At the outset, I wish to join other distinguished speakers in warmly congratulating you on your election as President of the 57th General Assembly and my delegation offers you its full support. I also wish to pay tribute to your predecessor, His Excellency Mr. Han Seung Soo for his able guidance of the last session.
It gives me great pleasure, to salute from here, the Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan and the two new members of the United Nations, the Swiss Confederation and the Democratic Republic of East Timor.
Turkey is firmly convinced that throughout this new century the need for the U.N. will increasingly grow. It is the only multilateral organization with universal membership dedicated to the noble aims of maintaining peace and international security, addressing global issues and establishing standards that should apply to all.
Exactly a year ago, evil in its worst form struck New York and Washington D.C.
Since the tragedy of 11 September it has become amply clear that terrorist organizations have much broader international networks than anticipated. Terrorism has many names and faces and recognizes no boundaries. This is a phenomenon that is not confined to nor can be identified with any particular geography, religion, race or culture.
Terrorism is the most blatant violation of human rights; nothing can ever justify terrorism and there can be no leniency towards it!
Turkey has been calling for years for intensified international cooperation against terrorism. We have been actively engaged in the work of the U.N. fighting this scourge and we commend the ongoing efforts. Security Council Resolution 1373, in particular, provides a clear road map with regard to the steps that need to be taken to combat terrorism more effectively.
It is incumbent upon all U.N. member states to adopt the existing international legislation and to review their relevant national laws accordingly. We urge those states that have not yet done so to become parties to the twelve international conventions on specific terrorist offenses.
We also look forward to the completion of the work on the Comprehensive Convention Against International Terrorism.
Preventive diplomacy and peacekeeping have gained even more priority in this era of new conflicts. Turkey has been actively participating in the efforts of the U.N. on conflict prevention and plays a significant role in U.N. as well as NATO and OSCE mandated peace missions.
Hence, we commend the efforts of the Secretary-General in ensuring prompt reaction to emerging crises and welcome the manifold considerations contained in his report on the prevention of armed conflicts.
My country took over the command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul at an extremely critical juncture.
We take pride in fulfilling this task and thank the contributing nations.
Indeed, Mr. President, all ISAF personnel are serving with a strong sense of purpose and mission.
Traditionally a close friend of the Afghans, Turkey has contributed for many years to the rehabilitation of Afghanistan. We salute the performance of the Transitional Authority under the leadership of H.E. Mr. Karzai, the Afghan President.
Today, we must rapidly embark upon real and tangible development efforts in Afghanistan. It is with this understanding that Turkey provides the Afghan - people with assistance that is directed at developing their national potential.
Likewise, efforts to build the Afghan national army and the police force as well as solidarity and unity among the ethnic groups are of crucial importance.
We feel strongly that the international community should fulfill its commitments declared in the Tokyo Conference for the reconstruction of Afghanistan.
We support H.E. Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi, the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Afghanistan in his efforts to secure greater financial assistance and the U.N. is to be commended for successfully spearheading the reconstruction activity.
Turkey is located in close proximity to many of the existing conflict spots and potential new threats that are high on the U.N. agenda. Accordingly, we are closely interested in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in our part of the world, particularly in the Balkans, the Middle East and the Caucasus.
We have been witnessing positive changes in the political and security environment of the Balkans. The multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural fabric of the Balkan countries must be preserved. We believe now is the right time that the word "Balkans" is freed from its negative connotation and made to stand for such positive meanings as "ethnic harmony," "mutual respect" and "peaceful cohabitation."
We hope that the elections in the Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Kosovo to be held in a few weeks time will be instrumental in shaping a better future for the Balkans.
Our resolve to further improve our relations with Greece along the current constructive dialogue process remains intact. We seek to encourage and foster the spirit of friendship and cooperation so that we can make further progress. In this respect, the two countries signed a number of bilateral documents. As for the Aegean, we believe that Turkish-Greek relations have indeed reached a level of maturity, which could enable us to address the issues at hand on a bilateral basis. To that end, we have been discussing certain Confidence Building Measures and agreed on some. We are also encouraged by the ongoing exploratory contacts.
On Cyprus, we continue to support the efforts aimed at finding a just, viable, lasting and complete settlement. Cyprus is an issue between the two equal, distinct peoples in the Island, namely the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots, who each live under their own political and democratic structures. The two peoples of Cyprus should be able to co-exist and share power under a new partnership state structure on the basis of the equal status and sovereign equality of the two partner states. We will continue to support the current direct talks between the two leaders in Cyprus, which enable the two parties to search for a comprehensive reconciliation without any third party involvement. We believe that equal treatment of both sides will foster an environment that will encourage them to move towards a new partnership of equals, excluding the possibility of reverting to the situation before 1974. We support the recent
Turkish Cypriot proposals, which provide a sound and realistic basis for a settlement. We believe that the international community should give due consideration to these proposals which open a new window of opportunity for the resolution of this long standing issue.
