Statement by Turkey on the Situation in Ukraine, 1021st Meeting of the Permanent Council

Tacan İldem 30.10.2014
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

Turkey welcomes the early parliamentary elections held last Sunday in Ukraine. We congratulate the Ukrainian people on successfully taking this important additional step towards consolidating their country’s democratic future. The statement of preliminary findings and conclusions issued by the International Election Observation Mission leaves no doubt as to the transparent, free and fair manner in which the elections were conducted, highlighting many positive aspects such as the impartial work of the Central Election Commission, the ability of voters to make real choices and a general respect for fundamental freedoms. Given the challenging political and security environment in which the elections took place, the overall compliance with our OSCE commitments and international standards is a commendable achievement and demonstrates Ukraine’s firm adherence to democratic values.

We regret, however, the circumstances which precluded many Ukrainian citizens in Crimea and parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts from exercising their right to take part in the elections. In this context we note with concern how Crimean Tatar representatives informed ODIHR’s Election Observation Mission that members of their community were intimidated from traveling outside Crimea on election day. This demonstrates yet again how the illegitimate and illegal de facto situation in Crimea, which Turkey continues to regard as part of Ukraine, remains a key dimension of the Ukraine crisis. We will continue to closely follow developments on the peninsula with particular emphasis on the security and well-being of the Crimean Tatars. We also expect our Organization to remain seized of this matter with all the assets at its disposal. In this context we were pleased to co-sponsor a side event on “Human Rights in Crimea” earlier this afternoon, during which the speakers drew a grim picture about the ongoing intimidation, human rights violations and disappearances of members of minority groups in the peninsula.

Following Sunday’s elections, it is now our hope and expectation that Ukraine’s new Parliament shall provide a sound and stable basis to forge further ahead with the ongoing reforms which also comprise an inclusive process of national dialogue which should ultimately satisfy the concerns and aspirations of all groups in Ukrainian society and lead to the atmosphere of tranquility, peace and prosperity that the country has sorely been missing in recent times. Turkey will continue its close cooperation with the new Parliament as well as the new Government in Ukraine.

Mr. Chairperson,

Turkey remains deeply concerned by the continuing violations of the ceasefire regime. We view the full and effective implementation of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum in their entirety as the basis for efforts towards a sustainable de-escalation of the crisis in Ukraine. Within this framework, we re-emphasize the close link between ceasefire monitoring and border monitoring. Aided by the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk, whose recent mandate extension we welcome, the Special Monitoring Mission remains our Organization’s primary instrument on the ground. We support the SMM’s ongoing augmentation and the efforts being undertaken to enhance the Mission’s operational capabilities. We welcome the deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles and offers of additional UAV’s by to support the SMM in fulfilling its mandate. We nevertheless remain convinced that efforts to bolster the Mission must be undertaken with utmost care in order to preserve the trust and confidence that the SMM enjoys from different actors on the ground. We will, of course, have more to say on this count during the Permanent Council’s next Special Session.

In concluding I would like to reemphasize our firm conviction that the crisis in Ukraine needs to be settled through peaceful diplomatic means within the framework of respect towards Ukraine’s territorial integrity, independence, sovereignty and political unity, in line with our shared OSCE commitments and international law. And add that this principled stance naturally applies to the so-called elections to be organized in parts of Ukraine this Sunday.

Thank you.