Interview With H.E. Dr. Sergiy Korsunsky, Ukrainian Ambassador To Ankara (IIS – International Interaction Society)

IIS – It’s been 2.5 years for you in Turkey. How would you describe Turkish people?

H.E Korsunsky – Young and dynamic! I’ve been to Turkey many times since 1999 and when I arrived here again in 2005-06, it was a shock with a contrast within a term of 7-8 years. Ankara became a different city. When I came as an ambassador in 2008, I was pleasantly surprised with continuing positive changes, the energy and dynamic of Turkey and Turkish people.


IIS – Do you have any favorite Turkish word(s)?

H.E Korsunsky – There are many actually, but the one I like the most is “Buyrun”. Unfortunately I couldn’t learn Turkish properly but I can express myself when I need so. The sounds of the words like “Merhabalar”, “Teşekkürler”, “Görüşürüz” and their melody is so nice as if it feels like it doesn’t matter what they mean. (laughs). It’s of course not only a matter of politeness but also a necessity to learn the language of the country you live in. We even have the language courses in our embassy twice in a week even though I cannot attend regularly due to tight schedule.

IIS – Are there any Ukrainian words in Turkish, or vice versa?

H.E Korsunsky – A lot, but we of course don’t know who taught whom. For instance, “kilim, çay, bardak, tutun, kulak” and so on. There is also a theory; as you know many Ukrainian surnames end with “-ko”, like Shevchenko etc, and some suppose that they are actually “köy (village)” but of course no one can say that for sure. We were connected for centuries since probably 15th or 16th century, and were in very close constant contacts in military and civil life. Upstairs at the Embassy we have a small exhibition of Ukrainian postal stamps. One of those is a block of stamps about the set of different kinds of head wears of women, like hats and scarves and so on, and they are just like Turkish traditional raiment. When a Turkish person sees them he or she would say “Wait a minute, but these are definitely of Turkish origin!” And it’s the same for Black Sea region as well, both sides of the sea share quite similar traditions.

IIS – What are other similarities between Ukraine and Turkey in culture, art and perhaps daily life?

H.E Korsunsky – Well, extreme hospitality is one of the things that came to my mind. You see, even under the harsh conditions through Soviet era, when Ukraine was in deficit of almost everything, if you visited a Ukrainian family, you would have seen that they shared whatever they had with you. The very similar tradition is here; it’s easy to find it when you visit provinces especially and I think this is what brings us together the most: hospitality.

We of course had many other kinds of interactions in the past as well, specifically in military; then Ottoman Empire Army was on our side against common enemies. Now it’s both fun and at the same time sad to realize that we were much closer in the history and much more friendly with Islam world rather than with, say, Catholics which were Christians like us. Sometimes it was more comfortable to have Crimean khan or Ottoman Empire on our side rather than, say, Poland. But I am glad that now we have excellent relations with all our partners – on the West, East and South.

IIS – What are the most surprising experiences of yours in Turkey so far?

H.E Korsunsky – Do you want an honest answer or a diplomatic one? (laughs) I would mention 2 things for which we have no reasonable explanation neither in diplomatic community nor among our guests. First, why would so many people, I mean Turkish drivers, incline to commit suicide simultaneously every morning? (Laughs) It’s unbelievable how all of them succeed to survive as well, sort of a miracle happening every day. Look, I think people on the road should respect each other much more. You have very aggressive drivers in Turkey. The second thing I find really surprising is why so few people is able to speak a foreign language. In such a dynamic country which has been in negotiations with EU for the last 40 years, one would expect at least the young people to speak foreign languages better. It just makes the one more competitive on the market. So if you are young and just graduated from university, it’s a 100% certainty that you would be much more successful if you know at least one foreign language. In the big picture, Turkey is not just a part of the world economy, it is the part of it, being 5th in EU and 15th in the world. With that said, you’re also the bridge between East and West, so it’s a necessity that Turkish people speak both Arabic and German, Russian and French, at the same time as this is what your geography requires. We’ve had the very same problem in Ukraine for many years, and probably around 7-8 years ago it was very strong governmental decision that starting with the first grade, every student must learn one foreign language. Since then, the education improved dramatically and we have now at least the young generation capable of communicating in a foreign language at least at the very basic level.

