By Nazli Yuzbasioglu
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey ranks among the top five countries with the number of its diplomatic missions abroad, the Foreign Ministry spokesman told Anadolu Agency.
“The number of our diplomatic missions reveals that we are not only a regional power but also global [one],” said Hami Aksoy.
Turkey has been performing an “active and entrepreneurial” foreign policy, Aksoy said.
“The human dimension of foreign policy that we are following is very important.”
He said that, in 2016, Turkey had the sixth-largest diplomatic network in the world, according to the Australia-based Lowy Institute for International Policy. According to Aksoy, Turkey reached up to number five with the new embassies opened last year.
Aksoy said that, according to Lowy’s diplomacy index, the US is at top of the list with 273 foreign missions, followed by China with 268, France with 266 and Russia with 242.
He said, according to the list, Turkey and Japan shared the fifth spot with 229 diplomatic networks. However, Turkey increased its number of diplomatic missions to 239 recently.
“138 of those are embassies while 86 are consulate-generals, 13 are permanent representations, one is a trade office and one is a consular agency,” Aksoy said.
“We have 92 diplomatic missions in Europe, 70 in Asia, 44 in Africa, 29 in America, and four in Oceania,” he said.
Turkey’s latest missions were opened in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown and Bolivia’s capital La Paz, Aksoy said.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the number of Turkish diplomatic missions in Africa, which were 12 in 2002, have increased to 40.
Turkey plans to open a new mission in Equatorial Guinea's capital, Malabo this year, Aksoy said. “We plan to further increase our representation in Africa in the coming period.”
According to Aksoy, Turkey’s foreign trade to African countries was $3.7 billion in 2002 while it is close to $19 billion currently.
He added that the ministry was working together closely with Turkey’s leading Anadolu Agency as it broadcasts in 13 languages.
He said that a total of 62,335 personnel work at Turkey’s diplomatic missions abroad at a variety of posts. The number of women ambassadors has increased, Aksoy said, adding a total of 51 of Turkey’s 255 ambassadors were women.
In 2002, when the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party came to power, Turkey had 163 diplomatic missions abroad.