Tuesday, 15 April 2008 12:34 AM

Turkey Forms Relations with the Region

Earlier this month, Turkey hosted leaders from the region in an effort to develop closer relations.

According to The Australian, foreign ministers from Nauru, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia and Samoa, as well as a representative of Tonga's foreign ministry attended the meeting.

'Counsel at the Turkish Embassy in Wellington, Kemal Eruygur, said his country wanted to develop closer relations with many parts of the world, including the Pacific'.

Topics discussed 'included development assistance, tourism and climate change'.

The Australian further adds that the Pacific region, which is generally seen as being under 'Australia's sphere of influence' has been 'feted by many countries in recent years' with the United States declaring last year 'the "Year of the Pacific" while Taiwan and China use aid money to compete diplomatically in the region, and Japan looks to Pacific countries to secure votes needed to resume commercial whaling'. Also 'the European Union has increased its interaction with Pacific nations and boosted aid money to the region in recent years'.

According to Fiji Times Online, Fiji's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, who represented Fiji at the meet, 'conveyed Fiji's support for their intention to participate as a development partner in the region' in a statement from the Department of Information. Ratu Epeli also 'welcomed the $US5million package of assistance on offer by the Turkish Government to less-developed countries'.