We have 7 universities and 14 high schools in Ukraine teaching Turkish which send their students to Turkey. Some of my stuff represent example of such students, for example, we have graduates of Gazi University among them. However, not a single university in Turkey has regular Ukrainian classes and very few have Russian here. Now, Turkey is twice bigger and much more dynamic and visible, therefore one would expect more education in this front. If it were up to me to decide, I would push this forward. There’s simply a disproportion here. There’s no lack in promotion of Turkish language education in other countries. Last year teams from around of 120 countries -as far as I know – participated in the International Turkish competition here in Ankara. 120 countries; from Bangladesh to China, from Japan to USA and so on! We have had 10 Ukrainian students and all of them won prizes. We met them here and I was surprised; 10 children, 10 prizes: 100% success! (Laughs)

IIS – What characteristics of Turkish people do you like the most?

H.E Korsunsky – Friendship and openness to new opportunities and challenges. I was very pleased to see how easily Turkish businessmen organized to go and explore Ukraine with H.E. Prime Minister R.T.Erdoğan and cooperated during his last visit to Kiev. Over 600 businessmen! In Ukraine it’s not easy to get 600 people and make them go somewhere, almost impossible. Here, it’s very easy. That what I call it – this country is very dynamic and alive! You feel this “aliveness” everyday. Very few countries can even be comparable to Turkey in this regard.

IIS – What are the important shared points in history, perhaps except Roxolana and Suleiman the Magnificent?

H.E Korsunsky – Well, Roxolana herself was not alone, actually there was a second Ukrainian figure among high-profile Ottomans; Hatice Turhan Sultan. She was the mother of Mehmet IV. You can read it in Turkish from “Ukrayna Dünyaya Ne Verdi” (Volodimir Sergeychuk, Kiev 2008). In spite of some minor hard times between two countries in the past, in 1648 an agreement was signed between then Cossack State, the Ukrainian government then, and Ottomans. It was one of the first agreements between Ukrainians and another country, if not the first. Important thing is, this was one of the most friendly agreements in history two nations can strike. Sultan granted Cossacks protection, freedom – they could do whatever they wanted to do in Ottoman territory; trade, establish offices, pass through Bosporus and so on. Why? It’s easy to answer if you consider the geography around: It was better to have friends rather than enemies across the Black Sea for Ottomans and vice versa. Ottomans, being a superstate by then had a lot of interest naturally beyond the borders but that was not the case with Ukraine. On the contrary, Ottomans helped us maintain our independence. In 1922, Ukraine was recognized as an independent republic and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, with his great vision realized the importance of an independent Ukraine and Turkey has recognized Ukraine Republic right away then. Actually 3rd of February is the 90thanniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between us. In recent history, in 2003, then MFA Mr. Gül, His Excellency, the President of the Turkish Republic, he initiated to designate Ukraine as a country of priority. Since then we have had no problems so, we could only move forward to cooperate more, and I’m glad to say that our relations are best ever so far. That was confirmed during the recent visit of the Prime Minister to Ukraine when Declaration of establishing of strategic relations has been signed. And this is one of the highest levels of interaction between any two countries.

IIS – What’s the image of Turkey in Ukraine?

H.E Korsunsky – it is very good of course and supported by huge nuMBer of activities of Turkish companies. During the recent years Turkish companies carried out 128 projects successfully worth more than 3 billion USD and some other very major projects are under way. Like Boryspil Airport and many office buildings right in the center of Kiev, and many other projects including but not limited to roads, trading centers and so on. It’s now very difficult to find a city without a Turkish project in it.

More importantly the attitude is very positive, we Ukrainians are very comfortable with foreigners as we have lived under a nuMBer of different governments’ occupations and therefore are used to accommodate other nations, religions and traditions. And I believe more than 500.000 Ukrainian tourists every year in Antalya only is another confirmation of good image of Turkey in Ukraine. You might expect more nuMBer of tourists this year because of Egypt’s situation now.

