Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, Permanent Representative of the Mission of Turkey to the United Nations, at the Fourth Meeting of the Contact Group on Privacy off the Coast of Somalia

Ertuğrul Apakan 10.09.2009
Mr.Chair, Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset, I would like to thank the United Nations and Government of Japan for organizing and hosting the 4th meeting of Contact Group on the Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.

The scourge of piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia continues to be a serious threat to international maritime safety as well as to the security and prosperity of the regional countries.

Suffering from this scourge, Turkey deplores and stands resolved to combat these illegal acts. In the last ten months, three commercial vessels owned by Turkish citizens and/or with the Turkish crew had been held hostage by the pirates. Unfortunately a Turkish flagged commercial vessel still remains hijacked off the Somali Coast.

Today, we are gathering here in a new enlarged format of the Group. This approach, we expect, would render possible for the international community to more effectively coordinate and closely cooperate in the efforts aimed at suppression of armed robbery at sea/piracy off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden. Being one of the Contact Group's founding members, Turkey will continue to actively participate in the work and deliberations of the Group as well as its Working Groups. We also take steps to ensure widest possible dissemination and implementation of Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy and encourage further development of certain self-protective measures for the Turkish Flag carriers. Situational awareness and risk management practices of the Turkish maritime sector have been strengthened thanks also to the solid contributions of the Working Group 3.

Furthermore, having the means and the capabilities, Turkey did not spare any effort in actively joining the multi-national counter-piracy operations in the region. Turkey participates in Combined Task Force-151 and Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 and has contributed 4 frigates to those missions so far. The Turkish Navy commanded CTF-151 from 3 May through 13 August 2009.

Notwithstanding the deepening and widening international cooperation to address the issue, we are well aware that a lasting solution to the problem can only be found if anti-piracy efforts are to be supported and complemented by concrete policies and measures that will contribute to the establishment of law and order in Somalia as well as sustained economic development in the region. Cooperative disposition of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia certainly bodes well for enhanced regional counter-piracy initiatives and capacity building efforts in this regard. Turkey stands ready to further its bilateral relations with the regional countries with a view to suppressing these illegal activities as well.

Thank you.