The Work Programme of Turkey During Its Chairmanship of the Black Sea
Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC)
(1 May 1 November 2001)
The Concept of Cooperation Among Black Sea
After the end of the Cold War period, a question has
been posed on whether it would be possible to convert the area of the
Black Sea to one of cooperation and shared prosperity. Members of the
regional countries started to discuss how to create an area where persons,
capital and goods would move freely, where initiatives for cooperation
would come from down to upwards rather than vice versa, thus allowing
roles for states as arranging the legal framework for such a cooperation
For this objective, on June 25, 1992, the Istanbul Declaration was
signed by the Heads of States or Governments of Albania, Azerbaijan,
Armenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Russian Federation,
Ukraine and Turkey. This was the original step to integrate the Black
Sea area to the world economy, to enhance cooperation among its members
and to convert this sea area into one of peace, stability and
Parallel to this Declaration another very important document named
the Bosphorus Statement was made, which foresaw that parties would observe
the principles of the Helsinki Final Communiqué and principles of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in their
These declarations earmarked two major strategic developments at that
1) After the end of the Cold War the Bosphorus Statement constituted
the first commitment of the regional countries to adhere to OSCE
2) Creation of a cooperation area of 20 million square meters
situated on a pivotal location between Europe, Asia, Central Asia and
Middle East with a potential market of 400 million people, with 2nd
highest oil and natural gas reserves of the world, also covering other
rich natural resources and qualified human resources. This important
initiative has drawn the attention of many other countries, particularly
in Europe and countries like Austria, France, Germany, Italy as well as
Egypt, Israel, Poland, Slovakia and Tunisia started to follow the
activities of this initiative under observer status. Today more than 9
countries have applied for observer status to the organization whilst
some are in the row to become full members.
The initiative developed its structural framework on March 15,1995
with the decision of its members to establish a Secretariat in Istanbul.
Furthermore, the Charter was concluded at the Summit Meeting in Yalta, on
June 5, 1998 and ratified by the respective parliaments by May
a) BSEC was transformed into a regional economic organization with an
international legal identity and
b) member states by their ratification of the Charter, confirmed their
permanent commitments to the future of the organization.
Following the adoption of the Charter, with the conclusion of the
Headquarters Agreement, the Protocol Relating to the Immunities and
Privileges, the Staff Rules and Regulations, the organizational process
has been completed.
The Black Sea Cooperation is structured to cooperate on 5 different
a) at the governmental
b) at the parliamentary
c) private enterprise
d) banking and finance
I) Cooperation at the Intergovernmental Level
The Council of Ministers consisting of the Foreign Ministers of 11
countries, and meeting twice a year in April and October is the highest
decision-making body. The meetings of the Council of Ministers are being
held in Member States according to the principle of rotation. The Minister
of Foreign Affairs who hosts the Council Meeting assumes the Chairmanship
of the session until the following Council Meeting.
In 1995 the mechanism of "Troika" was introduced as a consulting body
composed of the present, former and future chairpersons, for the purpose
of ensuring continuity in policies.
The Committee of Senior Officials meets immediately before Council of
Ministers Sessions and where necessary, prepares the groundwork for
decisions based on the work presented by subsidiary bodies.
The Permanent International Secretariat (PERMIS) of BSEC is the basic
organ maintaining coordination among member states under the general
policy guidance of the Chairperson-in-Office and is located at Müşir Fuad
Paşa Yalısı, Istinye, Istanbul. The Secretariat also coordinates the
activities of the Working Groups and provides all the necessary
correspondence. Activities of the Organization are pursued under different
Working Groups named as follows:
- Working Group on Economic and Trade Development
- Working Group on Tourism Cooperation
- Working Group on Communication
- Working Group on Environmental Protection
- Working Group on Agriculture and Agricultural Industry
- Working Group on Energy
- Working Group on Electronic Communication Network
- Working Group on Scientific and Technological Cooperation
- Working Group on Statistical Information and Data Exchange
- Working Group on Health Care and Pharmaceutics
- Working Group on Transport
- Working Group on Emergency Assistance
- Working Group on Combating Crime
II. Cooperation at the Interparliamentary Level
The BSEC Parliamentary Assembly (PABSEC), consisting of
parliamentarians of member countries, is established in Harekat Kö?kü,
Dolmabahçe, Istanbul and serves as a consultative organ for decision
making. It has a separate international Secretariat and works in 3
committees in the following fields;
a) economic, commercial, technical and environmental relations.
b) legal and political relations.
c) educational, cultural and social relations.
