Turkey has been elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the term 2009-2010, at the elections held in New York on October 17, 2008.
Turkey obtained 151 votes from the 192-member General Assembly, which stands as one of the highest number of votes received in a three way contested election, with 80% of the votes cast in favor of Turkey.
Election of Turkey to the UN Security Council at this critical juncture, when global peace and security is faced with growing number of challenges, represents the confidence entrusted in our country and our peaceful foreign policy based on dialogue and cooperation.
We made our case for election based on our strong credentials in the field of international peace and security and our active and constructive role within the United Nations, persistently and at the highest levels.
Now, Turkey will exert every effort to deliver the responsibilities the Security Council membership entails, based on its multi-faceted assets and experience.
In this regard, we are aware of the high expectations from Turkey as evident from the high number of votes we received in the elections.
That said, we are also confident that our membership to the Security Council will help advance the ideals and principles enshrined in the UN Charter. Indeed, Turkey’s pursuit of membership in the Council is first and foremost based on its unwavering commitment to the United Nations and its purposes.
As a founding member of the U.N., Turkey has a record of strong and dedicated participation across the wide spectrum of the global organization’s activities.
In this regard, Turkey has actively participated in the efforts to preserve peace and stability at the regional and global levels – not only through the U.N., but also as part of NATO, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Turkey provided troops, civilian police officers and observers to international peacekeeping missions in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East. In terms of overall contributions to UN missions, Turkey ranks 26th among the member states. With 284 police officers, we rank 10th in police contributions.
Turkey has also provided significant humanitarian and development assistance around the globe.
Contributing to numerous international and bilateral aid efforts, Turkey is rapidly emerging as a significant donor country with worldwide Official Development Assistance in the range of 600 to 700 million USD per year. This figure when supplemented by the aid provided by the Turkish private sector more than doubles itself reaching 1.1 to 1.7 billion USD per year and corresponding to 0.18 percent of its GNP.
The Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), operating through its branch offices in some 25 countries, is actively involved in various development projects in more than hundred countries.
In parallel, Turkey has constantly increased its voluntary contributions to the U.N. funds, programs and affiliated organizations. From 2005 through 2007 these contributions amounted to more than 43 million USD.
Turkey has always been sensitive to the social and economic problems faced by the developing countries, such as poverty, social inequality, epidemic diseases, food shortages, global warming and volatile energy prices.
To this end, Turkey has made significant contributions bilaterally and through relevant UN agencies such as World Food Program and UNAIDS. The creation of a 50 million US Dollar Strategic Reserve Fund to respond to flash appeals by food agencies is the latest case in point.
Turkey is also a staunch advocate of providing less developed countries with greater/preferential access to global markets, convinced that such measures will be far more effective in inducing the development of these countries than any other aid program. Turkey has consistently defended this position, including at the latest Doha Round talks.
As such, Turkey is fully dedicated to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and achievement of sustainable development all around the globe. To that end, Turkey is committed to strong cooperation particularly with the Least Developed Countries which need the most urgent attention from the international community.
Turkey has been a strong advocate of human rights, children's issues and the promotion of the status of women. Turkey has made significant progress in reducing rates of infant and child mortality during the previous decade, while making parallel strides in empowering women in all walks of life.
Turkey has been a leading catalyst in efforts to strengthen energy security in its region and around the world. Given its geographic location, Turkey is fast becoming an energy hub, connecting producers with consumers.
Turkey plays a leading role in the fight against terrorism, organized crime, illegal trafficking of all kinds (drugs, human, arms) and corruption. Situated at a crossroads where these threats form a strong nexus, Turkey is committed to strengthen international cooperation in fighting these scourges.
Turkey has been an integral element of international efforts to address arms control and disarmament issues, including adherence to the relevant international agreements and observance of their full implementation.
Turkey attaches great importance to effective multilateralism and thus plays an active role in regional and international organizations. Besides the UN, Turkey is also a founding member of the Council of Europe, Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, Organization of Islamic Conference, Economic Cooperation Organization and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Member of NATO for the last 56 years, Turkey has also been in accession negotiations with the EU since 2005.
Lately, Turkey has expanded its outreach in all four directions and has obtained observer/associate/guest status in a wide range of regional organizations, including the African Union, Organization of American States and the Arab League.
In addition, Turkey is a co-sponsor of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative launched by the former Secretary General of the United Nations in July 2005. This initiative, which aims to foster an environment of mutual understanding and tolerance, as well as to facilitate harmony and dialogue by emphasizing the common values of different cultures and religions, has now become a full-fledged and comprehensive U.N. process.
Increasingly, Turkey has also been a critical convener of neighbors and regional countries in various formats with the goal of bringing about and facilitating peace, security and cooperation in her broad neighborhood. To name a few of the recent initiatives:
·For much of this year, Turkey has facilitated indirect talks between Syria and Israel.
·Turkey established the Ankara Forum, which has brought the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority together to promote economic development projects in the West Bank.
·Turkey also initiated and hosted the Iraq’s Neighboring Countries Process, an initiative that brings together Iraq and its neighbors for ministerial consultations and which includes P-5 and G-8 Countries, as well as the U.N., the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Arab League and the European Commission.
·In April 2007, Turkey has hosted a trilateral summit meeting among Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey which created the Ankara Process with a view to enhancing cooperation and building confidence between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
·Turkey launched the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform (CSCP) to bring together five countries of the region, namely, Turkey, Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, to discuss common issues.
These recent initiatives have come in addition to the plethora of other mutually reinforcing initiatives in the region including the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization based in Turkey, the Black Sea Naval Task Force, the Southeast Europe Cooperation Process, the Southeast Europe Brigade, just to name a few.
It is within the context of this commitment and successful record of contributing to the regional and international peace and security that Turkey has sought membership to the Security Council.
Having not held a seat in the UN Security Council since 1961, we now hope to apply our assets and experience in the service of the world community through the membership of the Council.
We are thankful to those countries who supported us and look forward to working with the entire UN membership in advancing our common goals and objectives.