Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the protection and the improvement of values regarding human rights was one of the basic pillars of Turkey's foreign policy.

"The promotion and protection of this set of universal values specific to human rights is one of the fundamental elements of the Turkish foreign policy," Davutoglu said in a statement issued Thursday on the 61th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly.

Davutoglu said Turkey actively contributed to the common efforts of humanity with a progressive and constructive approach and exerted maximum effort for the attainment of the highest standards in human rights in Turkey, supporting similar initiatives of other nations.

Davutoglu said the promotion and the protection of human rights values would be the guiding element for Turkey in determining its priorities during its Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe between November 2009 and May 2011.

"Turkey is also committed to continuing its constructive efforts in the United Nations Human Rights Council which embraces all nations in the field of human rights. To that end, it has declared its candidacy in the elections which will be held in 2013 for the United Nations Human Rights Council membership. In the course of Turkey's current non-permanent membership to the UN Security Council, its support to initiatives aiming at preventing violations of rights stemming from conflict situations constitutes a guarantee for the importance attached by Turkey to the protection of human rights," Davutoglu said in his statement.

Davutoglu said in 2009 the UN selected the theme of the Human Rights Day as "Embrace Diversity, End Discrimination," adding that fight against racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance was a must for ensuring the full enjoyment of human rights by everyone.

"Turkey has contributed to the international agenda of the fight against discrimination and intolerance with its conciliatory interventions while serving in the Bureau of the United Nations Durban Review Conference Against Racism and with its active policy pursued at the Human Dimension of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The international community appreciates the positive impacts of the Alliance of Civilizations initiative, which Turkey co-chairs, on the activities for the prevention of discrimination and intolerance," he said.

Davutoglu said Turkey's ministerial Reform Monitoring Group (RMG), which had been the main architect and regulator of the improvements achieved in the recent years, was one of the highest institutional manifestation of the human rights reforms in Turkey.

Davutoglu said the Inter-Ministerial Anti-discrimination Working Group, which was set up by the RMG shows that Turkey was diligently dealing with the contemporary human rights issues with a view to improving the rights of its citizens.

AA