Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, on the Situation in Ukraine, 1073rd Meeting of the Permanent Council

Tacan İldem 29.10.2015
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

Although there will be a separate current issue on the matter, allow me to begin by congratulating my esteemed Ukrainian colleague on the successful conduct of local elections in his country. The International Election Observation Mission deemed the elections to be competitive and well organized overall, despite the challenging circumstances in which they were held. At the same time, the preliminary findings and conclusions indicate the need for continued reform. We hope the cancelled voting in several areas including Mariupol will be rescheduled at the earliest opportunity. We also look forward to a successful second round on November 15th for the mayoral races which were inconclusive.

Mr. Chairperson,

We note with satisfaction that the ceasefire continues to be broadly observed in eastern Ukraine, and that weapons withdrawals are being carried out in accordance with the agreement reached on the 29th of September. This gives us ground for cautious optimism. We remain concerned, however, by the sporadically recurring instances of violence as well as by the continuing presence of heavy weapons in violation of the respective withdrawal lines. We continue to hope for a complete consolidation of the ceasefire in the period ahead.

We remain convinced that full and unconditional adherence to the Minsk Agreements by all is the only way to ensure a peaceful and lasting settlement. The relative calm in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions should now be taken advantage of by all. It is time to completely cease hostilities, fully withdraw all heavy weapons and implement the provisions of the Minsk Package of Measures in their entirety and in good faith.

Allow me also to make use of this opportunity to reemphasize that the crisis in and around Ukraine needs to be settled through peaceful diplomatic means respectful of the country’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,

Maximum restraint continues to be required on the ground in order to ensure the safety and security of the Mission’s monitors and staff. In addition, though we note some recent improvements as regards the SMM monitors’ freedom of movement, all remaining restrictions must come to an end. The SMM requires full and unhindered access throughout Ukraine, including the regions near the Ukraine-Russia state border. Furthermore, the unacceptable practice of jamming the Mission’s UAVs must also cease.

We continue to fully support the activities and ongoing expansion of the SMM. The Trilateral Contact Group and its four working groups also enjoy our strong support. In this context we look forward to the updates by Ambassadors Apakan and Sajdik at next week’s Special PC.

Following the local elections held this Sunday throughout Ukraine, we hope that the Political Working Group can soon finalize the modalities of the postponed local elections in parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts. We reiterate the need for these elections to be held in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and OSCE standards, enjoying ODIHR’s support and monitoring. We also continue to expect progress on demining issues in the Security Working Group, as well as an agreement in the Humanitarian Working Group on the resumption of activities by humanitarian organizations in eastern Ukraine. It remains our view that these ongoing talks will contribute to furthering the processes of inclusive political dialogue and comprehensive reform in Ukraine, without which a settlement of the crisis could hardly be sustainable.

Mr. Chairperson,

Before concluding, allow me to underline once more Turkey’s profound concern with the steadily deteriorating situation of minority groups in Crimea, particularly the plight of the Crimean Tatars. We reiterate our call to those responsible to put an end to their repressive practices violating the Crimean Tatars’ basic human rights and fundamental freedoms. We continue to expect the OSCE and its institutions to remain seized of this matter with all their assets.

Thank you.