Statement by Mr. Kerim Uras, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations, at the Third Committee Agenda Items 98 and 99 Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice International Drug Control

Kerim Uras 05.10.2006
Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Delegates,

Turkey aligned itself with the statement made by the EU under agenda items 98 and 99, crime prevention and criminal justice and international drug control. Therefore, in this statement we would like to focus on the steps taken by Turkey at national, regional and international levels particularly on combating trafficking in human beings and drug control.

Turkey is a destination country in human trafficking. In 2004, 239 victims, in 2005, 256 victims and in the first eight months of 2006, 193 victims were identified. In 2004 and 2005, a total of 495 traffickers were apprehended in Turkey.

Turkey has been implementing a National Plan of Action to combat human trafficking. The implementation of the National Plan of Action also involves NGOs which run shelters in Istanbul and Ankara for victims. Victims receive medical, psychological and legal counseling at these shelters and since their inauguration, nearly 300 victims were accommodated. The Ministry of Health extends free medical care and medication to victims of trafficking. The Ministry of Interior issues free, six months valid and extendable residence permits to victims without any precondition, such as cooperating with authorities. Until today 35 residence permits were issued to victims of human trafficking.

Turkey is taking every practical measure to help victims. A toll free tip off / emergency helpline (157) became operational in May 2005. Until today, 98 victims were reached through this helpline. A spot film promoting the 157 helpline for victims is aired on Turkish TV channels as well as on channels in Moldova and Ukraine. More than 600,000 pamphlets in Turkish, Russian, Romanian and English have been handed over at air and sea ports by the Turkish National Police. A new public awareness campaign was launched by IOM on January 31st, 2006.

Believing in the importance of regional and international cooperation in combating human trafficking, an EU Twinning Project on Trafficking in Human Beings was initiated in 2006. An Action Plan will be drawn up as an output of this project. Turkey, in cooperation with IOM, has also initiated a project on the establishment of a data collection network on victims of human trafficking in the Black Sea region. Furthermore, Turkey signed cooperation protocols on combating trafficking in human beings with Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia and Belarus.

Mr.Chairman,

Turkey's global strategy on combating the illicit trafficking of drugs is based on the principle that the issue can only be addressed by extensive cooperation, exchange of information and expertise within the international community. With this in mind, Turkey has signed and ratified all the relevant UN drug control treaties and has concluded bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements with 66 different countries.

Turkey is also taking an active role and is contributing to the work of most relevant major international platforms such as the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), UNODC, the Paris Pact, and the Pompidou Group. Turkey has become a member of the Group of Major Donors of UNODC by increasing its voluntary contributions.

Turkey believes that regional cooperation is essential in combating illicit drug trafficking, and takes the lead in efforts to increase regional cooperation. In the year 2000, with the support of the UNODC and the assistance of the US and some EU countries, Turkey has established the Turkish International Academy against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC). The Academy functions as a regional resource center and consultation forum for drug and organized crime related issues. So far, approximately 1300 law enforcement personnel from the UN and 50 countries from Central Asia, the Black Sea region, the Balkans, the Caucasus and Africa have received training at TADOC. In addition, TADOC organizes seminars and training programs on matters related to illicit drugs and crime.

Mr.Chairman,

Enhancing cooperation against transit of drugs and providing states most affected by illicit trafficking with the necessary assistance is crucial. This is important particularly in strengthening their law enforcement capabilities and in helping reducing the demand for illicit drugs. In this regard, as a country which has served twice as lead nation in ISAF, Turkey is well aware of the conditions in Afghanistan and gives utmost importance to assisting this country.

Turkey maintains close contacts with Afghan authorities to identify appropriate projects for this country together with the UNODC.

Turkey has welcomed and actively taken part in the initiatives formulated under the Paris Pact which aims to identify weaknesses in strategies and shortfalls in the interdiction capacity along the trafficking routes from Afghanistan to Europe. Last year, on 3-4 October 2005, we hosted the Expert Round Table for South Eastern Europe, in Istanbul. We believe that this meeting has been a substantial step for the regional cooperation in South Eastern Europe.

Mr.Chairman,

Continuing links between terrorism and organized crime, such as narcotics and human trafficking, arms smuggling, money laundering and extortion cause serious concerns. These criminal activities constitute major sources of funding for terrorist groups. However, terrorist organizations also utilize "businesses" and "charitable organizations" for funding their activities. Therefore, an integrated approach should be adopted in combating terrorism and other forms of organized crime.

Thank you.