Statement by Mr. Fazlı Çorman, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations, at the General Debate of the Special Commitee on Peacekeeping Operations

Fazlı Çorman 11.03.2008
Mr. Chairman,

I wish to add my voice to those of the previous speakers in congratulating you and the members of the Bureau on your election.

I also want to take this opportunity to extend our thanks to the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report on the implementation of the recommendations of the Special Committee on Peace Operations, and Under-Secretary General Mr. Guehenno as well as Assistant Secretary-General Ms. Lute for their enlightening statements.

The Committee can rest assured of my delegation's full cooperation and support during the upcoming deliberations.

My delegation associates itself with the statement made by Slovenia on behalf of the European Union. Yet, I will briefly make some further remarks starting with a short overview of Turkey's contributions to peacekeeping operations.

Mr. Chairman,

Having been firmly committed to the UN peacekeeping operations Turkey currently participates in 12 UN missions. Our participation extends not only to those operating in our immediate neighborhood but also to the UN missions in other parts of the world such as in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan, Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, Haiti and Timor-Leste.

We attach importance to the civilian police component of the UN missions. Turkey is currently the eleventh largest police contributor with 239 police officers serving in 10 different UN missions. Yet we intend to increase this number. In addition to those 41 police officers deployed to the UN Mission in Haiti last January, we have recently nominated over 100 police officers to be deployed to the UN Missions in Sudan and Kosovo. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Police Division which displays tremendous efficiency and professionalism. Last year the UN Selection Assistance Teams have conducted twice in Turkey selection programs in which almost 1000 Turkish police officers have participated.

Turkey is also substantially contributing to UN mandated peace operations conducted within the framework of other regional organizations, namely NATO, the European Union and the OSCE. Particularly in Afghanistan, we have been one of the leading force contributors since the inception of ISAF.

Mr. Chairman,

Let me now touch upon some specific issues that appear high on our agenda:

2007 has been a momentous year as far as the restructuring of the UN peacekeeping capacities by strengthening the management and oversight of resources was concerned. We support the implementation of the ongoing reform programme of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, namely the Peace Operations 2010.

In addition to the establishment of the Department of Field Support, forming of dedicated fulltime integrated operational teams, and the establishment of the Policy, Evaluation and Training Division as well as the Office of the Rule of Law and Security Institutions were significant steps in that regard.

We particularly welcome the establishment of the Standing Police Capacity. The United Nations Police are increasingly tasked to realize complex reform, restructuring and rebuilding mandates within integrated rule of law framework and they have remained an area of considerable growth for peacekeeping over the last few years. With the establishment of new missions, MINURCAT and UNAMID, their size has almost doubled. With the ongoing growth in size and complexity of its operations, we believe that we may consider undertaking a comprehensive review of the capacities and needs of the police component at headquarters.

The codification of the UN Peacekeeping Operations Principles and Guidelines in a document is yet an important step forward towards the strengthening of the UN peacekeeping capabilities. As a living document it will no doubt constitute an important guide in planning and conduct of the peacekeeping operations.

We welcome the report of the Secretary General on security sector reform. We share Secretary General's view as reflected in this report that the legitimacy and global character of the UN give it particular responsibility to continue to facilitate the elaboration of international principles and standards for support to security sector reform.

We also strongly support Secretary General's efforts to increase the number of women serving in the field and their participation in leadership positions as well as operational military and police roles.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey has been a staunch supporter of the UN policy of zero tolerance of sexual exploitation and abuse. We therefore, particularly welcome the adoption of the General Assembly resolution on the United Nations Comprehensive Strategy on Assistance and Support to Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by United Nations Staff and Related Personnel. Full implementation of this Strategy is a must. Yet what is more important is the prevention of misconduct in the first place. This brings to the fore the importance of the training of peacekeeping personnel. Likewise eliminating the root causes of misconduct deserves utmost attention. In this respect we look forward to the early implementation of the suggestions contained in the Secretary-General's report "The comprehensive review of the welfare and recreation needs of all categories of peacekeeping personnel".

Training of peacekeepers is also an indispensable component of conducting a successful peace operation. Bearing this in mind, Turkey established a Partnership for Peace Training Centre in Ankara in 1998. Since its inauguration this Center has organized 267 courses and 11 seminars and provided training for almost eight thousand peacekeepers from 73 different countries. The center cooperates with the Training and Evaluation Service of the UN Secretariat and continues to align its programs with the UN standard training modules. We would like to express our commitment to cooperate with the UN Secretariat for the training of UN peacekeepers in this Center.

The safety and security of the UN peacekeepers is of prime importance for Turkey. We are profoundly concerned about the recent attacks in Darfur, Lebanon and Algeria. We condemn these attacks and support the efforts aiming at enhancing the safety and security capabilities of the peacekeeping missions, particularly in high-risk environments.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey fully supports the leading role of the United Nations in peacekeeping missions. Yet, given the magnitude and complexity of the challenges to peacekeeping, we continue to believe that the UN should further enhance its cooperation with regional organizations and establish more effective arrangements in support of its peace operations. The enhancement of African peacekeeping capabilities remains an important issue that deserves more attention. We welcome the steps taken so far, particularly in furthering cooperation with the African Union.

Effective transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding has always been a major challenge for the UN. We are hopeful that the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Support Office will effectively fill an institutional gap within the UN system in terms of post-conflict management. We gladly observe that those two bodies closely interact and cooperate with the DPKO.

The successful conduct of peacekeeping operations would only be possible if all the member states make their financial contributions in full and in timely manner. In that regard I wish to underline that Turkey's contributions have risen almost 28% in 2007 in comparison to the previous year.

Mr. Chairman,

Before concluding, I want to express our gratitude for the valuable and dedicated service Undersecretary Mr. Jean-Marie Guehenno has given for many years to the cause of peacekeeping as the Head of DPKO. His achievements are praise-worthy. We wish to join the other delegations in wishing him all the best for his future undertakings.

I cannot conclude my statement without paying tribute to all the peacekeepers throughout the world and especially to those who lost their lives in pursuit of a more peaceful world.

Thank you