Statement by H.E. Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the Informal Consultations of the Plenary on a Counter Terrorism Strategy

Baki İlkin 11.05.2006
Mr. Co-Chairman,

I would like to start by thanking the Secretary-General for announcing the major components for a strategy against terrorism in Madrid back in March 2005 and for further elaborating the strategy in his present report of May 2, 2006. I would also like to thank the Assistant Secretary-General Robert Orr and the members of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force for their valuable contributions.

While fully aligning with the statement made on behalf of the European Union I would like to share with you our preliminary reaction to some of the aspects of the report. The report indeed covers a lot of ground in the development of such a strategy. We now need to build on it and also fine-tune some of the views and recommendations expressed.

Mr. Co-Chairman,

As would be recalled, we had an extensive debate on terrorism before the adoption of the Summit Outcome Document last September. One of the issues we underlined was the need to avoid making a distinction between the victims of terrorist attacks. The wording that was adopted in that document read ``We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes, as it constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security``, thus leaving no room for the differentiation of the victims. In the present report, there is some language which reiterates this approach. Yet, there are also direct references to ``civilians and non-combatants`` as victims of terror.

Mr. Co-Chairman,

One of the main elements of counter-terrorism strategy is being defined as ``Dissuasion`` in the report. That is indeed a sound observation and approach. In this framework, the strategy itself will have to constitute an element of dissuasion. Thus, the language in the report about the victims of terror should be unambiguous and non-discriminatory. Reference made to the ``security personnel`` in paragraph 66 of the report does bring some clarity to the definition of victims. Yet, that is not enough. There should also be a clear reference to the ``armed forces and military personnel`` becoming victims of terror too. There can be no denial that armed forces and military personnel have indeed become victims of terror in a number of countries, including Turkey. It is imperative that the terrorists should not develop the wrong idea that any attack against these personnel would not constitute a terrorist act. The terrorists should also realize without any doubt that such attacks will not go unpunished and that they would be condemned by the international community.

Mr. Co-Chairman,

The report envisages a series of counter-terrorism measures that each and every state needs to adopt and implement. Thus, there should be complete coordination and cooperation among all countries. The responsibility for the implementation of these measures lies both with the member states and the international community as a whole. Only through determined, full, uniform and universal implementation of these measures that we can eradicate terrorism. If these counter-measures are implemented in a selective manner then we can not expect to achieve the goals set by the Counter-Terrorism Strategy. In other words, there can be no differentiation such as harmful/harmless, active/inactive, home grown/foreign, religious/non-religious terrorists.

It goes without saying that states should refrain from organizing, instigating, facilitating, financing, encouraging, assisting or tolerating terrorist activities and should take appropriate practical measures to ensure that their respective territories are not used for the preparation or organization of terrorist acts intended to be committed against other States or their citizens.

Also, states should deny safe havens to those who plan, finance or commit terrorist acts by ensuring their apprehension and prosecution or extradition. In particular, all necessary measures should be taken to ensure that an asylum seeker is not engaged in terrorist activities, and that claims of political motivation are not recognized as grounds for refusing requests for extradition.

Allow me to give one concrete example. In 1999 a terrorist in Turkey belonging to an extreme left wing terror organization, murdered in cold blood, three distinguished business-men and then fled to another county. She was captured there along with weapons and ammunitions during a police raid on a cell of this terrorist organization. Turkey's request for her extradition was rejected. What is more, she was not prosecuted for the terrorist act, since the weapon she had used was a pistol and not a semi-automatic weapon. And one day before the verdict of the court was pronounced; she managed to escape from house-detention and left behind no trace. Definitely, this is not the way to combat and eradicate terrorism.

Mr. Co-Chairman,

There is no doubt that human rights should be fully observed during the combat against terrorism. We can and should not in any way deviate from the rule of law. That is a cardinal principle which we all have to observe. Yet, human rights arguments should not be used as a pretext, for reluctance and indifference to terrorist acts and provocations which do not directly target us. Let me give one example.

Turkey is facing the scourge of terrorism in the shape of the terrorist PKK organization. Although it has been banned in many countries where it was able to operate politically, it still can run a disguised TV station in some of these countries for the purposes of propaganda, provocations and incitement against Turkey.

As I have just stated, the scourge of international terrorism can only be eradicated totally if we act in unity and in full cooperation. Only then that the terrorists will realize our determination and ability to combat and defeat terrorism in all its forms.

Mr. Co-Chairman,

I would also like to touch upon briefly the issue of the ``conditions conducive to exploitation by terrorists``. It is known that terrorist organizations try to justify their acts of violence by referring to social, economic and political causes and injustices. There is no denying that these factors, individually or combined can create a fertile ground where terrorism can breed. Efforts to eliminate these negative factors would definitely contribute to the eradication of terrorism. However, it is not possible to accept such arguments as an excuse to justify terrorism and the killing of innocent people. Therefore, we are pleased to see that the Secretary-General's report categorically underlines once again that terrorism is not acceptable in any condition.

Mr. Co-Chairman,

The Strategy paper which we are working on is basically a political document, a road map. Therefore, we should treat it as such and refrain from getting engaged once again in extensive legal debates that have taken place in different formats.

Finally, Mr. Co-Chairman, we hope and expect that the strategy will be pragmatic, operational and result-oriented, and it will include concrete measures to enable all of us to counter terrorism more efficiently.