STATEMENT BY MR. HÜSEYİN MÜFTÜOĞLU CHARGÉ D’AFFAIRES OF THE TURKISH PERMANENT MISSION TO THE UNITED NATIONS, IN THE OPEN DEBATE TITLED “IMPACT OF TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME IN PEACE, SECURITY AND STABILITY IN WEST AFRICA AND THE SAHEL REGION”

Hüseyin Müftüoğlu 21.02.2012
Mr. President,

We thank Togo for organizing today’s Open Debate.

Transnational organized crime poses a serious threat to peace, security and stability in all parts of the world.

West Africa and the Sahel Region is no exception. We are concerned that political instability, food crises, ongoing security challenges and recent social and political movements that have taken place in Northern Africa have further contributed to the consolidation of criminal networks in the region. The risk of reversing the peacebuilding progress in this particular region is yet another source of concern for us.

Mr. President,

Organized crime, coupled with emerging threats such as the piracy in the Gulf of Guinea necessitates appropriate political mobilization with integrated national and regional responses.

That said, we are pleased that there have been some sincere efforts which have been undertaken by the regional countries and organizations as well as international bodies to tackle the adverse impacts of crime in West Africa and the Sahel Region.

We particularly would like to commend the ECOWAS Regional Action Plan to address the Growing Problem of Illicit Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime and Drug Abuse in West Africa, covering the period of 2008-2011.

We also commend the efforts of the UNODC in cooperating with the regional countries as well as the international community, and encourage the UNODC to further its cooperation with all actors. We believe that reinforcing international coordination with the UN system will enhance the effectiveness of the international efforts to tackle this global challenge.

Mr. President,

While all the parties concerned have been undertaking relentless efforts to eradicate the transnational crime and criminal networks in the region, there still remain important tasks to be done and responsibilities to be taken on everyone’s part.

First, we call on the regional countries to increasingly demonstrate their political will to consolidate rule of law and to fight corruption.

Second, given the importance of regional cooperation and coordination, we urge ECOWAS to renew the Regional Action Plan beyond 2011. This will not only ensure the ownership at the regional level, but also give a strong message to the international community that the regional countries remain committed to fight against transnational organized crime. In this respect, Turkey welcomes the UNODC Regional Programme for West Africa for the years 2010- 2014, which was devised to underpin the ECOWAS Regional Action Plan.

Third, we have to bear in mind that it is difficult to decouple the regional dimension of transnational crime from its global dimension, and that the countries of origin, countries of transit and countries of destination are all affected from this scourge. In this regard, all Member States have a responsibility in fighting this menace.

Fourth, recognizing the fact that international cooperation and support is essential to tackle these problems, Turkey would like to call on all the Member States to gear up their technical, financial and logistical support to the countries of the region, as well as to the regional organizations.

Fifth, it is necessary to address these challenges from a holistic perspective. In this regard, initiatives at national, regional and international level should also address the development challenges of the countries concerned. We firmly believe that achieving long-term success in the fight against transnational crime is only one aspect of the broad strategy to eradicate poverty and unemployment and to promote decent living conditions for the entire population.

Mr. President,

As one of the Strategic partners of the African Union Turkey will continue to cooperate with all the parties concerned to overcome the challenges in West Africa and the Sahel Region.

Thank you Mr. President.