Message by HE Abdullah Gul, President of the Republic of Turkey on the Occasion of the 68th Anniversary of the Foundation of The United Nations

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We are celebrating the 68th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations (UN) of which the Republic of Turkey is one of the founders.

The UN maintains its unique character as the only global organization representing international legitimacy and establishing norms towards the fundamental goals of protecting international peace and security, achieving sustainable development and strengthening human rights.

As a result of the developments that have taken place in the international arena since its foundation, newly emerging risks and threats together with new concepts and means to address them, the agenda of the UN has come to cover a wide spectrum of issues ranging from the protection of international peace and security to refugees, from climate change to human rights, and science and technology to development. The specialized agencies within the UN system conduct important activities in these fields respectively.

The challenges of the 21st century necessitate further coordination and consultations between states in many fields. In this sense, the UN General Assembly comprising 193 countries is an important forum, providing all with the opportunity to make their voices heard.

Today, the greatest challenge the UN faces is in the protection of global peace and security. In fact, fundamental changes have taken place in the international system since 1945 when the UN was founded. At present, the ongoing internal conflicts which cannot be brought to an end pose the greatest threat to international peace and security.

As I pointed out in my address to the General Assembly this year, there is a need for a strong, efficient and reliable UN which has the capability to take action for the maintenance of international peace and security, and the ability to protect security, justice and the fundamental rights and freedoms of people. More effective intervention of the UN in crises which are deeply shattering global conscience, such as the great human tragedy in Syria today, is a requirement of the founding philosophy and goal of the Organization.

The Security Council, which is entrusted by the Member States in the UN Charter with the responsibility for the maintenance of peace and security, needs to become more representative, more efficient, more functional and more accountable. With this understanding, Turkey will continue to be a leading country supporting the UN reform process.

Turkey has been a staunch supporter of the UN and the values it represents. Taking leading roles under the aegis of the UN in the areas such as peacekeeping and peacebuilding, mediation, development, environment and the alliance of civilizations, Turkey has doubled its contribution to the UN budget as of 2013. As a result, Turkey now ranks among the largest contributing countries in the UN.

In line with our increasing contributions to the activities of the UN, the idea of transforming Istanbul into a regional center for the UN constitutes one of the elements of our policy with respect to the United Nations and significant steps are being taken in this direction. In this regard, the agreement to open the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Regional Centre for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States in Istanbul was signed during the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly.

Humanitarian diplomacy continues to be a major priority for Turkish foreign policy. Last year, Turkey became the fourth largest official donor. Along with the contributions of Turkish NGOs in the areas of health, education and capacity building, Turkey's total humanitarian aid now reaches 2 billion US Dollars annually. Turkey will be hosting the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in 2016.

With this vision, Turkey has presented its candidature for non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council for the period 2015-2016. If elected, Turkey will bring an independent voice to the Security Council, by listening to all parties, trying to find comprehensive and lasting solutions to the existing problems through dialogue.

Hoping that the efforts of the United Nations will bring global peace and serenity, I extend my congratulations on the occasion of the United Nations Day, October 24th.

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