Statement by Turkey on “The situation in Afghanistan” at the Security Council

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 19.06.2019
Mr. President,

We thank SRSG Yamamoto for his briefing and Ambassador Raz for her statement. We also thank the Secretary General for his enlightening report.

Let me start by expressing our appreciation to the increasing engagement of the international community in achieving peace in Afghanistan. It is critical to seize the momentum and build on the achievements of the last 18 years. This will only be sustained and enhanced due to joint efforts.

Over the past two decades, Afghanistan has gone through an unprecedented transformation.

Improvements in the fields of security, democracy, governance, economic development and human rights should be commended.

Mr. President,

These achievements are not yet at a point of no return and major challenges remain yet to be tackled. As indicated by the Secretary-General in his report, the security situation remains volatile, with a consistently high number of incidents. The stability of Afghanistan, and subsequently that of the region, will depend on improved security.

Turkey remains committed to standing by the Afghan people in this transition process, including in the fields of security and development.

At this critical juncture, any attempt towards peace should be designed with the active participation and contribution of all segments of the Afghan society. Sustainable peace can only be possible with a genuine reconciliation. Afghan people cannot sacrifice the achievements they made at important costs. For instance, since 2001, the status of women has changed profoundly. Now, Afghan women are rightly adamant in calling for a peace process that protects their gains.
2.5 million of the 8 million students enrolled in Afghan schools are girls. All our efforts towards the empowerment of girls and women should not be wasted. Ensuring women’s participation in elections, peace negotiations, and overall engagement in governance and government will help preserve gains that we have made to date.

Mr. President,

We can only achieve lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan with the support of neighboring and regional countries. Continued constructive engagement of the international community with the regional actors is essential to enable an atmosphere conducive to genuine cooperation.

The region has demonstrated on various occasions its readiness to resolve its own issues, and to transform common problems into areas of mutual benefit. Started in 2011, Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process is a unique platform bringing all regional countries and international stakeholders together. We are pleased to host the next Senior Officials Meeting of the Istanbul Process on 25 Junein Ankara.

Increased trust and cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan is also imperative for the stability of the region. As announced by President Erdoğan, we are ready to deploy efforts for the next Turkey-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Summit.

Mr. President,

Holding of inclusive elections as well as conducting a truly representative peace process will be a litmus test for all of us. We should make sure that any decision to withdraw from the country does not give the impression that the international community is disengaging. We cannot afford leaving Afghanistan in a power vacuum.

At the same time, we should all support the efforts of the Afghan government to make peace with the Taliban while protecting democracy and individual rights. The desire of Afghan people for peace and democracy should prevail.

Before concluding my remarks, I would like to repeat what was said many times in this Chamber: Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process is central to achieving long-lasting peace in the country. Turkey will remain in solidarity with the Afghan people and will continue to contribute to a secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan, as we have done so for many decades.

Thank you.