The Turkish government is trying everything possible to secure a seat on the coveted United Nations Security Council, including resorting to all sorts of improprieties such as bribing third world countries to win over their votes in support of its candidacy.
These Turkish tricks were exposed in a recent issue of the Eurasia Daily Monitor, published by the Jamestown Foundation.
In October of this year, the U.N will select five countries to fill five rotating seats on the Security Council. To represent the region known as "Western European and Others Group" in the Security Council, U.N. General Assembly members will vote for two of the following three candidate countries: Turkey, Austria and Iceland.
Turkey last served on the Security Council in 1961. Turkish officials have been lobbying for this seat ever since 2004 -- almost five years before the scheduled date of the vote on October 16, 2008. If successful, Turkey would serve a two-year term beginning on January 1, 2009.
To garner votes for his country, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan has been meeting "a succession of dignitaries from little-known states in far-flung corners of the world," Gareth Jenkins reported in the Eurasia Daily Monitor on April 17.
Last April, the leaders of Nauru, the Republic of Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Cook Islands, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Palau, Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa and Tonga arrived in Istanbul for a conference on how to improve Turkey's almost non-existent ties with these states. Later that month, Foreign Minister of the Maldives, Abdullah Shahid, was invited to Ankara for discussions with his Turkish counterpart, Jenkins reported.
Turkey stands to benefit diplomatically and politically from its possible membership in the Security Council which would also raise the country's prestige and national pride, Jenkins said.
Turkey launched its campaign for Security Council membership in June 2004, when it sought the support of member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), during the group's summit meeting in Istanbul.
In the first six months of 2006, Turkish Foreign Ministry officials visited 30 countries, seeking their support. In September 2006, Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener went to Cuba to attend the Summit Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement. After a breakfast meeting for leaders of Caribbean states, hosted by the Turkish Embassy in Havana, Sener told Turkish journalists: "I had never heard of the names of some of them before, but they all have a vote at the UN." The lobbying efforts continued in 2007, with Turkish officials visited another 27 countries.
Turkey allocated in 2006 a total of $700 million in assistance to various developing countries. It contributed $20 million to pay off the debts of small nations to the UN, in order to ensure that they are not deprived of the right to vote -- for Turkey! In 2007, Turkey established a $15 million fund to support underdeveloped small island states. Moreover, for the first time Turkey established relations with the Marshall and Cook Islands.
In order to secure the votes of African states, Turkey is opening 10 new embassies in Angola, Chad, Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Niger and Tanzania. In 2005, Turkey became an observer member of the African Union. In March 2008, Turkey announced that it is allocating $50 million in development funds to several African countries. In August 2008, just two months before the UN vote, Turkey will host a conference in Istanbul on Turkey-Africa Cooperation.
Given the extreme vulnerability of small island states to global warming which may cause them to be overrun by rising sea levels, Turkish officials have developed a sudden interest in environmental issues. After meeting in Istanbul in April with leaders of several island states, Foreign Minister Babacan announced his government's commitment to fighting global warming and rising sea levels! Actually, Turkey is one of the very few states that has yet to sign the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
Turkey is not qualified to serve on the U.N. Security Council, as it is a major violator of human rights and a threat to the peace and security of neighboring states. Turkey's vote-buying efforts should be exposed. U.N. member states should be urged not to vote for Turkey. Instead, they should support the candidacies of Austria and Iceland -- two truly democratic countries which are far ahead of Turkey in every respect!