Mr Minister, Madame,
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to bid you, Dear Colleague and Mrs Yilmaz, once more heartily welcome to Finland and to this dinner on the first evening of your visit in our country.
My wife and me, we still have alive in our memories the fascinating circumstances of our previous meeting in Turkey during our holiday there last summer. I can assure you that in spite of the shortness of the visit we had an opportunity to see and to appreciate the dynamic way in which the modern Turkey is developing in all fields and how this is done on the spiritual heritage of the esteemed founder of the Turkish Republic, the famous Kemal Ataturk.
Your visit to Finland is an important landmark in our bilateral relations - in fact this is the first official foreign minister visit from Turkey to Finland. It coincides with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between our two countries, which took place in 1920.
At the same time, I would like to remind that 50 years have passed from the time when the first resident Finnish Ambassador in Ankara started his mission.
We have had an opportunity to exchange views in a situation which is in many ways unique. We have witnessed in nearly all Eastern European countries a rapid and, in some cases, radical change. A common denominator in this development seems to be a movement towards greater individual and political freedom, parlamentary democracy as well as a reform of economic structures. As this trend clearly corresponds to the aspirations of these people, Finland has naturally welcomed this development with enthusiasm and has joined with those who want to support this process.
On the other hand, it is also evident that the rapid changes in Europe have created greater uncertainty and posed new challenges to our traditional thinking in security matters. It is our hope - and I believe that everybody joins us here - that the changes in Europe would take place without causing instability and without leading to uncontrolled turbulances.
I wish to underline, that we already have in the CSCE-process a useful framework for channeling these changes into organized co-operation. Since the 1975 Helsinki summit, CSCE has been a forum to encourage a common security thinking and broadened co-operation across ideological borders. Now we have to find innovative new ways to utilize this process. This is why we give our full support to the idea of convening a CSCE summit meeting already this year. We also hope, that the next follow-up meeting in Helsinki 1992, will be held at the highest level, too.
During the last years the relations between the super powers have developed from confrontation to wide-ranging and deep-going dialogue in many issues.
This has reflected in a positive way also to many regional conflicts and it has given new impetus to United Nations, which is now playing an important role in finding solutions in these conflicts.
Finland participates actively in these efforts as the largest contributor to UN peace keeping forces but also as a member at the UN Security Council.
As you know, Finland is also one of the contributors to UNFICYP and we have therefore had a particular intrest in the situation in Cyprus. According to our well known policy of neutrality we give support to the relevant UN resolution, which among other things call for respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus.
We have also given our full support to the efforts of the Secretary General and his special representative for Cyprus in their efforts to support the ongoing intercommunal talks. In all our contacts with the concerned parties we have urged them to make sincere efforts in finding a just and equitable solution into the problem of Cyprus - a solution, which would put an end to the long and unhappy division of the island.
During the next few days you will have an opportunity to get acquainted with our political and economic life and visit some of our industrial corporations. I am particularly happy that you have found time to visit also the northern part of our country and the city of Oulu, an active industrial and university town.
I see it as our common task to bring to the business community the message, that there are large, unused opportunities in our economic and commercial relations. I hope that your conversations here in Finland with the representatives of the State and the Government, as well as with the private sector, will prove to be useful and beneficiary.
Let me therefore wish to you and to Mrs Yilmaz, and your distinguished party, a very successful and happy visit in Finland.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
May I suggest a toast to His Excellency Foreign Minister of Turkey and Mrs Yilmaz, to the happiness of the Turkish people, and to the excellent relations prevailing between our countries.