Farewell Message of Ambassador Osman Koray Ertaş
Having completed my 4-year tenure as Ambassador of Turkey to Romania, I am about to leave Bucharest for my next assignment in Ankara.
It has been a true privilege to serve and represent the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish nation in this beautiful country.
Personally, I have mixed emotions. I am certainly saddened for leaving this beautiful country. Yet, at the same time I feel happy and proud as I have had the chance to build invaluable friendships and contribute to the improvement of Turkish – Romanian strategic partnership.
Together with the Embassy team, our Consulate-General in Constanta, Honorary Consulates in Cluj-Napoca and Iasi, and with the support of Romanian authorities, friends, and the local community, we were able to further strengthen our bilateral ties.
Indeed, numbers speak for themselves: Our bilateral trade stands at the level of 6 billion dollars and increasing, making Turkey the largest trading partner of Romania out of the EU and 5th largest trading partner overall. More than 15 thousand Turkish companies operate here with a total investment of more than 7 billion dollars. We are proud to witness the successes of the Turkish investors throughout the country, from Gaesti to Barlad, from Reghin to Targoviste, from Buzau to Pitesti. Every year we host about half a million Romanian tourists in Turkey. Direct flight connections between Istanbul and Romanian cities surpassed 50 a week. I would like to extend my gratitude to the Romanian authorities, who have always been supportive of the Turkish investments here. And, I should also commend our entrepreneurs here, who created numerous success stories. These investments, which add to Romania’s prosperity by creating jobs and added value, will continue to serve as strong bridges between our nations.
Speaking of bridges, I should mention the strongest human bond between our countries: Turkish-Tatar community and the growing Turkish expat community. As integral part of the Romanian society, they contribute both to Romania’s achievements and to the strengthening of our bilateral ties. We are grateful to Romanian authorities for their embracing and inclusive policies, which become increasingly relevant and valuable given the rising xenophobic and populist trends in the world.
Romania has always held a special place for Turkey and Turkish diplomacy. The bilateral relations have made remarkable strides in the last 3 decades. At the basis of this relationship lie a shared history, the strong NATO bond, the existing strategic partnership, and above all the mutual political commitment to advance cooperation.
The last 4 years witnessed dramatic changes in the world, not less in the Eurasian and Euro-Atlantic space. That our relations continued to prosper despite multiple local and global turbulences talks for the solidness of our ties. Turkey and Romania together served peace, security, and stability in their broader regions. Our close cooperation within the regional and international platforms has been exemplary. The trajectory of our cooperation covers a wide route that spans the Balkans and Afghanistan on the two edges on the map, stretching through the Black Sea, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. Black Sea security and prosperity has been a high priority area that we have a shared interest in. The trilateral consultation mechanism with Poland has developed into a solid platform for cooperation and consultation during the last 4 years. Romania’s support for Turkey’s EU accession process has been another significant example of solidarity that we appreciate.
The past 4 years also witnessed high level visits, numerous institutional and military contacts, and countless commercial, cultural, social and scientific exchanges between our countries. In all these exchanges, I was proud to observe the affinity between our delegations. The ability to understand one another and to trust each other were always there guiding the relationship.
As a happy coincidence, my last year here, 2018, marked the centenary of Romania and the 140thanniversary of the establishment of our bilateral diplomatic relations.
Nothing would have been possible without the support of my Embassy colleagues. I would like to thank the larger Embassy family for their dedication and hard work. I would also like to express my gratitude to my counterparts, notably at MAE, but not only. All Romanian officials from various Ministries and institutions were welcoming throughout these years. Many thanks also to Romanian friends from various walks of life.
I believe that Turkey and Romania will remain true friends and strong strategic partners. And our relationship will continue to produce concrete results for our peoples. No doubt that, as a successful member of the Turkish Foreign Service, my successor will continue to further improve our excellent bilateral relations.
Last but not least, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Honorable President of Romania for honoring me with the National Order of Merit upon the suggestion of the Romanian Government at the end of my tenure. I will always cherish it in my heart.
And certainly my wife and I we will always remain a friend of this beautiful country and its people.
Long live Turkish-Romanian partnership!