IIS – What are your key priorities in making Ukraine better known in Turkey?

H.E Korsunsky – We are now trying to be more visible in Turkey. With Ministry of culture and tourism we will sign a bilateral program for next two years. We will try to promote the tourism of culture via increasing nuMBer of artists and cultural contacts visiting each country reciprocally and be more visible. For instance, last year we made a first small step and organized a concert of famous Ukrainian rock band “Okean Elsi” in Antalya and it was very well received, and we are keen on focusing on these more. Then of course comes sports as well, say, there’s Beşiktaş – Dynamo Kiev match on 17th of February and I hope you are ready for it. Besides competition, our teams like to spend training seasons in Antalya as well. And by the way, I hope Turkey will finally be able to qualify for 2012. If you get to the finals, I expect that a lot of Turkish fans will go to Ukraine for Euro-2012.

IIS – You have already mentioned investment climate in Ukraine and Turkey. What can be done to improve investment and trade relations between?

H.E Korsunsky – Well, we are doing great now with last year’s approximately 5 Billion USD trade and it has increased around 30% compared to 2009. It was actually better in 2008 but then in 2009 trade decreased because of the global crisis by %50 of 2008.

IIS – How about the potential then?

H.E Korsunsky – The potential is huge and Prime Minister Erdogan was extremely optimistic in Kiev. He said in 2015 we must have at least 10 billion and in 2020 we must have 20 billion dollars of trade and actually officially it was announced we have started negotiations for free trade agreement that is the most important we can do. We expect very soon the first round of official negotiations happened and that would be a process of course, it cannot be done easily and in a short period of time but that will open limitless opportunities for business people to do business to the trade. Last year two new lines, ferry lines were opened between Ukraine and Turkey. Samsun-Odessa and Istanbul-Odessa and in addition to already existing from Zonguldak and Istanbul as well. so we will see more transport corridors and that is important because they will carry goods from all the middle east to Europe and back. During the recent visit two agreements were signed between TOBB and their counterparts in Ukraine – one is chaMBer of commerce of Ukraine and the other we call it Ukrainian union of industries and entrepreneurs. So TOBB signed agreement of corporations with both of them so we understand that very soon we will have another meeting of intergovernmental commission for economy and trade in Kiev. Last year it was in Istanbul. We expect another business delegation to Kiev with particular areas of corporation. We think that approximately 2 billion dollars of Turkish investments in Ukraine is not enough it is very small amount compared to the potential. Definitely it is up to investors to decide what countries are more attractive but sometimes it is normal discussion between diplomats and business people they always complain “Ooo you should improve your business climate and do this and that”. I always ask one question: name me the country, please, where it is easy to do business and I will go there. Do you think it is easy to do business, say, in the US? Do they have very good investment or business climate? Do you think it’s easy to do business only because you have very good investment climate? But in countries like that you have very high competition, so the point is that you always have to find a balance. And you always have to find not the preferable, the ideal conditions, they are unexisting. Go to many countries in Africa. Do they have a good business climate? Answer yourself, but you can do business there. You can do business because if you learn about the country, about the conditions, about how to do business there, you will succeed. Therefore many major Turkish companies like Çukurova, Doğus, Onur, Gülsan and so on, when you talk to them they say we don’t care about the climate. We have no time to think about it, we do business. Turkcell for example: they are big investors! No time to think about “what…if..” So it is tricky issue about the investment climate but free trade – that is very important. We are moving in the right direction.

IIS – I want to interrupt your interview. I want to ask you. Will you give… a surprise us… lots of Ukrainian citizens living in center of Turkey and mostly in Ankara. will there be any direct flight from Ankara to Kiev as before?

H.E Korsunsky – You know it’s, for me, extremely unfortunate. Two weeks ago it was going to happen because a Ukrainian airlines already announced on their website flights from Ankara to Kiev since March 23rd it was already scheduled, they already start selling tickets. Now I am told they canceled it. I don’t know why. I mean I am fighting more than two years trying to bring them. This is extremely unfortunate we don’t have direct flights. It is much cheaper to fly directly to Ankara than flying through Istanbul and connections flights are perfect here. So huge and beautiful airport – what else you need? Ataturk airport is so overcrowded. So we hope that probably Pegasus will be easier – I don’t know but this is very unfortunate for me I would love to see direct flights.

