Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, in response to H.E. Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain

Tacan İldem 11.05.2015
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

I join previous speakers in warmly welcoming His Excellency the Foreign Minister of Spain to the Permanent Council. I wish to thank him for sharing Spain’s views on a number of issues that are of prime importance for the OSCE and its participating States.

The OSCE faces a major challenge to its principles and core values through the crisis in and around Ukraine. On this occasion, I will confine my remarks on this issue to our support for a negotiated diplomatic solution to the crisis that is respectful of Ukraine’s independence, political unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, including Crimea, in line with international law and OSCE principles.

Mr. Minister, you spoke very accurately about the importance of multilateralism in ensuring a common position to tackle contemporary threats. It is only fitting, therefore, that we address these threats in a collective manner, in close cooperation and mutually reinforcing determination.

Mr. Chairperson,

Spain and Turkey are two countries sharing the same values and principles at two extremities of the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean Basin has been the scene of profound transformation and tumultuous change in recent years. Continuing upheavals, including the grave situation in Syria, Iraq and Libya, generate multiple threats to regional peace, security and stability.

Terrorism, with new components such as the “Foreign Terrorist Fighter” phenomenon, occupies a prominent place among these threats. As one of the co-chairs of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, we welcome Spain’s active engagement in the Forum’s activities, particularly with respect to victims of terrorism.

Turkey considers DEASH as a direct threat to her national security. Since the outbreak of the threat posed by FTF flows, our intelligence and law enforcement authorities have shared their concerns and need for cooperation against this phenomenon with their counterparts in other countries. I am pleased to refer to the detention and deportation process of Samira Yerou, apprehended at the Turkey-Syria border to join DEASH, as an example for good cooperation against terrorism between Turkish and Spanish authorities. We wish to see this expand to other areas of cooperation against terrorism, including the fight against PKK and DHKP/C.

Violent extremism that leads to terrorism has also emerged as a relatively new challenge and is being discussed in many different fora. What we witness is a strong correlation between intolerance, discrimination and radicalization and the propensity of the victims thereof to gravitate towards extremism and radicalization. This phenomenon shows us the need to determine and address the root causes of violent extremism and terrorism.

It is our responsibility to denounce xenophobia, intolerance and discrimination and to raise awareness on the value of diversity in promoting mutual respect and understanding. This is the reasoning behind the UN Alliance of Civilizations process Turkey and Spain jointly launched at the turn of the 21st Century.

Yet another impact of instability in our wider region is an increasing flow of illegal migration across the Mediterranean Sea. We are horrified by the very high death toll in the Mediterranean Sea and concerned about the ongoing humanitarian plight of irregular migrants. Urgent and concerted action needs to be taken to prevent further humanitarian tragedies. What is needed is a holistic approach to address all aspects and root causes of this challenge without focusing only on security measures.

Mr. Chairperson,

It is gratifying to note that Turkey and Spain are also like-minded when it comes to the promotion of mediation and dialogue facilitation. Turkey have launched with Finland in 2010 the “Mediation for Peace” initiative at the UN, which was followed in 2014 by the establishment of the OSCE Group of Friends of Mediation. In this context we follow with great interest the Spanish-Moroccan initiative to promote mediation in the Mediterranean.

Finally, Mr. Minister, we fully agree with your assessment on reaffirming our commitments to the values and principles underlying the OSCE. The upcoming high-level meeting in Helsinki, preferably at the level of Foreign Ministers this July provides us with an excellent opportunity for this purpose.

Mr. Minister,

Thank you for being with us today. We wish you success in all your endeavors.

Thank you.