Statement by H.E. Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the Joint Debate of the 60th Session of the General Assembly on Agenda Items 17 and 73 (e) on Afghanistan

Baki İlkin 28.11.2005
Mr. President,

Turkey has already aligned itself with the statement made by the distinguished Representative of the United Kingdom on behalf of the European Union. In the light of Turkey's deep-rooted historical and friendly ties with Afghanistan, I would like to take the floor to further highlight a number of points with regard to my country's views and endeavours concerning Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

Let me first underline that Turkey is a co-sponsor of the present draft resolution which we feel objectively reflects both the successes achieved and certain challenges encountered in the implementation of the Bonn Agreement. We expect that the text as a whole will convey a strong message of solidarity with the Afghan people and at the same time, reaffirm the determination and commitment of the international community to remain seized of the developments.

Mr. President,

We welcome the parliamentary and provincial council elections of 18 September 2005, which constitute an important milestone in the development of democracy in Afghanistan.

"Afghanistan for Afghans" has always been the motto of Turkey who firmly believes that an embracing Afghan identity is the key to stability and prosperity of this friendly country. Turkey attaches great importance to the national unity and territorial integrity of Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

As a country which has led the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan twice, for a period of 14 months in the last three years, I also wish to reiterate Turkey's continued commitments to help achieve lasting peace and security in Afghanistan.

In this respect, we believe that building a national army and a national police force is crucial not only for Afghanistan's long-term security, but also for the national unity of the country. With this understanding, Turkey has also contributed to the establishment of the national army and police force by lending support to relevant procurement and training programmes in Turkey as well as in Afghanistan.

Mr. President,

Our support for Afghanistan is not only confined to the military and security fields. Turkey has also been actively involved in the social, health, education and agriculture sectors. In this context, Turkey believes that the expeditious implementation of reconstruction projects is of great importance for Afghanistan. Turkish firms and contruction companies are actively involved in the realization of some of these projects.

Mr. President,

Combating with drug production and illicit trafficking constitutes one of the top priorities of Afghanistan. The creation of alternative means of living, which will offer new opportunities to the Afghan people, is imperative in achieving this goal. The eradication of poppy fields should be seen in this larger context.

Mr. President,

It is evident that a democratic, united, prosperous Afghanistan will set a perfect example for the other countries and peoples going through similar experiences and difficulties. Thus neither Afghanistan, nor the international community can afford to fail.

Mr. President,

Last but not least, let me commend the untiring and dedicated work of both the Afghan leadership and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan in responding to the great challenges ahead. Let me also reiterate the strong commitment of the Turkish Government to the security, unity, reconstruction and welfare of Afghanistan.

Thank you, Mr. President.