III. Cooperation at the Private Enterprise Level
Business Council consisting of private enterprise representatives of
member countries also has a permanent Secretariat stationed at Mü?ir Fuad
Pa?a Yalysy Istanbul.
The Council, headed by a Secretary General is run by a Board of
Directors, composed of representatives from the business circles of member
states. The Business Council tries to act as a center to create and
support the infrastructure for private sector in the region and incubate
business opportunities within the BSEC process.
IV. Cooperation at the Banking and Financial Level
The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) established in
Thessaloniki, Greece, on June 21, 1999, forms the financial pillar of
BSEC. The Bank's initial capital is provided on the basis of specified
shared-quotas purchased by participating states amounting to 300 million
dollars. By the purchase of the remaining shares, this initial capital
will be raised to 1.5 billion dollars. Turkey, Greece and Russian
Federation are the main share holders with 16.5% shares respectively. The
Bank has succeeded in providing a financial resource of 102 million
dollars to different regional projects, particularly those relating to
V. Cooperation at Academic Level
BSEC countries are faced with rapid and complex pace of technological
innovation in the world. They are working closely in identifying new forms
and directions of regional scientific and technological cooperation and in
applying the achievements of science and technology in priority fields of
economic interests. To achieve these objectives, the BSEC Working Group on
Cooperation in Science and Technology makes efforts to create the policy
framework of cooperation in this area.
a) The BSEC Standing Academic Committee was established in 1998 and
adopted guidelines for further promoting academic cooperation in the
BSEC region and identified joint scientific projects.
b) The International Center for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS) was
established in September 1998, in Athens, to carry out policy oriented
and practical researches for the realization of BSEC goals, specially in
the fields of economics, industry and technology.
c) The Black Sea Universities Network was initiated by the Black Sea
Foundation of Romania in 1997, now embraces some 53 universities in the
region. Its goals are to identify and enhance intellectual resources
badly needed by sustainable development, to plan common research and
training projects and represent in the best way the intellectual produce
of the region.
In addition to these, BSEC has the Statistical Data and Economic
Information Coordination Center working with the Turkish State Statistical
What has BSEC achieved since 10 years?
During the past 10 years, BSEC member states have faced serious
economic challenges individually. In fact, most of them have gone through
the process of transition to democracy and liberal economy, have dealt
with serious issues such as internal conflicts relating to ethnic cultural
differences, immigration problems, lack of sufficient funds. Some members
have given priority to EU membership or to participating in other regional
cooperation frameworks such as the Stability Pact, SECI, Royaumont Process
In spite of these challenges BSEC has covered considerable ground
which may be summarized as follows:
-Member countries with ongoing political conflicts among them have
succeeded to seek common economic goals within a common spirit of
-BSEC has converted this area of reciprocal non-confidence into an
area of confidence which will serve as a basis of future cooperation.
BSEC Members' efforts for economic integration have also served
transparency and democracy in the respective countries.
-A permanent dialogue has been established between members through
-Previously untouchable questions such as organized crime, illicit
trafficking of narcotic drugs are being handled through BSEC
-The efforts of economic cooperation through BSEC have brought member
states closer to European contemporary standards.
-BSEC has acted as a bridge between Europe and the Caucasus which is
faced with risks comparable to the Balkans.
-BSEC has aroused the world's, the EU's and US interests in the
region, with its combined potential in different areas .
TURKEY, AS THE HOST AND INITIATOR OF BSEC, WILL UNDERTAKE THE
CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS IN MAY 2001.
A New Programme for 6 Months and Further
Turkey believes that BSEC now needs to be transformed into a more
dynamic regional economic organization, with a new road map that will
respond to the rapid developments and contemporary economic problems of
the new century. In this respect the BSEC Agenda 2000 will serve as a
collective focused strategy, containing jointly elaborated, achievable
Turkey supports the ideas put forth in the BSEC Agenda 2000 and plans
to pursue them under two general headings.
