“MEDITERRANEO ISTITUZIONI 2005”
to RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN
Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey
Naples, September the 2nd 2005 - Maison de la Méditerranée
Mr. Michele Capasso, speaker
President of the FONDAZIONE MEDITERRANEO
Mr. Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey Erdogan;
Mr. Hilmi Güler, Minister of Energy, Ambassador Ziyal, members of Parliament;
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Delegation of the Republic of Turkey;
Directors and Journalists of dailies, weekly magazines, television agencies and networks of Mediterranean Countries who are present in this Assembly room or connected by video-conference;
Ladies and Gentlemen present in this room, in other room of the Maison de la Méditerranée and connected by video-conference from Morocco, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Spain.
It’s with a great pleasure that we receive in Naples Prime Minister Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Delegation of the Republic of Turkey .
Today is a symbolically important day for 4 reasons:
The Awarding of the “Premio Mediterraneo Istituzioni 2005” to Prime Minister Erdogan;
The inauguration here at the Maison de la Méditerranée of the “Istanbul Room”, as aq recognition and testimony towards one of the great cities of the Mediterranean, cradle of the earliest civilization;
The beginning, as from today of a new phase of our FONDAZIONE with a new denomination, an articulate program and renewed political action aimed at the constitution of the “GRANDE MEDITERRANEO”;
The presentation of a document of intention that foresees a protocol of partnership between our FONDAZIONE and the Government of the Republic of Turkey in order to establish a seat of the Maison de la Méditerranée in Istanbul as a reference for the “GRANDE MEDITERRANEO”.
Mr. Prime Minister,
Your visit to Naples in occasion for the ceremony of the “Premio Mediterraneo Istituzioni 2005” awarded to You, coincides with the beginning of a new programmatic period for our Foundation which, on the 2nd of September 2005 and in Your presence, will also perform the following:
1) Changing of the name, by removing the term “Laboratorio” and adoption of the new name FONDAZIONE MEDITERRANEO.
2) Presentation of a five-year general program which has as its main purpose the constitution of GREATER MEDITERRANEAN; a cooperative area of many States drawing together on the Mediterranean sea, and opened to the Middle East and the countries States of the Black sea and the Gulf. A tradition of synergies, sometimes tumultuous and troubled, but from which an indissoluble interdependence arose, stronger than all contrasts, hostilities and wars. The FONDAZIONE MEDITERRANEO, which during the last ten years made valuable these synergies giving them importance, wishes now to go on - in the name of peace and collaboration among the populations and in the respect of the fundamental rights greatly expressed in the ONU document – we strongly believe that Turkey, center of gravity among Europe, Mediterranean, Middle East and Central Asia, can play a key-role in the creation within that area, of a COALITION OF SHARED INTERESTS AND VALUES.
3) Presentation of the five year plan (2006-2010) entitled Mediterranean, Europe, Islam: actors in dialogue (directed by Prof. John Esposito, Chairman of the Executive Scientific Committee of the Foundation). Its mission is to strengthen mutual understanding and co-operation between the countries of the southern and northern shores of the Mediterranean and Europe and the Muslim communities within and outside of Europe. This program considers Turkey as the leading actor for the articulation of projects oriented to the fulfillment of specific objectives.
4) To express full support of ONU’s program “Civilization Alliance” sponsored by Spain and Turkey and to announce that the Chairman of the Executive Scientific Committee of the Foundation Prof. John L. Esposito has been assigned, by the General Secretary of ONU, to the High Level Experts Group of that program and will be co-director of this action.
Mr. Prime Minister,
The FONDAZIONE MEDITERRANEO, has been supporting since 1994, the role of Turkey as key-country of that which today with a visionary spirit we call GREATER MEDITERRANEAN underlining, anywhere and by any means – congresses, seminaries, appeals, articles – the importance of Turkey’s membership to the EU as a preamble to reach a cultural, social and economic integration of the area and, consequently, a prosperity shared in stability and peace.
Today this adhesion is even more essential: for Turkey.
The secular model of Your country, the complete separation of religion from any State system and at the same time the promotion of Islam as a socio-cultural identity independent from politics, all this is an indispensable resource and hope for Europe and for the pacification of the whole Middle-Eastern area. An example to demonstrate to those who, hiding behind the religions politicization, often nourishing terrorism and fundamentalism.
By now, for a very long time Mediterranean has been played by tensions, crisis and conflicts that have torn the tissue of a pacific and prosperous cohabitation. The recurrence of fresh out breaks of terrorism and the risk of a rift between those who believe in dialogue and those who clash with civilization imposes a growing challenge to Governments and needs for Civil Society to promote that in our program we define a “Great Coalition of shared values and interests”.
The numerous initiatives made for the pacification and the development of the area until now have made partial and inadequate progress.
The stages of hope that region has uncounted institutionally in the Euro-Mediterranean partnership” ( started up in 1995 from EU with the Barcelona Process which celebrates this year the decade) and many other activities which have produced partial and inadequate progresses.
The adhesion of Turkey to EU is obstructed by politicians and bureaucrats intimidated from the ancient historical past which becomes an obstruction to the dialog among different societies, cultures and religions and Turkey needs to take part in it.
