Turkey’s Growing Partnership With Increasingly Important ASEAN And Indonesia – OpEd


By Colette Beukman

Today, the 7th of March 2013, International Strategic Research Organization (USAK) hosted its 8th conference in the series entitled “The Asia-Pacific in the 21st Century and Diplomacy”, chaired by the director of USAK’s Center of Asia-Pacific studies, Assoc. Prof. Selçuk Çolakoğlu. USAK was honoured to present not only Her Excellency Ibu Nahari Agustini, the ambassador of Indonesia in Turkey, but also His Excellency Ambassador Bagas Hapsoro, former deputy Secretary General of ASEAN.

An impressive selection of representatives filled USAK’s conference hall, including members from Turkey’s ministry of foreign affairs as well as the esteemed ambassadors of many ASEAN countries to Turkey. The first topic on the agenda was “ASEAN and its contribution towards peace and its regional integration”, presented by Ambassador Bagas Hapsoro.

Mr. Hapsoro discussed the growing importance of ASEAN as a player in an increasingly globalizing and uncertain world. He touched upon ASEAN’s relations with external partners, stating that ASEAN’s active external engagements have yielded fruitful results since it has 10 dialogue partners (excluding the UN, which also has dialogue status) and 68 countries that have accredited Ambassadors to ASEAN.

Mr. Hapsoro also elaborated on how ASEAN’s countries can maintain their regional peace and stability, as well as economy.

Following Mr. Hapsoro, Ms. Ibu Nahari Agustini gave a comprehensive and informative speech about Indonesia and Turkey’s bilateral relations. After presenting the two states’ similarities and partnerships, during which she stated that Turkey was one of Indonesia’s 16 strategic partners, Ms. Agustini continued to present the trade between the respective countries, rising from 1 billion in 2006 to the current 2.203 billion, with the target of more than doubling this number to 5 billion by 2015.

During a fruitful Q&A session in which many topics as the APEC, the EU and North Korea were discussed, it was emphasized Turkey’s determination for more cooperation with Indonesia, as well as its ultimate target to become one of ASEAN’s dialogue partners.

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