Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, in response to the Report by Ambassador Nina Suomalainen, Head of the OSCE Mission to Skopje, 1068th Permanent Council Meeting

Tacan İldem 17.09.2015
Thank you Mr. Chairperson.

I join the previous speakers in welcoming Ambassador Suomalainen to the Permanent Council and congratulate her for the assumption of her new assignment. We thank her for her comprehensive and informative presentation.

Turkey and Macedonia entertain exemplary relations based on common historical and cultural roots and shared values. The frequent reciprocal high-level bilateral contacts are a clear indication of our common political will to further enhance our relations in all areas. The Turkish community, which is the third largest in Macedonia, is a special element reinforcing our bilateral ties.

Turkey attaches great importance to security, stability and prosperity of Macedonia as well as its territorial integrity.

We have been closely following the developments in Macedonia over the past few months and calling on all the stakeholders in the country to overcome the political tensions through peaceful democratic means within the principle of rule of law, dialogue and mutual respect.

We believe that the EU-brokered agreement reached among the four political party leaders on 2 June 2015 to hold early general elections in April 2016 will ease tensions in the country and set a more favourable scene for further cooperation in resolving the outstanding issues.

We appreciate the constructive and proactive role played by the OSCE Mission to address the existing hardships. We believe that the Mission’s efforts will help to reduce tensions and facilitate dialogue in Macedonia.

Mr. Chairperson,

Equitable representation of the ethnic communities within the public administration, which is among the long term goals and five focal areas of the Ohrid Framework Agreement (OFA) is an important endeavour. We are pleased that the Macedonian government will revive the review process to assess the status of the implementation of the Agreement. In this vein, the areas where further work is needed can be identified and can be addressed with the support of the Mission.

We commend the Mission’s ongoing activities which are tailored and implemented in line with the needs and expectations of Macedonia. We praise the Mission’s work and its assistance provided to the overall reform process in the Macedonia. The Mission’s programs in the areas of rule of law, public safety and community outreach and police reform have positive impact on the overall stability and development in Macedonia.

I wish to reiterate that Turkey will continue its assistance particularly to the police development activities.

Mr. Chairperson,

Turkey has been a staunch supporter of Macedonia’s efforts for integration with European and Euro-Atlantic institutions. It is our conviction that clearing the way for Macedonia’s Euro-Atlantic path is crucial not only for ethnic harmony in the country but also for the overall peace and stability in the Balkans.

In conclusion, we would like to thank Ambassador Suomalainen and her able team and wish every success in their future endeavours.

Thank you.