Turkey has neither the option nor the right to turn its back on its region or the world at large, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.
The president’s remarks came during a reception held at the presidential complex in the capital Ankara where he hosted a group of youth for Turkey’s May 19 Youth and Sports Day.
May 19 Youth and Sports Day marks the beginning of Turkey’s War of Independence and the emergence of modern Turkey, which is annually celebrated in official ceremonies across the country.
Noting this, Erdogan said that the country’s fight for its independence and its future has never ended and should always continue.
"Even when we look back on the 93 years of our republic's history, we can see that our struggle for independence has kept going under different names," the president said.
"The events that are taking place in the Balkans, Caucasus, from north to south, are all closely related to our past and present.
"Who can say, claim or imagine that the things happening in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East have nothing to do with us? Or the developments in Libya and North Africa? Or in the Black Sea, Mediterranean and Aegean?" He asked.
"You can extend this view as much as you like - from South Asia to eastern Europe. We have neither the chance nor the right to turn our back on our region and the world. Because we have such a big responsibility, our duties are very heavy," he added.
On May 19, 1919, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk arrived in the Black Sea port city of Samsun from the Ottoman capital Istanbul to win support to fight the war of independence following the partition of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I.
The Turkish Republic emerged as a state after Ataturk, a former Ottoman officer, and his comrades won the Independence War against the Greeks, Armenians, and supporting Allied forces.