STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR RAUF ENGİN SOYSAL, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF TURKEY, In response to Ms. Ingibjörg Solrun Gisladottir, Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (1159th Meeting of the Permanent Council)

Rauf Engin Soysal 05.10.2017

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

We thank ODIHR Director, Ms. Gisladottir, for her
report, and repeat our best wishes for success in her very important task.

The Human Dimension is an indispensable component of
the OSCE’s comprehensive security, and HDIM is the most significant yearly
event thereof. This is why Turkey has been among HDIM’s most active
participants since this latter’s inception in 1993. In a good many instance, we
faced and constructively responded to criticisms coming from other
participating States or representatives of civil society. But this year,
unfortunately, this was not to be the case.

This, Madam Director, was my very first HDIM just like
it was for you. We were all looking forward to it. But we had to leave the
meeting following my statement explaining our reasons and the rationale. We
left that venue in Warsaw with a heavy heart. But our regret was, and still
remains, far greater for the reason which compelled us to take such action. We
do not want that to happen again. We want HDIM to remain what it was originally
intended to be. We want to protect the OSCE from abuse. The OSCE is ours. We
are not going to allow terrorist-sympathizers to hijack our Organization and
its meetings.

While we worked very hard on the statement I delivered
in Warsaw to make our observations, assessments and ensuing position crystal
clear, reports I received about closing statements by some participating States
left me with the impression that some of our messages still did not fully go
through. So, for these delegations, I will recap, in a few brief sentences, the
developments which led to what happened in Warsaw.

In the run-up to the HDIM, we were concerned that
entities affiliated to the terrorist organization which orchestrated the
horrific coup attempt in Turkey last year could try to infiltrate the HDIM. We
conveyed our concerns to those responsible for organizing HDIM. We did so
verbally. We also did it in writ. The defining element in the written response
we received was that any person or entity not included in UN Sanctions Lists
could take part in HDIM. I will return to this matter later. At this stage, I
will underline that this is not acceptable for us.

We ultimately ended up in a situation where we saw
that a so-called civil society organization directly linked to the perpetrators
of the coup attempt was included in the HDIM’s provisional list of
participants. So directly linked indeed that their honorary president is the
same person leading the terrorist organization responsible for the attempted
coup. Since all in this room, to our greatest appreciation, very strongly
condemned that dastardly attack on our democracy, it should normally follow
that we also unite in opposing the accomplices thereof from taking part in our
work. This sadly does not seem to be the case, as evidenced also by some HDIM
closing statements I alluded to earlier. In any event, Turkey has not and will
not sit around the same table with persons affiliated to those who have the
blood of the innocent on their hands.

Now I will dwell on the response we were given that
any person or entity not included in the UN Sanctions Lists may take part in
HDIM meetings. To the best of our knowledge, a good number of groups and
organizations that are formally considered as “terrorist” by, for example, the
US or the EU do not appear on those sanctions lists. Does our organization give
a green light to these terrorist organizations to partake in our meetings just
because they are absent on UN sanctions lists? This would be no less than an
outrage. Could anyone even think that, say, the same UN would allow anyone not
appearing on those sanctions lists to summarily appear in its meetings?

Let me emphasize again that we are not shying away
from criticism or trying to stifle the HDIM participation of any worthy person
or entity. Anyone with a minimal knowledge about HDIM would know that Turkey is
quite intensively criticized at HDIMs and responds to all those criticisms in a
manner that was presented as exemplary.

Allowing, on the other hand, anyone not on UN
Sanctions Lists to participate in HDIM is wrong. We do, in fact, have a few
criteria on this matter; but we do not effectively apply even these. Who, for
example, scrutinizes whether those aspiring to participate in HDIM fulfills the
criterion to have “relevant experience in the field of the human dimension”, as
mentioned in PC Decision 476? Can we, as participating States also funding
these events, see the results of such scrutiny, if any exists?

We have come to a point where the abuse of OSCE
platforms by so-called NGOs is a source of serious concern and has negative
repercussions on the OSCE as a whole.

We have, therefore, to sit down and find a solution to
this problem which has numerous ramifications ranging from the disillusionment
of participating States and the disfigurement of the OSCE, to violating what
our leaders agreed in Helsinki and injustice against worthy representatives of
civil society. We need to bring an end to chaos, and find an appropriate way to
regulate external participation to OSCE meetings. There is not a single
respectable international organization that allows such utterly unregulated
participation in its meetings.

In light of the foregoing, we call on the Chairmanship
to initiate a process to develop effective rules and guidelines to govern
external participation to OSCE meetings. This is likely to be an arduous
enterprise. So we need to act urgently. As a first step in this direction, we
may suggest an analysis of the pertinent procedures employed by the United
Nations and the Council of Europe.

In conclusion, we need a process to put our house in
order. It is not only because we, within the OSCE, and those outside, who look
up to our Organization, deserve it, but also because the current disorder
simply can not continue.

Thank you.