Turkey’s foreign minister on Friday touted the nation’s benevolent and skillful use of soft power.
“Permanent power is soft power. Today, Turkey is the country that makes the most effective use of soft power in the world,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told students of Istanbul Aydin University.
Cavusoglu said that due to world conflicts and the fight against terrorism, most recently in tension between Israel and Iran, hard power often comes to the fore, but it must be used carefully.
“Hard power can be used when needed, but it needs to be measured, fair, and in compliance with international law.”
Tension has mounted steadily between Israel and Iran since April, when Israeli warplanes struck the T-4 airbase in Syria’s western Homs province, reportedly killing a number of Iranian army officers.
Israel stepped up security at its embassies and Jewish institutions worldwide on Friday amid fears of “Iranian retaliation” following recent military escalation, according to Israeli press reports.
Turkish Airlines and aid agency
Cavusoglu added that Turkey’s popular flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) and the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), the state-run aid agency, are among Turkey’s instruments of soft power.
He said THY has topped quality and passenger surveys, and is unmatched in the number of destinations.
Turkey's flag carrier flies to 303 destinations — 254 international and 49 domestic.
It was chosen as the Best Airline in Europe by Skytrax for six years in a row between 2011 and 2016, and the Best Airline in Southern Europe for the ninth consecutive time in 2017.
“TIKA also has become the most reputable institution in the world by opening schools and hospitals, delivering development aid, preparing courses to improve countries’ capacities, and educating people,” he added.
On the role of the international system in solving problems, he said that it usually fails.
“Unfortunately, for years the UN has been unable to stop the conflicts in Syria. It also can’t find a solution to the refugee problem.”
Cavusoglu said that when international organizations fail to solve issues, they become invisible, and added: “The international system and international organizations should be able to understand and read the realities of today’s world, and meet the expectations of world communities and countries, and be effective.”
He said Turkey is making great efforts towards such goals.