Thematic Debate on Conventional Weapons

Mr. Chairman,

In addition to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, proliferation of conventional weapons is also a cause of concern for Turkey. In particular, the excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread of small arms and light weapons (SALW) pose a significant threat to peace and security, as well as to the social and economic development of many countries.

There is also a very well-documented relationship between the illicit trade in arms and terrorism. As a country that continues to suffer from terrorism, Turkey attaches great importance to the prevention and eradication of illicit trade of SALW and elimination of their negative security and safety implications. Turkey therefore supports the establishment of effective norms and rules aimed at eradicating illicit trade in SALW in all its aspects.

Turkey favours a comprehensive approach for developing the necessary tools and implementing certain practices to prevent and eradicate illicit trade in SALW. In particular, we believe that the measures to be taken should include the whole series of steps, from the manufacturing of SALW to their seizure and destruction. Transparency and information sharing would certainly help promote consistency in the implementation of agreed multilateral standards for these arms and weapons.

In spite of the existence of many international instruments that address transfer controls, unfortunately a large amount of weapons is still being transferred illicitly. This points to the need to focus more on the effective implementation of these instruments. It also leads us to believe that preventing the illicit trade in all its aspects should involve the implementation of effective regulations over the legal transfers of arms, weapons and ammunition. A well-functioning transfer control system should be based in law and supported by comprehensive enforcement mechanisms.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey remains committed to the effective implementation and further strengthening of the UN Programme of Action (POA) to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in SALW in all its Aspects. We attach particular importance to the implementation of the recommendations and the establishment of a follow-up mechanism to the POA. We believe that international cooperation and assistance are fundamental to the successful implementation of the POA and other relevant documents and measures.

Turkey will continue to contribute to the efforts within the UN and other fora to foster international and regional cooperation and, when necessary, the adoption and implementation of additional norms and rules in this field. We therefore continue to support the conclusion of an Arms Trade Treaty, which should halt unregulated and uncontrolled trade of conventional arms worldwide and establish common standards for their global trade. We also support the complementary efforts of certain regional organizations and initiatives in this area.

Mr. Chairman,

We share the vision of a world free of anti-personnel land mines. Turkey is a party to the Ottawa Convention and fully supports the efforts for its effective implementation and universalization. We continue to pursue the destruction process of the stockpiled anti-personnel land mines in the Turkish Munitions Disposal Facility with utmost care and diligence. Turkey has already destroyed the fuses of all its stockpiled mines, thereby rendering these mines unusable. Let me take this opportunity to once again appeal to the States which have not yet done so to accede to the Convention.

In this connection, we would also like to emphasize that, since the rights and obligations enshrined in the Ottawa Convention apply only to the State Parties, the consent of the relevant State Parties is necessary if and when engagement with armed non-State actors is contemplated within the context of the Convention. Such activities should in no way serve the purposes of terrorist organizations.

Turkey has also been involved in the Oslo process on Cluster Munitions and actively participates in the ongoing work in the Governmental Experts Group on Cluster Munitions meetings within the context of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. We share the humanitarian concern behind the international efforts to limit the use of cluster munitions. We expect the Governmental Experts Group to intensify its efforts for preparing a document that should take into account the concerns of all parties. In this regard, we are cognizant of the possibility that such a document may not entirely overlap with the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons.

Mr. Chairman,

Last but not least, I would like to reiterate our support for the UN Register of Conventional Arms and the Standardized Instrument for Reporting Military Expenditures that is an important transparency and confidence building measure. Turkey regularly provides data to this useful mechanism which complement our work in this field. We call on those UN member States that have not made use of this instrument to do so without further delay.

I thank you.