Statement by Turkey at the Opening of 2019 Substantive Session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

Bilge Koçyiğit Grba 11.02.2019
Mr. Chairman,

Turkey has aligned itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the European Union. I would like to make the following remarks in my national capacity.

Allow me at the outset to pay tribute to United Nations peacekeepers who put their lives at risk in the line of duty and express our deepest sympathy for those who paid the ultimate price for the noble cause of a peaceful world. We express our heartfelt condolences and solidarity to the Government and people of Ethiopia for the loss of lives of their peacekeepers on 9 February at UNISFA camp in Abyei.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to join other delegations in wishing you, Mr. Chairman and the members of the Bureau success during the upcoming deliberations. We are confident that under your able leadership, the Special Committee will be able to achieve concrete results.

Peacekeeping, as the flagship activity of the UN, has been constantly evolving and being tailored to meet new challenges. The UN has come a long way in this endeavour and its peacekeeping capabilities have progressed considerably over time. We welcome the efforts of the Secretary General to this end, particularly his initiative “Action for Peacekeeping-A4P”, which we fully endorse.

The A4P initiative has beeen instrumental in fostering collective engagement and political commitment. The resulting Declaration of Shared Commitments provide a roadmap for strengthening peacekeeping operations. Looking ahead, we believe that we mainly need to focus on three lines of effort: i) making peacekeeping missions safer and stronger; ii) ensuring realistic expectations for peacekeeping; iii) mobilizing ‘‘greater support for political solutions and for well-structured, well-equipped and well-trained forces.’’

The diversity of challenges associated with peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts requires the contribution of several actors, including regional and sub-regional organizations, civil society and private sector. Strengthening cooperation among all stakeholders engaged in peace operations is key to building trust and effective mandate delivery. The consent of the local parties as well as impartiality have been bedrock principles of peacekeeping, ingrained in relevant reports, most notably in the Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations, also known as Brahimi report. It would be remiss of us not to mention the valuable contributions of these reports to our endeavours today. We must continue to place their main principles at the heart of our work in improving United Nations peacekeeping.

Various regional organizations, such as the African Union have become established actors in peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts and the UN should continue to support and make use of the capabilities of these organizations.

Peace operations continue to operate in environments that threaten the security of peacekeeping personnel and the civilian population. Unfortunately, peacekeepers are being targeted by armed groups, suicide bombers, artillery and improvised explosive devices. In this context, we welcome the recommendations contained in the third iteration of the Action Plan to Improve the Security of Peacekeepers.

Missions need to improve their capacities in terms of situational awareness and information sharing, which support early warning systems that enable missions to better protect civilians as well as themselves. It is also essential to adapt to the new and evolving threats.

There is no doubt that the multidimensional peacekeeping operations necessitate a variety of expertise, which cannot solely be met by military personnel. Therefore, we would like to underline the importance and growing role of UN policing in prevention, protection of civilians and capacity building of host nations.

Mr. Chairman,

As a dedicated troop and police contributing country, not only to UN operations but also to other missions conducted by regional organizations such as NATO, EU and the OSCE, Turkey is strongly committed to peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Turkish peacekeepers continue to serve in various UN, NATO and EU missions across the globe, including in Afghanistan, Africa, the Balkans and the Middle East, where they contribute to the training of security personnel, the capacity-and institution-building of military and security forces, and provide technical assistance and strengthen civilian and law enforcement institutions.

In this context, Turkish Partnership for Peace Training Centre in Ankara is fully dedicated to contribute to international peace and security, as it continues to be a meeting point for NATO, NATO partners and other UN members. We are happy to announce that we will be offering a UN Military Observer Course with a renewed curriculum in accordance with our shared commitments on peacekeeping.

In this regard, we are also ready to contribute to UN peacekeeping with already assessed officers and encourage the UN Police Division for their deployment in due course, in accordance with the needs of the missions.

Let me also take this opportunity to underline the importance of gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping. We welcome the increasing awareness and efforts within the UN system and among Member States to remove the constraints on women's participation in order to achieve gender parity. We look forward to seeing further empowerment of women’s role in peacekeeping, also by taking into account the disproportionate effect of conflicts on women.

Mr. Chairman,
Before concluding, we would like to underline that peacekeeping missions, with their mandates, composition and conduct, need to reflect the common will and integrity of the international community. It is therefore essential to extend adequate political, technical and financial support to the missions in order improve their functioning and adapt them to situations on the ground. This entails ensuring their strong interaction with all relevant stakeholders, including the local parties, regional organizations and troop and police contributing countries. This is the only way we can achieve optimum outcomes.

We will maintain our support and also look forward to contributing to upcoming deliberations on responding to the multitude of challenges faced by international peacekeeping today.

Thank you.