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 01.02.2005
Mr. Chairman,

At the outset please allow me to join other speakers in congratulating you and the members of the bureau on your election. You may rest assured of our fullest cooperation and support. We also wish to thank the Secretary-General for his comprehensive report and Under Secretary Guehenno for his clear vision and presentation of the challenges facing UN peacekeeping operations.

Mr. Chairman

My delegation has already aligned itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Luxembourg on behalf of the European Union. Therefore I would like to briefly touch upon a few points.

Mr. Chairman,

The best contribution of the international community to peace and security is still avoiding the outbreak of hostilities by means of preventive diplomacy. But it is equally important to maintain and improve our peacekeeping capacity when preventive diplomacy fails and conflict proves inevitable.

Today peacekeeping tasks are composed of very diverse components, which render them more complex than in the past. Comprehensive review of peacekeeping operations is therefore a dynamic process, which has to adapt to constantly changing realities.

Since the Brahimi Report, there have been many encouraging developments. These developments have opened the way for reform of the planning and management of peacekeeping operations and for an enhanced United Nations peacekeeping capability. Yet, resource generation; rapid deployment capability; safety and security; post-conflict peace building and development; cooperation with regional organizations and the African peacekeeping capacity, are still the issues which require our common efforts.

In this regard, we also welcome the High Level Panel recommendations and look forward to see the forthcoming report of the Secretary-General.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey supports the lead role of the United Nations in peacekeeping missions. We also believe that the capabilities of other international organizations should also be taken into account, and cooperation between such organizations and the UN should be further enhanced.

The Security Council is undoubtedly the principal actor in any peace effort. In this context the issue of the Security Council reform takes on relevance: a more transparent functioning of the Security Council shall provide a more effective consultation mechanism with respect to peacekeeping operations.

Mr. Chairman,

Collective security requires our readiness to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and stability by participating in peace operations.

Turkey has always been aware of this responsibility and its forces, both military and police, have served to secure peace and stability worldwide.

Turkey's commitment to peacekeeping efforts dates back to the Korean War in 1950's.Turkey participated in 18 UN peace operations over the last two decades and currently takes part in 10 UN peace keeping missions. Our participation extends not only to those missions located in our close region but also to distant missions such as Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, Burundi, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and East Timor.

As to the civilian police contribution to UN peace keeping missions, presently, Turkey is among the first five contributing countries. Turkey ranks the first country in terms of the number of participated missions, as Turkish police officers currently serve in 9 different UN missions.

We are also considering increasing our military contribution to the UN Peace keeping missions, to the extent that our other peace keeping responsibilities would permit.

Apart from the United Nations, Turkey is also contributing to other peace missions being conducted within the framework of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the European Union. In this context, as of today our overall troop contribution, both military and police, to several ongoing peace keeping missions around the world have reached to 2700 personnel.

We feel that, when evaluating the contributions of a specific country to peacekeeping missions, it would indeed be more accurate and fair to take into account her contributions to all peacekeeping operations, irrespective of the umbrella under which they operate.

Having said this, I would like to underline my country's commitment to peace efforts in Afghanistan. Turkey has been one of the major troop contributors to the UN mandated, International Security Assistance Force since its foundation in 2001. We will continue to honour our commitments in Afghanistan. Beginning this month, and for the duration of next six months, Turkey will be leading the International Security Assistance Force for the second time with the participation of a large Turkish military contingent in order to further consolidate peace, tranquility, law and order in Afghanistan. During the same period we are also taking on a leading role in operating the Kaboul International Airport.

Mr. Chairman,

Training of peacekeeping personnel is an indispensable component of a successful peace operation. Turkey, established a Partnership for Peace Training Centre in Ankara in 1998. This center provides training not only to Turkish but also to future peace keepers from different countries.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey has always attached great importance to peacekeeping as a core function of the Organization. We will continue to be actively engaged in these operations to ensure that UN peacekeeping missions and all peacekeeping missions for that matter are effective and serve the needs of maintaining peace throughout the world.

Thank you.