( 21 JUNE 2010 )
I would like to welcome you to Turkey and to the annual "Silk Road Flag Officers Seminar" which has been conducted since 2000.
I believe that this seminar will be a productive forum in Çanakkale to share our views. Thanks for the participations of all of you, who have great experience regarding NATO and its cooperation with the Partners.
We have determined “the future of partnership programmes on the way to the New Strategic Concept” as the main topic of this seminar.
During the development and consultation phase of the new Strategic Concept and just after release of the report of the Experts Group, I hope that our seminar will also contribute to the new Strategic Concept, in terms of “The Future of Partnership Relations”.
The main reason why we hold this Seminar in Çanakkale is not only its strategic geography but also its history and archeological treasure going back to 5000 BC.
Having a special place in world history and critical turning point in Turkish history as well, Çanakkale and the Battles here became a scene of unique heroism of Turkish soldiers.
The bravery epic written one day ago at Gediktepe Military Border Unit added another page to Turkish soldiers’ heroism that history witnessed in 1915 Çanakkale Battles. I observed this personally during our visit to this area yesterday.
Now, at this point I would like to share with you Atatürk’s meaningful phrase attributed to the all brave soldiers died in Çanakkale that clearly demonstrates Turkish soldier’s devotion to the universal values which is guide to Turkey and the basis for the world peace:
“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives ....
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side, here in this country of ours.
You, mothers who sent their sons from far-away countries...
Wipe away your tears. Your sons are lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well.”
On Wednesday, I think, there will be a visit to this memorial and I hope most of you will take part in this visit.
As well known, NATO has proved to be a unique organization that has adapted itself to the security challenges of the 21st Century.
Therefore, we all agree that NATO still remains the most significant international institution for deterrence and defense in the world.
The threats, challenges and risks that the Alliance will face in the 21st Century are rapidly changing their local nature and becoming more global.
We, in the past, had borders threatened for decades, but now we have threats without borders.
Local conflicts in places far from the Alliance’s area of responsibility have the potential of extending over national and regional borders, often with wider security implications. In other words, today, our security is increasingly tied to stability in other regions.
The proliferation of nuclear weapons, the ballistic missiles, the threat of global terrorism, piracy, energy security, and persistent cyber attacks are high on the agenda of the new security environment.
These challenges are more difficult to predict and also manage, since they are multidimensional and hybrid in nature.
In the current age of globalization, complexity and uncertainty have become major features of the international security arena. Therefore, in today’s complex security environment, the global peace and security are either everywhere or nowhere.
Global threats require global responses. The nature of today’s challenges makes collaboration among nations even more necessary, and collective defense and collective security organizations like NATO even more significant.
Therefore, NATO needs to act not only within the boundaries of its geographical territory, but also where the collective security interests of its members are challenged.
As an Alliance, we should improve our ability to meet the security challenges that emerge at strategic distance or impact directly on Alliance territory.
Alliance’s ability should be based on technological superiority. In order to be effective in facing new threats and challenges, NATO requires additional resources, expanded capabilities, and more effective burden-sharing arrangements.
Alliance’s agility should reflect itself on readiness and strength of the NATO Response Force and High Readiness Force. NATO forces must be able to reach farther, faster, and to stay in the theatre longer in order to undertake the most demanding operations.
Alliance’s flexibility should be developed through combining and harmonizing our strong military capabilities with the required civilian capabilities in the theatre.
The collaboration issue is related to what we plan to offer and what we assume to take from our partners.
According to the preparatory works for the development of the NATO’s New Strategic Concept, the security problems facing NATO are expected to bring new missions and responsibilities or to increase the importance of current missions of NATO.
However, having an Alliance with new functions does not necessarily mean that we should change the fundamental principles of the Alliance.
Democracy, individual liberty, the rule of law and free institutions are core values of the NATO’s founding Treaty.
The New Strategic Concept must continue to reflect those core values. I believe that Article V of the Washington Treaty, based on the indivisibility of the Alliance security, should remain a cornerstone of the Alliance.
But, at the same time, we should discuss new challenges such as energy security, missile defense and cyber terrorism. These are some of the main issues that the Alliance has to cope with in 21st Century.
Due to the non-military nature of some challenges, it seems that Article IV of the Washington Treaty (consultation) would be needed more than ever among the members.
