Turkey: UN resolution on Syria observers right, but insufficient step
Turkey has welcomed UN Security Council Resolution 2042, which was adopted on April 14, authorizing the deployment of 30 unarmed observers to Syria to oversee the cease-fire there, a statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry has said, Today's Zaman reported.
"We are pleased with the resolution on Syria approved by the UN Security Council on April 14. This resolution is an important message that the UN Security Council has responded to the situation in Syria with a single voice. However, it does not completely meet our expectations, but is a positive step," the statement said, adding that Turkey confirmed its support for UN-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan.
Turkey's permanent representative at the United Nations, Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, said the resolution adopted by the UN Security Council on Saturday authorizing observers to travel to Syria was a first step and a good one. Apakan said Turkey supported the efforts by Annan and placed great importance on the implementation of Annan's six-point peace plan.
Apakan added that they attached special importance to the fulfillment of rightful and legitimate demands by the Syrian people.
Naci Koru, deputy undersecretary at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, stated that the Foreign Ministry was pleased with the resolution. "This resolution was an important step to show the unity of the international community against the Syrian regime for the first time," said Koru.
When asked if there would be any Turkish observers in the mission, Koru replied that there was no final decision about the composition of the mission. "If there is a request from the United Nations to add Turkish observers, we will evaluate it," said Koru.
A Turkish diplomat stated that the resolution represents a new stage in the Syrian crisis. "This mission differs from the mission of the Arab League, which didn't bring any concrete steps," said the diplomat. According to Turkish sources, there were three scenarios for the UN observers' mission. "Firstly, UN observers will go and no concrete developments will take place and this situation will lead to the continuation of the Assad regime. Secondly, mass demonstrations will start with the arrival of the UN mission and the Assad regime will start its violence again and the observers will record this violence. Thirdly, mass demonstrations will lead to the collapse of the Assad regime," said sources.
Oytun Orhan, an expert on Syria from the Ankara-based Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM), told Today's Zaman that this resolution was the evidence to show that the international community still wanted to solve the Syrian crisis through diplomatic channels despite the Assad regime continuing its violence since the cease-fire. "Turkey supported the Annan peace plan although it knew that Assad would not commit to the responsibilities of the plan and would try to buy time," said Orhan.
When asked if the mission would be successful in stopping the violence in Syria, Orhan replied that this mission was different compared to the Arab League's mission. "It is obvious that this mission is supported by China and Russia and if Syria fails to comply with this mission, it is definite that Syria will face harsh sanctions in the future, as this is mentioned in the resolution. This resolution has a coercive element for the Assad regime because it is supported by Russia and China. If this mission fails, China and Russia will have no reason to support the Assad regime. The Assad regime still continues its violence and it seems that the regime will not stop. Therefore, according to this scenario, this will mean the failure of the mission," said Orhan.
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the bloodshed in Syria was a consequence of the violation of the law of brotherhood in a speech he delivered at the inaugural ceremony for the Holy Birth Week celebrations in Istanbul.
Cagrı Erhan, an expert on the Middle East, stated that a resolution would not bring success and would give the Assad regime the chance to buy more time.
In the meanwhile, Syrian National Council (SNC) official Abdallah Turkmani has said that they were pleased with Turkey's position over the crackdown in Syria and added that Turkey's stance regarding the situation in Syria was "positive" but that they had expected a more concrete attitude from Turkey.
Turkmani also stated that they wanted Turkey to set up a buffer zone inside Syria and also wanted humanitarian corridors to be opened to maintain the security of the Syrian people fleeing the violence in their country. Turkmani added that Turkey was an important and special neighbor.
Turkmani also stated that the SNC planned to establish a parliamentary system after the collapse of the Assad regime. "We will establish a Truth and Justice Commission to come to terms with the past. In the end, Syria will be a country where every citizen will be treated equally," said Turkmani. He added that the first mission of the parliament would be to create a new, inclusive constitution, which includes the belief in the rule of law. The UN resolution gave the 15-nation Security Council its first united front since the uprising against the Assad regime began 13 months ago; it called for an immediate deployment of up to 30 monitors, six of whom were reported to have been sent on the evening of April 15.
The resolution calls on both sides to immediately "cease all armed violence in all its forms." More than 9,000 have been killed in the uprising so far, according to the UN. It says those responsible would be held accountable and condemns "the widespread violations of human rights by the Syrian authorities, as well as any human rights abuses by armed groups." It calls on Assad's government to "visibly" implement its commitment to pull troops and heavy weapons out of towns and cities and return them to barracks.
The resolution calls for the deployment of an advance team of up to 30 unarmed military observers to initiate contact with both sides and begin to report on whether there has been "a full cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties." If there is a sustained cease-fire, the council has said it will deploy a larger force, which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said will include about 250 observers.
"I will make sure that this advance observer mission will be dispatched as soon as possible and try to make concrete proposals by April 18 for an official observer mission. I will discuss that with the Syrian authorities and I will instruct the DPKO [the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations] to take the necessary measures," Ban said in an interview with United Nations Radio in Geneva.
After the approval of the resolution, Annan said in Geneva that he was "very relieved and happy" about the council's vote.