IIS – What about AnadoluJet? They may be interested in flying from Ankara to Kiev also?

H.E Korsunsky – I want them too. I mean whatever I can do to have them actually, what we can do as a government, we can put our aviation authorities together, and that’s what I am trying to do. Unfortunately for some reason they postpone their meeting until June. I can tell you: this business of aviation is a little bit more complicated than it looks like. The problem is that you must maintain the frequency of flights, nuMBer of seats, must maintain a balance between two countries and Turkish side would like drastically increase nuMBer of flights and seats to Ukraine – like two times. So we have already request from Turkish authorities to increase flights to every city in Ukraine so on and so forth, and not only from Istanbul but from Antalya as well. So we must reciprocate. But for some reasons Ukrainians are reluctant to do so. If they can’t fly to Ankara, let Turkish Airlines fly from Ankara to Kiev or Pegasus or AnadoluJet. I mean I would be extremely happy.

IIS – We also hope. Let it be in June.

H.E Korsunsky – I hope so.

IIS -but Turkish airlines flies from Istanbul to other cities.

H.E Korsunsky –To every major city in Ukraine

IIS -AnadoluJet has started new flights from Ankara to other capitals. For example, from Ankara to Moscow, Ankara to London, Ankara to Damascus…

H.E Korsunsky – That’s the point. As I mentioned, a Ukrainian company said “We will fly”. So Anadolu said “Okay you fly” but Aerosvit now say no. But you can do it. I mean I know that Turkish airlines can do it, as well as Anadolu and Pegausus. .

IIS – In terms of education, is there any Ukrainian scholarship for Turkish students who want to study in Ukraine, and what is your policy on student exchange projects between Ukraine and Turkey?

H.E Korsunsky –We have almost 1,500 Turkish students in different Ukrainian universities. Majority of them study in Kharkiv and Kiev. Kharkiv is now a preferable destination for the Turkish students and they have an agreement with Izmir province. They have now a very extensive student exchange program and we are very happy about this. We welcome all of them. And Kiev has many universities such as Kiev Technical University and Kiev National University. We have few scholarships in exchange of Turkish scholarship for Ukrainian students, but we want to increase the nuMBer. Now, we are working with the Ministry of Education of Turkey and the Ministry of Education of Ukraine to sign a new agreement expanding the quotas for mutual exchange of students and I met with YÖK Chairman and he said we are completely comfortable; we would love to do that not only for Crimean Tatars but for native Ukrainians as well. And we do have Ukrainian scholars for Turkish history for example and for Turkish language in many Turkish universities, but I want to see more technical science, like IT, physics, engineering, because that is what we know well. We are not professionals in Turkish history, but we are professionals for the space technology or IT. So, if our people will be studying here like attaining master degree in Bilkent or the Middle Eastern Technical University, that will bring more to Turkey rather than another scholar in Turkish language. In the Soviet Union it was our job to construct the spacecrafts in Dnipropetrovsk. It was where the space ships were built. So, those people in the Dnipropetrovsk University are reliable in that; they know how to do that. We do have here more potential rather than simple exchange. We are very open for it. And, as I said, I’m very happy, for example about Kharkiv. Kharkiv signed cooperation agreements with many cities, most recent of which was with the city of Gaziantep. Kharkiv is nuMBer one in terms of students and in terms of industry. It is our student capital actually, not Kiev.

IIS – Your Excellency, what can you say about the future international energy policies in our common region?