A. Measures taken to increase the efficiency of the
After the adoption of the BSEC Agenda 2000, Turkey will initiate and
pursue the new role of the BSEC PERMIS, as regards its implementation. To
develop and improve the BSEC performance and to provide an efficient
implementation of the new agenda, Turkey will ensure the following steps
to be taken:
1) The BSEC will be transformed into a project-oriented endeavor and
for this the PERMIS should enhance its capacity in project elaboration,
promotion and implementation. In this regard member states, when
designating their representatives to the Secretariat, should take into
consideration the required expertise for the vacant posts. Due to the fact
that at present the PERMIS does not have sufficient number of experts,
member states should provide the required experts on project basis, with
expenses covered by the sender state.
2) PERMIS should take the initiative to follow up resolutions and
decisions adopted by the Council and develop and promote projects under
the general framework of the Agenda 2000.
3) PERMIS should follow the activities of the related bodies, the
PABSEC, the BSTDB and the Business Council as well as other affiliated
centers to ensure a concerted BSEC policy as well as to make full use of
existing technical and financial resources and capacities of these
institutions. New projects, new technologies and ideas drawn up in these
institutions, should be followed by the PERMIS for the benefit of the
As an initial step to pursue this objective, Turkey will hold a
coordination meeting with BSEC related bodies and affiliated centers in
Istanbul during its chairmanship one day before the Troika meeting (date
to be determined).
4) Common principles for the establishment and operation of affiliated
centers will be identified.
5) After the entry into force of the BSEC Headquarters Agreement in
August 2000, member states are encouraged to establish permanent
delegations accredited to BSEC, so as to enable a permanent follow up of
the BSEC activities. Eventually, these permanent representatives will form
a Council of Permanent Representatives which will meet periodically in
Istanbul to discuss and follow up implementation of projects.
6) The already established Troika system will be more efficiently
utilized as a consultation mechanism. To discuss these objectives a
meeting of the Organizational Committee and one or two meetings of Senior
Officials will be held.
B. Specific projects and proposals for more consolidated, effective and
usable partnership in the region.
1. Cooperation in the Area of Energy and Cooperation with IAEA and
Turkey supports the proposals of Agenda 2000 in the area of energy as
regards the following:
- coordination of activities in the energy sector,
- coordination of optimization of utilization of energy, in increase
- interconnection of electric power systems and
- development of a regional energy market.
To realize these objectives the Turkish Government will pursue
several activities, cited below:
a. Convening the Working Group on Energy in Turkey (at a date to be
b.Project for interconnection of electric power systems of BSEC
Member countries. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed among
BSEC members in the field of electric power industry on 15 April 1998.
This project lays the base for the concept of the "BSEC Electrical
Ring". As an initial step, efforts will be made for the establishment of
a Trans-Caucasus power bridge through Russia, Georgia and Turkey.
USAID's and USTDA's (US Trade and Development Agency) assistance and
involvement in realizing this concept is being sought by the Turkish
authorities. These institutions will be invited to the forthcoming
Working Group on Energy for the consideration of projects in this
c. The Fourth Meeting of "A Tale of Three Seas Integrated with the
World of Energy" will be held in June 19-22 2001, in Istanbul, by DEIK,
CERA and BSEC Business Council. This meeting will focus on implications
of upstream actively in the Caspian, on flows through the Bosphorus and
competitive dynamics on gas supply in the region.
d. The peaceful use of nuclear energy is a promising area for
regional cooperation. Possibilities of IAEA support is being sought for
the materialization of such cooperation, on the following specific
-Preparing a regional agreement on early notification of nuclear
accidents and exchange of information relating to nuclear reactors.
Although a number of member states already have bilateral agreements,
a regional agreement would cover all members and would be an important
safeguard in ensuring nuclear safety of the region.
