Peace at home, peace in the world

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Address by Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the 22nd Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, İstanbul, 29 June 2013

Mr. President of Parliamentary Assembly,
Mr. Speaker of Turkish Grand National Assembly,
Distinguished Speakers of the Parliaments,
My Dear Colleague Minister Leonid Kozhara,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Distinguished Members of Parliamentary Assembly,
Dear Guests,

First of all; let me welcome all of you to a city which played a significant role in the history of Eurasia as capital of empires as well as host of several international organizations in the past; and as a city for the future of global peace which we want to make a city of UN, a regional headquarter of UN agencies. İstanbul is well known by the OSCE because of the Istanbul Summit. This is not the first time we have hosted a great OSCE activity. Turkey was the host country of the OSCE Summit in 1999; and at that time two historic documents were adopted in İstanbul. One of them was the Charter for European Security and the other one was a document on a platform for cooperative security. Some new concepts were introduced in this city for OSCE.

Here I want to share my view on Helsinki +40 with you, because this is a very important historical stage and we congratulate the OSCE Presidency for this meaningful initiative. In the Turkish culture, age 40 means maturity. Age 40 means someone who reaches maturity. In international organizations, of course it is not like human beings, maybe it takes longer, but in our organization, OSCE, I can say there have been two stages; the first one was from 1975 until 1990, until Paris Summit when a new concept of European security was adopted. The other stage was a formative stage from the end of Cold war until now. We can say that our organization, as a young international organization has experienced an era of dynamism and structural formation. Now it is the right time to review our experiences and to establish some new objectives for our organization.

In order to give some background, let me just underline the basic changes the international system went through in post-cold war era. I can say in post-cold war era, there were three big systemic changes; three earthquakes so to speak. The first earthquake was in 1991; the collapse of Soviet Union from 1989 until 1991; this was a geopolitical earthquake. The second earthquake was in 2001, 9/11; which was a security earthquake. We have experienced the third one in 2010 and 2011 which started as a political and an economic earthquake. We have an economic crisis in Europe and we have a huge political transformation in the neighborhood of OSCE in the Middle East and North Africa. When we look at these earthquakes, how it affected the security atmosphere and how OSCE has reacted to these; in fact it is right time to discuss all these issues from a new perspective.

I was very happy yesterday when I had a long consultation with my dear colleague Minister Kozhara in Ankara. Although we came together for Joint Strategic Planning Group Meeting between Turkey and Ukraine, a significant part of our meeting was reserved for how we see the OSCE activities; and I congratulate Ukrainian chairmanship for trying to give a new momentum and dynamism to our organization and for giving a new momentum to different issues of security. When you look at these transformations, distinguished guests, in fact OSCE has responded to these transformations. The OSCE provided the main instrumental framework, the main principles and pillars which ended Cold War. Helsinki Act was a message -not only the nucleus of any organization- but a message of peace and prosperity from the OSCE to all Eurasia -from Vladivostok to Vancouver. And with that atmosphere of confidence building, transition from Cold War to Post Cold War era was made possible.

In the first stage -the geopolitical earthquake stage- throughout the Eurasia, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasia and Central Asia, we faced many challenges. And in this decade the OSCE has been transformed from a platform, from a certain set of principles into a structural organization in 1994 at the Budapest Summit and became an international organization. And I can say that at that time, there was a historical significance of the OSCE because of the conventional concept of the security, and because of several crises from Bosnia to Kosovo, from Transnistria, to Karabakh, to Abkhazia and to other areas. Still, we have challenges in all these aspects but the contribution of the OSCE in those years was great to ease the tension and to facilitate the transition from Cold War to Post Cold War Era. Especially the limitation of conventional arms and the new framework of conventional security were the great contributions of the OSCE.

But unfortunately in the second earthquake, there was some sort of a need for the reformulation of the OSCE therefore there were several summits and ministerial meetings to identify new objectives for the OSCE, because 9/11 brought new challenges, new security challenges which were not conventional. The terrorist attacks changed the concept of security all around the world and instead of the political rhetoric of democratization and liberty in 1990s, more security-oriented political philosophies became relevant starting with 9/11. There was a need for the reformulation of the objectives and instruments of OSCE. There were two basic changes: the first one was the change of the concept of security, second one was that the center of attraction shifted from Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasia, Central Asia to Middle East and Afghanistan. Especially Afghanistan and Iraq wars changed the international agenda. But in fact, we were still not able to solve the basic frozen conflicts from 1990s and in the last 10 years, these frozen conflicts stayed as they are. Unfortunately we were not able to find some creative solutions for these conflicts, and the challenges are still there.

