Statement of H.E. Ertuğrul Apakan, Permanent Representative of Turkey, at the UNSC Open Debate on Somalia

Ertuğrul Apakan 10.03.2011
Mr. President,

I want to congratulate Chinese Presidency for organizing this open debate. We think that it is timely and important.

I also want to thank Secretary General, Prime Minister of Somalia, H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, Special Representative for Somalia of the African Union Commission Mr. Boubacar Diarra for their statements. We welcome and strongly support the elements contained in Presidential Statement.

Mr. President,

The distinguished members of the Council, in their statements, rightly put an emphasis on the dire security and humanitarian situation in Somalia. Turkey is also very much concerned about the continuation of cycle of violence in this country as well as its adverse impact on civilians, primarily on women and children.

Likewise, we are alarmed by the fact that people needing humanitarian assistance in Somalia reached a total of 2.4 million. We call for an immediate action by international partners to avoid a humanitarian crisis due to food insecurity following the short rainy season. We also make a call to all groups to ensure free and unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid to innocent Somali people.

Mr. President,

We follow with concern the clashes in and around Mogadishu. We are cautiously pleased to observe that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces and AMISOM troops have recently made gains on the ground. We commend the crucial role played by AMISOM. We thank all troop contributing countries, especially Uganda and Burundi and convey our condolences for their loss.

Turkey welcomes and supports the gradual deployment of AMISOM in Mogadishu. We believe that AMISOM should be provided with adequate, predictable and sustainable funding so that it can effectively implement its mandate. For that, we think that the Security Council should consider authorizing an enhanced support package which would be drawn from UN assessed contributions.

Since AMISOM cannot and should not undertake the full responsibility to provide security, strengthening of the Somali security institutions carries a crucial importance.

Beyond that, Mr President, Turkey believes that military means should be coupled by the steps to be taken at the political front. First and foremost, TFI should double its efforts to reach out to other groups and try to engage them in the Djibouti Political Process and strengthen its relations with the local authorities in the country.

It is also the expectation of the international community that the pending tasks, especially the drafting of the new constitution be completed until August 2011 when the trasitional period will end.

Turkey, in principle, supports the idea of the extension of the transitional period as long as the decisions to that effect are taken in a coordinated and consensual fashion, and we believe that any unilateral action that might cause damage to the legitimacy and credibility of the Transitional Federal Institutions is not for the good of the Somali people and therefore should be avoided. Otherwise, there is a risk of aggravating the continuous political instability. That said, we welcome the efforts of SRSG Mahiga and the TFG to reach compromise solutions in this matter.

Mr. President,

We appreciate that Prime Minister Mohamed and his Government is truly committed to achieving the targets for a functional state with all its structures in place. We believe that it is incumbent upon the international partners of Somalia to empower the TFG, especially by providing the necessary financial resources and refraining from taking steps that might undermine the authority of the central government.

As we all know, the root causes of instability in Somalia can only be addressed through a comprehensive approach encompassing political, economic, and humanitarian as well as security issues. In other words greater support for the Transitional Federal Government is required in building the capacity of its institutions and remedying its structural deficiencies, which continue otherwise to obstruct peace building in the country. The same holds true for the allied local administrations’ structures, which should equally be assisted.

As we have said many times before, UNSG Special Representative for Somalia, Ambassador Mahiga has the full support of Turkey. We believe that his dedication and active engagement is a gain both for the TFG and the international community. Likewise we praise the constructive efforts of African Union and IGAD towards finding a durable solution to the problem in Somalia.

The international community was alarmed at the recent announcement of the merging between Hizbul Islam and Al Shabaab. Turkey ponders on the question of whether this merger is a loose one or firmly embedded. The question to which we should be seeking an answer is what might be the underlying reason for such a move and what might be done to draw the two apart, in the hope of convincing a rapprochement with the TFG.

Mr. President,

On 21st of March Turkey will chair the 8th Plenary of the International Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, here at the UN headquarters. Preparations are in the final stage.

With the recent increase in hijackings and escalation of violence shown by pirates off the Horn of Africa, including the killing of innocent civilians, there is an urgent need for a strategic plan to tackle piracy and combat it systematically.

We all agree that the solution to the problem lies foremost in Somalia. This necessitates addressing of the root causes. There is also a need to build the capacities of the countries in the region with a view to fighting against impunity for piracy crimes and strengthening their legal, judicial and penitentiary structures.

We believe that the upcoming Plenary will create a good opportunity to discuss this issue in a holistic manner. We also believe that today’s meeting will provide valuable inputs for our discussions within the Contact Group. In that sense, we believe that the two meetings are mutually reinforcing.

Thank you Mr. President..