Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, on Early Presidential Elections in Ukraine at the 1001st Meeting of the Permanent Council

Tacan İLDEM 22.05.2014

Thankyou, Mr.
Chairperson.

With
only a few days remaining until the Presidential elections onMay 25th
,we are fast
approaching a critical juncture in Ukraine. The elections are of utmost
importance not only for the democratic process in the country, but will
certainly contribute to the efforts for bringing stability and to overcome the
ongoing crisis. It is therefore essential that they be held freely and fairly,
in line with international standards and our OSCE commitments. The largest-ever
election monitoring mission in our Organization’s history has been deployed to
provide the international community with a clear picture of the proceedings,
and we look forward to learning about its preliminary findings.

Next Sunday’s Presidential elections will allow Ukraine to forge further
ahead with its constitutional reform process. In this context we welcome the initiation
and conduct of National Dialogue roundtables, of which the third was held
yesterday in Mykolaiv. We deem it particularly important that this Ukraine-led
and Ukraine-owned process continue as broad-based, inclusive and transparent as
possible in order to take into account the concerns and aspirations of all
segments of Ukrainian society. Our Organization should continue to be at the
forefront of the international community’s support to the Ukrainian authorities
within the framework of the process of national dialogue and constitutional
reform. It is also crucial for these support activities to be coordinated
effectively.

In sum, a President assuming office following a free and fair popular
election with a high degree of participation on the one hand and a broad-based
and all-encompassing national dialogue and constitutional reform process on the
other are currently the two most important elements towards the construction of
tomorrow’s Ukraine. And their effective interaction will yield much more than
the sum of their parts.

Mr. Chairperson,

The Special Monitoring Mission, with its regular and dependable input of
impartial information concerning the situation on the ground, is undoubtedly
among the OSCE’s most important instruments in addressing the challenge posed
by the crisis in Ukraine. Let me take this opportunity to reiterate once again
our strong support for the Mission with its leading role in assisting
Ukrainian authorities in the
implementation of the Geneva de-escalation measures. In order to fulfil its
mandate, the SMM must be able to operate unhindered in all regions of Ukraine
and have access to all groups of the population.

Mr. Chairperson,

Another serious issue I would like to touch upon today, taking this
opportunity, is the deteriorating human rights situation in Crimea, which was
highlighted
in the recent reports of
the joint ODIHR/HCNM Human Rights Assessment Mission and the United Nations
Human Rights Monitoring Mission, and also discussed during the informal meeting
held this Monday. In this context we are particularly concerned with the
repeated and increasing infringements upon the rights of minority groups such
as the Crimean Tatars. I have heard what my distinguished Russian colleague has
said under the previous “Current Issues” item. Nevertheless, there are certain
disturbing developments I would like to draw attention to.

We are all aware of how Mr. Mustafa Kırımoğlu, leader of the Crimean
Tatar people, is being denied entry into his homeland of Crimea. We have
witnessed the launch of an investigation against the Crimean Tatars who went to
greet Mr. Kırımoğlu on May 3rd
, as
well as the threat of dissolution and attacks against theCrimean Tatar National Assembly,
the only legitimate representative body of the Crimean Tatars. The 18th
of May this year marked the 70thanniversary of the Tatars’ tragic mass
deportations in 1944, an event they solemnly commemorate with peaceful
assemblies every year. Yet, as I also pointed out during Monday’s informal
meeting, large gatherings were banned last week in Crimea and even the
impromptu ceremonies which were the only events the Tatars could organize were
disrupted by low-flying military helicopters. Furthermore, harassment and
attacks against the Crimean Tatars continue, as illustrated by the recentdetention of two journalists who
were also subjected to physical abuse. We are also concerned that the illegal
annexation of Crimea hampers their possibility of taking part in the
Presidential elections in Ukraine.

Thank you.