Statement byTurkey at the Security Council Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Implications of Covid-19”

Feridun H. Sinirlioğlu 02.07.2020
Mr. President,

COVID-19 is a challenge that might define this era.

What started as a public health issue has quickly turned into a global crisis with severe social, economic, political and security implications.

It could be the first truly global phenomenon underwritten by the very own dynamics of globalization.

It might also bring the end of globalization as we know it. We are still in the middle of unfolding events and must find our way through this crisis.

Meanwhile, in the face of this unprecedented challenge, we must first ensure that the immediate humanitarian crisis is addressed. An effective and coordinated international response is urgently needed.

This must be followed by a collective, rigorous effort to protect the achievements of the law-based multilateral system and rejuvenate our faith in multilateralism.

Mr. President,

The immediate problems are manifold.

On the one hand, in many parts of the world, especially in the least developed countries, diagnostic tests and basic equipment are urgently needed to fight against the spread of the virus and ensure effective medical responses.

We must increase our efforts to make sure that no one is left behind.

The pandemic is also a major disruptive event for the global economy. The efforts to contain the virus save lives but restrict economic activity. There is already a huge fall in global trade and more is looming on the horizon. The heavy economic toll might push 70-100 million people into extreme poverty.

While even the healthiest economies require big bail-out plans by the governments, LDCs and developing countries are hit hardest by the pandemic.

They are facing an unprecedented health and economic crisis, with potentially extreme economic, social and sustainable development consequences that may reverse decades of progress in development and further jeopardise efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Therefore, the international community urgently needs to unlock ambitious support to developing countries, to prevent the loss of lives, contain the risk of aftershocks, and invest in their sustainable recovery.

The pandemic also presents enormous challenges for fragile states and conflict regions.
Terrorist organizations are seeking ways to fill in any vacuums and create favorable conditions to spread instability.

Peace operations and troop rotations are already hampered by the outbreak and mediation/facilitation efforts are stalled due to restrictions of movement.

It is essential that we place some of our focus on building resilience and promoting good governance in vulnerable regions/countries.

The pandemic has also given rise to a new wave of hate speech and misinformation, causing scapegoating, stigmatization, discrimination, xenophobic nationalism.

While violence against women and girls is rising globally, disruptions in employment opportunities in critical health, humanitarian and development programs have devastating consequences especially for women and girls.

We must also remember that COVID-19 has exacerbated the tragedy of the displaced people. They now face new waves of suffering due to border closures and limited access to healthcare services.

Mr. President,

It is true that the pandemic has brought to the surface the shortcomings of the existing system for international cooperation and coordination. But the need for effective multilateralism has also become more evident than ever.

We must remember that no country is safe until all are safe. A lack of trust in multilateralism is on the rise because there is a lack of cooperation and solidarity among nations.

At such a critical juncture in world history what we do today will define tomorrow.

We will either try and confine ourselves within our borders and watch the unravelling of what humanity has achieved by pain and blood over the last century, or we will prevail together with more cooperation and solidarity.

COVID-19 crisis is now a litmus test for global cooperation and solidarity, and is a stark reminder that we cannot recover from the current crisis unless we address our existing vulnerabilities.

We must keep multilateralism alive. We cannot let it be another casualty of COVID-19.

Thank you.