Thank you, dear Ambassador, dear Gesa, for the opportunity to speak at this special ceremony and to address this distinguished group of guests.
Dear Ambassador Apakan, dear Ertuğrul,
I sincerely congratulate you on the bestowal of this unique Order of Merit by Germany.
Although I did not have the opportunity to work with you directly during our Chairmanship, I still followed SMM’s and your work before and had the chance to interact with you more closely last year as the incoming Chair in the Troika.
This award comes as no surprise to anyone who knows you, Ertuğrul.
You have demonstrated exemplary leadership in building and consolidating an unprecedented Mission of a couple of hundred monitors into the largest field operation of our Organization, now with more than 1,300 staff, working in a challenging environment. And you did this without knowing what kind of a work was waiting for you and how long it would take.
With the valuable support of the dedicated women and men of the SMM and under your able leadership, OSCE was able to create the primary field component of the international community to address the situation. With this, you and your skilled team have also contributed to the standing of the OSCE as a regional security organization.
Also referring to the reports from those who have directly worked under your leadership, I would like to touch upon a couple of points that made you a distinguished and valuable representative of the international community, in steering such a complex mission.
Prioritizing our staff: For you, the duty of care towards our people – international and Ukrainian staff -, their safety and security was the most important thing and you have demonstrated this in every aspect of your work, also at extremely difficult times. However, your approach towards your staff entailed much more than this. You truly listened to them and cared about them. Your humane and respectful attitude and compassion towards your team will always be remembered and appreciated.
Building trust: It is not easy to describe the daily stress and pressure the duty of the Chief Monitor brings. But you gracefully fulfilled this challenging duty, by achieving a difficult thing: Building and enjoying the confidence and respect of all the sides. You acted with impartiality and relied on the facts. Needless to say, your vast experience as a diplomat, wisdom and personal skills were indispensable in succeeding in this. You also contributed a lot to the process as the co-ordinator of the Working Group on Security Issues at the TCG, while preserving the integrity of the SMM’s mandate.
Dedication: Your sense of responsibility, commitment and professionalism was remarkable. You took all the aspects of managing this Mission seriously and tried to find solutions to the issues, working in a selfless manner.
It was an honour for our Organization to entrust one of the most challenging tasks in its history with you and we are again grateful for your service to the OSCE and toward the peaceful resolution of the conflict. The Albanian Chairmanship will do its best to continue contributing to these efforts.
Ertuğrul, tebrikler ve teşekkürler.
Congratulations and thank you very much.