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Opening Remarks by H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavusoğlu at the Meeting of Global Counter Terrorism Forum, 23 September 2014, New York

Secretary Kerry,
Distinguished Colleagues,

I extend my sincere appreciation to Secretary Kerry and express my pleasure to co-chair the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly here in New York.

Dear Colleagues,

I think you would agree with me that this 5th Ministerial Meeting of the GCTF has convened at a more challenging time compared to the previous meetings. We have to take stock of our achievements, ways and means of how to ensure that we keep them and define areas which needs to be addressed further.

At the outset let me first pay my respects to the victims of terrorism, whose number unfortunately globally increased. Against the brutal killings of innocent civilians and persecution of communities based on their beliefs, as Governments, it is our responsibility to protect them and ensure that this does not become a trend. After all, this is the ultimate purpose of our counter terrorism efforts.

The terrorism threat has not only proliferated geographically but also, intensified in terms of violence and narratives. In this vein, certainly we need to reflect beyond the traditional parameters of security policies and employ a wider security perspective.

As we face a complex, decentralized and geographically diverse threat more than ever before, our policies and methods should be aimed at prevention of not only new terrorist forms and actors emerging but also ensure that the spiraling relapses do not occur.

We need to devise mechanisms that will allow us to make more effective use of the early warning signals of the experts we employ.

Here I want to call your attention to the most current threat of ISIL. All issues that we address under the GCTF framework are relevant to cope with this particular threat.

It is not only about military strength alone but about reducing vulnerability to extremist ideologies by addressing conditions conducive to terrorism. The Global Counter Terrorism Strategy provides ample guidance for us on this matter.

In complementing global efforts against terrorism, the Forum serves a unique role as the international venue for sharing national experiences and channeling national contributions into civilian led counterterrorism efforts. And we are grateful to all of you around this table for your continued commitment to this cause.

So far, we can state that we have made commendable progress under the GCTF in identifying priority areas, initiating multi-stakeholder dialogue and producing some tangible outcomes.

Our experts developed a series of good practices documents on a range of counterterrorism issues. Today we will add to this list four new framework documents addressing some critical issues ranging from ‘‘foreign terrorist fighters’’ to ‘‘countering violent extremism and education’’. These framework documents are intended to guide interested governments as they develop comprehensive policies, programs and approaches relating to counterterrorism. So we invite all of you to make use of this inventory to the best of your abilities.

Likewise, the Forum has inspired the creation of independent institutions that will further strengthen the international counterterrorism and countering violent extremism architecture. Since its launch in December 2012, Hedayah stands to fill an important gap by extensively engaging in important matters relating to countering violent extremism, including education, prison de-radicalization, victims of terrorism, community engagement and cultural diplomacy. Our commitment will certainly continue as Hedayah grows to be the premier international venue for capacity building and research in countering violent extremism.

A landmark in its kind, the International Institute for Justice and the Rule of Law (IIJ) in Malta will serve as an important training platform for all justice sector stakeholders on how to address terrorism within a rule of law framework. On this occasion, let me reiterate Turkey’s commitment to IIJ both in-kind and financial.

The Forum has also proved its relevance by addressing two particular issues of growing global concern; ‘‘foreign terrorist fighters’’ phenomenon and the increasing use of kidnapping for ransom by terrorist groups. It is not a coincidence that both of these issues that have been addressed in the GCTF has also been mentioned in the recent landmark UNSC Resolutions.

The conflict zones have increasingly become magnet for recruits, offering the skills, networks and motivation to produce another generation of foreign terrorist fighters. We are all aware of the possible consequences and risks involved based on the past experiences.

Regrettably, Turkey has had to bear lion’s share of this burden. We had to allocate resources for detecting and deporting more than thousand foreign terrorist fighters from almost 75 countries. From our experience in the last three years, we see that there is no solution to this problem without effective international cooperation.

Therefore we welcomed UN Security Council Resolution 2170 which condemns ISIL, Al-Nusrah Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida and calls on all member states to counter them effectively. In the same vein, we also look forward to the Summit Meeting which will be presided by President Obama tomorrow at the Council.

We believe that our work in the GCTF has substantially contributed to bringing up this issue at the level of UN Security Council. Good practices document that will be adopted later today is testimony to that fact. Foreign terrorist fighters issue will certainly be on the agenda of the GCTF in the upcoming period.

Similarly, we have also addressed the issue of kidnapping for ransom, which has almost developed into an industry for the furtherance of terrorist activities globally. Our efforts have led to the adoption of first-ever UN Security Council resolution on this matter. This is obviously a very sensitive and sentimental issue.

Whilst continuing to engage in these GCTF efforts, bilaterally, Turkey intends to support some capacity-building projects as well, including a major UNODC project that seeks to enhance capacity of justice sectors to address the foreign fighters phenomenon.

We are also working on projects for training Somalian and Yemeni judges and prosecutors at our Justice Academy in an effort to invest in the criminal justice sector of these countries.

We trust that these and other bilateral capacity-building projects support the implementation of GCTF framework documents and broader GCTF strategic priorities in general. To this end, we shall continue our efforts through encouraging initiatives by all of our GCTF partners.

Distinguished Colleagues,

While we were able to harness support for deeper, practical and effective counterterrorism cooperation, terrorist attacks from Westgate to Boston and from Erbil to Brussels reminded us that we have to do more.

We have also accumulated ample experience and know that when hatred, frustrations and extremism left alone grow into violence and terror.

We must put this knowledge in use. Our response must be determined, consistent, timely and innovative.

A response that must remain anchored in respect for human rights and the rule of law.

We have to remember, prevention is much less costly from pursuing the threat and addressing the threat in context is much effective than reacting to the latest atrocity. This is a lesson we are reminded everyday by the news from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Somalia and elsewhere.

Our cooperation in the GCTF has so far been instrumental in enhancing coherence, complementarity and agility of our counterterrorism measures.

We are confident that with your support and active engagement, we will continue to take concrete and practical action against this global scourge.

I take this opportunity to once again underline Turkey's full commitment to the GCTF. In our capacity as the Co-chair we are dedicated to strengthen the international cooperation for countering terrorism in all its forms and to engage with our partners in a flexible and open-minded dialogue.

Thank you.