-Strengthening cooperation between nuclear research centers in the
area of peaceful applications of nuclear technology. A decision has
been taken on this subject at the IAEA general conference in September
2000 and IAEA will extend its services to BSEC members at a regional
-Preparing regional projects within the framework of IAEA technical
assistance programme to license and upgrade nuclear laboratories that
can control food quality, development of regional protection
techniques against radiation, regional projects for non-destructive
testing of oil and natural gas pipelines, food irradiation and
application of nuclear techniques in medicine and biology.
-Contacts are being pursued for the organization of a workshop on
natural gas transportation issues in the BSEC region, by BSEC and the
OECD International Energy Agency.
2. Cooperation in the Area of Transport
Turkey believes that upgrading and harmonization of the existing
transport network to create an efficient multimodal regional transport
system will enhance cooperation in a number of areas including trade
facilitation among BSEC countries as indicated in the Agenda 2000. To this
end the Action Plan mediated by the BSEC Working Group on Transport
and adopted at the Meeting of Ministers of Transport held in Sochi on
March 20, 2001, outlines clearly the activities to be undertaken in the
In this context, Turkey is ready for the reactivation of the concept
of the Black Sea Ring Corridor which was originally one of the
very first ideas on the transport domain to connect the BSEC countries
by land, rail and sea transport.
Turkey will ensure the substantiation of the concept of the Black Sea
Ring Corridor in the following steps:
1. Elaborating a detailed definition of the Black Sea Ring
2. Preparing a data base of the existing infrastructure on the Ring
Corridor including their conformity with the UNECE's standards.
3. Collecting information on the adherence of BSEC states to the
UNECE's agreements or protocols in the field of transport.
4. Elaboration of specific projects to ameliorate the existing
5. Enactment of binding legal instruments such as agreements,
protocols or MOU's, for the facilitation of movement of goods and
persons within the regional countries.
For this purpose Turkey plans to have 2 sessions of the Working Group
on Transport, the first in the first week of June where the detailed
Transport Action Plan on Black Sea Ring Corridor will be discussed, the
second in October where the activities undertaken will be examined and the
results will be reported to the Council of Foreign Ministers to be held at
the end of October.
3. Promotion of Intraregional Trade and Cooperation with WTO and
Turkey fully supports the concept adopted in BSEC Agenda 2000 under
this title, that trade being a key determinant of overall economic
activity, will play a growing role in the Black Sea region and believes
that facilitation and liberalization of trade in the region by elimination
of numerous tariff and non-tariff barriers should be a key sector of
activity of the Organization. In pursuit of this goal, the Organization
will be seeking cooperation with other regional and international
As a first step,
a) A MOU for facilitation of transport of goods will be
drafted parallel to SECI MOU on this subject.
b) The Turkish Patent Institute will organize a symposium on European
Patent System in Istanbul, from May 22-23, 2001, where BSEC countries
will be invited .
c) The Balkan Regional Center for trade promotion will be utilized to
give on- the- job training to members in which such trade promotion
centers are in the process of being established.
d) Turkey will encourage the completion of the process of accession
to the WTO for those BSEC members who are not members of WTO. This will
be done by sharing WTO members' experiences with non members in the
negotiating mechanism of WTO.
e) An internet BSEC portal will be developed in cooperation
with the BSEC Business Council to provide information about trade
statistics, policies, legislation of member countries, to provide links
to websites of country institutions as well as to international sites
and to act as a networking and matchmaking tool for business
f) A list of non-tariff barriers and border crossing procedures
should be collected as agreed during the meeting of the Working Group on
Trade in Thessaloniki in December 2000, in order to prepare a model for
the liberalisation of trade.
As the World Trade Organization with its established instruments
and structure is considered to be well placed to contribute to the
promotion of regional trade, close cooperation with this organization will
During the Turkish chairmanship, in collaboration with the WTO, a
seminar on regionalism, followed by a meeting of the BSEC Working Group
on Trade on June 28-29, 2001 will be held on June 25-28, 2001 in
Istanbul. Experts from WTO will participate in this working group. The
main item of both the seminar and the working group, will be the launching
of the work on trade facilitation and liberalization in the region.
g) The BSEC Statistical Data and Economic Information Coordination
Center will be making two publications.
- a three monthly publication about data on Turkey's trade with BSEC
- social and economic indicators of BSEC countries.
