Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, on the Situation in Ukraine, 1015th Meeting of the Permanent Council

Tacan İldem 04.09.2014
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

Turkey remains deeply concerned by the ongoing conflict in the southeast of Ukraine with its resulting devastation and its steadily increasing toll on human life. Recent reports of the use of heavy weapons, as well as serious violations of Ukraine’s borders, serve only to aggravate our concerns. It is particularly worrisome that this escalation ensued following the summit meeting held in Minsk on August 26th with the participation of Russian and Ukrainian leaders with a view to ensuring a ceasefire and peace in Ukraine.

In a recent statement, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on all parties to act with common sense for reducing the tensions and establishing an atmosphere of dialogue. We must all keep in mind that this drawn-out conflict is having ramifications on the perceptions of security, the sense of confidence and stability as well as the will to cooperate in a much wider geographical area. In this vein, despite the conflicting statements made thereafter, we were heartened by yesterday’s reports that an agreement was reached at the highest level on a ceasefire process. At this stage all that we can hope and expect is speedy progress in this regard. We support the continuing efforts of the Trilateral Contact Group to reach a peaceful settlement in Ukraine, and we hope that the next meeting to convene tomorrow in Minsk will make a positive contribution in that direction.

As things stand, the fact on the ground is that the separatists have speedily found the force to mount a serious counteroffensive against the Ukrainian armed forces. Rumors as to how this has been possible only further occlude our perception of what is happening. In any event, in order to reduce tensions it is essential to maintain initiatives on the one hand to bring about an arrangement for the cessation of hostilities and on the other hand to lay the groundwork for Ukraine’s future stability, first and foremost through the successful conduct of the upcoming early parliamentary elections and the revival of the Ukraine-owned and led process of participatory national dialogue reaching out to all of the country’s regions and all segments of Ukrainian society.

Turkey will continue to make its contributions to all possible efforts in finding a political solution to the current crisis in Ukraine. In this context we reiterate yet again our firm conviction that the crisis must be resolved through peaceful diplomatic means within the framework of respect towards the territorial integrity, independence, sovereignty, and political unity of Ukraine, in keeping with our shared OSCE principles and commitments as well as with international law including the United Nations Charter. Needless to say, this approach also applies to the illegitimate and illegal de facto situation in Crimea, which Turkey continues to regard as part of Ukraine.

Mr. Chairperson,

In the midst of the ongoing crisis, the Special Monitoring Mission continues to admirably fulfill all of our expectations as the OSCE’s primary enabling instrument on the ground. The SMM’s flexibility and adaptability in the face of rapidly unfolding events was demonstrated yet again last weekend with its establishment of a base in Mariupol. We reiterate our full support for the SMM and its activities, and emphasize the need for augmenting the Mission with additional recruitment of personnel within the ceiling determined as part of the Mission’s mandate, having the necessary profile and qualifications that the changing circumstances require, and for including in its inventory new equipment to complement its ongoing efforts in tackling the evolving challenges, while ensuring the preservation of the trust and confidence that it enjoys from different actors on the ground.

We also welcome the reappointment of Ambassador Apakan as Chief Monitor.

Thank you.