Statement by Turkey, Ambassador Naci Koru, Permanent Representative, 37th Session of the Human Rights Council, Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria

Naci KORU 13.03.2018
Mr. President,

Firstly, we firmly reject the baseless allegations made by the Syrian regime’s representative.

We thank the members of the CoI for their presentation today.

The suffering of Syrian people continues since the regime is targeting its own people by different ways and means as a method of combat. As stated in the report, the worsening situation in Eastern Ghouta is a result of the unacceptable besiegement and “starve or surrender” tactics of the regime. Allegations of the use of chemical weapons by the regime portray an even grimmer picture.

Turkey welcomes that the report points out serious human rights violations committed by the YPG led so-called “SDF”, such as conscription campaigns, which include recruitment of children. Due consideration must also be given to forced displacements, arbitrary detentions and executions committed by this terror organization.

We also welcome the recommendation of the Commission on the establishment of a mechanism to enable the speedy release of all political prisoners and those held arbitrarily. In that regard, I would like to mention that as a confidence building measure a Working Group has been setup in the Astana meetings on the release of detainees and handover of the bodies as well as the identification of missing persons. The said Working Group will hold its first meeting within the margins of the next Astana Ministerial Meeting this Friday.

As regards the reference that was made to Afrin in the report, I would like to put the record straight. Contrary to the wording used, Turkey is not in an offensive in Syria. Turkey is conducting an anti-terror operation against terrorist elements deployed in the Afrin region. “Operation Olive Branch” is carried out based on international law, in accordance with our right to self-defense as enshrined in the UN Charter and relevant Security Council resolutions. Turkey does its utmost to avoid any harm to civilian population.

In conclusion, success in Syria can only be achieved through a genuine political transition that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. Turkey on its part, will continue its efforts to contribute to ending the Syrian conflict through a credible political solution.

I thank you.

Atatürk

Sadık Arslan Ambassador

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