New York: 18 September 2006: Turkey has committed itself to beefing up assistance to the world’s 50 Least Developed Countries (LDCs), according to the country’s Deputy Prime Minister
H.E. Mr. Abdullah Gul.
Mr. Gul was addressing the High Level Meeting of the General Assembly to assess progress in fighting poverty in the LDCs. The two-day gathering has attracted a number of top government and UN officials.
“After having redressed the wounds of a major earthquake in 1999 and the impact of the economic turbulence in 2001, Turkey is now in a much better position to play the role as development partner for the LDCs,” said Mr. Gul.
The Deputy Prime Minister underscored the link between improved living conditions and political stability. “We cannot speak about universal peace, harmony, stability and cooperation unless we are able to provide the means for a decent living for human everywhere,” he added.
Turkey’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) exceeded $ 600 million in 2005, which corresponds to 0.17 percent of the country’s GDP. Mr. Gul further noted that Turkey’s contribution to UN Funds and Programmes, as well his country’s voluntary contributions to a number of international and regional organizations which serve LDCs will be “sustained and raised to the extent possible in the years to come”.
Turning to economic cooperation, the Deputy Prime Minister said increased trading opportunities were vital to development in LDCs and that policies were in place to attract Turkish investors to these countries. Furthermore, the Government of Turkey actively promoted the idea of establishing joint business councils or chambers of commerce with LDCs.
Mr. Gul concluded by announcing that Turkey had offered to host a major meeting of LDCs in 2007 to illustrate the government’s commitment to assisting the world’s poorest nations.
“We very much hope and support that such a meeting would generate further interest and support for the LDCs both in Turkey, as well as our region,” he said.