UN chief arrives in Turkey to attend international summit on Somalia (2)

16:26, May 22, 2010      

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"Leadership comes naturally to Turkey," Ban said in an address to Bogazici University earlier Friday. "For centuries, you have been a bridge among countries and cultures."

But the secretary-general exhorted the nation to take on a stronger global role through its participation in the so-called Group of 20 (G20) industrialized and developing economies and in the UN Security Council, where Turkey is currently a member.

"Turkey has earned the right to speak out, forcefully, on issues of global importance," the secretary-general said. "Let your voice be heard, loud and clear."

He also spotlighted the country's efforts to foster tolerance and mutual respect, as well as stand up to extremism and intolerance.

At the initiative of Turkey and Spain, the Alliance of Civilizations was launched by the UN in 2005 to help overcome prejudices between nations, cultures and religions.

"Over the decades, Turkey has built a robust democracy," Ban said.

"Like other nations, you do not always agree on the next steps, " he said. "The important thing is that the debate goes on with full respect for democratic principles."

Paying tribute to the country's "remarkable strength and vigor, " the secretary-general said that "the path you have chosen may not always be easy, but it is the right path."

Source: Xinhua
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