Statement by H.E. Ambassador Ünal Çeviköz, Deputy Undersecretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey at Forth CTBT Ministerial Meeting

Ünal Çeviköz 24.09.2008
Distinguished Ministers,
Dear Colleagues,

Allow me first, to take this opportunity to share with you our appreciation for this Conference to be organised at the margins of the UN General Assembly, in order to underpin the importance we attach to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty.

Turkey believes that a credible and viable international regime of peace, security and stability can only be achieved in the context of a comprehensive approach to global challenges. Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction constitutes one of the leading challenges of our day, which may easily turn into a genuine threat to our societies. Therefore, it is important today, more than ever, that we stand firmly behind our commitments to the underlying principles of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

We consider the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) as a leading instrument complementing the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime established by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Being a party to all international disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation arrangements, we have been consistently calling for steps aimed at preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. That is why, in our view, the effective and verifiable cessation of nuclear weapons test explosions and their prohibition as provided by the CTBT continues to be an indispensable goal. This is also why we urge those who are yet to ratify the Treaty to do so as soon as possible, thus enabling the Treaty to enter into force.

Mr. President,

Although we see the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty as a vital disarmament and nonproliferation instrument, the absence of CTBT entry into force means that the full range of verification and monitoring tools, confidence building measures, and the option of on-site inspections, are not available to help strengthen the international community's ability to detect, deter, and if necessary respond to possible nuclear testing.

Nevertheless, against these shortcomings, the CTBT's record of accomplishments, indeed are remarkable, particularly when you take into account the fact that the Treaty itself has not yet even entered into force. The Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization regularly convenes and deliberates, ratifiers and signatories contribute both in terms of human resources, know-how and finance, the international monitoring system and inspection regime are continuously built up. A number of Conferences, seminars and workshops keep our bureaucracies, scientists and our civil society updated on the CTBT priorities. The work carried out by the Provisional Technical Secretariat, which through years, has grown into an efficient and well managed institution is impressive and commendable.

We must not refrain to take bold steps when we believe the right political conditions are in place, and we must seize the chance to make progress. Therefore, on every occasion we must keep on telling our friends who still did not fulfill their respective ratification processes, to do so, and encourage them to do so immediately.

In this respect, please allow me, Mr.President, to congratulate Iraq, for its decision to sign the CTBT, on 19 August 2008. We look forward for Iraq to ratify the Treaty at its soonest convenience. Let me underline, that we pay utmost significance to the universalisation of disarmament and non-proliferation instruments, and we are happy to see increasing participation in particular form our region.

Mr. President,

Turkey, since the inception of the CTBT, honored her political, financial and technical commitments stemming from the Treaty. We are glad to host a certified and operational primary seismic station. The operator, namely the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institution of the Bosphorus University, provides its deep knowledge and expertise for the operations of this station while benefiting from the unique infrastructure and know-how of the International Monitoring System.

I would also like to refer to the Second CTBT Interregional Workshop held in Istanbul, last July. The Workshop enabled representatives from countries of different geographical regions to come together and exchange views. A number of topics were discussed; ranging from the national implementation methodologies to the early entry into force strategies.

This was the second such Workshop of its kind, since 2001, which was again held in Turkey, when the CTBTO was only 5 years old. Now it is more than a decade old, a mature and well-established Organisation. In 2001, the Treaty was ratified by 89 countries. The last seven years saw this number increasing significantly and reaching to 144. And the number of those States whose ratification is needed for the Treaty to enter into force since 2001 decreased from 13 to 9.

As you see, the Second Interregional Workshop in Istanbul, gave us the opportunity to make a comparison between then and now. We found out that, since 2001, CTBTO doubled and, in some cases, tripled its technical achievements on the ground. To enumerate some of them, for example the number of certified stations with the International Monitoring System (IMS) increased dramatically, the number of primary seismic, auxiliary seismic, hydroacoustic, infrasound and radionuclide stations rose by considerable percentages. Signatory States, especially those hosting the IMS stations and certainly the Provisional Technical Secretariat deserve credit for this achievement. It is also noteworthy and welcome that CTBTO's synergies with science produces spin-off effects such as contribution to the data collection of the designated tsunami warning centers.

Regrettably, however, despite the significant progress I briefly noted above both on political and technical fields, the Treaty has not yet entered into force. We still need the instrument of ratification of 9 countries to be deposited for the Treaty to enter into force.

What can be done? I would like to dwell upon some of our considerations we already shared with the participants of the workshop, which are the following:

- First and foremost, the essential role of the CTBT in curbing the proliferation of nuclear weapons and advancing nuclear disarmament, thereby significantly contributing to the enhancement of international peace and security, should continue to be promoted. Its entry into force would strengthen the international security architecture built upon the foundation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

- Secondly, we must continue to strive to have a verification system which is credible and operational. The operational readiness of the verification system is an important incentive. And we have a good example. The value of the verification system and its detection capabilities were demonstrated on the occasion of 2006 the Democratic People's Republic of Korea event.

- Thirdly, we should continue to maintain a full-fledged and efficient organization, free of financial and other constraints.

To sum up, let me emphasize that despite our achievements in the nuclear non-proliferation domain, we must not forget that these are not irreversible. Therefore, we must continue our common efforts so that the purposes of the CTBT are fully met. And we hope, that our meeting here today, even as a modest step, will contribute to this goal.

Let me conclude by repeating what my Minister told the Executive Secretary Mr.Tibor Toth, during his visit to Ankara this summer: "Please rest assured, that we will continue to support the Treaty in the international fora on every suitable occasion. We will support Article XIV Conferences. We will co-sponsor resolutions supportive of the CTBT in the United Nations General Assembly, and we will continue to encourage third countries to join the Treaty."

Thank you.