Statement by the Delegation of Turkey regarding the Situation in the Conflict Dealt with by the OSCE Minsk Conference, 1094th Special Meeting of the Permanent Council

AGİT DT 05.04.2016
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

We thank the German Chairmanship for holding this Special Session of the Permanent Council. I would also like to thank the Personal Representative of the CiO as well as Ambassador Warlick on behalf of the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group for the updated information they have shared with us regarding the recent conflagration in Nagorno-Karabakh which is a source of grave concern for Turkey.

One of the most frequently used characterizations of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was that it were “neither acceptable, nor sustainable”. It is a bitter paradox that this phrase has been in use for almost a quarter of a century.

We have indeed voiced over and again how dangerous it was to be contented with having the situation more or less contained. We expressed our concern that this would amount to no more than a sort of comfort that is both false and delusional. We stated our alarm that the situation carried the potential to escalate into open clashes at any moment, not to mention how it poisoned the atmosphere within the region and the OSCE area in general.

Here we are now with the last few days overshadowed by exactly what we feared. We have arrived at a point where circumstances now impel us to state that “merely calling the situation unacceptable and unsustainable is neither acceptable nor sustainable”. A solution needs to be found to the conflict. This solution needs to be comprehensive, just and lasting. It needs to be respectful of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, in line with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.

Our Foreign Ministry issued a Press Release on Saturday on the matter. Our leaders also made statements. As mentioned in the Ministry’s statement, we condemn the artillery barrage launched against Azerbaijan along the line of contact and the attacks of Armenia which also affected the civilian population on the night of 1-2 April. We understand that a ceasefire is now in place. We welcome this development which we hope to be true, while deploring the loss of life that has been suffered.

We appreciate the initiatives taken by various leaders to ensure the cessation of hostilities. This naturally includes the statements issued and calls made by the CiO and the efforts by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs, among others.

For over 20 years, one fifth of the territories of a participating State remain under occupation, causing one quarter of its population to remain displaced throughout this period of time. The OSCE took upon itself to find a solution to this question, leading to the establishment of this Group. The degree of success that has been recorded towards the ultimate objective is unfortunately no source of pride. This situation on the ground is a grim wake-up call emphasizing the urgency to progress towards a solution. Again, as mentioned in our Foreign Ministry statement, until that time when the occupation comes to an end and Armenia abandons its aggressive stance, the risk of similar clashes will persist.

We remain supportive of all initiatives that can bring about a peaceful, just and lasting comprehensive solution, as well as ideas that would generate the political will within the parties to move in that direction. We encourage the Minsk Group Co-Chairs to convince the parties to proceed towards a solution during their upcoming contacts in the region as outlined by Ambassador Warlick. We offer our support and wish them success. Otherwise, we will continue to be bogged down in a situation which, in essence, will be remaining unacceptable and unsustainable, waiting for the next flare-up.

Thank you.