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SHAPING A COMMON SECURITY AGENDA FOR SOUTHEAST EUROPE

NEW APPROACHES AND SHARED RESPONSIBILITIES

September 5-6, 2003
Sofia
 
Mr. M. Vecdi Gönül
Minister of National Defence of the Republic of Turkey


Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to address the distinguished ministers, statesmen and participants.

GLOBALISATION AND NEW THREATS AGAINST SECURITY

In the rapidly changing environment created by globalism, the threats against national security have been differed. New risks with multidirectional and complex nature that are difficult to foresee have aroused. The new international security environment has become volatile and unpredictable.

ASYMMETRICAL THREATS

The globalisation clearly marked a new phase as the traditional enemy was disappeared. Now the enemy itself is essentially asymmetrical and non-conventional. Non-conventional threats are continually increasing in number.

Asymmetric threats like international terrorism, separatist movements, ethnic and religious conflicts, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, organized crimes, environmental problems, drug trafficking and cyber terrorism appeared as new threat parameters and changed the security perceptions.

As it can be seen, the countries or societies that can't undertake general war between the countries, the organizations employed asymmetric threats in order to support their ideas and ideologies. The small groups that constitute the asymmetrical threat have an identity which could not be a part in a war in classical terms.

With the millennium, mass-destructive terrorism, narco-terrorism, mediatic terrorism, electronic-digital terrorism, ethnic terrorism, religious terrorism and unorganized terrorism appeared as the sorts of terrorism.

No country is totally immune from terrorism or other types of threats that have acquired transnational dimensions. The tragic events of September 11 indicated that terrorism constitutes a direct attack on the lives and democratic rights of the citizens as well as the justice and peace. September 11 attacks demonstrated how vulnerable a modern society can be. We have moved from obvious threats into a new sense of vulnerability. The terrorist threat is now at the forefront.

NEW FEATURES OF TERRORISM

Today, the number of terrorist actions decreased, but the losses and the power of destruction increased. Since terrorists enjoy technology at maximum level, the leaders get the capability to control and direct their organizations from a great distance. This empowers the central authority hindering the deviations. They are getting more financial resources, enjoying the human aid funds more than ever, increasing their legal commercial activities, getting more elasticity against developments, having closer relations with crime organizations like mafia and facilities in getting weapons of mass destruction. Through technology, their assets and capabilities of propagation enhanced.

TURKEY AND TERRORISM

Due to its geostrategic position, Turkey is located at the intersection of problematic areas of Middle East, Balkans and Caucasus. Turkey exposed to a constant terrorism threat because of the vicinity of these problem-hidden regions.

TURKEY'S APPROACH IN COMBATING TERRORISM

Since 1960's Turkey has been subject to almost all kinds of terrorism, including ideological, religious, separatist and state sponsored terrorism.

As a result of the disagreement arising from ideological differences among the leftist terrorist organizations in the 1970s, advocating armed struggle to achieve their objectives, the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party Front (DHKP/C) was established.

This Marxist-Leninist organization has been active in Turkey mostly in the cities for more than 20 years, with its heinous acts of murder and violence.

In addition to that, PKK established in 1978 and caused the death of over 30.000 of our citizens, among who are many innocent civilians, teachers, public servants and children and a large amount of economic loss since the start of its terrorist activities at rural area in 1984.

PKK-KADEK's main argument has been and still is that the citizens of Kurdish origin in Turkey are put in a disadvantaged and inferior position. However, this argument is far from reflecting the truth as the ethnic roots of citizens in Turkey is regarded as a concern of private domain and the 'Turkish people' refers to all the citizens of the Republic of Turkey, regardless of ethnic roots.

What is being presented by PKK-KADEK as a 'Kurdish problem' in Turkey is actually a terrorism problem that caused long delays in democratization and reform process all over the country.

Turkey believing that terrorism has no particular religion, race, nationality or language, strongly condemns all acts, methods, practices of terrorism regardless of their motivation, in all their forms and manifestations, wherever and by whomever they may be committed.

REQUIREMENT OF MULTILATERAL INSTITUTIONS

In order to create a sustainable security environment in international arena, cooperation with extensive participation between nations is needed, which includes all dimensions of the subject. This can be realized in the framework of multilateral institutions only.

Turkey advocates for a broad cooperation in the international community. Having had to cope with terrorism for long, Turkey stands ready to share its experience with other nations. The UN Security Council Resolution 1373 on combating terrorism lays the necessary ground for such cooperation. Furthermore, Turkey firmly believes that the Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism still being discussed in the UN should be accomplished as soon as possible for equipping the international community with a legal instrument that can be applied universally.

CONCERTED ACTION AND NATO'S ROLE

Since security is for all, than protection against threats to security must be a concerted action. In so far as my country is concerned, NATO should continue keeping the primary responsibility in the protection of the Euro-Atlantic area. We value transatlantic relations and our NATO membership. Turkey is against any design that may undercut the Alliance. We also value our relations with EU and pursue them on their own merits. Membership in the EU and a genuine partnership with the United States have never been conceived as alternative policies for Turkey. A strong Europe and a robust NATO should be the two main pillars of a healthy Transatlantic Partnership as well as a global order.

