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Opening Remarks by Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the Third Ministerial Meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, 14 December 2012, Abu Dhabi

Thank you very much Your Highness.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Distinguished Colleagues,

First of all, I wish Secretary Clinton, who unfortunately could not be with us today, a speedy recovery.

It is a distinct pleasure to co-chair the third Ministerial Plenary of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum. I would also like to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan for hosting the Third Ministerial Plenary Meeting of the GCTF here in Abu Dhabi.

Today’s dazzling changes in the international environment compel us to play a pro-active role in countering colossal challenges. Turkey, as a beacon of dynamic stability in a volatile region, has a sense of responsibility that drives her foreign policy. We spare no efforts to consolidate security and stability in our region and beyond. Our efforts in countering terrorism are part and parcel of our strategy in this regard. As a country that has and unfortunately continues to be victimized by terrorism, our longstanding struggle against this menace puts us at the forefront of the global counterterrorism efforts. It is with this understanding that we take active part in GCTF as co-chair.

Today, we shall have the opportunity to take stock of our progress since our last meeting in Istanbul and we will shape the future conduct of our joint efforts in this Forum.

We had envisaged the GCTF as a flexible and action oriented platform among Governments and experts for facilitating exchange of experience and information as well as enhancing understanding of expectations and needs. In that respect, I think, in fair judgment, we can state that GCTF has so far proven its added value for the global efforts to countering terrorism.

While the priorities for each GCTF member may differ, there are several issues of common concern. We are confident that our joint efforts will enable us to strike the right balance between individual perspectives and these strategic priorities. Within this framework, the GCTF shall continue its endeavors to focus on the common good for all.

The dynamism within five working groups of the GCTF reveals the enthusiasm of the GCTF members regarding this platform. The work plan before us today also shows that within the GCTF we are able to build on existing grounds, in cooperation with the UN and other pertinent international and regional organizations. I would like to thank the UN officials present here today, for their engagement in the Forum’s activities and once more underline the importance we attach to sustaining this synergy between the UN and the Forum.

One famous academic described terrorism as a “an example and product of human interaction gone awry”. Indeed, as we all know from our own experience, violent radicalization into terrorism is a process which can be intervened, prevented and at times reversed. However, although there are considerable amount of academic studies as well as national programs in this field, we still face significant challenges and there is a need to translate the accumulated knowledge to efficient measures at national and international levels.

We believe the inauguration of the International Center of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism today is an important step in that regard. We thank the Government of UAE and in particular His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed al Nahyan for hosting the Hedayah Center, which is the first ever international center that shall dwell on violent extremism in all its forms and manifestations.

Turkey on her own part, has nominated members for steering and advisory boards of the Center and today I have the pleasure to announce that we also seconded a Director for Research. We are looking forward to further contributing to the activities and programs that shall be developed by the Center and we will provide funding for its projects.

In the same vein, we believe the establishment of the International Institute for Justice and Rule of Law in Tunis will be an equally important achievement. This institute will contribute to sharing of experiences for keeping the crucial balance between providing security and enhancing freedom. Turkey, aware of the difficulties in that regard, firmly believes that there is no alternative to this approach. We are also ready to second personnel, send experts and organize workshops particularly through the Justice Academy of the Turkish Ministry of Justice as well as the Police Academy of Turkey in support of this Institute.

I believe the merit of this Forum lies in taking concrete action and displaying unwavering political will. Therefore, I take this opportunity to once again underline Turkey's full commitment to the GCTF.

Thank you.