Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, in Response to Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, at the 1000th Meeting of the Permanent Council

Tacan İLDEM 15.05.2014

Thank you, Mr.
Chairperson.

I join the previous speakers in warmly welcoming Ambassador Ertuğrul
Apakan back to the Permanent Council. I thank him for his comprehensive and insightful
oral and written reports, which are a testimony to the depth and intensity of
the developments which took place in Ukraine during the relatively short time
since Ambassador Apakan was with us last.

On the occasion of the presentation of the first report by the Special
Monitoring Mission (SMM), I will re-iterate Turkey’s stance that the crisis in
Ukraine needs to be settled through a negotiated political solution based on
Ukraine’s political unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The alarming situation in Ukraine unfortunately persists. We are deeply
concerned by the impact of the so-called referenda organized last Sunday. We
are worried with the continued presence of armed groups occupying public
buildings and building roadblocks, hindering and sometimes even detaining SMM
members—as was the case in Luhansk last weekend.

Mr. Chairperson,

We lost much time and energy in this hall especially during our initial discussions
on Ukraine, chiefly because our positions and evaluations were based on data
that were at remarkable variance. We established the SMM to, inter alia, help
us act upon the same data. It would be only fair to say that the SMM has done a
remarkable job so far in this field, as well as numerous others.

First and foremost, the SMM has proven itself as a reliable and credible
partner and interlocutor. All actors converge on this fact. It provides us with
objective, reliable and current data on a daily basis. It also provides us with
spot reports where circumstances warrant it. It also furnishes periodic reports
that help us get a better understanding of the general evolution of the
situation. It gathers this wealth of information with a critically spread presence
in areas of tension. They are in contact with persons from all groups in the
field. In other words, the SMM was established to be the OSCE’s nervous system
in Ukraine. It has proved to be a very sensitive and sensible one indeed.

The SMM has also been in constant coordination and cooperation with the
Ukrainian authorities and other stakeholders. They held meetings on a daily
basis in Kyiv. While the Mission’s assets are out in the field in sometimes
very risky missions, being on the same page with all concerned is extremely
important also to ensure the safety of SMM’s assets. This has also been done in
an exemplary manner.

Like previous speakers, I would not fail to touch upon briefly that The
SMM also played a critical role in securing the release of the military
inspectors who were abducted while performing their mission under the Vienna
Document and we express our deep appreciation for that

It is gratifying to see that it successfully met all the ever-evolving
challenges it encountered in numerous areas ranging from security to providing
counsel to stakeholders on specific issues. All this has been achieved in an
environment fraught not only with security-related difficulties but also where
the SMM sought to enlarge itself in terms of both resources and capacity.

Mr. Chairperson,

The holding of free and fair elections on 25th May will not
only be part of the democratic process in Ukraine, but will also contribute to
efforts in overcoming the ongoing crisis and restoring stability in the
country. It will pave the way for the continuation of an inclusive
Constitutional process with an open national dialogue on solid bases. In that
context, we welcome yesterday’s launch of Round Table discussions which would
be with the ownership of Ukraine and hopefully would contribute to
de-escalating and stabilizing the situation. In line with the tasks emanating
from both the PC Decision No. 1117 and the Geneva Joint Statement, we expect
the SMM to make its supportive contribution to the Ukrainian-led and owned
process.

Mr. Chairperson,

We must bear in mind that the SMM has proved to be a key factor in
bringing the OSCE back in the international spotlight. In other words, what the
SMM delivers is useful not only on the ground, but also back here in Vienna and
even a broader audience. We, therefore, have another very important reason to
make sure that the SMM maintains its current degree of delivery.

To this end, we need to provide the SMM with sustained support in terms
of both personnel and financial resources. We will have to depend on the
guidance of the SMM leadership on the priority areas that need to be addressed
within this context.

In conclusion, I wish to commend Ambassador Apakan, the leadership and all
able staff of the SMM. They represent the OSCE at its finest. I pledge to them
Turkey’s unwavering support and wish them well-deserved success in all their
endeavors.

Thank you.