Thank you Mr. President,
Excellencies distinguished guests to very important event and I would like to express my thanks and appreciations to President Seyfi Tashan of the Foreign Policy Institute in bringing about this meeting today. It is a timely one when the experts group at NATO has presented its Report on the Strategic Concept and when in all allied countries and also in partner countries the topic is being discussed publicly. I think for us to have such a debate is relevant and important. I would like to express my thanks to the Vice Rector as well. I know that Bilkent University is not only the venue for the institute but also contributing intellectually to the work undertaken. I had previously prepared some written remarks. But since this is a much closed society, dealing with such an important issue I thought that it would be better to express my thoughts on this topic dealing with certain items relevant to the strategic concept. If I make stride with the process at NATO during the Strasbourg- Kehl Summit Meeting of 2009, the Heads of State and Government decided to establish an expert group to make its contribution for the preparation of the Strategic Concept. The present Strategic Concept dates back to 1999 and I think time has come to reflect upon the developments that have taken place since then and to give a vision statement for the future. The Experts Group had already presented its report on 17th on May and when I talked with my successor our Permanent Representative to NATO yesterday he told me that they already had a way day being an informal discussion of any issue outside the headquarters with an informal environment provided by the Secretary General. So, they had very useful discussion yesterday and I am sure that they will continue to do so because what the Expert Group had done so for is to bring together all ideas, some of them perhaps out of the box ideas to be thought of in preparing the New Strategic Concept. And we would like to see the permanent Council to be fully involved in the process. On the half of, the capitals to feel sense of ownership if such an opportunity is given now. The text should be of course not too long for the public also to understand what such a vision will be for the future. But I think we should not exaggerate the brevity of the Strategic Concept by making certain analogy that it should be understood by Omaha Milkman because I don’t think that no matter how brief, concise it would be there won’t be an interest by certain segments of the society. But in any case public perceptions are extremely important and we have to eliminate the perceptions of the Cold War. The international scene has changed so has NATO and NATO is in a constant process of adaptation, adapting itself to the new security environment and of course such a Strategic Concept should set a clear guidance to the NATO military authorities. It is essential that there is no ambiguity in that sense. When we talk about NATO and its success so far we can claim that it has been a primary forum of consultation, transatlantic forum for consultation, it is a political organization with military means and Article four which enables any given ally to bring matters directly affecting its security defense and also the security interest of its allies. Article 4 is very crucial in that sense it enables allies to consult among themselves. The core function of alliance is still important and relevant. Article 5 is the bedrock of the alliance and I don’t think that the passage of time will erode its importance and meaning. When we look at the discussions that took place in 1980s and even the beginning of 1990s out of area was some sort of a sinful expression and everybody feared the consequences of embarking upon an endeavor which might be considered as out of area activity. When we look what NATO is doing right now most of its activities can be qualified as out of area. The ongoing operation, ISAF Operation in Afghanistan is a case a point and I must say that in the years to come NATO will continue to be active in such expeditionary operations. For us, the important thing is to have a balance between the core function of the alliance and the expeditionary operations. If we have maintained a success of NATO so far, it is thanks to our ability, capability, capacity to deal with the issues, contingencies related to the core functions to the alliance. Therefore, we can not neglect such areas which we qualified them to be in that category of activity. Such a balance can be struck not only rhetorically but also in practice, it should encompass planning activities and also allocation of resources.
