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Numerous dignitaries of all nationalities and beliefs have been the honoured guests of the Council of Europe. These men and women, often instrumental in the implementation of political, social and cultural initiatives, illustrate the dynamism and values which, since the 1950s, have governed the work of the Council of Europe


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Bülent Ecevit [1925 - 2006]

Prime Minister of Turkey

10 May 1979

quote 1Our membership in the Council has served as a compass that helped to prevent us from losing our baringsquote 2

His speech:

...The main safeguard of democracy in Turkey as in any other democratic country is inevitably the people's attachment to democracy and freedom. But there had been times where our membership in the Council has served as a compass that helped to prevent us from losing our barings. Particularly during the last three decades Turkey has been passing through a period of rapid but at the same time rather disorderly and unbalanced economic development. More recently, the constraints that came with the World economic crisis of the seventies, has had certain shock effects on the economy and the society.

Then, of course, there has been this great migration of the unemployed and the underemployed, particularly from rural areas and from the neglected parts of Turkey, to the highly developed countries of the West. People were transplanted over night from the distant villages of Anatolia, from villages cut off from the rest of the world, to the highly industrialised and sophisticated centres of the Western world. While they did not loose much time in adapting themselves to these new and completely different surroundings and ways of life and culture, they maintained close ties with their villages and towns in Turkey...