H.E Korsunsky – Very good question. Energy is the nuMBer one priority for both of us, for Ukraine and Turkey. Since we both do not have enough our own resources, we have to import the majority of the oil and natural gas we need. We both import it from Russia, and at the same time we possess the most precious geographic location in Euro-Asia. As you know already, Ukraine is a major corridor of the Russian oil and gas to Europe and to Turkey as well. And we are perfectly capable to continue this job, we have now capacity to pump up to 170 billion m3 of gas and we are doing 110-120 in transit and we are buying 50 billion for us, so the capacity is almost full. But with a small investment we can easily increase it by 50 billion m3, and that is what we are working on. This is about what Russia intends to send to the European Union. For Turkey, the situation is a little bit different. Turkey became a transit country because of the construction of the Baku – Tbilisi – Ceyhan pipeline, the importance of which cannot be exaggerated. If you construct the Nabucco Pipeline, and I sincerely wish you do, you will see that the geopolitical role of Turkey, its international position, its weight in the international arena will grow enormously. Before my present appointment, I taught an energy diplomacy course at the Diplomatic Academy of Ukraine, and I had been telling to my students: in our world it’s not military, it’s not just the territory, it’s a technology which changes a country. Once you acquire, say, nuclear technology, you are different from yesterday. It’s the same for oil and gas. Once you have a pipeline in your territory, so many countries are interested in this pipeline that it changes your attitude completely. So yesterday you were not a transit country, legally. Once you have a pipeline, then you have a different legal environment. That means different geopolitics and economy. From our point of view, we think that South Stream is a disastrous project; both in terms of economy and environment. We don’t understand who needs it, why they need it, why one would spend 25 billion Euros on it. We can do this job better and plus Nabucco. We are very comfortable with Nabucco and have absolutely nothing against that. Why? Because Nabucco will bring gas from Caspian basin and Caucasus to Europe, and that will be not a Russian gas. That’s the point: bringing the non-Russian gas to Europe. If South Stream is designed to bring Russian gas to the EU, then what will it do new? It will not change anything in regard of geopolitics, nor in prices. If you have Nabucco, that will change everything. You’ll have Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey as key countries in bringing gas to EU. And that will change a lot in your discussions and talks with the EU. And it will bring a different gas, the Caspian gas, which will create market in Central Europe. The natural gas is a commodity that one cannot store, the stored volumes are by no means comparable to the resource still down under, and once you discover and dig to extract it, you have to consume it, you can’t put it on the shelf. Therefore the Gazprom, wants long-term contracts to be sure that someone will buy it as they extract it and does not matter how much they need, what the price is, but only that they will buy it. That’s why they want 25-year contracts. If another gas from different resources, namely Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, appears on the market, consumers will have an opportunity to negotiate, because they’ll have an alternative supplier and they’ll say “Wait a minute, why to buy the same gas from Russia when it’s cheaper from Azerbaijan?” That’s why we believe Nabucco is really a good project. I think if Turkey would be the moving force behind the project, then the project would become real sooner. Because Turkey is very dynamic, and Europe needs solution for its growing needs nowHowever the investment decisions have been postponed indefinitely year after year. I think Nabucco is a very good project and we are completely comfortable with it. Sometimes Ukraine is being accused of trying to monopolize the gas transit. It’s absolutely not true. What we are against is completely dangerous pipelines with no economic value at all. Whatever “streams” are built no one will get rid of Ukraine’s transit completely. We are in very good understanding with Turkish authorities on that, and it’s essential that we maintain cooperation in European organizations like Energy Charter.

IIS – What can Turkish culture offer to Ukrainians and to the world?

H.E Korsunsky It’s a very broad question and you’re already in good shape in Ukraine regarding culture. Turkish cinema and singers and other cultural events are well known. Though, the Turkish culture of the Republican era is still so young when compared to all that Ottoman heritage and I think it’s an opportunity of cooperation in, say, ballet or opera. We may transfer our knowledge and at the same time you have excellent examples of Turkish art here and we can study that and trust me that there are quite a nuMBer of Ukrainians coming to Turkey to study not only Ottoman calligraphy and so on but also modern art and culture of Turkish Republic. This is a bilateral process which I feel will bring our nations together more.

IIS – What appeals the most to Ukrainian visitors when they come to Turkey?

