Turkish Embassy in Skopje


Conference Marking the 8th of September and the 20th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Macedonia, 09.09.2011

“20 Years of Independent Republic of Macedonia – Achievements and Perspectives of the Modern Macedonian State”

Distinguished Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia H.E. Nikola Gruevski,
Honorable Foreign Minister of the Republic of Macedonia Mr. Nikola Poposki,
Distinguished Prof. Ljubomir Chitkushev,
Distinguished Ministers, Parliamentarians, Academicians,
Honorable Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

- It gives me distinct pleasure to attend this historical conference marking the 20th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Macedonia and I feel privileged for being able to address such an esteemed audience.

- In compliance with the theme of the conference, I would like to focus on the achievements and perspectives of the Macedonian state with an emphasis on relations with Turkey.

- As regards the peace and stability in the Balkans, we consider Macedonia as a key country, who managed to create a unique model of coexistence in this region and who has every reason to serve as a model democracy, as a harmonious multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural nation in this part of the world.

- The Balkans, known for some of the best and worst events in our shared history is our common and inherited past.

- As a Balkan country, Macedonia’s road to democracy has faced tough obstacles since its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Macedonia’s national identity as an independent nation was also questioned by some circles. Disputes with its neighbours, conflict in the region and ethnic tensions has caused many to believe that this Balkan nation would be unable to forge a stable path forward. But thank God, that period, when new borders were drawn and new states were created in the Balkans and when refugee crisis and armed conflicts were troubling this region is far behind us.

- Turkey is the first country to recognize Macedonia with its constitutional name, together with its national identity. Since the inception of the independence of this country, Turkey and Macedonia have maintained strong bonds of friendship based on common historical and cultural roots and shared values. Turkish-Macedonian relations based on mutual trust and solidarity, can serve as a good example which should be emulated throughout the Balkan region.

- Although Macedonia has been through difficult times in the 90’s and during the 2001 conflict, the inter-ethnic harmony and functioning pluralist democracy started to be established with the signing of the Ohrid Framework.

- We believe that the full and successful implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement will ensure stability as well as prosperity in the country.

- Despite her troubled history, Macedonia has made remarkable progress over the last two decades.

- This country has secured peace and stability within its borders.

- Macedonia has made progress in its economy as well, since its independence. With two major global crisis, it has maintained economic growth and continued to attract foreign investments to the country.

- Turkey’s investments towards Macedonia are increasing day by day and the cumulative total has reached 500 Million dollars in 2010. Yet there is more room for further cooperation in the economic field.

- With TAV, who has constructed the new Skopje Airport and has renovated the Ohrid Airport being the largest investment, we believe that interest of large Turkish companies in the Macedonian market will further increase. The elimination of bureaucratic barriers will certainly serve to this end.

- On the other hand, as a country continuing membership negotiations with the EU, we appreciate the reforms being implemented within Macedonia’s integration processes to Euro-Atlantic institutions.

- We believe that Macedonia has long deserved to become a member to NATO. As we have in the Bucharest Summit, we will continue to strongly support Macedonia’s membership to the Alliance.

- As for the membership to the EU, we hope that the obstacle impeding Macedonia to start accession negations will be overcome as soon as possible.

- Surely our joint efforts and close cooperation with Macedonia, in the direction of peace, stability and prosperity in our region will continue on the path of integration with the Euro-Atlantic structures.

- Turkey has and will continue to support the preservation of the territorial integrity, unity and sovereignty as well as the fully harmonious multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural character of the Republic of Macedonia.

- Today, as a result of being under the rule of several empires throughout history, we can clearly see the reflections of the cultural richness in Macedonia which I believe should be praised instead of pressed.

- Encouraging mutual understanding among communities is not only crucial for internal stability, but also for Macedonia to be able to speak with one voice in its foreign policy and not be left out of international institutions due to bilateral disputes.

- I am happy to see that within the 20 years as a sovereign state, there has been many laws passed, some decentralization, social and economic reforms adopted in line with European values which will lead the country to become a peaceful and prosperous nation. I congratulate the Macedonian government for its success and hope that the political will in this regard will continue for many 20 years to come.

Thank you