Statement by Mr. Levent Eler, Deputy Permanent Representative of Turkey to the United Nations, at the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

Levent Eler 12.02.2013
Madam Chair,

At the outset, let me join other delegations in wishing you and the members of the Bureau success during the upcoming deliberations. We are confident that under your able leadership, the Special Committee will be able to achieve positive results. I would also like to thank Under-Secretary-General Ladsous and Under-Secretary-General Haq for their comprehensive briefings at the beginning of this session.

For many around the world, work we do here in New York are interpreted through the actions, inactions, successes and failures of the Blue Helmets, who are the interface between us and the populations in need.

Therefore, we salute all these women and men who serve peace in some of the most dangerous parts of the world. But we know that they want more than acknowledgement. They need a more efficient peacekeeping system that provides them with the necessary mandate, guidance, resources and training. They deserve our utmost attention.

We hope that at the end of our month-long marathon of extensive deliberations here in this Committee, we will contribute to a better future for UN peacekeeping. We wish to see the timely adoption of the C-34 report this year. In this context, we welcome all efforts to streamline our working methods. We hope that this year’s modality to only negotiate some of the topics will have a positive impact.

Madam Chair,

Being firmly committed to the UN peacekeeping operations, Turkey currently participates in 9 UN missions in its neighborhood and in other parts of the world, such as in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, South Sudan, Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire and Haiti. We attach particular importance to the police component of these missions.

Turkey’s contribution to world peace is not only limited to UN Peacekeeping Operations, but also extends to other UN-mandated peacekeeping operations commanded by other regional organizations such as NATO, EU and OSCE.

Madam Chair,

The safety and security of the UN peacekeepers is of primary importance for Turkey. We are therefore very concerned about the attacks on peacekeepers. We condemn these attacks and support the efforts aiming at enhancing the safety and security capabilities of the peacekeeping missions and their personnel, particularly in high-risk environments. We believe that such attacks can be dissuaded by providing peacekeepers with enough deterrent force, highlighting their neutrality and strengthening accountability for committing such attacks.

Peacekeeping operations have become more complex and multidimensional, which necessitates the incorporation of a variety of expertise. We welcome the understanding that peacekeeping can not be approached through solely a military prism. Security is a precondition for development, and development generates more security. Therefore, we are convinced that supporting national peacebuilding efforts should lie at the heart of peacekeeping operations. As also requested by Security Council Resolution 2086, adopted less than a month ago, incorporation of peacebuilding tasks into peacekeeping mandates will contribute to the success of our efforts.

The importance of clear, realistic and achievable mandates, that are flexible enough to accommodate the changing circumstances on the ground, can not be stressed enough. Additionally, mandates should be consistent with the resources allocated to their achievement. This is even more relevant for missions with protection of civilians mandates.

While formulating and planning the implementation of peacekeeping mandates, there is a need to listen more to the host country, regional countries and organizations, troop contributing countries, and other relevant countries that are active in such crisis areas. They have a better understanding on the difficulties on the ground, as well as the cultural differences and sensitivities of each country. On the other hand, I wish to also stress the importance of effective triangular cooperation between TCCs/PCCs, the Security Council and the Secretariat. Cooperation and coordination with the Peacebuilding Commission and other important stakeholders should also be high on our agenda.

Turkey fully supports the leading role of the United Nations in peacekeeping missions. Yet, given the magnitude and complexity of the challenges, we continue to believe that the UN should further enhance its cooperation with regional organizations and establish more effective arrangements in support of its peace operations. We welcome the steps taken so far, particularly in furthering cooperation with the African Union. Further regionalizing peacekeeping would not only increase efficiency by tailoring our efforts to the local needs, but also ensure their sustainability even after international attention fades away.

On the other hand, we firmly believe that achieving a geographical balance in UN Staffing would be a good way to enhance the pool of potential TCCs/PCCs. The UN Secretariat could benefit from a more balanced distribution of professional posts related to peacekeeping issues. It is rather disheartening that TCCs/PCCs are not adequately represented at the Secretariat. This imbalance needs to be rectified and priority should be given to under-represented countries at the UN Headquarters.

Let me also underline the importance of mainstreaming women’s participation. We welcome the increasing awareness and efforts within the UN system and among Member States to remove the constraints on such participation. We look forward to seeing further empowerment of women’s role in peacekeeping, in line with Resolution 1325.

Madam Chair,

There’s a clear nexus between peacekeeping, peacebuilding and peacemaking. In this context, enhancing the peacemaking capabilities of missions, including in mediation, through training and allocation of relevant expertise and resources, will contribute to a more peaceful environment in the host country and reduce the need for the costly hard security activities. Sensitizing peacekeepers to the host country's culture, including during their training, will contribute to this end.

We have to recognize the fact that there can be local resentment, reaction and opposition to peacekeeping missions. One of the priorities of any peacekeeping mission should be to win the hearts and minds of local peoples. This achievement, which would not only increase the efficiency of our efforts, but also the security of our peacekeepers, should be the basis of our work here in New York, and also on the field.

Thank you.