Statement by H.E. Ertuğrul Apakan Represantative of Turkey at the Security Council Debate on the Situation in Somalia

Ertuğrul Apakan 25.08.2010
Mr. President,

Thank you for organizing this important debate. We also appreciate Secretary General’s briefing today, which is yet another testament to his dedicated efforts in the Somalia issue. We support the elements contained in the Presidential statement read out earlier.

Mr. President,

Piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden continues to be a threat to the international maritime safety as well as to the security of the regional countries.

Turkey not only deplores these illegal acts, but also has stood resolved to repress them by joining the multi-national counter-piracy operations in the region. Turkey has contributed to the Combined Task Force-151 by allocating frigates since the Force’s inception and the Turkish naval forces have prevented several pirate attacks. The Turkish Navy will once again assume the command of the CTF-151 starting from 1 September 2010.

We have always advocated effective coordination and close cooperation in the efforts aimed at suppression of armed robbery at sea and piracy. Therefore, we fully support the work of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS). As one of the founding member of the Group, Turkey actively participates in its work and deliberations.

As regards redressing the problem more needs to be done. Piracy and armed robbery incidents in the region are still widespread. It has been striking to see that these unlawful acts are committed far and far away from the Somali coast. The effective detainment and prosecution of suspected pirates and armed robbers is certainly one of the most necessary components of deterring future attacks and securing freedom and safety of navigation on the high seas.

We welcome the Secretary General’s comprehensive report on possible options to further the aim of prosecuting and imprisoning persons responsible for acts of piracy, on which USG O’brien kindly elaborated earlier today. The report is a balanced one and constitutes a good basis for further studies on this matter. Each and every option deserves a thorough consideration. We believe that today's debate will also provide useful inputs for the future deliberations in this regard.

We also welcome the Secretary General’s decision to appoint a Special Adviser on Legal Issues Related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. Working Group 2 of the CGPCS will also continue to play an important role in devising ways in bringing the piracy suspects to justice.

Mr. President,

It is indeed important to find long-term solutions to the problem of prosecuting suspected pirates as well as imprisoning them.

The ideal solution, undoubtedly, is to enable Somali authorities to progressively take on more responsibilities in prosecuting pirates with the perspective of rebuilding prisons and supporting the judicial processing. Yet, we all know that this is not the case under current circumstances. Therefore, we should urge the countries in the region to assume collective responsibility for combating piracy. As a matter of fact, the ongoing efforts of states in the region, in particular Kenya and the Seychelles are commendable.

Notwithstanding which option would be generally supported and chosen to move forward the international community should continue to help enhance the capacity of the judicial and the corrections systems in Somalia and other States in the region to prosecute suspected, and imprison convicted, pirates consistent with applicable international human rights law, as also envisaged in the Djibouti Code of Conduct. We believe that the United Nations has a leading role in capacity building and welcome in that regard the programs implemented by the United Nations institutions including UNDP, UNODC, UNPOS and the IMO.

When establishing new judicial mechanisms, one of the key aspects is to secure sufficient and sustained financial commitment by the states. The International Trust Fund is a useful tool as far as financing is concerned. Yet there is still a need for sustainable and reliable sources, especially when we take into consideration the completion and the residual issues. We have to bear in mind that we cannot expect any willing host state to shoulder additional unreasonable financial burden. In that regard, funding from United Nations assessed contributions might be an option. Contributions by the shipping industry to the costs could be another possibility.

Another point that I want to raise is that not all patrolling naval states have bilateral arrangements for transfer of suspects to regional states. The establishment of a new judicial mechanism under any of the options may necessitate the patrolling naval states to enter into bilateral arrangements for the transfer of suspects for the prosecution. In order to standardize this practice the United Nations might lead the way by preparing a draft multilateral agreement, which inter alia, sets out the crimes, geographic limits on jurisdiction as well as the individual obligations of the host and patrolling states on the transfer of the suspects.

Mr. President,

Like others we also recognize the fact that naval operations and subsequent prosecution and detention of captured pirates represent only one aspect of the fight against piracy. More attention needs to be paid to comprehensive solutions dealing with root causes of piracy within Somalia.

Lasting solution to the problem can only be found if it is sought in the broader context of political, security and economic situation in Somalia. Anti-piracy efforts need to be supported and complemented by concrete policies and measures that will contribute to the establishment of law and order in Somalia.

Yesterday’s attack in Mogadishu which we strongly condemn showed once again the fragile security situation in Somalia. We extend our condolences to the TFG and the Somali people. We believe that peace and stability within Somalia depend on the strengthening of State institutions. Likewise, economic and social development and respect for human rights and rule of law are necessary to create the conditions for a durable eradication of piracy and armed robbery at sea off its coast.

Thank you Mr. President