Politics, Europe

Spanish envoy hails Turkey on Alliance of Civilizations

Without Turkey, alliance would not have survived,' says Spanish diplomat helming UN Alliance of Civilizations initiative

Spanish envoy hails Turkey on Alliance of Civilizations


A senior Spanish diplomat on Tuesday praised Turkey’s co-sponsorship of the Alliance of Civilizations, an initiative to build respect among people from different cultures and faiths.

“Without Turkey, the alliance would not have survived,” Miguel Moratinos, former foreign minister and high representative of the UN’s Alliance of Civilizations, told Anadolu Agency.

“Turkey has been a committed partner in order to maintain activity and the work of the alliance,” he added.

“It is not only the financial contributions, political and diplomatic contributions, that are essential for us. I received full support from Turkey’s government,” said Moratinos.

Moratinos is on the last day of a two-day visit to Turkey at the invitation of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The two diplomats had a closed-door meeting in the capital Ankara on Monday.

The Alliance of Civilizations is a political initiative co-sponsored by Turkey and Spain after being founded in 2005 by then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Moratinos became the initiative’s high representative in January.

Preventing, resolving conflicts

“I have to pay tribute to the President [Turkey’s Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, because during the last year he has been the one, even in difficult circumstances, that was insisting on maintaining […] the alliance,” he added.

“Now a new chapter has started and I have of course taken into account Turkey’s views,” he added.

Moratinos said that his plan is to make the alliance more “result-oriented and concrete.”

“My responsibility is to work on two main elements. One is to work on preventive diplomacy, and then the second is to work on conflict resolution,” he added.

“If there is a crisis that is affected by, created by misunderstanding religion [and] cultural civilization, we can contribute to a positive solution,” he added.

“On prevention, we have to change our society. We have to work on five areas: education, youth, women, migration, and the media,” he added.

Mentioning the last Alliance of Civilization Global Forum in New York last November, Moratinos said they have already begun working on the ninth global forum.

He said that although there is no final decision yet, the next forum will be held Africa.

Also last November, Turkey’s Cavusoglu touted new life for the alliance initiative.

"We'll revive it to hold back extremist currents and boost intercultural and inter-civilizations dialogue through religion,” he said.

“If we don't take these steps, reverse these trends, I’m afraid the world especially Europe will go back to the pre-World War II days, making them the victims of extremist and racist currents.”

Reporting by Nazli Yuzbasioglu, writing by Handan Kazancı

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