About Us Turkey

Statement By H.E. Mr. Mehmet Simsek,
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Republic of Turkey,

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished Heads of Delegations,
Your Excellencies.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be in Almaty for the Third Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of CICA. I would like to start my address by extending our gratitude to the Government of Kazakhstan for hosting us all so graciously, in the best traditions of hospitality of this country and indeed of the entire CICA region.
I would like to thank Kazakhstan and you Minister Tajin personally, for your determined leadership of our Conference and for your continued efforts in further consolidating the CICA process as one of the leading forums for security dialogue and cooperation in the greater Asian geography.
My heartfelt gratitude goes to our outgoing Executive Director, Mr. Jandos Asanov, whose inspiring guidance and hard work have been the driving force behind much of what we have achieved so far. I wish Mr. Asanov all the best in his future endeavours. I would also like to extend a warm welcome to our new Executive Director, Ambassador Dulat Bakishev. We wish you success in your new tenure Ambassador Bakishev. Let me reassure you that you can count on Turkey's continued strong support for the CICA process.
I would equally like to take this opportunity to warmly welcome Jordan and the United Arab Emirates as our newest Member States. We look forward to cooperating with you in CICA.
And lastly, may I express my deep appreciation to the Government of South Korea for hosting the Senior Officials Committee meeting in Seoul. After the meeting in Bangkok, this is the second time that a CICA high level meeting is being organized outside Kazakhstan. This is a very promising sign of growing ownership of our Conference by the Member States.

Mr. Chairman,
Ministerial meetings are events where we take stock of our achievements and provide guidance for our future work and activities. However, they should also be a venue for us to collectively take a critical look at our Conference and to engage in a frank exchange of views about our shortcomings.
Our Organization is developing in two parallel venues. The institutionalization process is well on track. We have a functioning, albeit small, Secretariat structure and its Rules of Procedure. The CICA Secretariat has acquired legal status following the conclusion of the ratification process of the Host Country Agreement by Kazakhstan. We are glad that we will also be concluding the Convention on the Legal Capacity of the CICA Secretariat, its Personnel and their Privileges and Immunities at this Ministerial Meeting.
On our part, in Turkey, the ratification process of the Statute of the CICA Secretariat is on the agenda of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. We expect a favourable decision before the end of the year. These are all positive achievements, providing a strong institutional foundation for our future endeavours.
We believe it is now time to concentrate on issues of political substance, with one exception. And that is the financial state of affairs of our Conference. The present framework which puts the brunt of the financial burden on the Chairmanship, supported by voluntary contributions by only a few cannot be maintained in the long run. It is now time to start working on a regular scale of contributions, which should be completed by the next Summit in 2010. This will constitute the litmus test of our ownership of CICA.

Mr. Chairman,
It is imperative that the political aspects of our work keep pace with the progress in the administrative field, particularly in light of the fact that the basic instruments are already at our disposal to build upon. We have the political remit, as laid down by our Heads of State in the Almaty Declaration. We the Ministers have given our blessing to the CICA Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures in 2004, and our Senior Officials further approved the document outlining the "Cooperative Approach for the Implementation of the CICA Confidence Building Measures" last year.
Based on our decisions, a number of CICA Member States, including mine, have shouldered the responsibility of giving further impetus to our work by undertaking various coordinating functions. Turkey volunteered to coordinate the implementation of the measures in the area of new threats and challenges of the CICA Catalogue. To this end, we convened an experts meeting in Turkey early this year and have presented a document reflecting the outcome of this meeting, together with an Action Plan for further consideration and approval. That Action Plan foresees organizing further meetings at experts' level, which, we believe, would foster dialogue within CICA in order to address crucial issues on border control and management, police issues and combating terrorism and trafficking. I am satisfied to note that the Action Plan was adopted by the Senior Officials Committee in its latest meeting the previous day. It is now our responsibility to implement that Action Plan to the furthest extent possible. Let me also underline that Turkey, as the coordinating country responsible for implementation of the Action Plan, would highly appreciate the support and cooperation of all the CICA Member States who are willing and ready to do so.

Mr. Chairman,
Building up CICA as an effective instrument to strengthen coordination and cooperation on security issues in our region requires our collective political will to create the necessary conditions and the relevant mechanisms.
It is with these concerns that we look forward to the upcoming experts meetings by the coordinating countries on issues such as investment, finance and small and medium size enterprises, transportation, information technologies and energy security, agriculture, tourism and environment. We hope these meetings will revive debate on these issues and lead to concrete outcomes.
Another area, to which Turkey attaches particular importance, is confidence building measures in the military-political dimension. We are aware that this is one of the thorniest issues, taking into account the political realities on the ground in our region and the prevailing sensitivities between some Member States. In this context, it would be worthwhile to keep two considerations in our minds: First, confidence building measures in the military-political sphere are most significant and relevant when tensions and mistrust exist. Past experience in other geographies demonstrate that this is when they are most needed and when they are usually achieved, given the political will. Second, CICA has been established as a forum for multilateral security dialogue. Why then, not explore the possibilities through a constructive dialogue, even though concrete results may be achievable only some time in the distant future? If nothing more, perhaps such dialogue would help us better understand each other's security concerns.

Mr. Chairman,
We commend the Kazakh Chairmanship for setting an example last year, by initiating food aid through CICA to Afghanistan, towards alleviating the suffering caused by the drought and resulting famine. Turkey, following your example, has provided financial aid to Afghanistan also through CICA. Such activities help raise the public profile and visibility of CICA. We encourage other Member States to also consider helping the Afghan people through CICA. Turkey also supports the convening of a conference on terrorism, narcotics production and trafficking in 2009.
CICA's possible contribution to inter-cultural dialogue is one which we also deem worthy of further consideration. A working group could be established towards this end. We believe establishing a strong partnership with the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative at the UN would be mutually supportive. The possible contribution of CICA to the Alliance should be explored, particularly in light of the fact that CICA indeed represents a broad diversity of religions and faiths.

Establishing working relationships between the Secretariats of CICA and those of other international institutions and organizations is an area to which my country attaches particular importance. It is for this reason that we warmly welcome the signing of Memoranda of Understanding between CICA and Economic Cooperation Organization, Eurasian Economic Community and International Organization for Migration.

Mr. Chairman,
Consistent with our support to increase CICA's outreach, we support starting exploratory talks also with other international and regional organizations, in order to determine how the further dialogue and cooperation with such organizations can be mutually supportive of each other's work and activities. However, we believe it is too early to consider some form of merger between OCA and any other organization. We are at a decisive stage in the development of CICA's political work. We believe that, we should concentrate first on further the consolidation of the CICA process before we plan on enlargement.
In this respect, I should like to congratulate and thank you, Mr. Minister, and your team for the dedication, engagement and perseverance in the exercise of your leadership role, as well as to the Executive Director and his diligent staff at the Secretariat, where Turkey has the pleasure of seconding the Deputy Executive Director.
Finally Mr. Chairman, we are very honoured by H.E. Nursultan Nazarbayev's proposal that Turkey assume the Chairmanship of CICA by 2010, You can rest assured that our response on this very crucial matter will be delivered to Kazakh authorities in due course.
Thank you.