Turkish president pursues global peace with busy diplomatic agenda

Aiming for peace around the world, Türkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a busy diplomatic schedule this year as he paid 27 visits to 21 countries.

One of the only leaders able to speak to the presidents of both Russia and Ukraine as the two countries fight a devastating war, Erdogan played a critical role in the launching the Black Sea grain initiative, which has served as a vital lifeline for global food supply.

Hosting many foreign leaders throughout the year, President Erdogan also made numerous domestic visits where he attended mass openings.

In his first visit abroad this year, President Erdogan left for the Albanian capital Tirana on Jan. 17 upon the invitation of Prime Minister Edi Rama. On Feb. 3, Erdogan went to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv to attend the 10th High Level Strategic Council meeting with President Zelenskyy.

On Feb.14-15, Erdogan paid an official visit to the United Arab Emirates at the invitation of Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. During the visit, he also went to Dubai and met with Emir Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Erdogan later visited the Democratic Republic of Congo on Feb. 20, followed by a trip to Senegal over the next two days.

He left for Belgium's capital Brussels on March 24 to attend an extraordinary summit of NATO heads of state and government. On the sidelines, Erdogan met with French President Emmanuel Macron, then-Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, and then-UK Premier Boris Johnson.

At the invitation of his Uzbek counterpart Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Erdogan left for a visit to Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent on March 29-30 and attended the second High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting between the countries. He also visited the city of Khiva, an important site in Turkic Islamic history.

On April 28-29, the Turkish president paid a visit to Saudi Arabia's capital Jeddah at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

To convey his condolences after the death of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Erdogan went to the Gulf nation on May 17.

Erdogan also paid a visit to Azerbaijan at the invitation of his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev on the occasion of that nation's Republic Day on May 28. He also attended the first foreign edition of Türkiye's leading aviation, space, and technology fair Teknofest, along with a series of openings, and held a meeting with Aliyev.

To attend another NATO summit on June 28-30, Erdogan set off for the Spanish capital Madrid, where he joined quadrilateral talks with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Swedish then-Prime Minister Magdelena Andersson, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

At a session of the summit focused on Ukraine, Erdogan met with US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Albanian Prime Minister Rama, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, then-UK premier Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis, NATO's Stoltenberg, and European Council President Charles Michel.

He also paid an official visit to Iran's capital Tehran on July 18-19 at the invitation of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and attended the seventh Türkiye-Iran High Level Cooperation Council Meeting.

Erdogan met with his Russian counterpart in Sochi on Aug. 5, followed on Aug. 18 by a one-day working visit to Ukraine, where he met with his Ukrainian counterpart at the Potocki Palace in Lviv.

He went the next month on a tour of the Balkans, where he visited Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sept. 6, Serbia on Sept. 7, and Croatia on Sept. 8.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit

On Sept. 15-16, Erdogan attended the 22nd Shanghai Cooperation Organization Heads of State Summit in the city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan at the invitation of his Uzbek counterpart. On the sidelines, Erdogan met with his Azerbaijani, Russian, and Iranian counterparts, as well as Chinese President Xi Jinping, President of Mongolia Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, President of Tajikistan Imamali Rahman, President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko, Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahbaz Sharif, and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi.

Upon completing his visits in Uzbekistan, Erdogan left for the US on Sept. 17-22 to attend the 77th General Assembly of the UN.

At the event, Erdogan met separately with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as well as Presidents Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala, Alexander Van der Bellen of Austria, Andrzej Duda of Poland, and Ersin Tatar of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

Erdogan also met with Libyan Presidential Council President Mohammad Younes Menfi, President of the Yemeni Presidential Council Rashad Al-Alimi, and King of Jordan Abdullah II during the event, while also receiving Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Israeli then-premier Yair Lapid, German Chancellor Scholz, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Lebanese premier Najib Mikati, and Britain's then-Prime Minister Elizabeth Truss.

President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder and FIFA President Gianni Infantino were also guests of the Turkish president in New York

The month of September also witnessed an important development related to the Russia-Ukraine war with the mediation of Türkiye.

In an interview with journalists at the Turkevi skyscraper in New York at the end of Erdogan's US trip on Sept. 22, he announced a 200-prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine as a result of his diplomatic efforts with both Putin and Zelenskyy.

