Turkey announces bid for UN Security Council seat in 2015-2016



The Turkish capital on Wednesday officially announced its bid for a new term at the UN Security Council (UNSC), declaring its candidacy for a non-permanent seat in the influential body for 2015-2016.
“Turkey is determined to increase its contributions to international peace, security, stability and prosperity, as well as to further its efforts towards strengthening fundamental principles and values such as human rights, democracy and rule of law. Thus, Turkey is announcing its candidacy for non-permanent membership in the [UNSC] for the years 2015-2016,” a statement from the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday morning.
“The main reason for announcing our candidacy once again, not long after our non-permanent membership in the UNSC in 2009 – 2010, emanates from our belief that Turkey will provide significant added value to global peace and security in an era of critical and rapid change in international affairs,” the ministry said.

The Security Council is the most important UN decision-making body. Five permanent members of the council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — enjoy veto power over its decisions. The 10 non-permanent seats are filled by members of the UN General Assembly, with five countries elected each year to two-year non-renewable mandates. To secure a seat, a candidate nation has to win two-thirds of the votes cast in a secret ballot.

In October 2008, for the first time since 1961 and with a historic vote from 151 members, Turkey was elected as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

Ankara’s intense efforts to build peace in the region paved the way for its election to a body in which it had no representation for almost half a century.

Turkey occupied one of the non-permanent seats allocated to the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in the 15-member UN Security Council for the 2009-2010 term. Ankara announced its candidacy for that term in July 2003. It had previously held non-permanent seats in 1951-1952 and 1954-1955. It was the first time Ankara had a seat on the 15-member body since 1961, when it had shared a non-permanent seat with Poland.

Among the three countries competing for two seats, Turkey won votes from 151 UN countries. The other candidates, Austria and Iceland, received 133 and 87 votes, respectively. According to Ankara, the high number of votes in support of Turkish membership on the UN Security Council was a sign of both Turkey’s increasing weight in international politics and the trust of the international community in Turkey.

Ankara’s foreign policy vision, which the Foreign Ministry said will also define its priorities for a possible new term at the Security Council, calls for an international policy that “upholds respect for human rights with a view to balance security and freedoms,” focuses on “preventive diplomacy and mediation” in the resolution of conflicts, seeks to advance inter-cultural dialogue and supports reform within the UN.

The statement said Turkey decided to seek a new term at the Security Council soon after its 2009-2010 term expired because it hopes to offer significant contributions to global peace and security at a time when the Middle East and the Mediterranean region are undergoing major changes.

Turkey will be competing against Spain and New Zealand for the seat.

“We wish success to Spain and New Zealand, two friendly countries with which we enjoy immaculate bilateral relations, which also announced their respective candidacies for Security Council membership during the same term,” the statement said.

Back in September 2010, when he announced that Turkey will make a bid before 2020 for another non-permanent seat on the UNSC and also indicated that Ankara has targeted the year 2016 for this goal, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu was asked about the visible rifts between NATO allies Turkey and the US on the issues of Iran’s nuclear program and the state of Turkish-Israeli relations.

“Turkey is no longer a bird in the hand,” Davuto?lu said at the time in apparent reference to Turkey’s independent foreign policy, which is far from what had been assumed during the Cold War era, while speaking about Turkey’s ambition of becoming a member of the Security Council for another term.

Davuto?lu’s remarks came in New York, where he went to accompany President Abdullah Gül during the UN General Assembly.

“Since last year, there has been no single issue about which we haven’t informed the parties [at the UNSC], including the US. No information subject to negotiation has been hidden. Issues other than those subject to negotiations are our own business. Do I explain everything I discuss with the US to others?” Davuto?lu had said, when asked why the divergence between Turkey and the US over the Iran issue had emerged.

Turkey’s vote against a US-backed UNSC resolution on new sanctions against Iran and Turkey’s rhetoric following Israel’s deadly assault on a Gaza-bound flotilla on May 31 had led to uneasiness in Washington. The Security Council vote had come shortly after Turkey and Brazil, to Washington’s annoyance, brokered a nuclear fuel-swap deal with Iran as an effort to delay or avoid new sanctions.

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