Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, Permanent Representative of the Mission of Turkey to the United Nations, on "Report of the Security Council" and "Question of Equitable Representation on and Increase in the Membership of the Security Council" at the Joint Debate of the General Assembly

Ertuğrul Apakan 13.11.2009
Mr. President,

I would like to begin by thanking you for convening this joint meeting which provides a good opportunity to reflect on the activities of the Security Council as well as on the Council's ongoing reform process.

I also wish to express our appreciation to Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting, the Permanent Representative of Austria and the President of the Security Council for the month of November 2009, for presenting the annual report of the Council to the General Assembly. I would also like to thank the Delegation of Uganda for its efforts in preparing the report and coordinating it with the Member States.

The report provides an accurate account of the work of the Security Council and demonstrates the multiplicity of the issues that are on the agenda of the Council. It also points to a heavy workload of the Council whereby the African issues, particularly within the context of peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts, remain at the forefront.

Finally, the report points, albeit indirectly, to many of the important challenges that lie ahead for the Council, and indeed for our Organization as a whole. As a member of the Council for the term 2009-2010, Turkey will continue to provide its own perspectives and contributions in addressing these challenges during its Council membership and beyond. We have also carefully listened to the views expressed by the Member States regarding the nature of the report. As a member of the Council, we will do our utmost in taking them on board in the preparation of next year's report to the extent possible.

Mr. President,

I would also like to take this opportunity to briefly reiterate Turkey's position on the Security Council reform. Turkey remains fully committed to the reform of the Council that will render it more democratic, representative, accountable and transparent. Although much has been accomplished in this direction in recent years, there is still much room for improvement of the working methods of the Council to further enhance its transparency, accountability and inclusiveness. We therefore encourage the Council to continue its efforts to this end. In addition, we also believe that the Security Council reform is closely related to the revitalization of the General Assembly and hence these two processes should continue to proceed simultaneously.

Mr. President,

My country has taken an active part in the work of the Open-Ended Working Group on Security Council Reform as well as the subsequent intergovernmental negotiations that commenced in February 2009. Although the past three rounds of intergovernmental negotiations have been useful in examining the negotiables and exploring the basic linkages among them, we believe that the membership remains divided on such issues as the categories of membership and the question of veto. We do not see much merit in dwelling too much on these issues in the forthcoming rounds of the intergovernmental negotiations. Rather, we should try to make progress by setting aside for the moment these divergent views and concentrate instead on those ideas that have the potential to secure the widest possible political support among the membership. Let me briefly explain how we could still make progress in the face of our differences:

As a member of the Council which has started to serve on the Council after almost half a century, Turkey benefits immensely from this unique experience and responsibility. We believe that this experience should not be the sole prerogative of a privileged minority, but has to be available to all the aspiring member states, large or small, developed or least developed.

In particular, those Member States that are endowed with the means and capabilities to provide peace and stability in their region and beyond should be allowed to take a more active part in the work of the Council. We would therefore be supportive of the extended representation of such Member States on the Council. We believe that the "intermediate approach", consisting of renewable or longer term seats, could provide such an extended representation. We stand ready to further explore this idea in the subsequent rounds of the intergovernmental negotiations.

Another way to move forward despite our differences of opinion as regards categories of membership may be to think of ways to uphold the principle of regional representation and to reach a more equitable geographical distribution in the Council. Such an approach could be less objectionable for many of us than discussing if and how the permanent membership of a particular group of member states could enhance regional representation in the Council.

Mr. President,

The present composition of the Security Council reflects a certain power balance. It is the power balance of the post-Second World War era. Most of the proposals that are presently on the table aim to continue to modify this power balance and adopt it to the realities of today's world. However, we also believe that there is a need for the reformed Council to reflect a set of common values, in addition to a broader power structure.

Indeed, the composition of the Council should be based more on values and principles. Democracy, multilateralism, accountability and regional representation are some of these values and principles. These fully coincide with the principles and values that our Group advocate and stand for. In the future, we will continue to build upon - and be guided by - these principles in a constructive manner.

Thank you, Mr. President.