Statement by Ambassador Rauf Engin Soysal, Permanent Representative Of Turkey, in response to Mr. George Tsereteli, President of the OSCE-PA (1173th Meeting of the Permanent Council, 25 January 2018)

Rauf Engin Soysal 29.01.2018
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

I join previous speakers in welcoming President Tsereteli to the Permanent Council and thank him for his address. I would like to congratulate you, Mr. President, on your assumption of the Presidency and wish you the best of success in the discharge of this important task.

Turkey values the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly which serves as a prominent platform for direct interaction among elected representatives from 57 countries.

I take this opportunity to voice our appreciation for the support and solidarity displayed by the Parliamentary Assembly following the foiled coup attempt of 15 July 2016. We were pleased to host you Mr. President in Turkey last year in June. During this visit, you have had the possibility to hear directly from your counterparts regarding the major challenges Turkey is currently facing and the measures taken after the coup attempt in our justified struggle against this threat.

Mr. President, you have rightly pointed out that the OSCE is a unique platform which deserves to be nurtured and supported for the sake of our collective security. There is no doubt that terrorism has been posing one of the most serious challenges to our societies. We see the establishment of the Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism as a significant step. We hope that the Committee will further promote inter-parliamentary dialogue and develop a better understanding among parliamentarians on this phenomenon. Such an understanding can also help eliminate selective approaches that put our common goal of achieving comprehensive security through cooperation at risk.

Regrettably, we have witnessed further erosion of the notion of “cooperation” and “security” in the OSCE in the past few months. Affiliates of the FETO terrorist organization that staged the coup attempt in Turkey, took part in OSCE meetings. This major flaw in our Organization needs to be remedied very urgently. It is our strong view that we develop effective concrete rules to govern external participation in the OSCE’s meetings, as it is the case in every respectable international organization.

Mr. Chairperson,

Challenges posed by the crisis in and around Ukraine and the protracted conflicts continue to feature, and rightly so, prominently in the work of the Parliamentary Assembly. In this connection, we believe that the invaluable parliamentary input and support offered by the Assembly can be utilized to strengthen our Organization’s multifaceted efforts to address crisis situations in the OSCE area.

Turkey greatly values the Parliamentary Assembly’s complementary efforts in finding a cohesive and balanced international response to migration. During their visit to Turkey last year, the members of Ad Hoc Committee on Migration have noted the disproportionate amount of refugees being hosted by Turkey and recalled the need for greater responsibility-sharing by European countries. In this respect, we took positive note of the report on “Ensuring a coherent, shared and responsible governance of migration and refugee flows” adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly last year. As the largest refugee hosting country, we are ready to provide insight on how to better coordinate and improve effective international response to the migration crisis.

In light of the increasing flagrant manifestations of xenophobia and Islamophobia in many participating States, it is our hope that during the Annual Session in Berlin, the Parliamentary Assembly will be able to attain a resolution on combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims. This would certainly constitute yet another valuable contribution by the PA to countering the threat posed by rising levels of intolerance and discrimination across the OSCE area. We also believe that the OSCE’s added value in the field of tolerance and non-discrimination can be further increased through enhanced cooperation between the intergovernmental and interparliamentary components of our Organization.

In closing, we would like to renew our best wishes for President Tsereteli and look forward to continuing our cooperation with the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

Thank you.