Singapore,
Friends of Turkey,
Ladies & Gentlemen

I feel the great pleasure to see you all with us, as we celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey, a little bit earlier, since we are going to enjoy a holiday season in Singapore. 29 October 1923 is a landmark date in our history, as it signifies a popular repulsion of foreign occupation, determination for self-rule and a will to lead a modern and secular way of life. For us, Republicanism is synonymous with democracy and freedom.

If we go 85 years back, we see a dispirited nation, still living with the bitter memories of a defeat and partition in the aftermath of a Great World War, yet proud to be victorious in keeping its independence. We see a new nation state built upon the ashes of an Empire which had been a leading actor of the political geography for five centuries.

We also see a burdened generation, feeling deeply the fatigue, agonies and disgrace of lost wars, but extremely zealous to deliver a new state and a promising future for the next generations.

We are indebted to them, especially to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk without whose courage, vision and leadership we would not have been able to have a modern, democratic state imbued by contemporary values.

Today we are proud to be young, dynamic, growing and peaceful. Standing as an island of peace and stability in its turbulent region, Turkey offers a free market of 72 million people, a sound, rapidly developing infrastructure and an economy passing from industrial to informative stage.

In the 2002-2006 period our GDP grew 7.2% on average to 658 billion US Dollars. Per capita GDP is 9.330 Dollars. In consequence of these developments, Turkey has become the 6th biggest economy in Europe and the 17th biggest economy in the world. We aim to be in the 10th biggest by the year 2023, in order words by our Golden Anniversary.

Against this backdrop, Turkey has recently been elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the years 2009-2010.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

Turkey and Singapore are friendly, like-minded countries situated at the different edges of the continent, with complementary economic strengths. We have excellent, cooperative relations. Our economic cooperation and commercial relations are on a growing trend. Our bilateral trade volume reached 675million US Dollars in 2007. In the first half of this year, we happily witness a % 55 increase in our overall trade which already reached 576 million US Dollars. Although an achievement by itself, this is still too low when compared with the capacities of the two economies. The cumulative trade volume of the two economies, amounting to 852 billion US Dollars, clearly puts forward the p

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