Statement by Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the general Assembly Meeting on the Agenda Item 118: The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy

Baki İlkin 04.09.2008
Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Distinguished Colleagues,

Turkey has aligned itself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union. I shall therefore limit myself to the following points.

First of all, it is a great pleasure for me to address the General Assembly on this very important issue. The informal meeting of the General Assembly held on 4 December 2007, which I had the honour to chair one of its sessions, was a useful and informative mid-term stock-taking exercise on the progress made in the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy by member states and the United Nations. In this regard, we are looking forward to hearing more today on the measures taken within the framework of the Strategy and on how we could further improve and develop the implementation of the Strategy.

Taking of this opportunity, I would also like to thank the President of the General Assembly and the Secretary General for their opening remarks. Likewise, I wish to thank the Facilitator, Ambassador Gert Rosenthal of Guatemala, for his unrelenting efforts in helping reach an agreement on the outcome document of this session.

Mr. President,

Two years ago the General Assembly took a historic step by adopting the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and we duly recognize this landmark development. However, we also recognize the fact that the overall success of the Strategy will be judged by its concrete results. For this reason, we sincerely call upon all members of the international community to continue to contribute to the full and effective implementation of the Strategy.

Turkey, for its part, is committed to exert every effort in this direction. For instance, in parallel to our national endeavours, we also co-sponsored the International Process whose focus is to assess the overall contributions of the United Nations to the fight against terrorism and to provide support for the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

As you might know, several workshops have been organized within the context of the International Process and their results were already shared with the delegates. I nevertheless would like to highlight very briefly one of the issues which was discussed in depth during the workshop held in Antalya, Turkey and reflected in the Final Paper of the Process: namely international legal cooperation on terrorism.

In this regard, we are of the view that the idea put forward in the Final Paper as to the need for promoting greater awareness of the problems that impede the implementation of the principle "extradite or prosecute" merits greater consideration. For, the current practice in this area is by no means in line with the letter and the spirit of the Strategy. We hope that our discussions today would help us identifying the ways and means to overcome the obstacles in the implementation of this important principle.

Mr. President,

We can start speaking of the success of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, only if it is implemented by all stakeholders, including the Member States, the United Nations and other relevant international, regional and subregional organizations and only if it is implemented in an integrated manner and in all its aspects.

The recent report of the Secretary General (A/62/898) provides highlights of the efforts within the UN system in this direction. Secretary General's continued interest in and guidance for the effective implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy deserves all the praise. That goes for all his collaborators directly or indirectly dealing with the issue of terrorism. However, I cannot say the same for the recent record of the Department of Public Information.

Just two moths ago, a photographic exhibition took place in this building displaying unfortunately also photos of the members of the terrorist organization targeting Turkey. This terrorist organization has been declared as such by many countries and institutions, including the European Union. I should also underline that the terrorist nature of this organization is also recognized by the Secretariat.

Therefore, one cannot help but ask the reasons why and how those photos were displayed under the roof of the United Nations, which holds a central place in our counter-terrorism efforts. We raised this matter with the said Department. Unfortunately, the Department declined to take any action on the issue, citing a routine disclaimer posted at the exhibition which denies endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations of the content of exhibits. However, had such disclaimer been enough, then there would have been no need for regulating the admissibility of the contents of all the exhibitions displayed in the UN building, which is always the case.

We believe that the DPI, on this specific occasion, has not only failed in discharging its responsibility to oversee the aims, purposes and principles of the United Nations, which include the fight against terrorism, but inevitably though I am sure unintentionally it also provided a terrorist organization with an unique opportunity to reach out to the UN community here in this building.

I am aware that our meeting today is aimed first and foremost at sharing best practices on the implementation of the Strategy. Nevertheless, lessons can also be drawn from other practices such as this one. And this is the precisely why I brought up this unfortunate incident and wanted to share our views with you. Having said this, it is my sincere hope and expectation that our discussions today will strengthen our collective resolve and efforts to eradicate the scourge of terrorism once and for all.

Thank you.