Statement of Turkey in response to the Report of Ambassador Jean-Claude Schlumberger, Head of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo, 1088th Meeting of the Permanent Council

Tacan İldem 04.02.2016
Thank you Mr. Chairperson.

I join the previous speakers in welcoming Ambassador Schlumberger back to the Permanent Council and thank him for his comprehensive report.

It gives me pleasure to begin this statement by referring to the excellent bilateral relations we entertain with Kosovo in every field. This was confirmed once again at the highest level during the visit of Kosovo First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hashim Thaçi to Turkey on 5 November 2015. Turkey attaches special importance to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Kosovo. Turkey also supports economic development of the country and encourages Turkish business people to make investments in Kosovo.

Ambassador Schlumberger’s report highlights the high value of the Mission for Kosovo, particularly for the country’s institutional infrastructure. We believe that the review conducted for the programmatic activities of the 2016-2019 period will streamline the Mission’s work and provide for an even better cooperation with the stakeholders.

We appreciate the Mission’s activities in the three dimensions. The OSCE’s constructive role and the effective implementation of OMIK’s agenda are of crucial importance for Kosovo. We also appreciate the Mission’s contributions to cooperation among the OSCE field operations in the region. This is a significant effort in terms of increasing the OSCE’s impact in the Balkans.

We welcome the Mission’s intensive outreach activities to non-Albanian communities. We attribute special value to the support OMIK provides to the protection and improvement of the rights of all ethnic groups. We also appreciate the Mission’s ongoing activities to ensure equitable access to services and public utilities.

The engagement of all communities in Kosovo’s social, economic and political fabric is a prerequisite for bolstering efforts to establish a democratic, multi-ethnic and modern state structure. Promoting a culture of cooperation and ensuring better participation in policy making processes and public life for all communities while maintaining multiethnic, cultural and religious harmony in the country should be a common goal of all Kosovars.

Turkey believes that the multiethnic, multicultural and democratic structure of the Republic of Kosovo is essential for the sustainability of regional peace and stability.

We attach particular importance to the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Process, and to the full implementation of the agreements signed in Brussels on 25 August 2015. We do, however, need to recognize that the implementation phase is not “thorn-free”, and that there are challenges posed by domestic politics. We understand, the question regarding the constitutionality of the Community of Serb Majority Municipalities in Kosovo could not be resolved in the most recent Brussels round last week between Prime Ministers of Kosovo and Serbia. It is essential to note, on the other hand, that the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Process is firmly in line with our stance to support the resolution of all problems in the region through dialogue, and we strongly encourage the continuation thereof.

We believe that technical committees’ agreement in Brussels in October on the implementation of the agreement for recognition of diplomas reached in 2011 is a minor but important positive step within and for the dialogue process.

We would like to reiterate our call to all sides to continue to make additional efforts to take the process forward, and also welcome the Mission’s efforts within this framework.

Mr. Chairperson,

We must also bear in mind that the picture will not be complete unless we ensure Kosovo’s inclusion and involvement in pertinent regional and international initiatives. This will not only have an encouraging effect on the positive trend in Kosovo, but will also constitute a significant contribution to efforts for the stability and development of the region as a whole. It is also with such a mind frame that we supported Kosovo’s recent application to UNESCO.

We are glad that the Stabilization and Association Agreement between Kosovo institutions and the EU was signed on 27 October. We believe that this agreement will set a landmark in Kosovo-EU relations, and steer the integration process of Kosovo.

We also welcome the yearly report of the European Commission which lists the progress regarding the political criteria and on the implementation of EU legislation.

In conclusion, I would like to wish Ambassador Schlumberger and his able team every success in their future endeavors.

Thank you.