The United Nations Organization and Turkey

International Organization Profile

Objective of the Organization:
- To prevent wars and threats to peace
- To develop friendly relations among nations
- To achieve international economic and social co-operation

Date of Foundation:
1945

Headquarters:
New York
(UN Offices in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi)
Secretary General: Antonio Guterres (Portugal)

Member States:
The United Nations has 193 member states.

Turkey’s Membership:
Turkey is one of the founding members of the UN.
 
History of the Organization

The United Nations (UN) is an international organization established to prevent the repetition of wars that broke out in the first half of the 20th century and to eliminate threats to international peace and security.

The UN Charter, which is the UN’s founding agreement, was signed by 50 countries including Turkey on 26 June 1945 in San Francisco. The number of founding member States increased to 51 after Poland signed the Charter. As it was envisaged in the UN Charter, the UN Organization started to function officially on 24 October 1945 after the majority of the UN member States including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council concluded their ratification procedure of the Charter. Since then, 24 October is annually celebrated as the UN Day.

The main organs of the UN are the General Assembly, Security Council (UNSC), Economic and Social Council, Trusteeship Council, International Court of Justice and the UN Secretariat.

Turkey’s relations with the UN

Turkey has adopted a more proactive approach towards the UN in recent years striving to contribute effectively to all the issues on the UN agenda. Benefiting from its membership in different groups and organizations, Turkey makes every effort to play a constructive and reconciliatory role in all the issues on the agenda.

Geographical groups were established to implement the principle of equitable and balanced representation in the elections at the UN. Accordingly, there are five geographical groups: i) African Group, ii) Asia Pacific Group, iii) Eastern European Group, iv) Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC) and v) Western European and Others Group (WEOG). Turkey participates in the works of both the WEOG and the Asia Pacific Group. However, as far as the elections are concerned, Turkey is considered to be a member of the WEOG Group.

The UN budget is mainly financed through mandatory and voluntary contributions from the member states based on their influence in the international system and their economic capacity. Our country’s assessed contribution to the UN was %0,617 in 2012. This figure exceeded %1 in 2013 and reached %1,328 increasing Turkey’s ranking among the top donor countries from the 25th place to the 16th. Thus, in May 2014, Turkey has become a member of the Geneva Group, which is a non-official entity focusing on the efficiency of the UN and brings together like-minded countries on the administrative and financial policies. Turkey’s contribution to the UN regular budget is set at %1,018 for the 2016-2018 budget term.
Turkey extends its support to the UN in every forum and every possible way and is determined to enhance its contribution to international peace, security, stability and prosperity. Turkey also would like to further increase its efforts towards strengthening of fundamental principles and values such as human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Turkey’s non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council for the term 2009-2010, which remains as the most critical multilateral forum for ensuring and maintaining international peace and security, provided Turkey with further opportunities in the international arena and the UN. Turkey had always been one of the strongest supporters of the principles and objectives of the UN Charter and supported the settlement of international disputes through multilateral cooperation. As such, during its non-permanent membership in the UNSC, after almost half a century following its non-permanent membership in 1961 after the terms 1951-1952 and 1954-1955, Turkey participated in the UNSC’s work with its multi-dimensional foreign policy. Turkey exerted every effort to make the utmost contribution to various issues most of which are, in fact, a part of its own daily agenda.

The progress achieved by Turkey recently in the fields of economic growth and development, in its policies of opening up to Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Pacific region, its EU perspective, its membership in G-20 and the increase in its official development assistance, provided new opportunities for Turkey especially for increasing its contribution to the UN’s development agenda. In this regard, the 4th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries held in Istanbul on 9-13 May 2011 allowed Turkey to concretely demonstrate its support and contribution to international development cooperation. In the Conference, Turkey assumed the responsibility of raising the issues related to the LDCs in international agenda and facilitating the efforts for finding solutions until 2020, thus, undertaking a leading advocacy role for the LDCs. The Mid-Term Review Meeting for monitoring the outcomes of this Conference was hosted by Turkey in May 2016, as well.

Turkey’s humanitarian assistance efforts, which was initiated in the mid-1980s by providing food aid, have gained a remarkable impetus in the last decade, expanded to many regions across the world and diversified in terms of quantity and quality covering a wide range of activities. Furthermore, Turkey extends its humanitarian assistance not only at bilateral level but also through international organizations such as the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and World Food Programme (WFP). Thus, Turkey’s humanitarian aid contributions have gained an international dimension and its cooperation with international institutions operating in the field has been enhanced. In this regard, on 1 July 2014, Turkey became a member of the OCHA Donor Support Group (ODSG). ODSG is a consultation mechanism aiming at shaping humanitarian policies followed by the OCHA and brings together top OCHA donor countries.

In the face of the deadlock the international humanitarian aid system is facing today, the World Humanitarian Summit was held in Istanbul under the auspices of H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey, on 23-24 May 2016 for the first time in history within the framework of the personal initiative of former Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon.

The Summit was held at the level of Heads of State and Government and on a multi-stakeholder platform with the participation of the representatives of international organizations, non-governmental organizations, academia, private sector and leaders from crisis-affected communities. In the light of the former Secretary-General’s report titled “One Humanity: Shared Responsibility” published on 9 February 2016, and with the participation of all stakeholders, the Summit provided an opportunity to address the issues in order to overcome difficulties faced by the global humanitarian system. During the Summit, all stakeholders of the humanitarian assistance field made various commitments for the future of the system and shared their opinions and experiences.

173 UN member states participated in the Summit and 55 of them were represented at the level of Heads of State and Government. More than 60 Ministers were present in the event as well and more than 40 international organizations were represented at the Secretary General / President level. Along with other stakeholders, a total of 9,000 participants attended the Summit. 900 press members followed the Summit, which had a wide coverage in the international media.

Thus, the World Humanitarian Summit has gained the title of the largest Summit organized – outside the UN Headquarters in New York – with the greatest number of countries participated at once.

Turkey’s proposals for the resolution of the problems in the humanitarian assistance system, its remarks regarding the future of the system and its national practices were shared with the representatives of international humanitarian assistance community in a series of high level meetings with the participation of H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan himself – or co-chaired by him – and of Ministers as well as high level officials.

In the forthcoming period, Turkey will continue to play an effective role in implementing and monitoring the outcomes of the Summit and commitments made by all stakeholders in the humanitarian assistance field.

In line with the progress achieved in recent years in Turkey’s relations with the UN, one of the primary aims of its UN policy is to transform Istanbul into a UN center, taking into account its proximity to Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, as well as its traveling facilities and the fact that Istanbul is an already economic, financial and cultural center. As a result of work we have conducted with the UN so far, Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been transferred to Istanbul. Istanbul also hosts the UN International Center for Private Sector in Development of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UNDP’s Regional Service Centre for Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States (UNDP-RSC) and the Regional Office of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN WOMEN) for Europe and Central Asia.

Turkey’s contribution to peacekeeping operations which constitutes one of the most important tools of the international community for the maintenance of international peace and stability, represents a concrete example of its cooperation with the UN. Turkey is among the countries providing military and civilian personnel to the UN peacekeeping operations deployed in various conflict areas around the world.
The developments taking place in the international arena since 1945, when the UN was established, necessitate reforming in the Organization and its work on various fields. In this regard, important steps have already been taken to further improve the UN system.

Turkey gives utmost importance to the UN, as the only global organization that establishes norms for dealing with the problems multilaterally, protecting international peace and security, and strengthening human rights as well as representing the international legitimacy. Within this scope, Turkey will continue to enhance its active and effective contributions to the UN activities in every field ranging from peacekeeping, to development, and from climate change to UN Security Council reform.