Statement by H.E. Yaşar Halit Çevik, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, on Syria at the United Nations General Assembly

Halit Çevik 15.05.2013
Mr. President,

We are here to take action on one of the biggest crisis, affecting directly and indirectly, the peace and security of a vast portion of the Middle East and beyond. The draft resolution, tabled by Qatar and the co-sponsors, is very timely at a time when the international community is seeking a way to stop the violence and devise a plan to end this crisis.

Since dynamics within the Security Council prevents the action of the main responsible body to maintain international peace and security, the General Assembly should, once again, assume its responsibility to reflect the common-sense of the international community.

Unfortunately, the humanitarian dimension of the Syrian crisis is worsening every day before our eyes in an exponential manner. Even while we were negotiating this broad consensus text, targeted operations of the Syrian regime and the Shebbiha continue unabatedl. An immense cultural heritage continue to be destroyed by aerial bombardments and ballistic missiles. We, in New York, are only being informed of a minimal portion of the grave situation, whereas great majority of the Syrian population has to face the grim reality to survive every single day.

Various top UN officials have articulated the gravity of the situation within and around Syria over and over again. Neighbouring countries, including Turkey, have called the responsible bodies of the UN to action with every opportunity. Our last attempt was only 9 days ago. Yet, to no avail.

The problem is not with the limits of the United Nations; it is with our limited perception of the realities on the ground. How far we are going to let our fears prevent us from action in the UN? Would inaction provide the solution to those fears?
This resolution is yet another call to address the conscience of the international community. It is a reminder for all of us that unless we change our perception, more people are going to die. Not because of the oppressors in Syria, but because we could not stop them.

There are a lot of details in this resolution but there is one single fact. The vote which we will cast will be perceived by the oppressors, either as a warning against, or as an act of support to regime’s brutal policies. Certainly we all should be well aware of this.

One may choose to believe in the allegations uttered from the podium. We chose to believe what we see on the ground. We have kept on saying: " We stand by the Syrian people" And we will continue to do so.
For all reasons above, Turkey supports the draft resolution.

Thank you.