İçerik: Speech by Uluc Gurkan, Head of the Turkish Delegation
to the Parliamentary Assembly of the CoE
10.07.2001 - Paris
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
What is Europe? Is it a particular place, or a specified position within its geographical limits?
I think the only answer to this question that does not lack vision is our organisation: OSCE. It is easy to make Europe smaller and less important and in the sense to exclude Central Asia in the composition of the Bureau will be frustrating our rules. In considering proposed candidates for the offices of the Parliamentary Assembly vice-presidents and treasurer the Assembly shall take into account of national composition of the Assembly. Of course, Europe is not without its geographical limits but it is more than merely a particular place.
Europe is a unifying idea. It is our shared values such as democracy, peace and solidarity. With those values, European issues go beyond any regional European framework. Those values concern a much broader area from Vancouver to Vladivostak.
Turkey lies at the epicentre of 13 crisis response areas among the 16 planning situations notably the Balkans, The Middle East, the Caucuses, Central Asia and Russia. Turkey enjoys very close historical, cultural, economic and political links with the countries of those regions.
But Turkey have a deep concerns at this point. The ESDI understanding could embark on an operation close to Turkey without having any say in the planning of the action or any control over it. That cannot be accepted and the reason is simple. We are talking about security and security goes rights to the hearth of national interests. For that Turkey wants no less and no more than the decisions taken in Washington in April 1999.
In modern societies, minority rights are a priority. But this priority should not prized exploitation of new divisions and new conflicts our continent suffered much from this primitive type of tribal like approach.
At this point our most essential responsibility I believe is summarized in the basic teaching of most religions: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. With this understanding and on behalf of the Turkish Delegation I want to stress 2 specific points.
1. Turkey's intervention to Cyprus was on behalf of the Island's abused Turkish people. In the island there exist two equal people with different language, culture and religion. A settlement can be viable only if it is based on this reality. Turkey cannot accept Cyprus to be a Greek Island.
2. The advocates of ethnical rights would do well recall that Turkey was forced to wage a war against a sponsored terrorist gang, every but equal of the Taliban or in its ferocity and totalitarian ambitions. This terrorist gang should not let the OSCE human rights card and benefit the result.
Terrorism has always been fed by ignorance and fear, and sponsors of terrorism exploit both. Should Turkey ever turn away from its secular order or to change its Western orientation, the consequences will be terrible.
Turkey is an oasis of democracy and stability in a desert of dictatorship and strife. The West has its benefit in supporting Turkey preserve itself as progressive secular state, with strong democratic leanings in that most troubled part of the world.
I hope we will be wise and though to realise that.
To conclude I want to remind that democracies have the right not to hand the tools of destruction of their enemies. The enemy for European countries extreme nationalism is nazisizm for Turkey its radical Islam.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Have you ever seen an Islamic democracy? Think about what you know of Islamic governance in places where it rules- then you will understand immediately that secularism is the key to democracy in the Muslim world.