H.E Korsunsky Excellent service, beautiful nature, hospitality, marvelous food and so on. Also, we suggest our tourism agents in Ukraine to expand Turkey’s image beyond Antalya to a much greater cultural heritage mostly hidden to ordinary eyes of beach tourists. Once I was told a joke that northern tourists in Antalya know that they’re in Antalya, but don’t know that Antalya is in Turkey. (Laughs) This is a joke but has a sense in it. Five star all-inclusive hotels and lying on the beach for a month – that’s it? But Turkey is much bigger and richer in culture, just bring those people out of those hotels! They can have first quality Scotch in their homes but they can’t see this rich nature and culture anywhere else.

IIS – Where have you been to in Turkey so far, Your Excellency?

H.E Korsunsky I’ve traveled from Mersin to Istanbul through all Mediterranean and Agean coast to almost all Black Sea region and also to Konya. Well, since I was a kid, I remeMBer that I’ve seen these whirling dervishes somewhere but I couldn’t tell where and never knew they were in Konya. When I visited Konya for the first time and saw them alive it was way different to feel that in person. Most don’t know that Konya was once the capital of Seljuks and I think Turkish tourism agencies are partly to be blamed here as they only promote the Turkish sea, beaches and the sun but no historical places, ski resorts, other attractions. Only a few know of Erzurum and Kayseri and Kartalkaya. Diversification is very important. I have talked to many Turkish providers of the services and they were surprisingly reluctant about this. Many people in Kiev asked me: “Can you name us something unusual to see and do in Turkey?” and I tell them to see historical and natural heritages in Turkey such as Cappadokiya. They know very little about Turkey and some even do not know that Ephesus is in Turkey. Historical heritage is extremely huge here in Turkey but municipalities and local authorities should do something to make big attractions. For example Ankara used to be the center for some old civilizations and religions, including ancient Christianity, but when you come to visit the city it is not possible to see that. Gordion is extremely interesting but it seems like it is neglected. Turkey has unique places, for example Maçka and Sümela. It is only one example, but there are very many places to promote in Turkey.

The tourism agencies should include other parts of Turkey into their destinations. There is a huge tourism potential. The level of understanding Turkey in Ukraine is very thin and they only know most important part of Turkey although it is much richer and deeper in terms of culture and tourism. That should also be correctly promoted and that should not only be promoted and should be in the hands of government as well. Turkey should also have a cultural center in Kiev as Prime Minister H.E. Erdoğan said that Turkey is going to have one in Kiev. That is really important to promote cultural exchange, and there are basis to have a Turkish cultural centre in Ukraine.

IIS – What do you think about Turkey’s EU accession process?

H.E Korsunsky It is very long. You now I prefer to talk about EU expansion in terms of European Project. I mean the process of constructing a United Europe is a big success in spite of all the difficulties. From my point of view unless Turkey and Ukraine are in this Project it will not be completed. It does not matter how you call it and how long it takes as these are technical issues. You can negotiate for another term of five or fifteen years that is not the point. The question is whether the project will be much better with us or without us. I think our meMBership will bring an advantage to Europe. Ukraine’s land and knowledge and Turkey’s young population, energy and ability to do business will energize European Union. I believe that the project would not have been completed until Ukraine and Turkey are included. The core of the European Project lies in its competitiveness. İf everything goes on as it is now it is hard to call EU competitive on the global scene. The future of the Union depends on its competitiveness with other big economies on the international market. If the Union includes new potentials such as Turkey and Ukraine it may have chance to compete with other economies. I hope this is the future of the European project and the only way to achieve success is to open borders for trade, services and people.

If you had a chance to change something in the world what would that be and why?

