Statement by H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, at the United Nations Security Council Summit on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 24.09.2009
Mr. President
Distinguished Delegates,

Let me first extend my sincere thanks to President Obama for his initiative to convene this UN Security Council Summit focusing on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, as well as nuclear safety and security. All three of them are critical issues that require global and high-level attention, which makes this meeting very pertinent and timely. As leaders of the Security Council members, we share a common responsibility against humanity on these important matters.

Mr. President,

40 years ago, when the threat of nuclear destruction was hovering over the fortunes of mankind in greater magnitude than today, leaders of the world were united to come up with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is indisputably one of the most important treaties of the 20th century. For, it reflects mankind's universal and fundamental desire for peace and security. And today, it remains as relevant and indispensable as it was 40 years ago with its three mutually reinforcing pillars, non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament - general and complete disarmament and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Over the years, much has been achieved along these lines. However, there is still a need to bolster the integrity and credibility of the NPT regime through equal treatment of its three dimensions. Universal adherence to and full implementation of the NPT continues to stand as key objectives. Therefore, today's meeting is an important opportunity to demonstrate our readiness to fully achieve these goals and demonstrate a strong global ownership to this end. I am confident that our meeting today will reenergize the international community and lead to various new initiatives in this direction until the NPT Review Conference next year.

Mr. President,

Among the three pillars of NPT, nuclear disarmament requires an incremental but sustained approach. In this regard, Treaty-based commitments are absolutely indispensable. The unequivocal undertaking by all nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals is therefore one of the big achievements of NPT. This responsibility must now be upheld, building on Article VI of the Treaty and the 13 practical steps for nuclear disarmament agreed upon in 2000. It is in this context that I welcome and encourage the efforts to replace START with a new legally binding instrument.

Mr. President,

Irreversible progress on nuclear disarmament will also reinforce the other two pillars of NPT. In particular, nuclear non-proliferation should go hand in hand with nuclear disarmament. It is with this understanding that Turkey spares no efforts in continuing to promote issues of key importance with regard to non-proliferation. These include entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; initiation of negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty in the Conference on Disarmament; and promoting IAEA's role in advancing safe and peaceful use of nuclear technology.

Mr. President,

Turkey also believes that States in full compliance with their safeguards obligations should enjoy unfettered access to civilian nuclear technology as enshrined in the NPT. In our view, this would only contribute to further strengthening and universalization of the NPT regime.

Having said that, we must also ensure that all requisite steps are taken so that there is no increased risk of weapons proliferation associated with the expansion of the peaceful use of nuclear energy. The right to have access to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes entails a strict responsibility and obligation on the part of each and every NPT State Party for non-proliferation.

In this regard, we are convinced that the most credible assurance about the peaceful nature of national programs is the national implementation of the Additional Protocol which we deem as the current verification standard. An equally strong conviction of my country is that the possession of WMDs cannot provide additional security to any country in this era. On the contrary, it undermines regional security and stability. Therefore, Turkey attaches great significance to and endorses all meaningful steps calling for the establishment of WMD-free zones, particularly in the Middle East.

Mr. President,

Safety of nuclear and radioactive sources remains to be a priority issue for the international community. There is no doubt that confidence in nuclear technology is very much dependent on the strength and reliability of safety measures and that achieving and maintaining an increased level of nuclear safety worldwide is important.

Nuclear terrorism and illicit trafficking in nuclear material, on the other hand, poses a grave security threat that needs to be addressed with a global commitment. We should work on a comprehensive and mutually reinforcing approach, with the utilization of available UN and IAEA conventions, as well as applicable multilateral instruments. The UN Security Council Resolution 1540 and its effective implementation is thus of great importance.

Mr. President,

In conclusion, I urge all nations of the world to engage in a meaningful dialogue to bring about comprehensive solutions to the global challenges we face in the field of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Indeed, we can either live in a world free of fear from nuclear destruction and benefit from the advantages of the peaceful use of nuclear energy or we can all perish under a nuclear peril that recognizes no borders. I hope next generations will look back to this meeting and see it as yet another milestone in the shaping of our common destiny where there is no place for nuclear weapons. It is with this understanding that Turkey supported the draft resolution which we adopted at the beginning of our meeting.

Thank you.