However, the missions that NATO might assume out of its Area of Responsibility should not be the alternative for the collective defense. They should be complementary to the tasks defined to guarantee the freedom and security of NATO members. In this context, it is of critical importance to be in harmony with the international community.
This is obviously a new interpretation of the Washington Treaty, opening up the way for redefining the range of the tasks of NATO.
In this sense, the New Strategic Concept should specify the geographical dimension of the strategic implications of these emerging tasks, which should naturally be both global and regional.
Then, NATO’s New Strategic Concept should reflect how we want NATO to function, and what roles NATO should assume in the future. The initial questions in determining the context of the Strategic Concept would be;
- Whether NATO becomes a global or regional organization?”
- How can NATO make the most appropriate contribution to international security?”
- What would the fundamental tasks be?”
- What can NATO do to improve its relations with other international bodies?”
- To what extend will NATO enlarge?”
We should be very cautious when answering these questions.
The key issue will be to define the relationship between the Alliance’s traditional functions such as deterrence, defense, maintaining transatlantic link, and tasks arising from role outside the Alliance area.
If the Allies fail to overcome their differences about the role and purpose of NATO, the content of the New Strategic Concept is likely to lose clarity and to provide an ambiguous strategic direction.
NATO’s former Secretary General Jaap de Hoop SCHEFFER, once stated that “we do not need a global NATO, but a NATO that can protect its members against global threats”, defining the distinction between a global NATO and a NATO acting globally.
The New Security Concept should define the common strategies that would meet the different expectations of Member nations concerning the new threat and risk perceptions.
The development of a new strategic concept offers NATO the opportunity to determine in principle when, where, how, and why it needs to act proactively rather than simply responding in a reactive manner as new problems arise.
The threat associated with proliferation of nuclear weapons makes the world even more dangerous. That is why it is so important that NATO maintains a “nuclear culture” and that this should be reflected as explicitly as possible in the new Strategic Concept.
As you know, the current global financial crisis has forced decision makers to confront the funding issue with greater urgency since it has significant impact on the Alliance.
NATO members should have the willingness to take equal risks with regard to deploying troops and equipment within the Alliance in support of NATO-led military operations, and the willingness to financially fund and sustain these operations until the mission is completed.
A balanced, fair, creative and constructive approach to burden sharing will be needed to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
Wide spectrum of the newly emerging challenges could impose on the Alliance threats and risks, which are unusual to the military organizations. As NATO prepares to respond to such kind of threats and risks including social, economic, political and natural ones, it must recognize that it does not have the proper capacity to respond by itself to these challenges in an old fashioned way without having soft power.
This brings me to the Comprehensive Approach, which we have already been trying to implement in the theatre.
The Comprehensive Approach of the Alliance should be stimulated with the acquisition of necessary civilian capabilities for the initial period of operations until the security environment allows non-governmental organizations and other agencies to function.
The elements of soft power should be effectively used within this approach in order to meet additional civilian capability requirements of the current military operations.
In this context, the Alliance should develop civil-military planning and coordination capacity, and have adequate non-military capabilities.
The Comprehensive Approach should serve as a core function in NATO missions, involving cooperation with other elements of the international system such as the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, other regional organizations, and major non-governmental organizations.
As we have become more and more aware of their contributions in NATO operations, these organizations not only increase our ability and strength, but also contribute to NATO’s worldwide role and image.
As the challenges globalize, should NATO engage in global partnership? If so, what should be the organizing principle of the Alliance’s partnership policy?
In order to handle the global threats and risks, we should maintain the transatlantic link, act together with the international community, and establish global partnerships.
Global partnership means enhancing the Alliance’s ties with partners around the world.
I think it is a must for the Alliance to benefit from soft and hard powers of Partners and International Organizations.
In this context, Partnership for Peace (PfP), Mediterrenean Dialogue (MD), İstanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) and Contact Countries mechanisms should be strengthened.
Another important aspect of the partnership includes Alliance support to our partners for conducting good neighborly relations, ensuring transparency, undertaking political and economic reforms, and preparing their armed forces for interoperability.
We should develop our relationships with all our partners, both in our neighborhood and beyond, within a framework of a joint commitment to cooperative security.