Now, in this new strategic concept and when I say new strategic concept one should not expect a document to be prepared from the scratch. The existing Strategic Document will continue to be valid what we are going to do is to update the present text. And in updating the present strategic concept of course we need to take into account the developments. There have been changes in the international scene, that unknown phenomenon that we have to reflect in the new document, areas like energy security cyber defense or counter piracy, these were perhaps areas that we started to think about in the past but now more and more we have to focus on them. Terrorism will definitely be something that the strategic concept should reflect. If we remember that in 2001 after the terrorist attack in New York, Article 5 was evoked because of such terrorist activities, this will be one important area that we should be united to fight against it. Partnership is another important point that we need to enlarge our capacity. So far we have created a web of relationships with a number of countries and group of countries, EAPS, Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council will continue to be a forum of political dialogue, discussion. In the coming months, what we may do in the light of the new strategic concept is to give some substance to do work of the EAPS with tailored arrangements, thematic cooperation models with flexible structures like 28+n. But, in any case we should not give up the existence of such a forum of discussion. Mediterranean dialogue, Istanbul Cooperation Initiative these are all very important tools for political dialogue and practical cooperation. When talking about partnerships there is one important player in the Euro-Atlantic scene, it is Russia and I think the alliance should engage with Russian Federation in a meaningful manner. I must say that NATO- Russia Council provides a very important forum for our engagement; it is not 28+ n forum it is a council compose a of 29 nations and we need to engage with Russia in all weather conditions. I recall that after Georgia crisis NATO-Russia council suspended its meetings at Ambassadorial level. At that time, I always found that to be a great mistake. We should have engaged of with Russia even more often at Ambassadorial level if it had been once a month we should have met four times a month, to deliver our messages at appropriate levels and to make them see what the sensitivities are and I think there is now a better understanding about the utility of the NRC. There are areas of mutual interest from counter terrorism to weapons of mass destruction, cooperation in Afghanistan; so we need to build on these areas so that our engagement will be mutually reinforcing and to the satisfaction of all.
What we have seen in the recent year is that in all operational theatres we can not achieve results only through military means. This brings me to the notion of comprehensive approach which will need to be reflected in the Strategic Concept. What I meant is that if we take Afghanistan as an example, we have the ISAF Operation and military operation there. But, in order to achieve success we need to bring different components; civilian military, good governance, reconstruction and development so that we see the ownership of the Afghan people and to see state structures functioning properly. And that is why we need to bring together the capabilities and capacities of different international organizations. When NATO has claimed to contribute to comprehensive approach we are sincere about that and we wish to engage with other international actors and organizations in a proper and profitable manner. We are genuine in our offer to have such cooperation with other organizations and that’s why in every operational theatre we can see NATO being engaged with the United Nations with the European Union and with all concerned organizations there. Now usually Turkey is being criticized that it is sort of an obstacle for making a progress in furthering cooperation between NATO and the European Union. I must say that such a statement will not be with the knowledge of what Turkey is trying to do and what Turkey has been contributing in operational field. First of all, Turkey since the inception of European Security and Defense Policy has been contributing to almost all operations and actions of the European Union. We are in Bosnia under the mandate of the Althea Operation and it is a EU-led Berlin plus military operation and we would soon be the first leading nation within Althea. In Kosovo Eulex mission we have 64 policemen and we wish to increase the number up to 150. And we, at the same time, wish to be properly involved in the planning decision shaping and execution phases of each an every mission and operation. If you ask me what we are satisfying with the level of involvement, my answer would not be positive unfortunately. NATO has been very open minded forward leaning towards its partners in involving them, in planning, decision shaping and execution of any operation- ISAF- KFOR. I must say that our allies who have been very vocal during the NATO discussions, were silent when it comes to the deliberations of to EU with respect to a better and proper involvement of the Non- EU allies within the CFDP of EU.
Lisbon Treaty, according to what I hear from my interlocutors in EU, will hopefully bring some possibilities in that direction. But when I read certain stipulations within the Lisbon Treaty and also the instruments provided by the union, I get more skeptical; because no matter what accumulated we have in our relationship with EU and one clear example is this implementation of the document, we see that according to Lisbon Treaty we are qualified to be a third country, a third state together with Russia, India, China or whichever country you may remember. And I think that there should be a difference between other partners of EU and Non-EU European allies. So, no matter what our membership process how it will continue and let us for the sake of assumption think that Turkey will remain out of the European Union forever, still Turkey will have the rights to be properly involved in ESDP because we are Non-EU European ally. Now, one critical question in the Strategic Concept would be the nuclear component of the alliance deterrents, as long as nuclear weapons do exist in the world and we very much support the vision of Obama, one day to have a world free of nuclear weapons. Still it will take time and until such time NATO will need to maintain its nuclear deterrence. I am sure that the debate on the finalization of Strategic Concept would require a focus on the nuclear dimension of the deterrence and I presume a balancing language