Statement of Ambassador Rauf Engin Soysal, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Turkey in response to the Report by Ambassador Nina Suomalainen, Head of the OSCE Mission to Skopje (1154th Permanent Council Meeting)

Rauf Engin Soysal 13.07.2017

Thank you Mr. Chairperson.

I join the previous speakers in warmly welcoming Ambassador Suomalainen back to the Permanent Council and thank her for her comprehensive presentation.

Turkey and Macedonia have deep-rooted friendship based on common historical and cultural values. We attribute utmost importance to continuing the multi-dimensional relations between our countries. Our Foreign Minister Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s visit to Macedonia last month offered fruitful opportunities to explore new possibilities to enhance our bilateral relations and to review regional developments. The Turkish community, which is the third largest in Macedonia, is a special element reinforcing our bilateral ties. The improvement of their social, political as well as cultural status will undoubtedly add even more energy and strength to our bilateral relations. We are also satisfied to see that the increasing Turkish investments are being well received by the Macedonian people.

Turkey attaches great importance to the security, stability and territorial integrity of Macedonia. We are happy to see that after six months following the elections in December 2016, the government has been formed, the impasse and turmoil in Macedonian domestic politics has ended. We will continue to stand by the Macedonian nation as whole and support the new government by all means. We hope the reform process will gain momentum with the improved political climate.

We appreciate the constructive and proactive role played by the OSCE Mission in facilitating dialogue during times of political hardships in Macedonia. The visits of the Secretary General Zannier and the Personal Representative of the Chairperson in Office, Ambassador Strohal were further valuable demonstrators of OSCE’s support to Macedonia in overcoming the political stalemate.

Mr. Chairperson,

We have been a staunch supporter of Macedonia’s efforts for integration with European and Euro-Atlantic institutions. Macedonia deserves a fairer attitude in these integration efforts also in light of the ruling of the International Court of Justice in 2011. It is our conviction that clearing the way for Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic path is crucial not only for ethnic harmony in the country but also for the overall peace and stability in the Balkans.

Social cohesion and equitable representation of the ethnic communities within the public administration, which are among the long term goals and five focal areas of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, are of paramount importance for harmony within the country. In this vein, we welcome the attention the Mission attributes to the implementation of the Agreement, and will be looking forward to its possible contributions in the period ahead.

We commend the Mission’s ongoing activities, which are crafted and implemented in line with Macedonia’s needs and expectations. We welcome the Mission’s work and its assistance to the overall reform process in Macedonia. The Mission’s programs in such areas as inter-ethnic relations, hate crime, and democratic policing have a positive impact on the overall stability in the country.

I would also like to put on record our appreciation for the Mission’s assistance to the host country in electoral processes and support to the State Election Committee.

In conclusion, we would like to thank Ambassador Suomalainen and her able team, and wish them every success in their future endeavours.

Thank you.