Our partners are key in enabling NATO to implement our vision of a community of shared values and responsibilities.
Role of the partners has become more important for NATO that aims to act globally without being globalized.
Today, one of the most critical security challenges both at strategic distance and Alliance territory is terrorism.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in the US and the recent terrorist attacks in various parts of the world, including Turkey, have clearly demonstrated that terrorism has been globalized. There is no doubt that it would be the main issue for all nations for the foreseeable future.
Terrorist organizations have attained the capabilities to launch attacks any time and anywhere in the world. There is no guarantee that those nations, which do not suffer from terrorism today, will not suffer from it tomorrow.
There is no doubt that the New Strategic Concept should acknowledge that terrorism remain one of the main threats. The fight against terrorism requires worldwide cooperation.
Single-handed efforts of any country are not enough to remove the threat of terrorism either in that country or anywhere else.
This problem can only be solved through the collective efforts of all nations, not just "allied" nations. Nations of the world should act cooperatively against all sorts of terrorism regardless of their source or cause.
Turkey has been fighting against PKK terrorist organization for almost 25 years. Our aim in the fight against terrorism is to terminate the “hope of success” of the terrorists and their supporters. They have to understand that they cannot achieve anything through terror and violence.
We have also believed that fight against terrorism is a combination of coordinated activities organized by the state in the fields of security, economic, socio-cultural, propaganda and international relations. All these activities complement one another.
But it should be a mistake to think that only taking necessary measures such as those in the fields of economic, social-cultural can finish terrorism, while terrorist organization is keeping its armed terrorists.
Therefore we are very much determined to fight against terrorist organization until its total elimination. This fight is a long-term effort and it requires patience.
The main strategic principle in our fight against terrorism is that it is a human-centered process. The process must appeal the hearts and minds of the people. No mistake should be made in this highly critical issue and counter-terrorism measures must be taken in line with the current legal system.
Now, I would like to talk on a few important points which we have observed in our fight against terrorism. There are, in fact, many points to mention but I will focus on just a few important issues in order not to take your time:
- On a daily operational level, senior military officers have noticed a greater expectation among junior officers to participate in senior-level discussions about the strategies and tactics and to have their views heard and considered. Because, fighting against terrorism requires competence and judgment by junior officers and soldiers at all levels. Here success depends on their level of competence and judgment.
Indeed, young leaders often make decisions at the tactical level that have strategic consequences. You may think that they make decisions only at a tactical level; however, they lead to some really important strategic results especially in the fight against terrorism.
Therefore, they must also be trained and educated to adapt to their local situations, understand the legal and ethical implications of their actions, and exercise initiative and sound judgment in accordance with their senior commanders’ intent.
-The militaries’ main advantage is firepower; the terrorists’ main advantage is intelligence. Native to the area, terrorists have networks of informants letting them know what happens. Terrorists will have greater say over the time and place of fighting. As major operation is conducted in one area, the terrorists attack in other areas.
If intelligence is the terrorists’ strategic advantage, the way to counter it is to take this advantage away from them. In other words, intelligence is the center of gravity of the terrorists; if they lose it, they lose everything.
-Every action we take, everyday, must be executed in a way that strengthens and sustains the public’s trust and confidence in our ability and our integrity.
If NATO is to succeed as a modern security Alliance, it will need the capability and flexibility to continuously adapt itself to the new challenges, threats and risks.
Should NATO not continue to exist as a capable global security organization, security vacuum might happen in the world. This is what we do not want to see at all.
The new Strategic Concept should represent Alliance solidarity, unity and cohesion in the strongest way and reflect the common understanding and a shared vision of all Allies.
As well as providing long term guidance for the Alliance, the new Strategic Concept should also play an important role regarding public relations and should enhance the role and the perception of NATO in the international arena.
The new Strategic Concept should reflect that NATO’s evolving relations with partners are essential for enhancing global security.
During the seminar, experts from various NATO headquarters, partner countries and other institutions will present very important topics. Each of them will provide us with key points on “the future of partnership programmes” form their perspectives.
During the current phase of concept development, it will be an outstanding experience to listen to these interesting ideas and the discussions triggered by the questions of participants.
I would like to conclude my words by expressing my gratitude for the distinguished guests, to the speakers for their presentations, to the experts, to the chairman and the reporters of the seminar.