Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, in response to the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, 1061st Meeting of the Permanent Council

Tacan İldem 02.07.2015
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

I join the previous speakers in warmly welcoming His Excellency the Foreign Minister of Germany, our incoming Chairperson-in-Office, to the Permanent Council. I wish to thank him for his comprehensive presentation of the 2016 German OSCE Chairmanship’s priorities.

Germany is preparing to take the helm of our Organization at a time when the OSCE faces a major challenge to its principles and core values through the crisis in and around Ukraine. Minister Steinmeier has personally been contributing to the efforts aimed at resolving the crisis through his active engagement in the Normandy format, which we appreciate. Mr. Minister, it is our sincere hope that by the time you assume your responsibilities as Chairperson-in-Office six months from now, tangible progress will have been made on achieving a sustainable de-escalation of the ongoing crisis and the groundwork will have been laid for enduring peace in Ukraine. I will confine my remarks on this issue to our strong support to the SMM’s activities including its valuable contributions to de-escalation in eastern Ukraine and to our hope and 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 our shared OSCE commitments.

Although the crisis in and around Ukraine is the area of focus in our work nowadays, this should not lead us to neglect the importance of the resolution of the existing protracted conflicts.

Mr. Chairperson,

We welcome that Conventional Arms Control and Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSBMs) will be placed high on the agenda of the German Chairmanship. While we fully support the modernization of these regimes in line with the new security circumstances and the technological developments, we believe that these discussions cannot be conducted in vacuum or treated as merely technical in nature but require serious political engagement at high levels in order to restore a common understanding on the fundamental tenets of Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security.

We observe with great concern that transnational threats have been expanding incessantly within the OSCE geography and its neighbouring regions. Recent terrorist attacks which we strongly condemn is a grim reminder for us that cooperation and common action is essential to fight terrorism. We are pleased to see that our Organization’s efforts have been focusing more on the root causes of terrorism. We believe that we should continue our endeavors in this area to complement the work of the principal organizations dealing with this issue.

In accordance with our perception of the OSCE’s fundamental concept of indivisible security, we continue to advocate that the second dimension needs to be bolstered. We need to enhance the OSCE’s capacity to act in every single instance where economic and environmental issues display relevance for peace, stability, conflict prevention and confidence building. We are pleased that the upcoming German Chairmanship will put good governance into our Organization’s focus again. Turkey remains ready to actively contribute to the efforts in this direction.

With regard to the human dimension, we fully support Germany’s intention to reaffirm and strengthen the OSCE’s commitments in this vital pillar of our comprehensive security concept, thus building on the efforts of the previous and present Chairmanships. A very important measure of our Organization’s success is the effective implementation of these commitments which aim to guarantee democracy, fundamental rights and freedoms, rule of law and tolerance and non-discrimination across the entire OSCE region. We welcome the emphasis Germany will put on protecting media freedom and journalists, on strengthening civil society in participating States, on ODIHR’s valuable election observation activities and on the crucial field of tolerance and non-discrimination. In this context, while expressing our full support to the OSCE’s continuing efforts to combat anti-Semitism, I would also like to underline the threat to our common security posed by the rise of Islamophobia and the increasing victimization of Muslim migrants in many participating States. We urgently need to address this challenge. An important step in this direction would be the adoption at this year’s Belgrade Ministerial Council of a declaration on combating intolerance and discrimination against Muslims as we were tasked with last year in Basel.

On the cross-dimensional front, our engagement with Cooperation Partners remains to be of key importance, especially in light of the recent developments in the regions adjacent to the OSCE geography. We believe that our cooperation and coordination with the Partners should be strengthened in all dimensions through practical steps.

Last but not least, I would like to reiterate Turkey’s strong support to OSCE’s work related to gender equality within the OSCE. We remain ready to finalize the Draft Addendum to the 2004 OSCE Gender Action Plan and wish to express our hope for the adoption of the draft OSCE-wide Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security without further delay.

Let me conclude by expressing our hope that the participating States will make the most of next week’s informal high-level meeting in Helsinki, as it certainly provides us with an excellent opportunity to reaffirm our commitments to the values and principles underlying the OSCE. I can only reiterate our hope that the meeting would lay the necessary groundwork for a functioning political engagement at higher levels in addressing prevailing challenges to European and Eurasian security.

Mr. Minister, we thank you for being with us here today, and wish you every success in your upcoming Chairmanship of our Organization.

Thank you.