Ankara gets surprise defeat in UN vote

Ankara gets surprise defeat in UN vote

Uğur Ergan ANKARA
Ankara gets surprise defeat in UN vote

AFP Photo

Despite the government’s aspiration to hold a seat at the U.N.’s most powerful body, Turkey has failed in its effort to join the Security Council.

Ankara’s Iraq and Syria policies, its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which is strongly opposed by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as its reluctance to lend the desired support to the coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), are potential reasons for the failure of Turkey’s bid.

Over the three rounds of voting, Turkey saw its support dwindle from 109 votes to 73 and finally to 60, surprising many who saw the regional player as a strong contender for the seat.

New Zealand and Spain were elected to the seats allocated in the “Western Europe and Others” group for which Turkey also bid. Venezuela, Angola and Malaysia were the other countries elected to the coveted temporary Security Council seats. The five winners will join the Security Council on Jan. 1, 2015 and serve through 2016 as non-veto-wielding members.

Ankara was expecting to receive votes from around 140 member countries and this expectation was mostly based on mutual support and solidarity protocols made with members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the African Union (AU), in addition to some island states.

In line with those protocols, the Prime Ministry’s Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) provided assistance to many least developed and developing countries. Turkey also pledged to lend support to a number of Muslim countries regarding religious education.

However, based on concerns that it would be perceived as “bribery,” Ankara avoided donations to least developed countries such as sea engines, toys and course materials, as it made in the run-up to the election in 2008, during which it was elected to the seat with 151 votes.

However, Saudi Arabia and the UAE poured financial aid into the poor countries that had declared support for Turkey’s bid and changed the color of their votes, Turkish officials maintain. Latin American countries and some island states, meanwhile, voted for Spain due to historical ties.

Ankara officials also say Israel launched an intense lobby against Turkey, labeling it “a country that supports terrorist activities.”

In a statement released shortly after the vote in New York, the Turkish Foreign Ministry struck a conciliatory note. “As has been the case so far, Turkey will continue to make constructive contributions to efforts aimed at preserving international peace and security in line with the U.N.’s fundamental principles and goals in the upcoming period as well,” a statement from the ministry read.