65 years of relations between Morocco and Turkey
On the 22nd anniversary of the enthronement of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, H.E. Amb. Mohammed Ali Lazerq of Morocco to Turkey reflects on Turkish-Moroccan relations and the strides taken by the Kingdom under the leadership of King Mohammed VI.
The Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Turkey established formal diplomatic relations in 1956, following the Kingdom’s independence, although these relations date back for several centuries. As a matter of fact, the two countries maintain secular, historical, and uninterrupted ties, dating from the reigns of the successive Moroccan dynasties and Ottoman Empire.
The year 2021 marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of our bilateral relations. Within this scope, Ministers of Foreign Affairs of both our countries had a video conference in June. They convened to boost the mechanisms of bilateral cooperation at the political, economic, cultural, and security levels.
In this regard, I am delighted to state that the mutual support for the respective territorial integrity was reaffirmed by both top diplomats. On this matter, I wish to hail the convergence of points of view, both on regional and international issues, also highlighted during this virtual meeting.
In this context of strengthening our ties, I deemed it very relevant to publish this article, through which I intend to shed light on the specificity and significance of this day for the Moroccan people.
July 30, the national day of the Kingdom of Morocco, marks the ascension of His Majesty King Mohammed VI to the throne of his glorious ancestors in 1999. This is the occasion for the people of Morocco to renew the pledge of allegiance and the strong ties that unite the Moroccan people with their Monarch as the Commander of the Faithful (Amir El Mu’minin). It has been the tradition for the past five centuries of the reign of the Alaouite Dynasty.
The throne day was set by His Majesty as an annual occasion to assess the achievements of the Kingdom over his reign, on the internal and international levels.
On the national level, His Majesty King Mohammed VI never spared any effort, since his enthronement in 1999, to promote Morocco as a developed and modern country. In this scope, the monarch launched many initiatives, the last of which was the “National Pact for Development”, the new Moroccan model of development announced by the King during his throne speech of 2019.
The model was finalised last May by the appointed commission. This multi-faceted and all-encompassing development roadmap based on a human-centred approach aims at revamping multiple sectors of Moroccan society, such as agriculture, education, health, investment, and taxes. The new National Pact for Development came as the continuity of the Kingdom’s policy for a more prosperous and inclusive future for all Moroccans.
Despite this year’s celebration taking place within an atmosphere heavily affected by the second year of the coronavirus pandemic, I am honoured to say that thanks to the far-sighted vision and leadership of His Majesty, Morocco adopted a response that distinguished it on the international arena.
The Kingdom was among the first countries to launch a vaccination campaign on January 28, 2021 and was one of the first to bring a tangible and prompt response to the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020. To this day, Morocco has fully vaccinated around one-third of its population and is currently covering the age range of 25 years and above.
Moreover, His Majesty has also brought the country to the arena of vaccine-producing countries by signing an agreement with the People’s Republic of China, “to promote the Kingdom’s self-sufficiency and turn the Kingdom into a major biotechnology platform in Africa and in the world”.
The Kingdom has been known and acknowledged, during the reign of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, for its steady commitment to a long-standing tradition of international solidarity. Thus recently, Morocco has offered medical aid (such as field hospitals, more than 10 tonnes of medical equipment, over 100 ICU respiratory devices and oxygen generators and 150 medical staff and 11 tones of Covid-19-related protective equipment and two complete and autonomous resuscitation units) financial and logistic and humanitarian help (over 350 tonnes of food) to brother countries facing medical and financial difficulties in the region.
As related to foreign policy, the 22nd year of the reign of His Majesty King Mohammed VI marked a turning point in the history of Morocco’s territorial integrity since its independence. Indeed, a long process of diplomatic negotiation and talks led by His Majesty with the succeeding American administrations gave their fruits in December 2020.
The United States of America announced its recognition of the Kingdom’s sovereignty over the Moroccan Western Sahara. This milestone recognition came in the framework of a tripartite agreement resuming the bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Morocco and Israel, a host country of more than one million citizens of Moroccan origins.
By doing so, the US is the first Western power to acknowledge the historical right of Morocco over its southern provinces, which has been subjected to an artificial conflict provoked by the terrorist and separatist self-called polisario.
The American recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over its Sahara will be enforced by the near future opening of a US consulate to Morocco in the southern Moroccan city of Dakhla.
The Moroccan Western Sahara is now a growing platform hosting 19 consular representations from different continents. Morocco invested more than $7 billion to promote the region as a promising economic and investment hub with thousands of kilometres of coastline.
Many projects are in the pipeline in different development sectors, such as renewable energy, fishery, and agriculture. Furthermore, the region is currently witnessing large-scale infrastructure developments, including airports, desalination plants, hospitals, universities, highways, and ports.
The mega-project of the Dakhla’s Atlantic port, expected to be similar in size to Tanger-Med Port, will provide an industrial and logistics platform of about 1,000 hectares and a maritime channel to our African neighbours and other continents.
In my capacity as Ambassador of His Majesty the King of Morocco to the Republic of Turkey, I seize this opportunity to pay tribute to the bilateral relations, friendship, and cooperation based on mutual respect and historical ties that have linked our two countries for five centuries.
On this occasion, I would like to applaud the fruitful efforts made by the Republic of Turkey, under the leadership of His Excellency President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to counter the pandemic in Turkey and to help other countries overcome their difficulties related to Covid-19.
Within the framework of tackling the pandemic, I would also like to extend my gratitude to the Turkish government for the special attention given to the well-being of my fellow citizens in particular, and to all foreigners based in Turkey.