Turkey loses out on UN Security Council seat

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Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo y Marfil casts Spain's vote in New York, US on 16 October 2014Image source, EPA
Image caption,
The two Western nations seats were the only contested positions on the Security Council

Turkey failed to win a seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council after member states voted on Thursday.

The five non-permanent seats were given to Venezuela, Angola, Malaysia, New Zealand and Spain, the latter two beating Turkey to represent the West.

Turkey has been under international pressure to help combat Islamic State militants waging war along its border.

The new members of the Security Council will begin their two-year appointment on 1 January 2015.

Despite lobbying heavily amongst the UN's 193 member nations, Turkey lost out to Spain, which won the third round of run-off voting for the second of the two Western seats.

New Zealand won the first round with 145 votes.

The state-run Anadolu Agency reported Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying: "We could not abandon our principles for the sake of getting more votes."

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key said: "We just put on display the credentials of New Zealand, which is a country that's seen as an honest broker, someone that stands up for what's right."

Human rights concerns

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Venezuela's delegation celebrates winning a seat on the UN Security Council after missing out in 2006

There were celebrations in Venezuela as the country took the Latin America and Caribbean seat unopposed.

The United States, who publicly opposed Venezuela's bid in 2006 remained silent this time though they would not say how they voted.

Shortly after the vote however US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said: "Unfortunately, Venezuela's conduct at the UN has run counter to the spirit of the UN Charter, and its violations of human rights at home are at odds with the Charter's letter."

Venezuela's victory is likely to benefit its allies Russia and China who sit as permanent members on the Security Council, analysts say.

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro also has close ties with Iran and Syria.

Malaysia and Angola also ran unopposed for the Asian and African seats respectively and their election, as well as Venezuela's, has prompted concern from human rights observers.

"The Security Council's new membership could prove more problematic on human rights issues," said the UN director of Human Rights Watch Philippe Bolopion.

He added: "This is particularly true of Venezuela ... but also of Angola and Malaysia, which need to demonstrate a more human rights-oriented approach."

The five new members each received over two-thirds of the votes cast in a secret ballot.

They will join five other non-permanent members: Chad, Chile, Jordan, Lithuania and Nigeria.

Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, South Korea and Rwanda will step down at the end of the year to make way for the newly-elected members.