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Terrorism

With its expertise in conflict prevention, crisis management, and early warning, the OSCE contributes to worldwide efforts in combating terrorism. Many effective counterterrorism measures fall into other areas in which the OSCE is active, such as police training and border monitoring. The OSCE also looks at human rights issues, such as torture, in relation to counterterrorism.

Since the early 2000s, the Helsinki Commission has been active on the issue of terrorism. Recent Helsinki Commission inititiatives on the topic include hearings on ISIS recruitment in Central Asia and the refugee crisis in Europe, and Commissioners regularly call for cooperative action to combat terrorist activity in the OSCE region.

Staff Contacts: Alex Tiersky, senior policy advisor

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  • The Assassination Attempt on Pope John Paul II

    The subject of this hearing, which Commissioner Millicent Fenwick chaired, was whether or not there was the possibility of complicity, on the part of the Soviet and Bulgarian secret police, to Turkish terrorist Mehmet Ali Agca’s assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. As per Principle VI of the Helsinki Final Act, signatory nations are to refrain from direct or indirect assistance to terrorist activities. Bulgaria and the Soviet Union were privy to this at the time of the hearing. The hearing utilized witnesses to shed light as to whether or not Bulgaria and the Soviet Union were honoring this commitment in Principle VI, which was not a guarantee, especially because of Mehmet Ali Agca’s potential involvement in a Turkish arms ring that Bulgarians supported. The hearing was part and parcel of an “essential” effort to carefully and impartially examine all evidence of possible Soviet and Bulgarian involvement with Agca. 

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