Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, in response to H.E. Igor Crnadak, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1058th Special Meeting of the Permanent Council

Tacan İldem 09.06.2015
Thank you Mr. Chairperson.

I would like to welcome you, Mr. Minister Crnadak to the Permanent Council and thank you for the insightful and comprehensive presentation that you’ve shared with us.

As a country with strong historical and cultural ties with all Balkan nations, Turkey attaches utmost importance to the achievement of a durable atmosphere of mutual understanding, respect and conciliation among all Balkan states. The prospect of European and Euro-Atlantic integration which we strongly support, has an important role in preventing the re-emergence of conflicts in the Balkans.

Mr. Chairperson,

At present the single most formidable challenge to the security of Europe is the crisis in and around Ukraine. The OSCE remains at the forefront of international engagement with regard to the crisis. We welcome the valuable contributions also being made by the Council of Europe to the efforts aiming at bringing the crisis to an end. Turkey firmly backs all diplomatic efforts to bring about a negotiated solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine that is respectful towards the country’s territorial integrity, including Crimea, as well as its independence, sovereignty and political unity, in keeping with our shared OSCE commitments and international law.

I would also like to make use of this opportunity to once again express our appreciation for Commissioner Muižnieks for his visit to Crimea. It certainly served to highlight the extent of the human rights violations resulting from the illegal de facto situation in the peninsula.

The OSCE and the Council of Europe share the same core values. Both Organizations strive to further democracy, the rule of law and human rights in their respective areas. We therefore welcome the ongoing efforts to strengthen the dialogue and institutionalized cooperation between the two Organizations in a complementary manner. We believe that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Chairmanship at the Council of Europe coinciding with Serbia’s OSCE Chairmanship in Office can offer us a good opportunity in this direction.

We attach great importance to the four areas of enhanced OSCE-Council of Europe cooperation, which allow our Organizations to more efficiently address matters of cross-dimensional nature. We remain convinced that both our Organizations should seek opportunities to deepen the current enhanced cooperation, which is well structured and advanced, rather than defining new priority areas.

In countering terrorism and extremism, the recent developments were important wake-up calls for the international community. It is crucial for us to intensify our efforts to prevent the deepening of the wave of violence and extremism. We find it important that the respective Chairmanships of our Organizations have prioritized violent extremism and radicalization that leads to terrorism and the engagement of youth.

Turkey has long spearheaded efforts for the promotion of tolerance and non-discrimination within both the OSCE and the Council of Europe. The tangible increase in racism, xenophobia, intolerance and discrimination in our overlapping geographies is a serious challenge which both our Organizations need to tackle. As Muslim migrants are among the most victimized groups in Europe, we believe that our two Organizations should put a particular emphasis on joint efforts to combat Islamophobia.

Gender perspective is another issue to which Turkey has been devoting particular attention within the OSCE. Therefore, we welcome the importance attributed by Bosnia and Herzegovina as the Chairmanship to the implementation of the Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.

Mr. Minister,

We are pleased to note that Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina are enjoying exemplary relations based on the historic ties between our peoples. Turkey attaches utmost importance to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as a good functioning state structure within its internationally recognized borders. I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize once again that Turkey is willing and prepared to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in all fields.

Mr. Minister,

We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Thank you.