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Statement by H.E. Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu, Under Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 19th OSCE Ministerial Council, 6 December 2012, Dublin

Mr. Chairman,

Thank you for the excellent hospitality extended to us in this beautiful city of Dublin. Tanaiste (Taaniste) and Minister Gilmore, together with your competent team of collaborators, you have guided our Organization admirably throughout 2012.

Turkey attaches importance to this Organization with its unique capacity to contribute to cooperative security in all three dimensions.

The accession of Mongolia is a clear manifestation of the OSCE’s continued relevance. This is a welcome development that is mutually beneficial.

The Dublin Ministerial meeting is an opportunity to chart our future course in realization of the vision set forth at the Astana Summit. We hope that the “Helsinki + 40” process to be launched at this Ministerial will equip the OSCE with the necessary tools to respond more effectively to the requirements of the new security environment.

I cannot but fail to stress my strong conviction that this vision will not transcend to reality if the OSCE cannot settle the protracted conflicts which it was mandated to resolve. Despite the renewal of our commitments made at the highest level during OSCE Summits, both in Istanbul in 1999 and in Astana in 2010, no tangible progress has been made so far.

The status-quo in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is unacceptable. The effective utilization of the Minsk Group in order to foster creative ideas and projects that will bring new prospects for settlement is imperative.

In this respect, we welcomed the latest meeting between the Co-Chairs and the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan on October 28 in Paris, as well as the visit of the Co-Chairs to both countries. This expression by Azerbaijan and Armenia to continue to work together in order to reach a peacefully negotiated settlement must be further promoted through win win projects targeting regional integration.

As we mark the fourth anniversary of the start of the Geneva discussions for a just and lasting settlement to the conflict in Georgia, we believe that the positive momentum must not be allowed to falter.

We equally note with satisfaction the encouraging developments taking place in the settlement of the Transdnistrian conflict. The further consolidation of trust and cooperation between the parties will, we hope, lead to a speedy resolution.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey embraces more openness, transparency and predictability in the politico-military dimension. We stand ready to further update the Vienna Document. But it is essential to restore the regime in its area of application in full.

The security conditions across the OSCE area are uneven and we believe that it will not be in our common interest to compartmentalize the OSCE region into different levels of security. To this effect, we continue to be committed to the CFE Regime which is overwhelmingly interlinked with the other pillars of European security and ready to engage with all its states parties in a result oriented dialogue.

Combating terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime and other transnational threats remain major challenges for the international community. Today the OSCE has become one of the leading international organizations in this regard. It stands at the vanguard of international efforts to understand these challenges, conceptualize them and devise the necessary tools and instruments for their eradication.

Throughout the years, Turkey has never stopped extolling the potential of the economic and environmental dimension in enhancing confidence among States and contributing to the realization of the broad security objectives of our organization.

The human dimension occupies no less a central role within the comprehensive security concept of the OSCE. The Participating States continue to benefit from the extensive body of commitments which provide essential standards for the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Our Organization must be more active if we are to successfully overcome both long-standing and evolving challenges which continue to confront us. Trends of non-tolerance, religious and ethnic discrimination and xenophobia threaten our societies. Discrimination against Muslims, which is closely associated with the deplorable new form of racism called “Islamophobia”, is a key challenge in this context. Anti-immigrant sentiment is fueled by populist rhetoric and biased media portrayals. Intolerant public discourse against Muslims and Islam must be countered by political leaders through proactive intervention.

Mr. Chairman,

This year has witnessed the continuation of democratic transitions in regions adjacent to the OSCE. The developments in the Middle East and beyond have shown that dignity, freedom, and prosperity are aspirations for all people. The “Arab Spring” does not promise quick success stories. We observe that some regimes are committing crimes against humanity thinking that use of violence can save them. It cannot. Despite its irreversible nature, it is not uncommon to observe strong resistance particularly by the regimes whose legitimacy and survival are at stake. The most striking example of such resistance has been adamantly displayed by the regime in Syria.

We, in Turkey, opened our doors to every Syrian who runs for safety. Now, the number of Syrians we accommodate has exceeded 200 thousand. We urge all members of the international community to join and contribute to international efforts to address this humanitarian crisis.

In another region, work towards a secure and stable Afghanistan has reached a pivotal moment. The Istanbul Conference witnessed the setting up by the countries of the Heart of Asia of a new cooperative scheme, similar to the model offered by the OSCE, centered on Afghanistan and based on regional ownership. The OSCE should remain engaged and available to further lend support when required.

Our dialogue at the OSCE with Asian Partners for Co-Operation is an equally important avenue for exchanging views and creating stimulus towards enhancing global security. The Conference on Interaction and Cooperation in Asia – CICA- draws much from the OSCE and constitutes a bridge between the OSCE and Asia.

Mr. Chairman,

In closing my remarks, I wish to thank the Irish Chairmanship and Tanaiste and Minister Gilmore for his stewardship of the organization and wish the incoming Ukrainian Chairmanship, to whom we pledge our full support, the best of success.

Thank you.