Address by H.E. Mr. Naci Koru, ILO Governing Body 330th Session, Geneva

Naci KORU 17.06.2017

Thank you Chair,

-At the outset, I would like to congratulate you for your election for the new term. This is one of the rare occasions one of our social partners will chair the GB. I believe that this will strengthen the spirit of tripartism inherent in the works of the ILO.

-I also congratulate the newly elected members of GB, its officers and members of committees. I wish you all the success in the next term of GB.

-We will continue our constructive approach in the GB as a deputy member and will be very happy to work in cooperation with Governments’, Employers’ and Workers’ delegates of the new GB.

-As regards the agenda item on 10th European Regional Meeting, I thank the Office for the information given regarding the developments on the subject matter. As it is well known, GB took a decision to hold the 10th European Regional Meeting in Turkey.

-I would like to reiterate that our country is looking forward to hosting the ILO`s 10th European Regional Meeting. With this understanding, the recent developments in the process leading up to this meeting are a source of concern to us.

-Firstly, the allegations that labour rights and political situation in Turkey are not conducive to hold such a meeting are baseless.

-Compared with the global trends, it is clear that there is a very important development in Turkey in terms of social dialogue and organized civil society. There is no problem as regards the proper functioning of trade unions, freedom of association and core labour rights in Turkey.

-Nevertheless, if one of the parties of this august body believes that there are problems in a certain country, there are well-established supervisory mechanisms of the ILO to deal with.

The regional meetings are not the proper places to be used as a complaint mechanism.

-Secondly, ITUC/ETUC states in their letter that in case GB maintains its previous decision they will call on their members not to attend the Regional Meeting. We think this approach does not match with the spirit of social dialogue that is the main pillar of this august body.

-The three largest trade unions in Turkey have repeatedly stated their willingness to hold the meeting, and have sent a letter expressing their resolution to the Director General of the ILO. The same is equally valid for employers’ organizations and two public employee unions.

-While there is a broad consensus in the Country and among the Constituents of ILO to hold this meeting in Istanbul, the demand of deferral or changing the location of meeting will be an act against the broad consensus and spirit of social dialogue.

-Turkey spends great efforts to keep open the channels of dialogue at both the national and the international levels, and we firmly believe that to prevent the organization of this meeting in Turkey would be equivalent to dispensing with those channels and losing an important opportunity to foster mutual collaboration.

-Regarding the concerns of some members, I would like to underline that Turkey hosted many high level international meetings last year and during the first half of this year without any problem whatsoever. Thanks to the successful measures our Government took, no major problems have arisen in terms of security since the beginning of this year.

Dear Chair,

-This is a European regional meeting with technical content, in which Turkey does not interfere in any way. In accordance with the MOU, as well as the rules and procedures, host country only ensures smooth conduct of the meeting in terms of organisational aspects. Moreover, hosting a meeting in a country entails huge burden in terms of human and financial resources.

-For these reasons, we will not consent to any decisions of postponement, deferral of the meeting. We expect that the previous decisions of the Governing Body will be maintained and respected.

-In this context, we would appreciate the kind support of GB members, governments, employers and workers to maintain and honour the previous decision of GB and not to support the draft decision point proposed in the GB document[1].

Thank you Chair.

[1] Draft decision: “The Governing Body is invited to decide on the follow-up to be given to the proposed postponement or change of venue of the Tenth European Regional Meeting.”


Sadık Arslan Ambassador

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