- It will also give consultation services and technical assistance to
BSEC countries on their request in the areas of statistical collection
h) Close cooperation between the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD) and BSEC is of significance in
the process of integrating the BSEC countries into the global economy by
adapting themselves to the OECD standards.
In this regard, a two-day seminar will be held in coordination with
OECD in the OECD Istanbul Private Sector Development Center in September
2001, on the subject of "Cross-Border Partnership for Enterprise
Development and Investment Promotion in the Countries of BSEC". BSEC
members are expected to attend this seminar and benefit from OECD
expertise in this field.
Support for SME's in the Region
Turkey believes SMEs constitute the majority of private enterprises
in the region and play a pivotal role in the economic development of the
- The BSEC Business Council has been holding periodic meetings with
the support of the Konrad Adeneur Foundation in different areas of SME
development. During Turkish chairmanship, a meeting of Ministers
responsible for SME's, will be held in Istanbul, in September 2001 on
- KOSGEB, the Turkish SMEs Union, will pursue exchange of information
and share its experiences with member countries' private sectors through
KOBINET, the SME Network.
4. Academic Cooperation - Cooperation with ICBSS and Black Sea
Cooperation of the ICBSS, the International Center for Black Sea
Studies, with the academic and scientific institutions of the regional
countries will be strengthened for the elaboration of specific projects.
In this respect the existing capacities in the region will be made
available to the BSEC member states.
Cooperation with the Black Sea Universities Network
This Network will further be encouraged to promote the exchange of
students, the organization of summer study tours and periodic meetings of
5. Establishment of a BSEC Regional Stock
Turkey fully supports this objective of the Agenda 2000 and the setting
up of an institutional framework under the BSEC umbrella that would be a
useful step towards encouraging investments as well as elaboration of
investment guarantee schemes. Turkey hosts the Federation of Euro-Asian
Stock Exchanges (FEAS) and hopes that those BSEC members who are not
members should adhere to FEAS which will serve as a forum for the
harmonization of their legislations relating to the stock market. (BSEC
members who are also members of FEAS are Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova,Turkey, Ukraine.)
Furthermore, the Capital Markets Board of Turkey proposes to assist in
the harmonization of the related legislature of BSEC countries and to
share its long standing experience with them.
6. Agricultural Development and Food Security
Turkey supports the steps to be undertaken for agricultural development
and for the enhancement of food security in the BSEC region as foreseen in
the Agenda 2000. In order to contribute to the objectives of the Agenda,
the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs has proposed the
a) Turkey is ready to propose to the Food and Agricultural
Organization (FAO) of the United Nations the initiation of two specific
projects for the BSEC region titled "Plant Genetic Resources" and "Bread
Seed Network". Such endeavors ultimately aim to attain cooperation not
only amongst the BSEC members themselves but also between the BSEC
organization and FAO.
b) In a similar context, Turkey supports the extension of the
tripartite cooperation (between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece) on food and
mouth disease (FMD) to the entire BSEC region as a preemptive measure to
halt the possible spread of the FMD.
Producing positive and effective results in tackling and containing the
FMD will require cooperation with international organizations and offices,
such as World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and FAO.
c) Turkey has prepared a project, along with a detailed action plan,
for the "Promotion of Beekeeping Among Low Income Rural Families for
Supplementary Earnings in the Member States of BSEC"
d) The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of Turkey will
provide training programmes for farmers and experts of the other member
countries in the field of agriculture, based on requests from them.
e) Turkey supports the "Agricultural Trade and Food Security in the
BSEC countries" project already submitted to FAO by BSEC and will pursue
the implementation of this project by a project coordinator stationed in
the BSEC Premises.
During the Turkish chairmanship, a meeting of the BSEC Working Group on
Agriculture will be convened (at a date to be determined) to discuss and
consider the aforementioned projects.
f) For the purpose of finalizing the Draft Convention for Fisheries
and Conservation of Living Resources of the Black Sea within the
framework of the BSEC Organization, Turkey will take up the draft text
for discussions with the Senior Officials Committee.
7.Cooperation in Combating Organized Crime, Illegal Trafficking of
Drugs, Arms, Terrorism, Corruption and Money
Turkey believes that the Agreement among the governments of BSEC on
Cooperation in Combating Crime is a good framework to combat crime and
terrorism in the region.
