Mustafa Şentop, Speaker of the GNAT gave a speech at the inauguration of the meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) titled “The Nexus between Population Movements and Security” which will last for two days at the GNAT. Speaker Şentop stated that people should fight resolutely in order to ensure domination of peace in the world with an understanding of equality of states, rule of law without double standards and added, “We will not kill, we will not exploit. If security is ensured for all humankind and if we can provide minimal welfare standards, population movements will improve within its own natural balance.” 19.06.2019

Şentop indicated that the importance of parliamentary diplomacy had been understood and it had been functioning on a ground where relations in various fields are easy and longstanding and deep negotiations are enabled in a soft diplomatic area.

Şentop pointed out that many parliamentary assemblies were established in a regional and functional manner and that he realized it much better after being elected as Speaker and emphasized that assemblies had more studies in the field of parliamentary diplomacy than he had ever imagined.

Şentop stated that PAM had a special place among these and the Mediterranean basin is the starting and development point of the history of mankind.

Şentop explained that this is due to history, culture and civilization and all the religions, three divine religions arised in the Mediterranean basin and that these religions, cultures and civilizations were processed and spread for thousands of years.

Şentop emphasized that this basin is the heart of history and a region where history originated from and continued his words:

“This region is also the center and heart of crises in various fields including economic, cultural and political ones around the world. We can say that many issues either surface, evolve, ignited or rooted completely from this region. We need to be more sensitive and meticulous in order to ensure peace and a minimal welfare and security environment for people in the Mediterranean basin. Crises and issues in this region have the role of triggering crises and issues in other regions of the world. This region is not only the starting point of history, civilization and culture but also crises, issues and conflicts. In this concept, the responsibility of PAM is much more than other assemblies’. This Assembly has to put maximum effort for world peace, prevention of conflicts and to ensure minimal economic welfare. Turkey has been attending all of the Assembly’s events since its establishment, cares about the Assembly, has great faith in it and we will continue to give even more support.

Şentop pointed out that the Assembly has gathered under the title “The Relationship between Population Movements and Security”.

Şentop reminded that Farabi had described knowing as “Knowing something is knowing its reasons” and stated that they might have difficulties in comprehending issues unless they dwell upon reasons in the right way.

Şentop stated that when the title is first read it means the effect of population movements on security. Şentop indicated that this relationship is bilateral and mutual and population movements have an effect on security and vice versa.

Şentop pointed out that arising of population movements and population increase more than estimated pose a potential problem regarding security and safety, “Population movements is a movement which contains immigration, asylum and some elements about terrorism or whatever we call it. By taking into consideration life safety, not just personal or social safety but also community health care, many complications of population movements surface when we interpret it as people living their lives in minimal standards with social security.”

Şentop stated that issues regarding immigration, asylum and population movements were discussed more and that this wasn’t wrong, however it was not enough and we should look from a broader perspective.

Şentop pointed out that other than Europe, North America and some geographies, there are intense conflict zones in many regions of the world; on the other hand, there is a broad geographical region and a population where there are serious issues regarding economical welfare. Şentop continued his words by saying the following:

“While some people are spending a great deal of money to lose weight, we might save others living in different parts of the world from starving with that money. We are living in a world where such a bizarre economical imbalance has burst out. This security issue, the security issue arising from lack of security and absence of minimal economic standards in the region where people are born, raised and currently living their lives cause population movements, trigger immigration and force people to migrate. I believe that these population movements are much smaller in scale compared to what is expecting us in 25-50 years. Demographical balance of the world has changed substantially. It will change even more in 50 years”.

Şentop indicated that population movements will create a picture posing more serious problems in the next 25, 30, 50 years and it will be the most important issue in the next 50 years.

Şentop stated that many things could be said about solutions to these issues and completed his words:

“If we want to live in a habitable world, we should not want this just for us, our community or our people but also for all mankind. If the world is not habitable for all, then it will not be habitable for anyone. We may not notice it immediately, but sooner or later we will be facing this phenomenon. If the world is not safe for all, then it will not be safe for any of us or for all the communities. This is the basis of population movements. If we can not keep people in the lands where they were born and raised, these population movements will continue increasingly. To prevent this, first of all we should avoid conflicts and make the world habitable and safe for everyone. Peace should rule the world. We must want this sincerely. We should fight resolutely in order to ensure domination of peace in the world with an understanding of equality of states, rule of law without double standards. Humane living conditions must be provided for each and everyone living anywhere in the world. There is a natural balance in the world. A balance that would make people live in minimal, economic standards is either less or more. We are corrupting this natural balance just like we are corrupting peace. While there are people with obesity and health issues, there are people living with obese economies and obese welfare. These life standards are economic obesities that have been provided by starving other people and exploiting other countries’ economic opportunities. We will not kill, we will not exploit. If security is ensured for all humankind and if we can provide minimal welfare standards, population movements will improve within its own natural balance.”

