Senior Turkish diplomat to chair decommissioning body in key South Asian conflict
ANKARAA senior Turkish diplomat has been appointed as chair of a key intergovernmental body aimed at resolving a centuries-old conflict in the Philippines, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has announced.
“A Turkish diplomat, our former permanent representative at NATO, Haydar Berk, has been assigned as the head of the independent decommissioning body. That’s to say, overseeing the last phase of the peace process between the two sides is in the hands of Turkey,” Davutoğlu said.
Davutoğlu, speaking at a weekly parliamentary group meeting yesterday, said he would travel to Brisbane next week in order to represent Turkey at the G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Brisbane. He added he would later proceed to the Philippines before returning home.
The prime minister underlined the role that Turkey has played so far in peace talks between the Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC), a body created by the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), under his watch at the Foreign Ministry before he took over his current post in late August.
Earlier this year, the government and MILF panels established the International Decommissioning Body, composed of representatives from the governments of Norway, Turkey and Brunei, to oversee the decommissioning and disarmament of rebels in keeping with a March 27 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro.
Norway and Brunei are also members of the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Group, which has been helping oversee since late 2003 the implementation of the government-MILF July 1997 Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities.
Berk, 60, is one of the most senior career diplomats at the Foreign Ministry. Along his career at the ministry which began in 1977, he served as ambassador of Turkey in Bulgaria from 2001 to 2005. Before his post at the NATO headquarters as permanent representative, Berk served as head of the Directorate General for Cyprus and Greece Affairs, Maritimes and Aviation and also as deputy undersecretary responsible for Bilateral Political Affairs.