European Political Community meeting

On Oct. 6, Erdogan went to Czechia to attend a meeting of the European Political Community, before which he spoke to his Azerbaijani counterpart and Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. On the sidelines of the meeting, Erdogan also met with French President Macron, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, Spanish Prime Minister Sanchez, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

He then left on Oct. 12 for theKazakh capital Astana to attend the two-day Türkiye-Kazakhstan High Level Strategic Cooperation Council and the Conference on Cooperation, as well as the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building in Asia. There, he met with President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Uzbekistan Mirziyoyev, his Russian and Belarusian counterparts, and Vietnamese Vice President Vo Thi Anh Xuan.

On Oct. 20, Erdogan paid another visit to Azerbaijan to attend the opening ceremony of Zangilan International Airport, Azerbaijan's second airport in the territories it reclaimed from Armenia during the 2020 Karabakh War. Erdogan and Aliyev then attended the inauguration ceremony of an agricultural village project in Zangilan.

In his second visit to Samarkand this year, Erdogan attended the ninth Summit of the Organization of Turkic States on Nov. 10-11, with Uzbek President Mirziyoyev presenting him with the "Supreme Order of Turkic World." On the sidelines of the summit, Erdogan also received Hungary's premier, and former President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.

At the summit, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was admitted to the international organization as an observer member.

World Cup ceremonies

On Nov. 15-16, Erdogan went to the Indonesian island of Bali to attend the 17th G-20 Leaders Summit and held bilateral talks, including with the Indonesian President Joko Widodo, US President Biden, French President Macron, Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and German Chancellor Scholz.

With the G-20 summit, Erdogan attended at least seven international summits abroad during the year of 2022.

He also went to the 2022 FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony in Qatar's capital Doha on Nov. 20, at the invitation of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Gulf Arab nation's emir.

On Dec. 13-14, Erdogan went to Turkmenistan to attend a summit with his Azerbaijani counterpart Aliyev, along with Berdimuhamedov, now head of his country's upper legislative chamber, and his son and successor President Serdar Berdimuhamedov.

On Dec. 18, Erdogan attended the 2022 FIFA World Cup Closing Ceremony with guest leaders in Doha.

Foreign guests

President Erdogan hosted many foreign leaders in 2022, with his first guest of the year being Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister Faiz Sucuoglu on Jan. 12.

Six days later, Erdogan welcomed Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador on Jan. 20 at the Presidential Complex in the Turkish capital Ankara.

On Feb. 1, Erdogan hosted Lebanese Prime Minister Mikati, followed a day later by Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) President Nechirvan Barzani.

After testing positive for COVID-19, Erdogan rested Feb. 5-10.

He was back in action by Feb. 26, when he received Iraq's parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halboosi and Khamis al-Khanjar, who heads the country's largest Sunni bloc, the Sovereignty Alliance. The director of Türkiye's National Intelligence Organization, Hakan Fidan, was also present at the meeting.

On March 1, Erdogan welcomed his Kosovar counterpart Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu at the Presidential Complex.

Historic visit by Israel after 14 years

The third month of the year also included a historic event in which Israeli President Isaac Herzog paid an official visit to Türkiye on March 9, becoming the first Israeli leader to do so since 2008.

On March 10, Erdogan met with Azerbaijan's Aliyev at a working dinner at the Cankaya Presidential Palace in Ankara as they discussed bilateral ties and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Antalya Diplomacy Forum

The annual Antalya Diplomacy Forum, hosted in the Mediterranean resort city of southern Türkiye, was held on March 11-12 with the attendance of President Erdogan. The event had participants from 75 countries, including 17 heads of state and government and 80 ministers.

During the forum, Erdogan received Albania's premier Rama, Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, KRG President Barzani, Kazakhstan's founding President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Slovenian President Borut Pahor, and Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidential Council members Sefik Dzaferovic and Milorad Dodik.

Erdogan also met with his West African counterparts Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau, Mohamed Bazoum of Niger, Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, and George Manneh Weah of Liberia.

On March 13, he received Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the Vahdettin Mansion in Istanbul and then welcomed German Chancellor Scholz on March 14 in an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex.