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs stated the following regarding oil and natural gas search in the Mediterranean, “We want only one thing; to guarantee rights of South Cyprus, Greece, EU and Turkish Cypriots who have been recognized by everyone. Is that too much to ask? It’s as simple as that. We will learn to share. When we learn to share in accordance with law, political solutions will be found and we will not have any issues about sharing resources.”

Çavuşoğlu stated in his speech that he was pleased to host members of PAM at the veteran Assembly and in Turkey.

Çavuşoğlu expressed the growing need for Parliamentarians when facing challenges and pointed out the importance of the meeting of PAM on immigration and security.

Çavuşoğlu emphasized that in order to ensure stability, peace and comfort in the Mediterranean, the things that need to be done have to be determined accurately and although there is no world war today more people than in the Second World War had to leave their homes due to financial difficulties, environmental problems and security issues.

Çavuşoğlu stressed the need for a solution to this problem and pointed out that countries surrounding the Mediterranean are both sources, transits and destinations.

Çavuşoğlu continued his words by stating the following:

“Today we can see that there are countries, people and political parties in Europe who look at this issue through only security perspective, however we need to look at it humanely. Actually, if we synthesize both, we think we can find healthy solutions. Today, we might consider immigrants as people who take our food and jobs from us, but this will not solve the problem. If we are not able to send these people back, we should have a brainstorm about how to integrate them and which opportunities we should offer including education in order not to cause extinction of future generations. We should not forget that if we avoid the cost of this, we will be facing a larger burden tomorrow.”

 Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated that close cooperation must be established among source, transit and destination countries.

Çavuşoğlu mentioned the significance of cooperation also in the security field, making the following review, “Turkey has suffered a lot in the beginning as a transit country due to lack of cooperation. Unfortunately, some European countries and us paid a heavy price for it by means of experiencing serious terrorist attacks.”

Çavuşoğlu explained that cooperation is now at a much better level, however it must be even better.

Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that there are three subjects negatively effecting stability in the Mediterranean and that one of those is the situation in Syria.

Çavuşoğlu emphasized that the situation in Syria has left the Mediterranean region facing serious tests and solutions were seeked under the roof of the UN, while they were soon expecting the establishment of a committee for the preparations of a new Syrian constitution.

Çavuşoğlu underlined the fact that they have never neglected the humane aspect of the Syrian crisis stating, “More than 330 thousand Syrians have returned voluntarily to a 4000 km square area where we have cleansed from DAEŞ, YPG/PKK.”

Çavuşoğlu indicated that they have discussed supplying these people’s basic needs like education, health, water and electricity with the EU and many other countries.

Çavuşoğlu explained that in the Mediterranean, conflicts in Libya were causing problems similar to the ones in Syria; hence power should be shared in Libya, a solution was not found with the prevention of one side.

Çavuşoğlu stated that, “(One side) wants to get all the power with the support of some countries, but what happens to the people of Libya can’t be undone. We support UN’s efforts in this aspect.”

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated that they are supporting organization of a new and comprehensive conference on Libya, “Otherwise, there will be repercussions which will affect all of us. Immigration, refugees, terrorism, economic distress and similar issues will not seriously affect only Libya and the African continent, but they will also affect and devastate Europe and surroundings of the Mediterranean.”

Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed that another issue affecting the Mediterranean is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Çavuşoğlu stated that the solution of this problem is apparent and reminded that there is a UN resolution on the matter and continued his words:

“That is a two-state solution. No solution or imposition other than the two-state solution will bring peace and stability to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. If we can not make the independent State of Palestine, whose capital was determined as East Jerusalem within the scope of 1967 borders, live side by side with the State of Israel there will be no peace here. As I had emphasized at the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (PUIC), I want to emphasize once again that if the two-state solution is rejected, attempts to buy displaced Palestinians’ rights with money will also be rejected. Hence, these efforts are pointless. Anyone who wishes to contribute by putting their efforts into this matter must be impartial, objective and balanced.”

Çavuşoğlu pointed out that due to the Palestine issue, today in the Near East millions of Palestinians are living in Jordan, Libya and Egypt as refugees for 70 years, “Cutting of humanitarian support to UNRWA, which was established to aid those refugees, especially by the US is an effort to dictate their plan by driving Palestinians into a corner financially. There are 500 thousand Palestinian children in only UNRWA supported schools.”

Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that today at the meeting he made acquaintances with MPs from South Cyprus.

Çavuşoğlu pointed out that a solution not based on political equality of both sides of Cyprus will not be permanent and added, “We are striving for a solution based on equality of both sides which will guarantee the rights of Turkish Cypriots.”

Çavuşoğlu stated that previous attempts were ineffective and that they have unofficially negotiated with Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Greek Populated Southern Cyprus, Greece and the United Kingdom on matters to be discussed.

