Turkey's prime minister said on Saturday that his country would never turn its back on its neighbors, Asia or Africa.
Speaking at the general assembly of the Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (MUSIAD) in Istanbul, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, "We cannot turn our back on our neighbors, Asia or Africa. We cannot be indifferent or distant to them. This country has turned its face towards the West, but it is an inseparable part of the East with its history, culture and civilization".
Erdogan said his government had initiated efforts to clear away the meaningless distance between Turkey and Arab countries, noting visa procedures were lifted with 23 countries during the last 7.5 years.
"We have never been narrow-minded in our foreign policy," he said.
Regarding Turkey's EU membership process, the Turkish prime minister said his country would continue to work hard in order to reach universal and modern standards no matter what obstacles were put on its way.
Erdogan also pointed to several successes achieved by Turkey in recent years such as the country's becoming a member of the United Nations Security Council, assignment of a Turkish deputy as the head of Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) and Turkey's acting as the co-chair of the "Alliance of Civilizations" initiative together with Spain.
Commenting on Turkish Red Crescent's extending its hand to Haiti after a devastating earthquake, Erdogan said the aid organization had been the first international organization that helped the country after the disaster.
"Turkish Red Crescent is not only in Gaza, Sudan, Kirkuk or Telafer, but it is also active in Chile, Haiti, Sri Lanka and Indonesia," he said.
Pointing to Turkish Radio and Television's (TRT) upcoming broadcasts in Arabic language as well, Erdogan said, "we are not interested in a certain continent or region only, we care about the whole world".