Statement by Turkey at the Security Council Debate on Challenges to Peace and Security in the Middle East

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 20.08.2019
Madam President,
Thank you for organizing this timely open debate, on a theme that is of paramount importance to the maintenance of international peace and security.
For centuries, the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa lived together in peace and harmony, regardless of their race, religion, language, sect or ethnicity.
They did so and flourished, politically, economically, socially and intellectually, with a sense of shared destiny, embracing at the same time their differences as a source of richness, not weakness.

Today’s reality differs dramatically from that historical background and the region is confronted with ever-growing complex challenges.
Sectarian and divisive policies, brutal oppression of legitimate demands for democracy, unresolved armed conflicts resulting in mass displacements, coupled with feelings of resentment due to growing discrimination, have created a breeding ground for relapse into violence.
Madam President,
Today the main challenge in the region remains to keep the prospects for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict alive.
It is regrettable that the vision of a two-state solution, which is the only feasible path to resolve this long-standing issue, has been deliberately weakened due to unilateral and illegal practices in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Any peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should endorse an independent, sovereign, contiguous and viable Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with Israel in peace and security. There is no other alternative to a viable peace.
As per Syria, in addition to the horrific crimes of Assad’s brutal regime in the form of indiscriminate airstrikes, barrel bombs, chemical weapons and artillery shelling, and as recently repeated in Idlib, deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure, there are other menaces facing the civilian population in Syria, such as the well-documented crimes of the terrorist organizations such as DEASH, Al Qaeda and other affiliated groups as well as PKK and its Syrian brand PYD/YPG.
Let us not forget that only a political solution based on Resolution 2254 can end the Syrian civil war.
Madam President,
As to the hallucinatory remarks of the Syrian regime representative, I will repeat, I do not consider him as my legitimate counterpart, his presence here is an affront to the millions of Syrians who suffered countless crimes at the hands of the regime and therefore I will not honor his delusional accusations with a response.
We are also deeply worried about the deteriorating situation in Yemen. We call upon all parties in Yemen to refrain from further deepening the political and humanitarian crisis in the country.
There can be no military solution in Yemen. Inclusive political dialogue is the only way to establish peace and security in the country. Turkey will continue to support international efforts aimed at promoting the security and stability of Yemen as well as protecting the unity and integrity of the country.
We also see no military solution in Libya. Peace and stability in Libya can only be achieved through political dialogue and compromise.

Regional and international actors have a crucial role to play in ending the conflict and paving the way to peace and stability in Libya.
The divisions within the international community make it impossible for the Council to assume its most-needed role. There is an urgent need to return to the UN-facilitated political process.

In concluding, Madam President,
The international community, and first and foremost this Council, should play a more constructive and assertive role in resolving the conflicts in the Middle East. This requires, first of all, respect for the basic principles of international law enshrined in the UN Charter, including respect for political unity and territorial integrity, peaceful resolution of disputes and good neighborly relations.
Secondly, members of the international community should respect and implement UN resolutions that pertain to the security and stability of the region, including those on Palestine. This is sine qua non for a basis for mutual understanding.
Third, it is essential that the international community avoids approaching the conflicts in the Middle East from a zero-sum perspective. Peace, security and stability in the Middle East is in our common interest. We are all affected from armed conflicts, wars and crises in the Middle East, and from the ensuing mistrust, alienation and radicalization.

If peace is to triumph, we should constitute a solid foundation for better dialogue, understanding, cooperation and collaboration within and with the region.
Thank you.