Turkey's support to the strengthening of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and to NATO's efforts of transformation should be seen in this perspective. In this regard, we follow closely the discussions and the recent developments on the future of ESDP. We believe that arrangements agreed on between NATO and the EU last December be safeguarded within the context of work on the future of ESDP.

In the past decade we experienced that ethnic and religious rivalries, territorial disputes, inadequate or failed efforts at reform, the violations of human rights and the dissolution of states could lead to local and even regional stability. The Balkans is much more familiar with these turbulences than any other region. We observed how the crisis response operations and cooperation with other international organizations were necessary, even indispensable.

During this period, NATO was instrumental in protecting peace and stability not only in the Alliance territory, but also in a wider European geography, such as the Balkans. NATO's continued existence in the Balkans is a living proof.

Security and stability on NATO's periphery is and will be a crucial factor for the security and defence of the Allies in the future. In this vein, NATO should assume a much greater role in Iraq. Establishment of a secure environment in Iraq will to be everyone's interest. Turkey would like to see a stable and prosperous Iraq with a democratic, secular and accountable regime, living in peace with its neighbours. NATO can provide such a secure environment. It has vast experience in this field. A full-fledged NATO role in Iraq would have positive reflections in the Middle East Peace Process.

REGIONAL COOPERATION AND SEDM

Regional cooperation efforts are complementary to what NATO does for an overall peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. Southeast Europe has so far a positive record in this regard. The Southeast European Defence Ministers (SEDM) process and its functional arm, Southeastern Europe Brigade (SEEBRIG), is a clear evidence of our willingness and determination to maintain peace and stability in our region through regional collaboration. We have long been a security provider, through our contributions in Stabilisation Force in Bosnia Herzegovina (SFOR), European Union Police Mission (EUPM), Peacekeeping Force in Kosovo (KFOR) and the EU-led operation "Concordia" in the Republic of Macedonia.

TURKEY'S EXPECTATIONS FROM ALLIES

As it could be seen from the picture described above, being in the center of the problematic areas of Balkans, Caucasus and the Middle East, Turkey will struggle against the terrorist organizations and its supporters. In this situation, we would like all states to see the effects of terrorism from our point of view. If the terrorist groups are allowed to exploit democratic opportunities in the countries, where they find shelter with the aim of carrying out terrorist activities, then it will not be possible to struggle against terrorism and eliminate terror organizations. Our expectations from our allies are:

  • to accept the KADEK related groups and organizations and especially the KADEK itself with its new name, as terrorist organization and,

  • to reflect the sanctions stated in the "EU Framework Convention on Combating Terrorism" to their domestic law in order to be able to take necessary precautions and make punitive processing against PKK and DHKP-C which EU included in its list.

    HOW TO BRING SUCCESS IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST TERRORISM

    Turkey which has struggled against terrorism for almost three decades and has a profound knowledge and experience in this field would have considerable contributions in the struggle against terrorism. In order to be successful in the struggle against terrorism:

  • Unanimous definitions of terrorism and terrorist should be made, The loopholes in the international law concerning terrorism should be eliminated,

  • Struggle against terrorism should be global. Therefore important missions are attributed to international organizations. There exists a need to an international organization to review, assess and to update the documents, doctrines, procedures and essential aspects of the struggle and to act as a central reference body. Such a formation may be established under UN or in the NATO under the supervision of UN.
  • For the cooperation in the struggling against terrorism, a reliable consultation and decision making mechanism, an extensive intelligence sharing network, tested planning systems, experience and a settled headquarters with qualified personnel are needed.

  • A comprehensive list of the terrorist organizations and the countries which support or sponsor terrorism should be developed, The sanctions to be imposed on the states that do not admit the UN resolutions should be clarified.

  • By means of diplomacy and image-building, international community should be convinced to condemn and outlaw terrorist practices,

  • International and domestic intelligence should be developed to obtain information about the identity, goals, plans and vulnerabilities of terrorists,

  • Since some terrorist networks can get NBC capabilities, nations should secure the NBC weapons (counter proliferation),

  • The acquisition of small-arms and mines by terrorists should be avoided (arms control),

  • The necessary measures in the international level should be taken to prevent and suppress the resources of the terrorist acts and to freeze the assets of the terrorist groups,

  • Information and communication infrastructure against terrorism should be restructured,

  • Social, political and economic discrepancies between communities that cause terrorism should be lessened in the international platform.


  • Turkey, in its region, would continue to act according to international norms to face the realities and threats of the new international context. I am confident that by strengthening our cooperation in defining and combating terrorism, we will be able to eradicate all sorts of danger caused by terrorism. Thank you.
     
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