Turkey’s diplomatic spread fifth broadest


Turkey is one of the most successful countries in terms of reaching out to all parts of the world as it finds itself among the top five in the number of diplomatic missions, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said.

"The number of our diplomatic missions shows that we are not only a regional power, but also global [one]," Aksoy told Anadolu Agency (AA). He added Turkey has an "active and entrepreneurial" foreign policy.

"The human dimension of foreign policy that we are following is very important." He said that Turkey had the sixth-largest diplomatic network in the world as of last year, according to the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, Australia. Aksoy said that Turkey secured fifth place in the rankings with its new embassies that opened last year.

Aksoy said that according to Lowy's diplomacy index, the U.S. is at the top of the list with 273 foreign missions, followed by China with 268, France with 266 and Russia with 242.

Aksoy said that Turkey and Japan share the fifth spot with 229 diplomatic missions. However, Turkey recently increased its number to 239.

"One-hundred-thirty-eight of those are embassies and 86 are consulates, 13 are permanent representations, one is a trade office and one is a consular agency," Aksoy said. "We have 92 diplomatic missions in Europe, 70 in Asia, 44 in Africa, 29 in America and four in Oceania."

Turkey's newest missions opened in Freetown, Sierra Leone and La Paz, Bolivia, Aksoy said. He added that the number of Turkish diplomatic missions in Africa, which was 12 in 2002, have increased to 40.

Turkey plans to open a new mission in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, this year, Aksoy said. "We plan to further increase our representation in Africa in the near future."

According to Aksoy, Turkey's foreign trade to African countries was $3.7 billion in 2002, but is close to $19 billion currently. He added that the ministry is working closely with AA as it broadcasts in 13 languages.

Turkey's ambitions in Africa have been set high recently. The number of Turkish missions in Africa has jumped sharply in less than a decade. In 2009, there were only 12 Turkish embassies in African countries, but now there are 44. Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yıldız said last year that Turkey is planning to open embassies in all African capitals.

Aksoy said that 62,335 personnel work at Turkey's diplomatic missions abroad in a variety of posts. The number of women who are ambassadors has increased, Aksoy said, that 51 of Turkey's 255 ambassadors were women.

In 2002, when the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) came to power, Turkey had 163 diplomatic missions abroad.

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