Statement by Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, Security Council Meeting on "The Situation in Somalia"

Baki İlkin 16.12.2008
Mr. President,

Turkey is deeply concerned by the proliferation of acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, which are lately spreading to a much larger area.

So far, two Turkish commercial vessels have been hijacked, and both of them are still being held hostage by the pirates. We are worried about the safety and well-being of the crew of these ships as well as those of all other hijacked vessels.

We condemn all these barbaric acts which pose serious threat not only to the international maritime safety, but also to the prompt, safe and effective delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia.

Mr. President,

We are aware that we may not be able to totally eradicate piracy until and unless the prevailing conditions in Somalia improve drastically. Yet we can not remain idle till that is achieved.

We have to suppress piracy and armed robbery as much as we can through creating a synergy among all countries, regional and international actors concerned, and by addressing all dimensions of the problem including those related to legal aspects. Turkey closely follows and supports all initiatives towards this end. Thus, Turkey has allocated a Frigate to the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2. Turkey has also been invited to the force generation consultations for the EU Operation ATLANTA.

Turkey fully recognizes the need for a robust international cooperation. We are pleased to see that the Council is actively seized of the matter.

In this regard, the adoption of resolution 1846 (2008) and the one which we adopted today reflect the determination of the UN and the Security Council to take the lead on this important and critical issue.

These two resolutions along with the previous ones will help clear the ambiguities around the interdiction and prosecution of pirates and the related legal and procedural challenges that undermine international efforts to suppress piracy. They provide clear guidelines to be followed.

The resolution which the Council adopted today encourages, inter alia, all States and regional organizations fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia, to establish an international cooperation mechanism to act as a common point of contact between states, regional and international organizations on all aspects of combating piracy. We believe that the United Nations itself should assume the overall responsibility of guiding and coordinating all these operations. In this framework we welcome the announcement of the Secretary General on the appointment of a Focal Point, as an initial step.

Mr. President,

The acts of piracy and armed robbery in the waters off the coast of Somalia further aggravate the situation in this country, which continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region.

A lasting solution to the problem can only be found if anti-piracy efforts are to be complemented by concrete policies and measures that will contribute to the establishment of law and order as well as sustained economic development in Somalia.

In that regard, we commend the cooperative attitude displayed by the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. Nevertheless, the ongoing efforts at national level should be intensified.

Let me also add that while taking necessary measures to combat piracy, we must also start thinking about how the hostages currently held by pirates in Somalia can be liberated. An effective remedy in this regard will also help break the vicious circle of ransom payments and piracy.

In conclusion, I would like to say that as an elected member state which is going to take its seat in this Council in two weeks time, Turkey will continue to closely follow and remain seized of the matter.

Thank you Mr. President.