Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe/OSCE Members Map

In the early 1970s, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe was established with the intention of ending the division of Europe in cold war conditions, ensuring security and stability and developing cooperation between the participating states for this purpose.

The mission of the organization was determined as a multilateral discussion and dialogue forum between East and West. From 1975 to 1990, the OSCE continued in a series of conferences and meetings where new obligations were addressed and practices reviewed. The Paris Summit in 1990 pointed to the beginning of an institutionalization aimed at meeting the dangers that emerged in the post-cold war era.

The map uses color-coding to show OSCE member countries (green) and cooperation partners (yellow).

Security and stability in Europe is an idea raised by the Eastern Bloc since the mid-1950s. The division of Germany and the Berlin problem led to an attempt to legalize the borders of Europe during the cold war.

In this context, the European security agreement proposal made by Warsaw Pact in the 1955s was not accepted by the Westerners. The Eastern bloc’s suggestion was that the Treaty of SALT 1, signed between the United States and the Soviet Union in the early 1970s, and West Germany’s recognition of the Eastern borders with Poland and Czechoslovakia.

Under these conditions, he agreed to engage in negotiations on Western European security. Started its studies in Helsinki on 15 January 1973. The conference, which lasted for more than two years, resulted in the signing of the Helsinki Final Act on 33 August 2008 with 33 European countries and the United States and Canada at the level of Heads of State and Government.

Helsinki Final Act

A banner with the letters "OSCE" hangs above a display of various national flags arranged in multiple rows on flagpoles.

Helsinki Final Act Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, which opened in Helsinki on 3 July 1973 and continued in Geneva from 18 September 1973 until 21 July 1975,  has been finalized on August 1, 1975 , by the representatives of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, the Democratic Republic of Germany, the Federal Republic of Germany, Greece, Vatican, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, England, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the Republics of the Soviet Union, United States, Yugoslavia.

For the benefit of peoples, improving and intensifying their relations, and taking power from Europe’s political will to contribute to peace, security, justice and cooperation among themselves and with other States of the world, as a result, to make the Conference outcomes effective and between The High Representative of the participating States has formally adopted the issues, in order to ensure the benefits of these results and thus to expand, deepen and make the softening process permanent.

Fundamental Principles of Helsinki Final Act

A black and white photo of a group of men in suits standing in several rows on steps, posing for a group picture.

There are 10 basic principles that will guide the relations between the 35 signatory states. These:

1. Respect for equality and sovereignty

2. Avoiding force or threat of using force

3. Non-violation of borders

4. Protection of territorial integrity of States

5. Peaceful settlement of disputes

6. Non-interference in internal affairs

7. Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms

8. The right of people to enjoy equal rights and self-determination

9. Cooperation between States

10. The fulfillment of obligations under international law in good faith

The Helsinki Final Act, which forms the basis of the OSCE, is the basic principles that the participating States will follow in their mutual relations. These include the sovereign equality of the states, inviolability of borders, non-interference in internal affairs, respect for territorial integrity and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Making the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as an element of security has been an effective tool in resolving the Soviet Union and the communist system.

OSCE Participating States; Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mongolia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Spain, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan and Vatican.

OSCE Mediterranean and Asian Cooperation Partners; Afghanistan, Algeria, Australia, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, South Korea, Thailand, and Tunisia.