Turkey to co-chair anti-terror initiative

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu (R) is seen with his US counterpart Hillary Clinton in this file photo. Turkey and the US are launching a new global initiative. AA photo
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu (R) is seen with his US counterpart Hillary Clinton in this file photo. Turkey and the US are launching a new global initiative. AA photo

Turkey and the United States will launch a new initiative aimed at intensifying the joint struggle against terrorism and its roots in “Arab Spring countries,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Friday.
The forum will include nearly 30 countries, and its first meeting is scheduled for New York on Sept. 22 on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.
The new initiative, to be called the Global Counterterrorism Forum, or GCTF, will bring together “traditional allies, emerging powers and Muslim-majority countries,” Clinton said in a speech in New York.
The U.S. proposed the creation of the Global Counterterrorism Forum “to address the evolving terrorist threat in a way that would bring enduring benefits by helping frontline countries and affected regions acquire the means to deal with threats they face,” a fact sheet of the U.S. State Department said in regard to the initiative.
“It is based on recognition that the U.S. alone cannot eliminate every terrorist or terrorist organization,” it added.
The GCTF would prioritize civilian capacity building in areas such as the rule of law, border management and countering violent extremism, the State Department said.
The GCTF will take a more strategic approach to civilian counter-terrorism efforts and aims to increase the number of countries both technically and politically capable of dealing with the terrorist challenge.
The founding members of the forum include Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the U.S.
Turkey and the U.S. will co-chair the strategic-level coordinating committee, while five thematic and regional expert-driven working groups, as well as a small administrative unit to be initially hosted by the U.S., will also be established, according to officials.

The GCTF working groups will focus on “the criminal justice sector and rule of law, countering violent extremism, capacity building in the Sahel, capacity building in [East Africa] and capacity building in Southeast Asia,” the State Department said.

Relevant GCTF members such as the United Nations and nongovernmental experts will be invited to participate in the working groups and activities. The mechanism will work for the further implementation of the U.N. Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, officials said.

The initiative aims to create the first-ever multilateral training and research center focused on countering violent extremism, which would be based in the Gulf region, according to officials.

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