The visit to Turkey of President Dilma Rousseff confirms both countries commitment to the consolidation of the strategic partnership built in recent years.
This partnership, structured in the framework of the “Action Plan for Strategic Partnership”, signed in May 2010, on the occasion of the visit to Brazil of the Prime Minister of Turkey, H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, sets an unequivocal example for what two nations, while geographically apart, can accomplish together in the pursuit of global peace and stability.
The two countries share similar values, principles, aspirations and expectations for a better future in their respective regions and in a world which is undergoing a rapid transformation. As the political and economic challenges are intensified worldwide, the role and contribution of the new actors to the resolution of the international problems become indispensable. The two countries reiterated the need to advance the reform of the Security Council of the United Nations, in order to make it more representative, legitimate and effective, in particular through broader representation of developing countries.
Against this background, the fast growing relations and close cooperation between Turkey and Brazil are getting more relevant both bilaterally and globally.
The strategic perspective recently gained by the bilateral relations, which go back more than 150 years, has been clearly demonstrated at the highest level by the visits of President Lula in May 2009 and Prime Minister Erdoğan in May 2010. Regular political consultations between the Foreign Ministries, regular contacts at the Ministerial level and signing of substantial agreements have also marked a new era in bilateral relations.
Furthermore, this dynamic partnership is also based on commitment to the shared values of democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, social justice as well as environmental responsibility.
The two countries have already decided to engage in a number of fields, including:
-Political consultations at ministerial level and the meetings of the “High Level Cooperation Commission” have significantly expanded and increased the frequency of the political dialogue.
-Close cooperation in multilateral fora: Both countries have been in close cooperation within the United Nations and the G-20 framework. Turkey and Brazil also participate in political consultations under the Memorandum for the Establishment of a Political Dialogue and Cooperation Mechanism between the South Common Market (MERCOSUL) Member States and Associate Members and the Republic of Turkey. Turkey supports Brazil in its pledge to acquire observer status in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation - OIC. Brazil has already formalized its support to the candidacy of Turkey for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council for the term 2015-2016.
-Increased trade and investment cooperation: Bilateral trade volume was close to 2 billion US dollars in 2010. Both countries are determined to work together to expand and diversify their bilateral trade, to encourage mutual direct investments and to enhance dialogue on bilateral economic and commercial issues. The bilateral Agreement to Avoid Double Taxation, signed last December, will be a significant step for the promotion of new mutual investments once it comes into force. It was decided, in addition, that the third meeting of the Joint Economic Commission will be held in Brazil in 2011 or 2012.
-Cooperation in the field of energy: Energy constitutes a significant field for interaction both for Turkey and Brazil. The cooperation between the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) and Petrobras for oil exploration in the Black Sea last year set a good example for collaboration which both countries are determined to expand to other fields. Turkey and Brazil agreed to convene the Energy Sub-Committee as envisaged in the Action Plan.
-Cooperation in the field of defense: The legal framework for such cooperation has already been concluded with the “Agreement on Cooperation in Defense Related Matters” that was signed in 2003. As reflected in the Action Plan, both countries decided to set up a Joint Defense Group. To this end, a first meeting was held in Brazil in June this year. The conclusions of the said meeting outline a vast array of cooperation areas. The second dialogue meeting will be held by the beginning of next year in Turkey
The strengthening of the relations on the field of Defense can be equally gauged by the assignment of the Military Attaché Officer to the Turkish Embassy in Brasília in 2010. The assignment of the Defense Attaché to the Embassy in Ankara is one of the priorities of the Brazilian Ministry of Defense.
-Environment and sustainable development: Both countries are looking forward to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the Rio+20, which Brazil will host in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro. Rio+20 is a timely initiative and will be an important milestone in our multilateral efforts to find global solutions to global problems. Brazil and Turkey hope the Conference will encourage the establishment of the international agenda on sustainable development for the next decades.
-Least Developed Countries: The Fourth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (UNLDC IV), held in Istanbul on 9-13 May 2011, was a successful step towards bringing LDC’s challenges and problems to the attention of the international community. Turkey, as an emerging donor country, has taken a significant initiative and announced an economic and technical cooperation package towards LDCs. The Brazilian Government has decided to launch the Brazilian-LDC Partnership, increasing its humanitarian, financial and technical cooperation programme, based on the principles of solidarity, non-conditionality, autonomy and shared responsibilities.
-Cooperation on science, innovation and high technology: Both countries coincide on the importance of those areas as a means to achieve equitable and sustainable development. In this regard, they agree to promote and enhance cooperation in areas such as innovation policies and programmes, biotechnology and nanotechnology research and innovation and clean technologies. They also welcome the negotiations for the future celebration of a protocol and plan of action between the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and TÜBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey), which will give significant impetus to these goals.
-Cooperation in Cultural Exchange and Education: Both countries also attach importance to increased cultural and educational interaction. In order to foster the academic mobility between Turkey and Brazil, the Turkish Higher Education Council (YÖK) and the Brazilian Ministry of Education signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Higher Education. Both countries have decided to convene the Joint Cultural Commission in 2012.
Cooperation between the Foreign Ministries is another avenue serving bilateral relations. The Agreement for the Exchange of diplomats between both countries’ Foreign Ministries was signed in May 2010 and Brazil and Turkey have assigned diplomats to work respectively at the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations and the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs as of November 2011.
Direct flights by Turkish Airlines to Sao Paulo have been quite instrumental and will continue to contribute to increased interaction in culture, tourism and people to people contacts in general. There was a very significant increase in the number of tourists between Turkey and Brazil in 2010 when compared with the previous year. The opening of Consulates in Sao Paulo (2009) and Istanbul (2010) has also contributed to the development of tourism between the two countries and to expand investment opportunities.
Turkey and Brazil are determined to continue the implementation of the provisions agreed in the Action Plan for the Strategic Partnership to further widen the institutional basis of the bilateral relationship and intensify the high level contacts in all fields of common interest and concern in light of their joint strategic perspective for a dynamic partnership.