The decision of the EU Council to start accession negotiations with the Greek Cypriot administration, despite the illegitimacy of its claim to represent the whole Island, has made an agreed settlement even more elusive. Unfortunately, Greek Cypriot's focus so far has been totally diverted to the EU membership. Membership prior to settlement would create many problems and would lead to tensions in the Island and in the Eastern Mediterranean. We have reiterated that a unilateral Greek Cypriot entry into the EU would harm chances of a mutually agreed settlement establishing a new partnership between the two parties. The EU must tell the Greek Cypriots that they will not be admitted before a final settlement. This is essential if we are to make meaningful progress towards resolving the Cyprus issue.
In the aftermath of September 11, peace and stability in the Middle East has gained even more importance and urgency.
Yet, the present outlook of the ongoing conflict does not leave much room for optimism. Violence persists, taking a huge toll on both sides. This year has been marked by successive terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians and disproportionate use of force by Israel on the Palestinians. The occupation of the Palestinian towns and the destruction of the Palestinian structure only exacerbated the already difficult living conditions of the Palestinian people.
The parameters of peace in the Middle East are embedded in the Security Council resolutions 242 and 338. These resolutions have now been given fuller meaning with the
adoption of resolution 1397, laying out the vision of two states living side by side within secure boundaries.
The international community is also encouraged by the Arab League Plan adopted at their Beirut Summit based on the vision of co-existence of all states in the region through the full implementation of the relevant Security Council resolutions.
Likewise, the 24 June Statement of the US President charts the contours of a process that will lead to the two-state objective.
The international community should engage itself in encouraging and persuading all parties to the Middle East conflict on the road to lasting peace. The Quartet initiatives are welcome, and Turkey as a regional facilitator is, ready to offer her assistance in whichever way as may be necessary. We need a re-launching of the peace process and Turkey stands ready to host a meeting to that end.
After more than a decade since the liberation of Kuwait, the Iraqi problem remains unresolved. The repercussions of the Gulf War still prevail.
The adverse effects of this situation on the people of Iraq, on Turkey and the region are increasing.
The only way out for Iraq is to cooperate fully with the U.N. by implementing the relevant Security Council resolutions. Turkey has been encouraging Iraq in this direction.
We would like to see an Iraq, whose territorial integrity and political unity is preserved and peacefully reintegrated into the international community.
The Caucasus is another area of close interest for Turkey. We aim to help in establishing a comprehensive cooperation in the region. However, the unresolved conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh and Abkhazia still stand as principal obstacles to political stability and economic development. The U.N. Security Council has adopted four resolutions, urging the immediate withdrawal of all troops from the Azerbaijani territories which Armenia has not complied with.
Being an active member of the Minsk Group, Turkey works for a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the framework of the OSCE. We initiated a tripartite meeting among the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey in May.
The Abkhazian conflict still endangers peace and stability in Georgia and in the entire region. Turkey, from the outset, has supported the peaceful resolution of the conflict within the framework of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Georgia.
In addition to the challenges of building national structures and achieving economic growth, the young states of Central Asia have faced a set of new threats; radical religious movements, terrorist activities, drugs and weapons trafficking.
After the tragedy of September 11, the international community has finally acknowledged the importance of stability in the region and the need to support the reform efforts. Transition to full democracy in Central Asia should be seen as a process to be completed gradually as nation building, political stability and economic conditions are enhanced.
The United Nations is the vehicle for the realisation of global expectations.
We know that its future rests to a great extent on its responsiveness to the crisis of development in societies which have fallen behind.
As things stand, Mr. President, the process of globalization, the dominant force of our time, has amply shown its inherent weaknesses, that are apt to create profound issues of imbalance and inequality.
A case can be made in favour of globalisation for raising the level of prosperity, reducing poverty and enhancing liberties. However, fears of the masses cannot be completely allayed without evidence of a more responsive management of this process.
Conflict, poverty, discrimination and injustice still blight the lives of millions in every part of the globe. More than 80 countries have per capita incomes lower now than a decade or more ago...
Poverty as such is an offense to the conscience of the modern world!
In view of all these considerations, Africa has a special and urgent claim to global engagement and concern. My country supports efforts particularly aimed at alleviating problems that afflict this continent.
At this august gathering, I wish to salute the birth of the African Union. We hope the Africans will thus be able to work more effectively to attain their goals.
In the same vein, Turkey has attributed great importance to the achievement of the goals and principles adopted initially at the 1992 Rio Conference on Environment and Development compiled under Agenda 21. These have been our guidelines in combating poverty and
protecting the global environment throughout the last decade which has brought us up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg recently.
When we look back, we can see that we are, unfortunately, still far from achieving the basic objectives of sustainable development.
I hope that the implementation plan of the Johannesburg Summit will contribute to achieving our goals.
Before I conclude, I wish to underline one very important aspect of our foreign policy. Fifty years after the cornerstone was laid, the integration of Europe is gaining further momentum. The dynamics of EU's enlargement is opening up new horizons.
The recognition of Turkey as a candidate for accession to the EU ushered in a new era in the relations between Turkey and the EU. Turkey is determined to be part of this historic process of unifying Europe.
The last decade has presented us with many threats to security... Each has created its own challenge: but one fundamental lesson can be drawn from them all: No single state or organization can ably meet on its own these modern challenges. We need to work closely together....
The United Nations is the very forum in which we can achieve international cooperation and harmonisation to meet these challenges. Turkey stands ready as ever to do its utmost to contribute to the realisation of its noble goals.
Thank you, Mr. President.