ANKARA - Located in a challenging region with a number of hotspots already on its agenda, Turkey is now channeling its energy as a temporary member of the UN Security Council into finding a solution to the row over N. Korea’s nuclear testing, which has drawn international condemnation
As it prepares to preside over the U.N. Security Council in June for a one-month term, Turkey, together with the international community, is seeking efforts to resolve the crisis over North Korea's defiant nuclear and missile tests.
"Turkey, due to its geography, has so far been part of every hotspot on the world agenda except for North Korea," a foreign diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. "Now, Turkey has a hand in every hot issue."
Since beginning its nonpermanent membership in the U.N. Security Council for 2009-2010, Turkey has worked on a wide range of foreign-policy areas. It is now holding the chairmanship of two U.N. committees, one supervising the imposition of sanctions on North Korea and the other on the Democratic Republic of Congo.
North Korea announced early this week that it had carried out a successful nuclear test and fired three short-range, ground-to-air missiles, a move that drew international ire and condemnation. The country launched two more missiles Tuesday and another one Wednesday, according to wire dispatches. The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting Tuesday and condemned North Korea for its nuclear test.
Japan presses for another UN resolution
The Security Council saw North Korea’s latest moves as clear violations of a resolution issued after Pyongyang's first atomic test in 2006. Japan, also a nonpermanent member of the U.N. body, is now pressing for another resolution.
In light of the U.N. meeting this week and the mounting concerns shared even by Russia and China, permanent members of the Security Council that have so far held back, Turkey is expected to walk the line of the international community and endorse the Japan-led resolution, but diplomats say its wording will need to be well-analyzed.
"At the Security Council meeting, we expressed the opinion that North Korea's nuclear test is a dangerous and worrying step and that the Korean peninsula should be cleared of nuclear armaments," a diplomatic source told the Daily News. "It is important that these concerns were shared by all members of the council, including China and Russia."
China and Russia condemned North Korea's test and called for a return to six-party disarmament talks involving the United States, China, Japan, Russia and North and South Korea. The talks stalled last year when North Korea failed to verify an account of its nuclear activities.
As North Korea presses ahead with its nuclear program despite international disproval, questions remain as to how Ankara will facilitate a peaceful settlement to the dispute once it takes over the presidency of the Security Council from Russia.
North Korea's nuclear test was one of the issues discussed during a meeting of the Turkish and British foreign ministers this week in Ankara. Britain's David Miliband labeled the North Korean move as "provocation" and said the Security Council must stand united in dealing with the problem."We are looking forward to working with our Security Council colleagues to maximize unity in the face of this danger to peace and stability in the region," Miliband told a joint news conference Wednesday with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu. Britain is a permanent member of the U.N. Council.
Davutoğlu is expected to fly to New York in June to chair a themed meeting hosted by the Turkish presidency. Given his expertise on Middle Eastern affairs, sources say Turkey's theme could be the Middle East or Iraq, but Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov already chaired a Middle East-theme meeting this month.