Turkey proposes to host a Police Liaison Center in Istanbul to
serve as a coordinating unit for the region, and to make its expertise
available in combating crime.
To give a new impetus to regional efforts to combat organized crime
Turkey invites the BSEC Working Group on Combating Crime to meet in
Istanbul on May 14-15 2001, to consider further effective measures. The
proposals discussed at this Working Group including the Turkish proposal
to set up a BSEC Police Liaison office will be considered at a meeting
of Interior Ministers to be held in Kiev in September 2001.
As a member of the OECD, Turkey proposes to offer training and
expertise in interdicting trafficking of illicit drugs, arms and in
combating terrorism and arms smuggling at the OECD Center in Istanbul.
As a member of OECD and having developed the necessary mechanisms to
implement the Party Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force
(FATF) on money laundering, Turkey offers to share its experience with
BSEC countries in their preparations to adhere to this framework of
8. Cooperation at the Private Enterprise Level
Turkey fully supports the greater involvement of the private sector in
the development and implementation of concrete BSEC projects.
The BSEC Business Council is the related BSEC body representing
business circles of the region through its Board of Directors and its
Turkey will promote the activities of the BSEC Business Council by
the following activities:
1. Multilateralization of the Business Council budget thus
allowing all members of BSEC to share financial responsibility.
2. Holding periodic business forums in member countries on a
sectoral basis. A forum will be held on October 29-30, 2001,in
Yalta, on the subject of "Business Opportunities in the BSEC
3. Preparation of a draft convention relating to the
simplification of visa procedures for business circles bearing in
mind the restrictions imposed by previous commitments. A draft is
prepared by the Turkish government on this subject.
4. Preparation of an Investment Compact for the BSEC Region.
Turkey proposes the conclusion of an Investment Compact similar to
the one enacted within the framework of the Stability Pact.
The objective of the Investment Compact will be to create a suitable
atmosphere for sustained growth and development in the BSEC Region. It
will set out a number of commitments for policy reform in order to:
a) create a robust and sustainable market economy.
b) encourage increasing local and foreign direct investment.
Initiatives to prepare a draft text along the objectives mentioned
above are being pursued.
5. Preparation of a project on ECO Tourism.
6. Identification under a Joint Project, on a few of the Hot Spots in
the Black Sea Basin.
7. Convening the third session of "A Tale of Three Seas Integrating
with the World of Energy", in Istanbul on June 19-22, 2001 arranged by
DEYK, BSECBC and CERA.
9. Cooperation Among National Televisions
Turkey attaches great importance to cooperation among media members of
BSEC countries to better inform their people about the objectives, the
achievements of BSEC and to exalt a favorable image of the Organization in
the public opinion of the region. For these objectives the following
activities are encouraged which hopefully will be confirmed by the
subsequent chairing member countries.
A meeting under the aegis of PABSEC is planned for mid-May 2001, to be
held in Bucharest to lay groundwork for cooperation among national
televisions of the BSEC countries in which the Turkish National Television
(TRT) will be taking part.
The Turkish National Television is also exploring the possibilities of
producing and broadcasting of documentary films relating to member
countries as well as the BSEC organization. In a similar context, the TRT
is looking into the possibilities of enacting agreements with other member
states' national televisions for the preparation of such films.
C. Strengthening cooperation with EU, USA and Other Major
Noting the interest of the EU on projects relating to
facilitation of trade, energy and transportation, their support and
assistance will be sought on specific projects being prepared in these
areas. USAID and USTDA's (US Trade Development Agency) assistance will
also be sought in a possible BSEC project related to "BSEC Electrical
Ring". Contacts with other major donors ie. Japan will be maintained for
their contribution to individual BSEC projects.
This Program outlining the Turkish proposals has been developed in
the light of the BSEC Agenda 2000, which is a very comprehensive framework
of activities for the next decade. It constitutes a modest step on behalf
of Turkey, towards the objectives set forth therein. However its success
requires the full support of all member states. There is no doubt that
every chairing member state will add its contribution towards the
realization of our common goals.