H.E Korsunsky In the international area we have many faults due to history and traditions. For example when we think about global economical crisis there is a lack of understanding that it is not temporary; it is intrinsic feature of the existing monetary system in the world which was brought to us after the Second World War. It is wrong system and I think it should be abolished at all. Now money is not something which primarily serves on exchange of commodities but rather a sign of debt. In order to change this you have to have a bold understanding and guts to do this. It is not easy but the system is intrinsically wrong and will lead to crisis one after another and it does not matter whether it calms down at the moment. Because it will repeat itself. Therefore I would rather concentrate not on temporary measures like making funds to support some countries because of the economical problems they had. This is like you have headache and you take an aspirin, but you headache is not caused by the lack of aspirin. In this way you just block the symptoms. What is going on now in the world economic system, they are trying to remove the consequences, not the reason. I call it era of weak leaders, those who do not want serious decisions, bold decisions. The current system is imperfect, it has flaws inside. If tomorrow the Federal Reserve decides to print more a couple of trillion of dollars, they will do it. And you can do nothing, you will have to buy those dollars to support American economy. Is that what we want? I mean, this is something very wrong. I was not surprised by the way, yesterday or the day before yesterday there were news which almost went unnoticed – finally in the USA, economists analyze the problem why the crisis started and they said the source of crisis was the Federal Reserve System! The one which must serve to prevent crisis, they were the source of crisis. Why? Because they just print money to source their huge foreign debt, huge trade deficit. It is wrong. Something should be done. European Union tried to do something in different way, they established Euro and look where are they now? I mean, it was not probably the best policy, economic policy. So if I change something, I would change the system. I don’t know how. I have no recipe. But definitely it is wrong. The more we maintain it, the more we will suffer from the consequences. That will like boomerang, it will each time beat us in the same place till we became wiser. Then we will understand that something should be done differently. Wiser people then me should seat together and think about it. But that, from my point of view, it is nuMBer one. I care less about even nuclear war. Because now, I hope everyone understands, there are no local wars, even normal wars. Even small war brings world-scale consequences to say nothing about global war. Take Iraq. So, I more care about normal opportunity for people to leave in the environment where they are not forced, but they can develop by their own will. Now they bound by the current system which is imposed after Second World War, with certain purpose and we are still moving inside this framework. If you remove it, that will be different world, very interesting one.

Talking about last Iraqi war, from my point of view, one of the lessons from it is not even a single war has a sense in this world now. There is no sense, you can’t win.

IIS – What do you think about Turkey’s peacekeeping role in its own region and in the neighborhood in terms of recent developments in the Middle East especially?

H.E. Mr. Korsunsky: I wish you never have a real peacekeeping mission, I mean, I wish that never ever a war started anywhere around your borders. But, the role of Turkey is extremely important. It is a kind of common understanding that Turkey provides to nations in the region an example of democracy, leaving in an Islam country, you have a mature democracy and vibrant economy. You proved an ability to develop without major nature resources. Without oil, gas or gold you have to work very hard.

It is very important if Turkey maintains this path of democratic development step by step and that would be the best you can do for your region. İt is very important – the stability based on democratic principles, based on common understandings. Turkey is not just a country, but it is a rising star for all the people of Asia and Middle East and this star must be bright. This is a reality, it is not a compliment. I wish other nations would follow in a peaceful manner.

Murat Fatsa: But ideas change in the years..

H.E. Mr. Korsunskiy: Ideas may change, I agree completely. From my point of view, the role of Turkey is paramount. If you fail on your efforts, it will be very bad news for everybody, that’s why we honestly and sincerely wish you’ll succeed whatever you call it – EU Accession or Integration. The more important thing is to maintain stable democratic development. Whatever constitution, leader or system you choose is up to you but it must be democratic. Then you are guaranteed to be free of major problems. Ukraine is very proud to be among the countries that survived the Soviet Union collapse without any violence; we had no civil war, interracial or inter-religious clash. It was not easy, it was difficult, but we managed it. Democracy is not easy, I tell you (laughs). We have around 160 political parties in Ukraine, and we call most of them as “Love Seat Parties” as all meMBers of each of those parties can be placed on one Love Seat. (laughs). So there are parties for every occasion it seems, but that’s what democracy is about. And no one claims that we have faulty elections. For presidential elections, we have had 24 candidates, but none of them were hurt or get into problems for being a candidate. If somebody does not like the result, that’s his or her problem, but it’s the democratic process after all.

IIS – Ukraine is also important as being a live example of that it can and must be without violence.

H.E Korsunsky – Of course, that’s why we look at Egypt and think that shooting people would be wrong. Egyptians are an old wise nation and a very old culture. So it should be resolved through talking to people and debating over the issues. This is the best way. And sometimes you should be as patient as courageous since these things could take time.

IIS – Thank you your excellency for your invaluable time.

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