Now it is right time to build a new momentum in the OSCE because of two basic elements: First, the global economic crisis, European economic crisis and the impact of these economic crises on stability and prosperity in Eurasia and the second one is a huge wave of transformation in the neighborhood especially in North Africa and in the Middle East.

So there are new challenges and it is right time to put new dynamism, new meaningful instruments and concepts to our organization. What should be the basic objectives here? I think, in this new era, there should be three approaches: First; how can we resolve the frozen conflicts which we took over from 1990s until today and became source of instability in different regions? I was very happy when I listened to Minister Kozhara that he has plans to go to South Caucasia, to Azerbaijan and Armenia as well as several other conflict areas to try to motivate people and the leaders of these countries for a new peace process. Yes, it is the right time now to solve these issues. What we need is a success story. If we are able to solve one of these frozen conflicts, that will be a good indicator, a good model for solving other frozen conflicts as well. It is our duty after the twenty years since the formation of Minsk Group. It is time to work together to find a solution to all these crises.

Second significant objective is that we need to have a new concept of security which is identified by three dimensions; politico-military dimension, human dimension and economic dimension. I think this is a very important definition of security by the OSCE because now we are facing challenges not only from military or conventional sources of instability but also challenges concerning humanitarian and economic aspects. Especially after the economic crisis, today there is a huge challenge in Europe regarding the rising extremism, racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia which are turning out to be the new threats to the stability; not only interstate but also inter communal stability of our continents.

Therefore, there is a need for a new strategy. When we chaired the Committee of Ministers of Council of Europe, we started an initiative on preparing a new report; an initiative on how to support multicultural co-existence and harmony between different cultures. This is a soft power issue and the soft power dimension of security should be addressed properly by the OSCE and by all institutions of the OSCE. I think it is right time now for these soft power elements to be on our agenda. The role of parliaments in soft power issues is much more important than the role of the Ministerial Committees because parliaments represent all segments of society. For executive operational aspects, governments and ministerial committees are important, but for soft power elements and for cultural and economic aspects of security, parliaments are more important. And what we expect and what we hope from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is to bring all segments of our societies together and create a base for peace, prosperity and stability for Eurasia.

There is another new element I want to share with you in this new era: Transformation in the neighborhood. The OSCE was the best example of the peaceful transition and how different countries who were enemies once, who prepared for war in the Cold War, came together and established a new framework of peace. That is the best example. Helsinki process is one of the most striking successes in 20th century for global peace. Now we need Helsinki-like initiatives in the Middle East, in North Africa and in several other regions where we are facing problems with respect to the boundaries. Today, there is a huge wave of transformation in a huge area from Morocco to Yemen, from Somalia to Afghanistan where Turkey is actively involved in many of these issues and where experience of the OSCE and Helsinki initiative could be a good model for these conflicts in this new dynamic atmosphere of these regions. Therefore, any initiative by the Parliamentary Assembly to establish relations with the new parliaments of new democracies in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Morocco and Yemen is essentially important. We hope that one day Syria will have an elected parliament. Helping all these societies to develop their concept of security, stability and rule of law and democratic principles should be high on agenda of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. Our experience should be a test for other societies and a good model for other regions.

With these, I strongly believe that our meeting in İstanbul will have a historical meaning to redefine the objectives of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly as well as the OSCE in general and to address the new challenges and the new issues not only in Eurasia but also in Asia like in Afghanistan. What will happen in Afghanistan after 2014 will be affecting directly our agenda in the OSCE. What will be happening in the Middle East, in the Mediterranean will be having a similar impact on our agenda. And I strongly believe that Ukrainian chairmanship and later Swiss and Serbian chairmanships will contribute to this process.

I congratulate the maturity of our organization and Helsinki+40 process and I extend my best wishes for your stay in this beautiful city. If you need anything, be sure that all of our staff here are at your disposal for the success of this conference.

Thank you very much.