Erdogan met with President Andrzej Duda of Poland two days later at the Cankaya Presidential Palace.

On March 18, the Turkish president received Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum of the South Korea, who arrived in Türkiye to attend the opening ceremony of the 1915 Canakkale Bridge in the country's northwest.

Dutch Prime Minister Rutte arrived in Türkiye for an official visit on March 22, was welcomed by Erdogan at the Presidential Complex.

Türkiye's president received just two guests in April, one of them being KRG Prime Minister Masrour Barzani at the Presidency's Dolmabahce office in Istanbul on April 15.

On April 25, he welcomed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the Presidential Complex in Ankara.

He welcomed the Kazakh President Tokayev with an official ceremony at the complex on May 10, followed by Emir Sheikh Al Thani of Qatar at the Vahdettin Mansion in Istanbul three days later.

On May 14, he inaugurated the Rize-Artvin Airport alongside Azerbaijani President Aliyev.

On May 16, Erdogan welcomed President Abdelmadjid Tebboune of Algeria, who arrived in Türkiye for an official visit, with an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex.

He also met with President Ivan Duque Marquez of Colombia at the Dolmabahce Presidential Office in Istanbul on May 20.

Türkiye's president received Prime Minister Unal Ustel of the TRNC at the Presidential Complex in early June.

That month also saw Erdogan welcome Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, North Macedonian Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Austrian parliament speaker Wolfgang Sobotka.

In July, Erdogan received Italy's then-Prime Minister Draghi, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yakoob, and Gagauz Autonomous Region President Irina Vlah.

On Aug. 9, Erdogan and Aliyev met in the central Turkish province of Konya for the fifth Islamic Solidarity Games' Opening Ceremony. There, the Turkish president also met with Algerian Prime Minister Aymen Benabderrahmane and Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh of Palestine on the sidelines of the event.

Erdogan met with Slovenian President Pahor, who paid an official visit to Türkiye on Aug. 10, and received Albanian Prime Minister Rama on the same day.

On Aug. 16, he welcomed the king of Malaysia, Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, who paid an official visit to Türkiye, with an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex.

President Erdogan also met with the Chairman of the High Council of State of Libya, Khalid al-Mishri, at the complex on Aug. 17, followed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Aug. 23.

He met with the president of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou N'Guesso, Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity of Libya Abdul Hamid al-Dbeibeh, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov, and the TRNC's Tatar.

After receiving Albanian Prime Minister Rama on Oct. 11, Erdogan met with Qatari Emir Al Thani on Oct. 14 at the Dolmabahce Office in Istanbul.

Erdogan received Uzbek Vice President Sardor Umurzakov on Oct. 25 and, later, former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Oct. 28 at the Presidential Complex in Ankara.

President Erdogan received NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg at the Dolmabahce Office in Istanbul on Nov. 4.

Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson was one of the most important visitors of November as he came on Nov. 8 with the Nordic country's NATO accession bid on the agenda.

Cuban President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez paid an official visit to Türkiye on Nov. 23, as Erdogan also received Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif on Nov. 25.

He received the secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Hissein Brahim Taha, on Nov. 28.

During the month of December, Erdogan had six guests, including the Albanian premier, who had arrived in Türkiye to attend the TRT World Forum 2022 on Dec. 9. On the same day, Erdogan also received Bulgarian President Rumen Radev.

On Dec. 20, Erdogan received Bulgaria's parliament speaker Vezhdi Rashidov, followed the next day by the president of Senegal, Macky Sall, at the Presidential Complex.

As President Erdogan received the speaker of Saudi Arabia's Shura Council, Abdullah Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Sheikh, at the Presidential Complex on Dec. 26, four days before Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic became Erdogan's last guest of the year on Dec. 30.

As part of his intense diplomatic efforts, President Erdogan partook in nearly 200 phone calls with world leaders, including US President Biden, Russian President Putin, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, French President Macron, and British King Charles III.

Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, the leaders with whom Erdogan held the most phone conversations were Zelenskyy and Putin at 16 times each. These talks saw negotiations for the grain corridor, prisoner exchanges, and an end to the war that continues to rage in its 11th month.

*Writing by Merve Aydogan

Source: Anadolu Agency