Trust-based dialogue with Turkey needed to face joint challenges, underlines high-level OSCE PA delegation

Delegation with Speaker 121121OSCE PA delegation and Speaker Mustafa Şentop in Ankara, 9 November 2021ANKARA/ISTANBUL, 12 November 2021 – A high-level delegation from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly led by President Margareta Cederfelt (MP, Sweden) and comprising Vice-President Azay Guliyev (MP, Azerbaijan) and Vice-President Reinhold Lopatka (MP, Austria) conducted this week an official visit to Ankara and Istanbul to underline the crucial role played by Turkey in addressing major OSCE challenges.

The discussions, which included a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, called for greater international co-operation and solidarity to manage refugee flows, effectively prevent terrorism and violent extremism, and advance comprehensive security. Conversations with Turkish interlocutors touched on concerns over racism and intolerance in the OSCE region, which were addressed in a resolution adopted during the OSCE PA’s 2021 Remote Session.

“Considering its challenging geographic environment, including its proximity to conflict zones and to migration routes, Turkey is an essential partner to preserve stability in the OSCE region,” said OSCE PA President Cederfelt. “Constructive engagement with Turkey, in a relationship based on trust and mutual respect, must allow the OSCE and our Parliamentary Assembly to fulfil their role in crafting long-term and effective solutions to protect our common security.”

In addition to President Erdoğan, the PA delegation met in Ankara with Speaker Mustafa Şentop, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül, Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran, and the Delegation of Turkey to the OSCE PA led by Selami Altınok. Discussions with major political parties represented in the Grand National Assembly offered an opportunity to assess their role in Turkey’s new system of government, and to raise concerns over the criminalization of political speech and limits to parliamentary immunity.

Meetings with UNHCR Representative Philippe Leclerc and Turkish Red Crescent President Kerem Kınık further highlighted the extent of Turkey’s support to the largest refugee community in the world.

“By providing safe access to healthcare, education, and meaningful employment to close to four million refugees and asylum-seekers, Turkey plays a major role in preventing further instability in the wider OSCE region,” said Vice-President Guliyev. “Open dialogue with Turkey is therefore critical to promote greater responsibility-sharing between all OSCE participating States.”

Delegation with UNHCR 121121Delegation with UNHCR Representative Philippe Leclerc, 10 November 2021In the context of the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), the PA delegation also noted the entry into effect of the Paris Climate Agreement in Turkey on 10 November.

“Turkey’s long history of combating terrorist and extremist movements is a useful experience for other OSCE countries facing similar threats,” said Vice-President Reinhold Lopatka, who also serves as Chair of the OSCE PA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Countering Terrorism. “At the same time, these responses must avoid eroding the rule of law, undermining the independence of the judiciary, and restricting freedom of expression. Parliament must continue to play all its role in protecting these fundamental pillars of a democratic society.”

In Istanbul, the delegation also had the opportunity to exchange with civil society representatives on the state of democratic and media freedoms, as well as their ability to operate in Turkey.

The PA leadership also met with the Secretary-General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (PABSEC), Asaf Hajiyev, to explore avenues of co-operation between the two organizations.

Selected photos from this week's visit are on Flickr.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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