Cihad Erginay 23.01.2015

General Petty,


Deputy Ministers,

General Luif,

Dear Colleagues,

Distinguished Guests,

I would like to welcome you all to this ceremony for the handover of the duty of NATO Contact Point Embassy in Sarajevo. The Turkish Embassy has been entrusted with this important task for the last four years-since 2011. We have carried this responsibility with great pride and now, it is time that we pass this duty on to an Embassy of an Allied nation in Sarajevo which in this case is the United Kingdom.

Assuming the position of CPE is always a matter of competition and Allies always volunteer for this duty in countries where they feel they can contribute the most. In the case of Turkey - and now the UK – Sarajevo has been one of these capitals. Turkey’s ties with Bosnia and Herzegovina based on common history and rich cultural heritage that have now developed into an extremely vibrant social, economic and military/defense relationship was the natural source of our interest in this responsibility. Therefore, we will continue to pursue efforts aimed at increasing prosperity and well-being of the friendly and brotherly people of Bosnia and Herzegovina in all fields.

Turkey positively contributes to the advancement of BiH in its integration process with the European and Euro-Atlantic structures. We believe that the future of BiH lies within NATO and the EU and hope to see it achieve progress in its path to membership in both organizations. Political stability of this country and political reconciliation among parties is vital for reaching these goals.

We believe that the latest EU initiative should and will play an accelerating role in the EU process of BiH,therefore putting an end to the long-term deadlock of the country’s EU path. We support this initiative. In relation to this, I would also like to point out that this initiative can also be an inspiration for moving forward Bosnia and Herzegovina’s NATO MAP process. In this regard, BiH needs to take the necessary steps to overcome the issue of registration of defense property to start the NATO MAP cycle which it has failed to do since the Tallinn Ministerial meeting in 2010. We as the Turkish Embassy served during politically testing times, when little progress on the subject could be made. However, lately we observe stronger political will and determination to tackle this issue and we believe that BiH will eventually be able to take essential steps to overcome the technical requirements to start the NATO MAP cycle during the British Embassy’s term.

NATO CPE’s support the activities of the Alliance and help raise awareness regarding NATO in partner countries and assist with public diplomacy efforts. Being aware of the critical role that the NATO CPE’s play for the Alliance, and the importance of the Alliance’s partnership for BiH, it was a great pleasure and honor for us to have carried out this task for the last four years.

As NATO CPE, the Turkish Embassy has been working with BiH leaders and Armed Forces, to support its progress towards NATO. During this period, priority has also been given to underline NATO’s different aspects besides military/defense issues, such as the political, social and economic benefits that come along with it.

Membership in NATO would contribute to BiH not only in military or security terms, but it will also give a fresh impetus for the political stability by instilling confidence among the people in the future of the country, thus enhancing intercommunal relations and providing economic development of the country because investors will immediately sense this new, stable and predictable Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During our term as NATO CPE we have embarked on several programs such as “NATO Perspektiva”, which was finalized by the end of 2013. We should work together to extend and popularize these kinds of initiatives. Also, with the aim of consolidation of public awareness and support towards NATO membership process, we organized meetings throughout BiH like Prnjavor, Gracanica, Doboj, Bijelina, Bihac, Cazin and Velika Kladusa and had direct contact with different layers of the community, local authorities and civil society to inform them about NATO and its future benefits for BiH.

We regularly conducted “Ambassadors Forum” meetings. In those meetings, BiH authorities were also hosted as well as visitors from NATO Headquarters in Brussels and other organizations. These meetings allowed the international community in BiH to get more direct information regarding the accession process of BiH to NATO.

During the floods in 2014, which led to a serious humanitarian crisis and great property loss and material damage, the Armed Forces of BiH proved itself through its very observable and valuable assistance efforts. They received praise from citizens, media, representatives from all levels in BiH, international organizations and others. The Armed Forces rescued over 6.000 civilians, and continued with the activities to help the civilian population in removing consequences of the disaster. This was also possible due to the increased capabilities of the BiH Armed Forces thanks to the contributions of NATO states. In that framework allow me to express that over the past years, over 3700 military personnel have participated in training programs in Turkey including NATO’s “Partnership for Peace Training” and “Center for Excellence Defense against Terrorism” programs. Turkey will continue its assistance in the forthcoming years.

In closing, allow me to express our deep appreciation and thanks to NATO Headquarters in Sarajevo and Commander Brigadier General Christopher Petty and his predecessors for their efforts, cooperation, partnership and continued support towards the fulfillment of our duty.

I also would like to thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defense for their contribution and assistance for furthering our relations and valuable partnership.

After four years of duty in BiH, today, the Turkish Embassy is transferring the role of NATO CPE to the United Kingdom.

I wish success to the British Embassy and my good friend Edward Ferguson during their term.

Finally, I would also like to express that we will continue our efforts in supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina in its path to NATO and as with all other Allied Embassies serving in Sarajevo will be pleased to assist the new CPE in its future work.

Thank you.

Pazartesi - Cuma

09:00 - 12:30 / 14:00 - 18:00

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