Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, Opening Session of the Annual Security Review Conference

Tacan İldem 23.06.2015
Thank you Mr. Chairperson,

At the outset I would like to express our thanks and appreciation to the distinguished keynote speakers for their insightful addresses.

Let me start by reiterating the importance we attach to the Annual Security Review Conferences. They allow us to take stock of the state of our work. They also provide us with a useful platform to exchange ideas on how we can make progress in the politico-military dimension of our organization.

The crisis in and around Ukraine has been dominating the agenda of this Organization since last year’s Conference. This year’s event is also taking place under challenging circumstances. The crisis persists, casting an unwelcome shadow over our work. It has undermined the European security and challenged its basic principles. Long before the crisis started, lack of confidence among participating States had already been identified by many of us as an impediment for further progress in the work of the OSCE. The situation has unfortunately now become more acute. It is our hope that this Conference will serve the purpose of re-instating a climate of functioning dialogue and we look forward to constructive discussions during the special session on Ukraine.

As we are marking the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act, it is the right time to address the achievements, as well as the shortcomings of the instruments of the European security it helped shape in the last four decades. The informal high level meeting in Helsinki is only days away. We believe that when we face serious challenges to the European security it is an undeniable necessity to have a purposeful political engagement among the participating States. We hope that the deliberations in Helsinki will guide our Organization’s work through Helsinki+40 process which we have been tasked to accomplish by the end of 2015 and charting a way forward beyond that date. We thank the Serbian Chairmanship for organizing this high level meeting and Finland for hosting it. We hope that this engagement in Helsinki could be elevated to higher political levels later on with a view to addressing the prevailing challenges and to fostering ways in achieving a common and indivisible Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community rooted in agreed principles, shared commitments and common goals.

Mr. Chairperson,

Turkey has always embraced and advocated greater openness, transparency and predictability in the politico-military dimension. While continuing to build upon our collective achievements, we must equally strive for consistent and full implementation of existing commitments. We should have a genuine discussion on how to make best use of our instruments in crisis situations. We stand ready to contribute to the efforts to further update and modernize the Vienna Document, to better serve the current politico-military realities in the OSCE geography. We believe that all discussions in relation to conventional arms control and CSBM regimes should respect the fundamental principles of “comprehensive security” and “indivisibility of security”. These discussions should also be guided by high level political engagement that is needed to address the core issues relevant to European security.

The fight against transnational threats has been incessantly assuming greater preponderance in our Organization’s comprehensive security agenda. The ever evolving nature of the threats we are facing in this dimension requires us to be constantly vigilant and innovative. Their cross-dimensional character calls for very close coordination among all OSCE structures. I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize once again that Turkey remains ready to continue its cooperation in the fight against transnational threats and build on the declarations related to terrorism adopted last December in Basel, as well as other components of the OSCE acquis.

Resolution of protracted conflicts is a key area where we unfortunately lack tangible progress in the OSCE. This has a negative effect on the credibility of the OSCE and trust and confidence within the Organization, as well as on the philosophy it is built upon. While respecting the agreed formats that the OSCE has been tasked for the settlement of the protracted conflicts, we will hopefully have the opportunity to exchange views on how to reinvigorate our Organization's work dealing with these conflicts, as well as the conflict cycle in general, in the dedicated session.

We also look forward to a fruitful discussion in the session dedicated to OSCE and its neighborhood. Recent developments have proven yet again that the affirmation made at the Astana Summit on the inextricable linkage between security in the OSCE area and that in adjacent regions is indeed true and accurate. We are passing through a challenging period where dialogue and cooperation have to be enhanced between the OSCE and its neighborhood. We support OSCE’s stronger engagement with Mediterranean and Asian partners. The Basel Declarations on cooperation with the Partners have bolstered the foundations for such an enhanced engagement.

I would like to conclude by wishing all of us a productive ASRC. We look forward to contributing to the debates in the following sessions.

Thank you Mr. Chairperson.