Remarks by Mr. Fazlı Çorman, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations, at the Informal Meeting on the Implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy 2nd Cluster-Measures to Prevent and Combat Terrorism

Fazlı Çorman 04.12.2007
Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, I would like to thank H.E. Srgjan Kerim, President of the General Assembly, for convening this informal meeting on the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. This meeting would provide us a timely opportunity to assess the progress made so far and examine how we could better implement the Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

Last September, the General Assembly took a historic step by adopting the Strategy. Never before have the member States come together to formulate a comprehensive collective response to terrorism. With the adoption of the Strategy, member States spoke out clearly and in unison about their resolve to fight terrorism.

Adoption of this landmark document was itself a big challenge for member States. All of us had our sensitive points, and thus agreeing on such a comprehensive text was not easy. That said, we jointly rose to the occasion and approved the strategy by consensus.

Now, however, we are facing an even more challenging and demanding task: translating words into deeds. Indeed, we should bear in mind that the overall success of the Strategy will not be judged by its mere adoption, but by its concrete results. For that reason, we sincerely hope that our discussions today would help us make further progress to this end.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey aligns itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Portugal on behalf of the EU. However, we would like to briefly comment within the confines of the second cluster, and in particular on measures to strengthen international cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

In our view, the Strategy provides in principle a firm basis for a strong cooperation among States and sets out clear stipulations for all:

- Denial of safe havens to terrorists,

- the obligation to prosecute or extradite perpetrators of terrorist acts,

- prevention of the abuse of refugee status,

- bilateral assistance in criminal investigations relating to terrorist acts, an

- strengthened cooperation in combating related crimes such as drug trafficking and illicit arms trade are only few examples of such elements contained in the Strategy.

However, Mr. Chairman, despite all these sound elements, we are still far from reaching a point where we can speak of tangible improvement and enhancement in the international cooperation against terrorism.

In our opinion, the main reason for this shortcoming is the lack of a consensus within the international community on whom to fight as terrorists. Indeed, we agree on the ways and means of combating terrorism, but we differ on our interpretation as to what constitutes terrorism. What is more, some countries tend to differentiate between terrorists and prefer to combat with only those which pose a direct threat to their own national security and public order.

This is precisely what weakens the international cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Indeed, in the absence of a coherent and consistent stance against all acts of terrorism, with no discrimination whatsoever, we will have great difficulty in getting the upper hand against terrorists and will remain vulnerable to their tactics and strategies.

So, what do we do to address this crucial problem? I believe the answer to this question lies in the Strategy too. Because, the strategy clearly obliges all of us against discriminating among terrorists on the basis of their motivations. Indeed, as far as the Strategy is concerned, there is no difference between El-Qaeda, PKK or ETA. They are all vicious terrorist organizations which need to be combated resolutely. Thus, we must remain true to both the spirit and the letter of the strategy.

That requires, first and foremost, an open and frank discussion among ourselves of all the aspects of the terrorism threat we face. We must heed the concerns and grievances of one another with empathy. We have to understand that a terrorist threat for one of us today constitutes a threat for all of us tomorrow, if left unchecked.

In this regard, we also need to have a more effective global monitoring mechanism in place, which can identify the threats and the perpetrators in clear terms, so that the international community as a whole can respond to these scourges.

At this moment, I will not go into the details of such possible arrangements, as this requires a more in-depth evaluation of the means and capabilities available to us in the UN. However, suffice me to say that there is a serious problem in the area of close monitoring and effective international cooperation. Therefore, we should tackle it with a clear mind and firm commitment. And do so sooner rather than later.

As a country which suffered dearly from the menace of terrorism, Turkey is ready and willing to contribute to all the efforts to this end.

Thank you.