Geneva Conference On Preventing Violent Extremism: The Way Forward
Thank you Mr. Chairperson,
Violent extremism in all forms is a growing source of concern on a global scale. In this regard, there is no doubt that law enforcement and security measures strictly based on the rule of law remain effective tools. However, a broader vision is needed to make our societies more resilient against extremist narratives. A comprehensive strategy should involve a “whole-of-society” as well as a “whole-of-government” approach.
Turkey warmly welcomes the Plan of Action of the Secretary General to Prevent Violent Extremism. We fully agree that the UN has a crucial role to play in setting the basic principles, and assisting member states in their own national prevention efforts.
With this understanding, Turkey has been among the pioneers of the first Human Rights Council Resolution on human rights and preventing and countering violent extremism adopted last October during the 30th
Session of the Council. This resolution emphasizes that violent extremism cannot be associated with any religion, ethnicity or nationality. Most importantly, it underlines the need for states to address the conditions conducive to violent extremism, while fostering tolerance and inter-cultural dialogue.
Turkey is concerned about rising intolerance, discrimination and stigmatization on the basis of faith and ethnicity, which aggravate marginalization and alienation, thereby providing new grounds for extremist groups to exploit. A resolute stand is needed in order to cut off this vicious cycle.
As one of the Co-Chairs of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum, Turkey actively contributes to the efforts of this global platform and GCTF-inspired Hedayah Center, aimed at addressing violent extremism. Turkey is also co-leading, together with the United States, an initiative to address the life cycle of radicalization within the GCTF.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach in preventing extremism. Turkey’s experience revealed that enhancing fundamental rights and freedoms; reforming law enforcement and judiciary as well as promoting a lively public debate have a direct impact in successful results.
At the national level, Turkey’s work on prevention is based upon identifying the main drivers of radicalization; preventing individuals and communities from the propaganda of violent extremist groups; intervening against recruitment efforts of terrorist organizations; and rehabilitation of convicted individuals. Our policies involve mainly the use of soft tools such as community-policing, family support, religious counseling, educational and employment incentives and development policies, with particular emphasis on vulnerable segments of the society.
While we interrupt networks and make it harder and more costly to join terrorist groups, we try to understand how individuals from apparently different socio-economic backgrounds fall prey to propaganda, becoming potential killers or servants of a false utopia. We focus on reaching out to families without making them targets. We try to promote role models that found their own exit gate to a promising life from tough neighbourhoods.
Turkey is adamant that effectively preventing violent extremism is only possible when a genuine cooperative framework at global level can be established under the guidance of the United Nations. We believe concrete outcomes of this very Conference will pave the way for further action within the United Nations, encouraging other initiatives at national and regional level.
I thank you Mr. Chairperson.
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