Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, in Response to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta, H.E. George Vella, 1056th Meeting of The Permanent Council

Tacan İldem 04.06.2015
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

I join previous speakers in warmly welcoming His Excellency the Foreign Minister of Malta to the Permanent Council. I wish to thank him for sharing Malta’s perspective on the issues which are of utmost importance not only for the Mediterranean region, but also for the OSCE as a whole and its participating States.

The OSCE is currently facing a huge challenge to its fundamental principles and commitments stemming from the ongoing crisis in and around Ukraine. As this issue will be addressed in more detail today under another agenda item, I will confine my remarks to expressing our firm support for a negotiated diplomatic solution to the crisis within the framework of respect towards Ukraine’s territorial integrity, including Crimea, as well as its independence, sovereignty and political unity, in line with our shared OSCE commitments and international law.

Mr. Chairperson,

Turkey and Malta are two countries with significant geo-strategic positions in the Mediterranean. We have common interests in promoting democracy, welfare, security and stability in our region. The recent visit of Minister Çavuşoğlu to Malta in March 2015 constituted a first at that level. We are ready to further strengthen our cooperation with Malta on the issues related to the Mediterranean region and these mutual visits will definitely serve to further this aim.

We agree with Foreign Minister Vella that there is an urgent need for a political settlement in Libya. Turkey, like Malta, supports the ongoing UN facilitated dialogue process and encourages all sides in their endeavor to reach an agreement. The institutional and political vacuum which turned Libyan soil into a breeding ground for terrorists and human traffickers should be filled without further delay. Therefore, we consider the formation of a Government of National Accord through the UN-facilitated process as a matter of utmost urgency.

We are also aware of the alarming situation in the Mediterranean caused by illegal migration flows through Libya. The modalities of the planned UN mission under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to prevent illegal crossing of migrants should be assessed very carefully. In the absence of a Government of National Accord, it might further complicate the situation on the ground. What is needed is a holistic approach to address all aspects and root causes of this challenge without focusing only on security measures. We also believe in the necessity of finding a sustainable solution for migration management that requires a shared responsibility.

Mr. Chairperson,

Terrorism, with new components such as the “Foreign Terrorist Fighter” phenomenon, occupies a prominent place among the challenges that threaten our region.
As one of the co-chairs of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, we welcome Malta’s hosting the International Institute for Justice and Rule of Law since June 2014. We are glad to be one of the founding members of the Institute. We are convinced that the Institute will play a key role in providing training in rule of law and justice related aspects of counter-terrorism efforts on the basis of good practices documents adopted by the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum.

In countering terrorism, we should bolster cooperation among the participating States of the OSCE.

Turkey considers DAESH as a direct threat to its national security. Turkey is not only countering a number of terrorist organizations based in Iraq and Syria, but is also trying its best in providing humanitarian assistance, law and order for almost 2 million Syrians and Iraqis who found shelter temporary shelter in Turkey. Thus, in the face of this very complex nature of the clear and present danger to our security, we expect a fair burden sharing from our partners and allies.

In light of the recent developments and challenges in our region, we believe that close cooperation between our security authorities has become more important than ever. We are also willing to enhance our bilateral relations at the law enforcement level.

In view of the commitments agreed by the participating States in the Helsinki Final Act and recognition by the Astana Declaration regarding the inextricable linkage between the security of the OSCE and the adjacent areas, especially the Mediterranean and incognizant of the fact that the discretion belongs to the OSCE Chairmanship in Office, we believe that the Maltase proposal on the appointment of a Special Representative for the Mediterranean is worth considering.

Finally, we fully agree with Minister Vella’s assessment on reaffirming our commitments to the values and principles underlying the OSCE. The upcoming high-level meeting in Helsinki, on 10th of 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 of your endeavors.

Thank you.