Statement by Ambassador Bülent Meriç, Director General for International Security Affairs (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey), at the 972nd (Reinforced) Meeting of the Permanent Council

Bülent MERİÇ 19.11.2013
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

The Reinforced Permanent Council format offers us, as your colleagues at the capitals, a unique opportunity to join you in Vienna to personally partake in your deliberations and to conduct a direct exchange of views on OSCE’s current topics. Let me begin by expressing how much we appreciate this opportunity.

The OSCE brings its own specific value added to security in a wide geography of strategic importance for all of us. It serves as a platform of dialogue and exchange among 57 participating States, as well as our partners, on a gamut of issues. There, the OSCE provides a valuable forum for security cooperation which takes place in a comprehensive manner.

Mr. Chairperson,

We appreciate the diligent manner with which the Ukrainian Chairmanship helped us advance during 2013 toward the Helsinki +40 goals. We are confident that the consecutive Swiss and Serbian Chairmanships will spare no effort in order to take the process further forward and ensure its ultimate success. We have been engaged in the process in a constructive spirit since the outset and our position will remain unchanged until the end. We support the draft Declaration prepared for adoption in Kiev.

We attach importance to the work of the Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC) and the modernization of the Vienna Document with a view to increasing military stability, predictability and transparency in the OSCE area. With this understanding we have given our consent to the proposal on lowering the thresholds. We hope that the Forum will be able to adopt the two draft FSC decisions tabled by the Chairmanship of Luxembourg as well as the Updated OSCE Principles of Non-Proliferation in the Kyiv Ministerial Council.

The need to update the Vienna Document is obvious. Nevertheless, we must be realistic about the process and behave in cognizance of the fact that currently we have limits on this exercise.

We welcome broad discussions and exchange of views on the future of conventional arms control in Europe during the Ukrainian Chairmanship. While pursuing this attitude, we should be careful not to create parallel negotiation mechanisms within the OSCE for legally binding instruments that have their own discussion platforms.
We are gratified to note that the Security Committee managed to adopt the relevant decisions in the field of fight against TNTs last year. These decisions provided the participating States as well as the executive structures of our organization with an updated framework within which our work will be advanced on a sound and comprehensive basis. As to our remaining deliverable in the TNT constellation, namely the adoption of a set of CBMs in the field of cyber/ICT security, our work has progressed and reached a decisive moment. We now look forward to the adoption of these CBMs at the earliest opportunity at the level of Permanent Council, and ultimately their recognition by the Ministerial Council.

Mr. Chairperson,

We commend the intensive work done throughout the year for addressing the issues on the agenda of our Organization’s second dimension. This includes the strenuous efforts made to increase the attention of and awareness in participating States on this dimension. Important strides have been made to assess progress recorded and to determine those areas which need to be reinforced as a matter of priority. We support the draft decisions prepared for Kiev.

In the human dimension, it is our hope and expectation that the Kiev Ministerial Council will produce substantial deliverables after an unwelcome hiatus of two years. We believe the balanced package brought before us by the Ukrainian Chairmanship has the potential to address differing priorities of all participating States. In this context, let me re-iterate here my country’s particular wish to see the challenges posed by intolerance and discrimination based on religious belief in the OSCE region be addressed in an eloquent and resolute fashion. We believe that the draft Ministerial Council decision on the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief will constitute a timely reaction and response to this new wave of threat to our societies.

Another important topic for the OSCE area is Afghanistan. Afghanistan is not only a partner for cooperation but also a neighbor of our Central Asian participating States. A declaration hopefully to be adopted in Kiev on Afghanistan will send a strong signal to the international community on OSCE’s long-term engagement and support in all three dimensions to this country. I also wish to underline the importance of regional ownership for the future of Afghanistan, as testified by the Heart of Asia/Istanbul Process and OSCE’s complementary efforts.

Mr. Chairperson,

Let us not forget that prevention and settlement of conflicts lie at the heart of the OSCE’s work. With regard to protracted conflict situations, we have been repeating ourselves by saying that “the status quo is neither acceptable nor sustainable”. This setting continues for much too long. Bringing about a solution to these conflicts will undoubtedly help increase the OSCE’s credibility and standing.

Last but not least we support the application of Libya for Partnership. We should engage with this country that is undergoing a critical transformation process. To conclude, Mr. Chairperson, the OSCE is in the midst of a process at the end of which it has a chance to reinvigorate itself. The Kiev Ministerial Council is an important first stop on the Avenue called Helsinki +40. In view of Ankara, the extent which our organisation accomplishes to deliver in Kyiv will not only add a value to OSCE’s stature but also bring about a positive mood, an invaluable boost for the long term vision.

Thank you.