Turkish PM: Alliance of Civilizations can be peace project of the 21st century
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that, with the will displayed by leaders and making use of the existing opportunities, the Alliance of Civilizations is a candidate to be the peace project of the 21st century.
The "Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Hall" in the United Nations building in Geneva, Switzerland has been inaugurated in a ceremony that was attended by Turkish Premier Erdogan, State Minister Mehmet Aydin, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Angel Moratinos, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN high representative for the Alliance of Civilizations Jorge Sampaio on Tuesday.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Erdogan said that he is very excited about this "nice and meaningful initiative".
We thank Spain for its contributions, Erdogan said.
"We all believe that human is the center of existence. Every civilization, culture and ideology puts emphasis on the importance and happiness of humans. Our civilization also glorifies humans and stresses the preservation of human rights and justice," Erdogan said.
It is important not to separate human rights from the concept of the alliance of civilizations, Erdogan said.
We need to promote the security of human rights and freedoms which are common values between the civilizations, Erdogan noted.
I am pleased to see that the Alliance of Civilizations, which began in 2005 with the support of Spain and the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, has become a UN process, Erdogan said.
This initiative which attracts more attention each and every day makes it a must to have dialog and cooperation among the civilizations, Erdogan said.
The goal of our initiative is to prevent cultural polarization, intolerance and all forms of discrimination, Erdogan said.
Although only three years have passed since the establishment of the Alliance of Civilizations, the alliance
has become a body comprised of 76 countries and 13 international organizations, Erdogan said.
Erdogan stressed that it is important for member countries to submit their national programs and have new countries participate in the process.
Turkey is determined to contribute to the Alliance of Civilizations with more than 70 projects in its national program, Erdogan said.
We will reap the fruits of our efforts very shortly, Erdogan underlined.
The first forum of the Alliance of Civilizations successfully took place in Madrid in January 2008 and the second one will take place in Istanbul, designated as a European Capital of Culture, on April 2 and 3, 2009, Erdogan said.
"The Alliance of Civilizations initiative has not been limited to theoretic and intellectual dimensions. We have not displayed an elitist approach. We have tried to embrace the whole world from Beijing to Istanbul, from Madrid to New York, and from Geneva to Addis Ababa and began to see the results of our efforts," Erdogan said.
Referring to the world as a "trip on the same ship", Erdogan asked everyone to unite hand in hand to work for a better world.
The world now better understands how the selection of Turkey and Spain was a right choice for the initiative of the Alliance of Civilizations, Erdogan said.
"The two countries sit at the intersection of civilizations and have played historical roles in the compromise between different cultures," Erdogan said.
"We implement projects for the integration of millions of Turks and Muslims in Europe. We also contribute to solutions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, the Caucasus, Balkans and Africa," Erdogan underscored.
I am pleased to see Spain displaying a similar attitude against these problems, Erdogan said.
"Ankara and Madrid, Istanbul and Granada and Barcelona are parts of the Mediterranean cultural climate. Spain's flamenco and Turkish sufi music give the same messages and, despite Mevlana and Cervantes have used different languages, they display the same spirit," Erdogan said.
Giving the message that the international community have more similarities than differences, Erdogan said that "this is the high time for alliance and not clashes".
Following the inauguration of the "Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Hall", Erdogan attended a luncheon hosted by the Spanish King. Erdogan will depart for Turkey later on Tuesday.