will be added by incorporation of certain language with respect to arms control and disarmament. Missile defense will be another issue which will have to be with in the Strategic Concept. For nuclear weapons stationed in Europe sub strategic systems, I must say that the maintenance of Trans-Atlantic links, display of solidarity and also the principle of fair burden and risk sharing would be something we should not lose side of. The missile defense is an important issue and on that I have to highlight the principle of indivisibility of security and solidarity yet another principle in that context and we need to see all alliance territory to be fully covered with any missile defense architecture to be developed in the years ahead. Few points on Headquarters Reform because when I read the report and I think it is in front of you, the report of the Experts on Strategic Concept, there are two fundamental issues, one is military transformation and second is the reform of the headquarters and decision making process and of course one other issue is expanding our capacity in the partnership field. On Headquarters Reform all I can say is that we very much support various ideas to strengthen the ability of alliance to deliver things in a timely fashion and streamlining the Committees is one very good idea. But, we have to be very careful about it and we always have to review the process with lessons learned. As to the decision making process, consensus has always been in the heart of our work in the alliance. Sometimes, we may come across certain suggestions with the expectation that NATO can also follow the European Union by incorporating qualified majority rule to its working methodology. But, first of all, every organization has distinct future as it is not EU and second when people make such suggestions they fail to recognize the fact that even within the EU security and defense is one domain of activity that qualified majority voting rule is not applicable. So, at NATO, we may also come across suggestions that perhaps we should restrict the consensus rule only with the Council, Committees will discuss briefly what is before them and bringing it to the Council table. I do not think that it would be practical since we will be over, burdening the work of the Council and at the same time we will be losing expertise accumulated in the Committees. A few words on allocation of resources, because it is one particular area that we are facing more and more difficulty at NATO and the circumstances is not proper to increase the level of spending due to financial crisis that we are undergoing. But if the level of ambition of the alliance is determined by financial constrains then we will be losing one important and successful organization, like NATO because we will be focusing only in areas that financial capability could permit. So, the level of ambition has to be determined by the Strategic Concept but not by financial constrains. Strategic concept may eventually lead a discussion on command structure and I caution the audience that frequent change of command structure will lead to question mark as to the credibility of our system. These are some thoughts that I offer again I would like to thank you for organizing this meeting and I hope that it will produce very good exchange of views that will help us in having our ownership in the process.
Prof. Duygu Sezer: Thank you very much, first perhaps I should thank the organizers of the conference, this is a unique organization. This is a rare occasion for us from many perspectives especially because we all time are used to attend such conferences take part and we are active such conferences because they are used to be more of them during the Cold War years and in the early days of the passing away of the Cold War. But, it is quite rare that you are taking part in a conference which is exclusively dedicated to NATO issues which I believe it is very timely. Mr. Ambassador, you have given us a very informative overview, but I had not seen the report, I haven’t had a chance to look at in fact I am just seeing report today, this morning. And you touched on some critical points; I would not take up more of your time because it is very satisfactorily explained by you. There is one area which you may have talked about it but I may have missed it that is the enlargement process. I’ve read the small short paragraph on that report just now it. What do you say about this? Is this a repetition of the old because the 1991 again? This seems to be open-ended approach; it is a continuation of the open-ended approach. What do you think about it? Where do you stand? Where does Turkey stand on that question? Thank you very much.
The Ambassador of Netherlands: Thank you, I have two questions one is very short. The short will be what is your primary assessment of the Report? Second one is, you talked about Russia, I came from Moscow last year and what you mean is that it is very important to one way is trying to engage with Russia. Do you think there is special work of the achievement, because you are much nearer with Russia not only geographically but also with other issues as well?
Mustafa Kibaroglu: Mr. Ambassador, it is always a pleasure to listen to your remarks, just like today you set the stage in a very eloquent way. Especially with respect some research I am doing, it is about US nuclear weapons in Europe, as you also mentioned there is a paragraph in the document, I just want to refresh the minds of participants here, as long as the nuclear weapons exist, we should continue to maintain secure and reliable nuclear forces with widely shared responsibility for the deployment and operational support. Any change in this policy including in the geographical distribution of NATO nuclear deployments in Europe should be made as with other major decisions by the allies as a whole. But we all know that there is this letter dated February 2008 earlier this year Foreign Minister of Belgium, Germany, Luxemburg, the Netherland and Norway stated that they will come the initiative taken by President Obama to strive force substantial production of strategic arms and to move towards producing the role of the nuclear weapon and to seek peace and security in the world without nuclear weapons. We need to emphasize that there should be discussions towards the allies can do more closer to this political objective ensured three countries that are known to have US weapons in their territory, Belgium, The Netherland, and Germany want to sent this weapons back. So, what is NATO’s reaction to this terror, if these countries somehow or NATO as a whole takes a decision or approve their desire to sent them back? What is Turkey’s reaction to this, could you please explain?
