Statement by H.E. Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the General Debate of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

Baki İlkin 26.02.2007
Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, let me join other speakers in congratulating you and the members of the Bureau on your election. I also wish to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report and Under-Secretary General Guehenno for his illuminating statement. You may rest assured of our full cooperation and support during the deliberations of the Committee.

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation associates itself with the statement made by Germany on behalf of the European Union. I will therefore briefly make some additional remarks starting with a short overview of Turkey's contributions to peacekeeping.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey is firmly committed to UN peacekeeping and currently participates in 10 UN peacekeeping missions. Our participation extends not only to those UN missions operating in our immediate vicinity but also to distant missions such as in Haiti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan, Timor-Leste and Cote d'Ivoire.

Since the last meeting of the Committee, we have enhanced our military presence in UN-led missions. A Turkish Engineering Construction Company, composed of 261 military personnel and a Turkish Navy Frigate with 234 personnel have joined UNIFIL following the decision of the Turkish Parliament in September 2006.

We also attach particular importance to the civilian police component of the UN missions. We are currently the tenth largest police contributor with 271 police officers serving in 8 different UN missions.

In addition to those UN operations, Turkey is also substantially contributing to UN mandated peace missions being conducted within the framework of the NATO, the European Union and the OSCE. Particularly in Afghanistan, we have been one of the leading force contributors since the inception of ISAF, where we will once again assume the command of the Capital (Kabul) Region in April 2007.

Mr. Chairman,

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

On the proposals of the Secretary-General for restructuring the DPKO, we welcome the opportunity to discuss them further in the Committee. Yet, it is also our view that the UN should not loose the momentum on this issue and it should complete this process in a timely manner. We are confident that the Secretariat will come out of this process even stronger and thus become more efficient to respond to the challenges of today's peacekeeping requirements. In this respect, the Secretary-General has our full support.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey fully supports the lead role of the United Nations in peacekeeping missions. Yet, given the magnitude and complexity of the challenges to peacekeeping, 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, in this regard, remains an important issue that deserves more attention. We welcome the steps taken so far, particularly in furthering cooperation with the African Union.

As regards the rapid deployment, on the other hand, we will continue to support the further development of "standing police capacity" and the establishment of "enhanced rapidly deployable capabilities"

Mr.Chairman,

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. Those two bodies should closely interact and cooperate with the DPKO. I would also like to underline that the success of the PBC will be very much dependent on securing a sound financial support to its Fund. This Fund should be able to ensure immediate release of resources needed to launch peacebuilding activities, particularly in the African Continent. Recognizing the critical importance of reliable financing, Turkey was among the first contributors of this Fund and will continue to support the activities of the PBC and its Fund.

Mr. Chairman,

Training of peacekeepers is an indispensable component of conducting a successful peace operation. Bearing this reality in mind, Turkey, established a Partnership for Peace Training Centre in Ankara in 1998. Since its establishment, this Center has organized 236 courses and 9 seminars and provided training to almost seven thousand peacekeepers from 65 different countries. This center cooperates with the Training and Evaluation Service of the UN Secretariat and continues to align its programs with the UN standard training modules. Once again, we would like to express our commitment to cooperate with the UN Secretariat for the training of UN peacekeepers in this Center.

Mr. Chairman,

I would like to extend our warmest thanks to Mr. Annabi, who has in the last ten years contributed immensely to the effective and efficient functioning of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. His long services to DPKO and thus to the UN will always be remembered with great appreciation.

Mr. Chairman, I cannot conclude my statement without paying tribute to all the peacekeepers throughout the world and especially to those who lost their lives while serving the cause of peace.