Çavuşoğlu continued his words by stating the following:

“On the other hand, sharing natural resources around the Mediterranean is one of the most important issues today. We do not regard natural resources around Cyprus and the Mediterranean as discriminating elements. On the contrary, we wish to strengthen welfare and stability in East Mediterranean and Cyprus by sharing together. We want only one thing; to guarantee rights of South Cyprus, Greece, EU and Turkish Cypriots who have been recognized by everyone. Is that too much to ask? It’s as simple as that. We will learn to share. When we learn to share in accordance with law, political solutions will be found and we will not have any issues about sharing resources. We will of course continue our efforts. We attach utmost importance to your role as Parliamentarians beside us.”

Çavuşoğlu emphasized that fighting against terrorism is the priority of everyone and realistic policies should be implemented in this matter.

Çavuşoğlu highlighted the fact that we can not fight against terrorism by differentiating terrorist organizations and made the following review:

“We will be playing into terrorists’ hands if we differentiate terrorist organizations as “good” or “bad” by classifying them according to their ideologies, targets, religions, beliefs and races. Today, I want to share a mistake I have witnessed at the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council and the European Parliament during my service of 11 years. They are supporting terrorist organizations with which they share same ideologies and they are trying to remove them from terrorist organizations’ list. Everyone could have different ideologies. But you are political parties, you are defending your ideologies in front of the public and seeking their support. You are not trying to reach your goals by taking guns, howitzers and heavy weapons into your hands and killing people. You may either share the same ideas or not. We are Moslims, Elhamdulillah. So now, is it possible for us to support DAEŞ terrorist organization because it abused our religion, Islam? On the contrary, we are a country who sends its soldiers to battle hand in hand with DAEŞ and who clears the areas from terrorist organizations.”

Çavuşoğlu stated that it is not enough to clear the controlled areas from terrorist organizations like DAEŞ and highlighted the fact that their power sources must be cut and their ideologies must be destroyed at the same time.

Çavuşoğlu emphasized that it is wrong to blame Christianity or another religion while blaming the terrorist who killed worshipping Moslims during Friday prayers in New Zealand with the ideology of Islamophobia and stated that the terrorist attack in Sri Lanka was also unacceptable. Çavuşoğlu stated that, “However, today I can see that the Buddhist leader there orders Moslims to be stoned. Similarly, the UN report states that there is genocide in Myanmar. If we target Buddhism because of this, we will not get anywhere. So, instead of targeting our peaceful religion Islam because of DAEŞ, if we work together to destroy these ideologies we will prevent these kinds of terrorist organizations from incorporating new people.”

Çavuşoğlu told that many countries were asking for Turkey’s help while DAEŞ terrorist organization also asked for Turkey’s help as a transit country to take back and rehabilitate women and children who were left behind.

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated that countries around the Mediterranean have to work a lot for the region’s peace and stability and indicated that parliamentarians who represent people have many responsibilities in creating civic involvement.

Alia Hatoug Bouran, President of PAM stated in his speech at the meeting that terrorism has no borders, religion or identity, “Therefore, we must work together as all the members of PAM. It is not possible to say terrorism equals Islam. Our religion is perfectly beautiful, it is amazing. The whole world is aware of this fact.”

Bouran stated that he was pleased to be in Ankara. Bouran indicated that they were going to discuss one of the most important subjects of parliamentary diplomacy and pointed out the significance of the meeting’s theme. Bouran pointed out that the meeting titled “The Relationship between Population Movements and Security” would enable them to witness the great and successful work conducted by Turkey, who is an intense migration receiving country and emphasized that this work is a helping hand to desperate and poor people.

Bouran highlighted the fact that this issue is not national or regional but it is rather global and that refugees have problems and also Europeans have their own issues about refugees.

Bouran pointed out that, Turkey has been generously hosting over 3,6 million refugees and there are many refugees in other countries as well. Bouran stated that refugees are currently living in Turkey, Jordan, every city, town and village and they have to adopt a holistic approach in order to manage the issue.

Bouran stressed that, refugees’ return to their countries will not be possible by politicians’ statements, but rather with the refugees’ own decisions, “They decide on their own. In order to reach that point we should answer these questions: ‘Will I be safe, will I be able to find schools for my kids, will my kids be able to live a life worth living?’. If answers to those questions are satisfactory, then that refugee will return home on a volunteer basis. Voluntariness will be handled based on the demand principle and all host countries will act accordingly.”

Bouran also mentioned the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and stated that they would not be able to live in harmony and peace without ending this conflict. Bouran underlined the fact that the State of Palestine must be a part of the Middle East and the right to life worthily of human dignity must be embraced and by doing that, they would be able to act together in the right direction.

Bouran pointed out that, terrorism has no borders, religion or any identity and emphasized that members of PAM must work together. Bouran underlined the fact that they could fight with radical thoughts only through this way, “There is no such thing as terrorism equals Islam. It has nothing to do with our religion. Our religion is perfectly beautiful, it is amazing. It should be far away from being a tool of politics. The whole world is aware of this fact.”