OpEd, Politics


October 29, 2023, marks the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Türkiye proclaimed under the leadership of Ghazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

On this occasion, we are celebrating our Republic Day together with our citizens and friends all over the world. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the friendly people of the Republic of South Sudan in joining our joy and pride at this very important day.

The Turkish nation, which has never given in to bondages and dictations throughout her history, crowned the war of independence that it launched against the invaders targeting its liberty and future with an unprecedented heroic victory. After this glorious victory, on 29 October 1923, we established the Republic of Türkiye on the principle of “sovereignty belongs unconditionally to the nation” and with the aim of raising our nation above the level of contemporary civilizations.

We consider our Republic as an achievement attained under the difficult conditions of the Turkish War of Independence and an inheritance of more than 2000-year-old statehood tradition reaching from the Proto-Turkic Empires to uninterrupted one-thousand-years of Seljuq and Ottoman legacy.

Türkiye, with its growing economy, strong democracy, its commitment to fundamental human values and principled and visionary foreign policy, continues be an inspiration to many.

On this very proud day, we commemorate with the deepest gratitude and blessing all our heroes, particularly Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of our Republic, who devotedly fought to make these territories our homeland, and all our fallen who sacrificed their lives for this cause.

October 29 is also the birth of modernity on our soil. The new Republic was among the most important modernization projects in the World at the beginning of the 20th Century.

The first generation of the new Republic while restructuring the state apparatus with contemporary steps in governance, political, legal, economic, social and other fields, they also created a national identity and achieved cohabitation of modern and traditional values in our country.

“Unless a nation’s life faces peril, war is a murder.” said Atatürk, by being a person who spent most of his life on the battlefield. With this understanding, Turkish foreign policy is built on a peaceful and cooperative approach.

Türkiye’s geostrategy has always been a contributively factor to Turkish Foreign Policy’s multi-dimensional approach throughout Republic’s 100th years of journey. With her geographical and cultural position as a bridge between the East and the West, the Republic of Türkiye has traditionally followed western oriented foreign policy with due attention to the other geographies such as Balkans, Black Sea, Caucasia, Middle East, Africa and Asia where she is located on the verge of.

In general, Turkish Foreign Policy’s main objective is to protect Türkiye’s interests in a volatile regional and global environment, while also shaping conditions for sustainable peace and development in our neighbourhood and beyond relying on the basic principle of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” set out by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of our Republic. In the pursuit of this primary goal, Türkiye contributes to peace, prosperity, and stability around the World.

Globally speaking, we are going through a period characterized by increased uncertainties, unpredictabilities, crises, and conflicts threatening peace and stability in our vicinity.  In order to eliminate the threats and challenges emanating from that backdrop, and to take advantage of emerging opportunities, Türkiye is compelled to pursue a foreign policy that is strong on the ground and at the table by implementing an insightful and agile diplomacy. In this regard, Türkiye benefits from deep-rooted traditions of diplomacy and derives strength from several factors including her above mentioned geographical position, rich historical experience, robust institutions, strong human resources, and a dynamic economy. As we are also celebrating 500th anniversary of the Turkish Diplomacy in 2023, Türkiye’s foreign policy is the embodiment of a bridge between the tradition and the future. With 252 diplomatic and consular missions, Türkiye has spawned the 5th largest diplomatic network globally which is one of the main elements of our national strength.

As the Easternmost European and the Westernmost Asian country, Türkiye aims to strengthen her existing strategic relations and establish new ones. Türkiye is a part of Europe. She is a founding member of almost all European institutions including the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, among others. Türkiye is actively contributing to the efforts to address multiple challenges that also affect Europe including mass migration. As an energy hub and transit country, Türkiye plays a vital role in European and global energy security. Full membership to the European Union remains as a strategic goal for us. Türkiye is an important NATO ally and considers the transatlantic link vital for security and prosperity in Europe.

Türkiye has a leading role in conflict resolution and mediation and is the only country to simultaneously co-chair the Friends of Mediation Groups at the UN, OSCE and the OIC. Türkiye also hosts the annual İstanbul Mediation Conferences to make conceptual contributions to the field mediation, prioritizes capacity-building.

In the last 20 years, Türkiye has become an “African hub” in its region with its ever-increasing number of African diplomatic representations along with its dynamic African diaspora comprised of students, businesspeople and tourists. Now there are 45 Turkish Embassies in the Continent and 38 Embassies in Ankara.


African nations see us as a reliable partner and a close friend. Turkish Airlines continues to reunite Africa with the rest of the world. As a strategic partner of the African Union (AU), we have jointly organized three Summits on Türkiye-Africa Partnership in 2008, 2014 and 2021. The Third Partnership Summit was held under the theme “Enhanced Partnership for Common Development and Prosperity”, on 16-18 December 2021, in İstanbul, with participation of 38 African countries. The last meeting with the African continent was the IV. Türkiye-Africa Business and Economy Forum held on 12-13 October 2023 in Istanbul.

We applaud the robust and innovative policies and programs introduced by the African Union to expedite the development of the Continent. Agenda 2063 is the flagship program that can unleash the Continent’s potential and bring about hope and prosperity to all, which we wholeheartedly support. Our government and official agencies have carried out efforts in line with the 2063 Agenda. The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), through its 22 representatives across the Continent and the National Disaster Relief Agency (AFAD), as well as the Turkish Red Crescent have spearheaded millions of Dollars-worth sustainable development projects and in-kind aid in Sub-Saharan Africa. Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Centers serve in 7 African countries and Maarif Foundation continues to provide educational services in 28 African countries with 191 institutions.

Türkiye and South Sudan enjoy exemplary bilateral relations that are based on historical and cultural ties as well as mutual trust. Türkiye was among the first countries that recognized the independence of South Sudan in 2011. We are doing our best to diversify our bilateral relations with South Sudan. At this point, I would like to highlight works of Turkish Red Crescent Society and TİKA. Their efforts in humanitarian and disaster relief as well as capacity building are much appreciated by the relevant authorities and local societies.


Türkiye has been supporting the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) through political, economic and humanitarian means. The last example of this support was the donation of thousands of military uniforms to the Unified Forces of the Republic of South Sudan. Türkiye is also supporter of the institutions such as IGAD and R-JMEC. Türkiye contributes to the budget of UNMISS as well as UNISFA and assigns police officers, military personnel and experts to UNMISS to support its peace efforts in this country.

Bilateral trade relations between Türkiye and South Sudan have been steadily improving. Turkish investments in South Sudan play a huge role in our economic interaction. Turkish companies completed major infrastructure projects across South Sudan in previous years to improve the life standards of South Sudanese people. Some Turkish companies and business enterprises are planned to be operating in tourism and service sectors in the months ahead which will surely contribute to local employment.

Training programs are an important dimension of our bilateral relations. Many diplomats have so far received training on protocol issues, foreign policy, mediation and negotiation techniques from the Turkish institutions. Dozens of journalists and correspondents have been trained by TRT and Anadolu Agency in Türkiye. Türkiye has so far granted fully funded Türkiye Scholarships to 200 South Sudanese students, providing an opportunity for them to study at Turkish universities in the last 9 years. At the same time all the official documentation of the Maarif International School in Juba have duly been completed and waiting for the approval of the relevant South Sudanese authorities. Türkiye is resolved to continue supporting South Sudanese people in their endeavours for achieving peace, security and prosperity in the future in line with our enterprising and humanitarian foreign policy and the principle of respect for national sovereignty.

Happy Republic Day!

With my best regards.

Erdem Mutaf

Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye to the Republic of South Sudan



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