Turkey smack down: Venezuela gets Security Council seat; Turkey fails

UNITED NATIONS — Despite objections by the United States, Venezuela secured a seat Thursday at the global table of high power, the United Nations Security Council, while Turkey, a vital but complicated American ally, was resoundingly defeated.

The results came midday after voting by the 193 member states of the United Nations General Assembly. Turkey was in the running with Spain and New Zealand for two of three rotating two-year seats on the Council. New Zealand secured the necessary two-thirds majority of votes in the first round. Spain won in the third round.

By lunchtime, the General Assembly Hall was awash in embraces and handshakes.

Turkey, which has sought to project itself as a regional power in the Middle East, campaigned intensely for the Council seat, highlighting in particular its role in the war against the Islamic State extremist group. But Turkey has also come under scrutiny, particularly by European countries, for what critics call its insufficient crackdown on foreign fighters who have traveled through Turkey to join extremist groups in Syria.

Analysts said Turkey’s defeat — it won 109 of 193 votes in the first round, but just 60 votes in the second round — also reflects the divisions in the Middle East, as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and others jostle for power.

Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, rose from his seat as soon as the results were announced and walked over to congratulate his counterpart from Spain. On Twitter, he congratulated all five victors. The Foreign Ministry’s Twitter handle said nothing about the results.

Anadolu, the semiofficial news agency, quoted the foreign minister as saying: “There may be some countries disturbed by our principled stance, and there have always been those, who, after some time, confess that Turkey’s position was right. So, we could not abandon our principles for the sake of getting more votes.”

There were also three uncontested seats in the Council race. Angola was chosen by the nations of Africa to represent the continent, starting in January 2015. Malaysia was selected as Asia’s candidate, and Venezuela to represent Latin America. It secured 181 votes, and may well use its perch on the Council for making anti-American diatribes.

The United States swiftly condemned its selection. “Unfortunately, Venezuela’s conduct at the U.N. has run counter to the spirit of the U.N. Charter and its violations of human rights at home are at odds with the Charter’s letter,” said Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, according to a statement. “The United States will continue to call upon the government of Venezuela to respect the fundamental freedoms and universal human rights of its people.”

In any case, the powers of the rotating, nonpermanent members of the Council are limited. The United States, along with Britain, China, France and Russia, are its permanent members. They have veto power.

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