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    Turkish officials hail Turkey's United Nations Security Council seat

    HotNewsTurkey with wires
    18.10.2008 - 09:55 | Son Güncelleme:

    Turkish officials hailed Friday Turkey's election to the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council for 2009-10. (UPDATED)

    Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan attributed Turkey's election to the U.N. Security Council to his country's growing role in international affairs.

    Turkey's new, non-permanent seat for 2009-2010 "is a reflection of our increasing weight in international politics and the confidence that the international community has in us," Erdogan told reporters.

    Among nations in the European group at the United Nations, Austria and Turkey won non-permanent places on the Security Council in the Friday's voting in the U.N. General Assembly, leaving Iceland defeated.

     

    Turkey and Austria won Security Council seats with 151 and 133 votes respectively, with Iceland -- badly shaken, by coincidence, by the global financial crisis that brought it near bankruptcy -- getting only 87 votes.

    It was the first time Turkey joins the Security Council since 1961.

    There are a total 192 countries in the United Nations.

     

    The Security Council is the most important U.N. decision-making body, with its five permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- each having a power of veto over its decisions.

     

    The 10 non-permanent seats are filled by the 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 votes cast in a secret ballot.

     

    The newly-elected countries will replace Belgium, Indonesia, Italy, Panama and South Africa from January 1. Remaining on the Security Council until the end of 2009 will be Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Croatia, Libya and Vietnam.

     

    ACTIVE FOREIGN POLICY
    Ankara's efforts for a more active role in international affairs have been reflected more recently in its mediation of indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria since May.

    It has been also taking some kind of a role in Iran's nuclear row with the West. It has proposed to set up a platform for cooperation and stability in the Caucasus to help the resolution of conflicts through dialogue after the Russia-Georgia conflict.

    In its latest efforts, Turkey announced it plans to host the presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan over the rise in tensions between Pakistan and the foreign forces based in Afghanistan.

    Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said Turkey's winning a non-permanent seat in the U.N. Security Council was a historic day for Turkish Foreign Affairs.

    Turkey's intense efforts in the last five years finally bore fruit, Babacan told a group of reporters in front of the U.N. Headquarters after the voting.

    He said President Abdullah Gul and Erdogan, and all ministers including himself had carried the issue forward in all of their meetings with foreign leaders and officials.

    "Actually, we already feel the burden of this work load. We will have to deal with the problems from all over the world in the next two years. We will be have a say and make decisions in the solution of problems and make preferences. This should be within the framework of specific principles. Turkey should be a country always taking the right decisions," he said.

    IMPORTANT SUCCESS
    Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Friday Turkey's becoming a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council for 2009-2010 period was an important success of Turkish state's diplomacy and something which every citizen should be proud of.

    In a written statement Gul thanked to all friendly U.N. members as well as all related members of Turkish Government, Foreign Ministry and institutions for their support.

    "This support to Turkey is a reflection of the confidence and friendship of international community to our state. We will be in an effort to mobilize all abilities of Turkish diplomacy for the security, tranquility and welfare of the nations of the world," Gul said.

    "Turkey will continue assuming an influential role in the solution of the problems to restore peace, stability and tranquility in our region and in the world and will continue to contribute to endeavors to establish dialogue between the cultures and religions," he said.

    Turkish Foreign Ministry said Turkey would carry out its task as non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council for the next two years with the necessary care, sensitivity and responsibility, in adherence to the principles and aims enshrined in the U.N. Charter.

    "In the Security Council, which has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, Turkey will support the U.N. reform process, contribute to the peaceful resolution of conflicts, continue to play a facilitating role in regional issues, strive to achieve the targets for development and endeavor to sustain the dialogue between civilizations and cultures, in cooperation with all countries," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

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