Statement by H.E. Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, on the President's Draft Outcome Document of the High Level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly

Baki İlkin 21.06.2005
Mr. President,

I would like to start by expressing my deep appreciation to your Excellency, for your vision, guidance and efforts leading to the completion of the "Draft Outcome Document" on time. My warmest thanks also go to our distinguished facilitators for their valuable contributions to this exercise.

Mr. President,

Since Turkey fully aligns herself with the European Union statement made by the Permanent Representative of Luxembourg, I will refrain from referring to a number of issues and subjects, which have already been elaborated by the European Union Presidency. In my national capacity, I will confine my remarks to a number of points and issues which could or would have a bearing on Turkey.

Let me start with the issue of reform and especially the enlargement of the Security Council. It is only natural that there are certain differences among our ranks when it comes to this critical issue. The membership of our Organization has grown to almost 200 and each member country has different conceptions and expectations in line with its own national interests. Thus expecting to achieve full consensus on this particular issue is not possible and realistic. Therefore we would have to find a solution which would be acceptable to a broad majority. What is of paramount importance is to prevent the creation of deep fault lines in our Organization which would inevitably have negative impact on the entire reform process.

At the moment we have two specific models or approaches on the table as well as some views and ideas that have been aired last week. There is no denying that each one has its own merits. As far as Turkey is concerned, we prefer to see the enlargement of the Security Council, in a way which would permit more countries to be able to participate in the Council, on the basis of flexible rotation. We feel that since the very foundations of our Organization rest on the principles of universality and sovereign equality, that should be the approach. On the other hand, in order to maintain the efficacy and efficiency of the Security Council, we must strike a right balance between the existing members and the number of new non-permanent members. We also have to accept that periodic elections are the most effective way of securing the accountability of the non-permanent members of the Council.

Having said this, Turkey is more than ready to engage in a constructive exercise so that we can find an arrangement which would respond to the needs and expectations of the broad majority.

As to the criteria for membership to the Security Council, the prerequisites being mentioned are all desirable, but may not be feasible. If these prerequisites are to be observed strictly, only the mightiest and wealthiest would be eligible to become members. We do not think that this was what the founding fathers of the UN had envisaged and that it is something that the overwhelming majority of member states would be able to accept. A flexible rotation system, which we advocate necessitates flexible criteria.