Question: Thank you, I have just one remark and 2 questions. The remark is that I am really impressed by the level of bola between parties position with varied aspect Strategic Concept will touch upon in Italy’s position, I will be talking about further but it is really impressive. My two questions regard initial briefly mentioned with CFE treaty that NATO members should follow common position. I would like to know of Turkey would be ready to support ratification of the amended treaty regardless of the fact that Russian troops in Chechnya. Second question regards that NATO’s role outside the Euro-Atlantic in particular in the Middle East I would just wonder whether Turkey would be ready in NATO for a role in the Middle East for instance as a peace-keeping capacity in the Middle East conflict?
Question: My question is about Russia- NATO relationship. When I looked at the Eeport, there is one thing that I personally share and I think the Europeans people share of the sentiments, I would be critical of is this over emphasis on finding a balance between Article 4 and 5 without being clear on how to implement them. I am sure everybody agrees that assurance of the allies in area in dynamic engagement outside is a good thing but how Europe actually go around doing it, I don’t think even NATO as I talked to them including Jamie have an idea perhaps pushing some more troops in area. But we are talking about fundamental disagreement as to what constitutes an Article 5 operation. In terms to engage Russia, Report actually says the Medvedev Treaty on European security should not be as a basis of engagement because it undermines NATO. But moderate Russian views actually tell us the opposite view; the Treaty could be a basis of dialogue and engagement although it does not provide all the answers. It could be a basis for seriously engaging with Russia beyond NATO-Russia council structure which at the moment only deals with rather massive, boring technical issues; it does not really look at the wider strategic issues. On that basis, I think there is a European and American disagreement and I would really like to know where Turkey stands on that, how do you view the Treaty as a basis of engagement that Medvedev has proposed.
Reşat Arım: You mentioned the adaptation of NATO to the international developments. We know that the international developments affect the international system. We see that international system is still evolving. So, do you think that we can say the same thing for NATO, which it is evolving according to the situation in the international system?
Now, with respect to the portions of the Report pertaining to Article 4 and Article 5 again as I said earlier Article 4 provides allied countries to have a consultation on issues related to their security and defense. It is a very important mechanism that we can engage in a dialogue among ourselves. For Article 5, I don’t think that we should prescribe which situations warrant the evoking of Article 5. There has always been flexibility we should not introduce a rigid system of what is applicable, what is not applicable, this requires the discussion among allies and Article 4 will provide that. But, at the end of the day take for instance 2001 and for the first time in its history NATO evoked Article 5 because of the attacks in New York. So, if NATO embarks upon an exercise from now on what will fall into the category of the Article 5 then we will be losing the beauty of its flexibility and I rather find it difficult for us to go through that part. With respect to Medvedev proposals, it is not only the Medvedev proposals which to me were containing very important ideas but the formulation of what we called Medvedev proposals in the form of two agreement treaties: one for European security, the other for NATO-Russia Council, to me is not as sophisticated as the ideas formulated under the title of Medvedev proposals and we may even qualify them to be less than what it was and not too sophisticated in nature those instruments. And I have to emphasis that Russia is insisting on legally binding commitments when it comes to its own concerns but when it comes to concerns of some allied nations then it can easily go for political statements or commitments. And I think we need to be very careful about that careful process is progressing, NATO-Russia Council will of course discuss the agreement that Russia has proposed. But we don’t have Medvedev proposals as such imply because what we have seen in the wordings of these two treaties are not reflected of what Medvedev proposals intended to have initially.
For your question Ambassador, I can in all fairness say that NATO is transforming itself constantly. In early 1990s after the dismemberment of the Soviet Union fall of the communism and Warsaw Pact it was the first major transformation. Transformation is a key word guiding the work of the alliance and it will continue, we can not sustain the success of NATO without transformation and even for the fact that there is allied comment transformation in Norfolk is a clear indication that we are focusing in a very pragmatic manner and the ACT in Norfolk is instrumental to generate ideas like a think tank if I may qualify that way giving us perspectives for the future and it is extremely useful to see a number of possible contingencies and how the alliance can react to such evolving situations. So our motive is transformation and we will continue to do that and this Report in fact highlights the importance of transformation in that sense.