2013-AS-Ahmet-DavutoğluForeign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu addresses Istanbul Annual Session.ISTANBUL, 29 June 2013 – OSCE PA President Wolfgang Grossruck opened the 22nd Annual Session of the OSCE PA in Istanbul Saturday with a call for a stronger parliamentary commitment to the OSCE.

"As members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, we must commit ourselves to greater involvement in the activities of the OSCE throughout the year," he said. "The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly can only play a strong role in the international community if the parliamentarians actively participate in our work."

Grossruck's call was echoed by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara who spoke about the need for re-engagement in the OSCE as the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act approaches.

"It is high time to revitalize the culture of engagement that inspired the Helsinki Final Act of 1975," Kozhara said. Regarding the OSCE PA's leadership of election observation, Kozhara said, "Your work is indispensable to the organization."

Foreign Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoğlu also spoke about the upcoming 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Accords and said "We need such a Helsinki initiative in the Middle East and North Africa."

Emin Onen, Head of the Turkish OSCE PA Delegation read a letter from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which said the PA should assume a leading role in the OSCE.

uide the OSCE particularly in the fight against discrimination.
Cemil Çiçek, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, stated that parliamentarians need to make sure that Helsinki +40 is tackled through an informed process. He spoke in particular about the need to ensure that racism and xenophobia remain high on the agenda of the OSCE. He also spoke about cyber security and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria.

Secretary General Lamberto Zannier addressed the Assembly and highlighted the importance of co-operation between governments and parliaments as well as with other international organizations.

Special Representative on Gender Issues Hedy Fry spoke about the gender aspects of conflict cycles, referring to the horrors of rape and other crimes that historically have further marginalized women.

Hosted by Turkey's Grand National Assembly, the Annual Session is being held under the theme "Helsinki +40," which underlines the Assembly's support for the OSCE Ministerial Council decision in Dublin to launch a set of objectives aimed at strengthening the OSCE towards 2015.