In any case, we cannot and we will not resign. The FONDAZIONE MEDITERRANEO will remain alongside Turkey and will bring it up, convinced, as always, in the powers of dialogue and of reason. Nothing is irreparable. Each defeat along the way towards a great conciliation is merely a question to revisit. The real enemy, just short of resignation, is the acceptance of complicity, which obscures the vision of democracy.
The real enemies are also the groups representing politics, economics, culture, and religion which follow only their own interests, without a “vision” or a “sense of life”, practicing exclusively love of power and a sterile identity of being. We are opposed against them, and we will remain opposed to them, in the hope of transforming their love of power into a power of love: for dialogue, for shared economic development, and for peace.
Mr. Prime Minister,
The FONDAZIONE MEDITERRANEO has been for the last ten years an actor in the Euromediterranean Partnership especially through the involvement of Civil Society – realizing three Civil forums, eight Euromediterranean conferences and more that one-thousand events – and distinguishes itself as an organization free from sterile bureaucracy and in which every resource is invested in fields producing a large number of partnership accords, which in accordance with the quality of the realized actions, are indicative of great impact reached, and of concrete results which follow, to which numerous official evaluation reports testify.
The FONDAZIONE MEDITERRANEO intends this experience to serve the Greater Mediterranean and makes it with a renewed prestigious “team” which is composed of students, politicians, and specialists on the Mediterranean region. Near the historical components, the “founders” of our institution – the vice-president Caterina Arcidiacono, who manages institutional relationships, Claudio Azzolini (Vice-President of the Council of Europe), the scientific director Nullo Minissi, the president of the International Scientific Committee Predrag Matvejevic’, Wassyla Tamzali who is responsible for Civil Society and communication, Princess Wijdan Ali of Jordan, who is the director of artistic and creative sessions – and also, additionally within the last few years, Secretary General Walter Schwimmer (already Secretary General of the Council of Europe), President of the Executive Scientific Committee John L. Esposito, Director of the Executive Scientific Committee Fabio Petito, Director of the Chaire Averroès Ahmed Jebli (also President of the University of Marrakech), Program Director Atonio Badini (Italian Ambassador to Cairo, also already Co-ordinator for the Euromediterranean Partnership and Director General for the Countries of the Mediterranean and the Middle East of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs). Without their contribution, the FONDAZIONE would not, today, have the legitimacy and representation, officially recognized by states, institutions and organizations of various countries representing more that one-hundred-and-fifty-million citizens. Almost all are present in this room and I wish to extend to them my heart-felt appreciation.
The team is completed by the seat-holders and the bureau-directors established in the Mediterranean countries and within those of the FONDAZIONE’s institutional partners. Among these, I which to greet and to thank those who are present in this room: the Hon. Mario Oliverio, President of the Province of Cosenza and Director-Representative of Cosenza within the Maison de la Méditerranée; the Hon. Carmine Nardone, President of the Province of Benevento and Director-Representative of Benevento; Giovanni Pellegrino, President of the Province of Lecce and Director-Representative of Lecce, Ahmed Moklisse, Director-Representative of Marrakech; Khalid Kreis, Director-Representative of Amman; Carlo Gambalonga, Vice-Director of Ansa and Coordinator of Ansamed (the only print agency with offices in the Mediterranean countries); Pasquale Ciriello, Chancellor of the University of Naples “L’Orientale”, the oldest and the first in Europe to conduct specific studies in the Mediterranean area, Alfonso Ruffo, Director of the daily, “Il Denaro”, who has always supported and published our engagement and the common “Mediterranean mission”. With this team, and with all these collaborators, volunteers, and supporters in the Mediterranean countries and throughout the world, the FONDAZIONE MEDITERRANEO – considering the risks of destruction and marginalisation of the Mediterranean region – has decided to strive to create the GREATER MEDITERRANEAN: the main principal being to avoid making the countries and societies comprising this area the objects of political programmes and strategies conceived of elsewhere, and instead the creators of strategies which are direct expressions of the real needs of the peoples of the area.
More than a project, it is a difficult but fascinating “mission”: apart from the internal problems of this vast geographic, geopolitical and geostrategic area, new challenges come from the new actors on the global scene, China and India.
Mr. Prime Minister,
The FONDAZIONE MEDITERRANEO in order to realize its programme, intends to create a specific seat in the Maison de la Médeterranée in Istanbul as a reference point for the GREATER MEDITERRANEAN, and proposes, via Your Excellency, that the Government of the Republic of Turkey supports this with a specific partnership accord based on the points contained in this letter of intent which, in accordance with Secretary General Schwimmer and in the names of all the members of our Institution, we entrust this to you.
The development of this historic and strategic “Grande Mediterraneo” project forms a indissoluble link between Europe and the countries of the Middle East and the Black Sea. Turkey, a horse between Europe and Asia, now, as then, continues its historic course in strongly connecting Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Central Asia, in a key position.
Turkey can and will develop a great connection and progress if the EU quickly includes it as a part of Europe, and together it will be able to demonstrate the important role that Turkey can play in this delicate and historical moment.
Dialogue, international rights, the spirit of equality, and the strength of compassion are instruments which can redeem this millennium, which began with suffering and misery, as a new period based on solidarity and justice.
To follow this target vital for our future, we renew the appeal communicated on 20 January 2005 to the Governments of the EU in order to reduce the sterile bureaucracy and to improve, in a short time, the adhesion process of the Republic of Turkey in the EU.