Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, at the 746th Plenary Meeting of the Forum for Security Cooperation

Tacan İLDEM 19.02.2014
Mr. Chairperson,

I would like to add my voice to previous speakers in warmly welcoming Dr. Abdul Razak Al-Grady, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Libya to the Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC) and express our gratitude for his insightful presentation.

Libya is among the countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, which witness the spread and institutionalization of democratic values that we should all continue to encourage. Two years have elapsed since the impressive struggle of the Libyan people for dignity and freedom. We are pleased to see Libya on the right path in its transition towards democracy. At the same time, as today’s presentation by the distinguished Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs indicates, the security situation in Libya continues to be fragile. This constitutes an obstacle for the aspirations of the Libyan people for democracy, stability and prosperity.

The restructuring of the Libyan army and police as well as the re-integration of the fighters into the new security structures and public institutions continue to be among the main challenges for Libya. In combating terrorism, proliferation of weapons, illicit trafficking of armaments and organized crime, securing the long borders of Libya is one of the most crucial issues that need to be addressed. Another challenge is the illegal cross-border movement of terrorist and criminal groups, which have increased instability in North Africa, particularly in the Sahara-Sahel zone. We believe that further efforts should be concentrated on these areas in order to ensure security and stability not only in Libya, but also in the Mediterranean region as a whole.

The threats that Libya is facing today are mainly of transnational nature and thus can only be effectively addressed through regional cooperation and ownership. They also require enhanced coordination among all parties that contribute to the ongoing efforts in this country. Therefore, we share the view that strengthening the dialogue on border security, operational cooperation on security issues, evaluation of the capacities and needs of the bordering States, and integration of local populations into the dialogue and cooperation process are indispensable to improve regional cooperation.

In line with the priorities of Libya, Turkey has intensified its ongoing support to the Libyan people in the field of security on bilateral and multilateral levels. In this vein, 800 Libyan police cadets completed an eight month-training program this year in Turkey. We are finalizing our preparations to host around 200 police officers from this group to conduct an intensified training on specific issues. We have also completed short-term police trainings in Libya and Turkey on various subjects, such as counter-terrorism, fight against organized crime, criminal investigation on drugs and intervention on explosives. We have also been organizing training programs for Libyan officers on border security.

In the military field, Turkey has responded positively to the Libyan request for a 14-week training program to 3.000 Libyan army personnel. The first group composed of 500 soldiers started their training in December last year in Turkey. We also began providing training to 52 Libyan officer cadets in Turkish military academies. These training programs both for Libyan police and military officers will continue.

Mr. Chairperson,

International support and coordination remains crucial for the success of bilateral and regional cooperation efforts. In this vein, Turkey fully supports Libya’s aspiration to assume its rightful place among OSCE partners for cooperation. This would further facilitate our joint efforts towards this country in line with its needs and expectations. Libya is indeed the only country in North Africa that has yet to become an OSCE partner for co-operation. Considering the fact that the three neighboring countries with which Libya shares long borders, namely Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt are OSCE partners, there is much potential to explore in welcoming Libya in our midst and engage in fruitful cooperation with this country also in this platform. Various international conferences and meetings on Libya insist on the necessity of working with Libyan authorities on capacity building with a long term perspective as well as the need for international coherence and partnership with Libya at all levels. Welcoming Libya as a partner for cooperation will certainly help us attain those objectives. I hope that we will be able to reach consensus on this important matter in the very near future.

Turkey will continue to work with its international and regional partners to support Libya at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. In this vein, we look forward to the next Ministerial Conference on International Support to Libya to be held in Rome on 6 March 2014. Turkey stands ready to host the next Ministerial meeting within this process.

Before I conclude, I would like to express once again our sincere appreciation for the presence of Dr. Al-Grady, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Libya among us today and our thanks to you Mr. Chairperson for having organized today’s security dialogue.

Thank you.