Statement by Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, at the General Debate of the First Commitee

Baki İlkin 09.10.2007
Mr. Chairman,

Allow me at the outset to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your well-deserved election. We are confident that your leadership will steer our work to a successful conclusion. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Under-Secretary General, Mr. Sergio Duarte for his appointment as the Secretary-General's High Representative for Disarmament Affairs and wish him every success in his new post. I also thank him for his thoughtful opening remarks.

Mr. Chairman

In my statement, I would like to elaborate briefly on some First Committee topics from our national perspective:

Located in a region of particular concern with respect to proliferation, Turkey advocates global, overall disarmament and support all efforts in the field of sustaining international security through arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament. We firmly support the revitalization of international disarmament agenda through coordinated efforts in which the United Nations should play a more effective role. In this context, we welcome the re-structuring of the Department of Disarmament Affairs of the UN.

We believe that international community must work together to ensure that the traditional disarmament and non-proliferation instruments remain rigorous, effective, and relevant in the new circumstances of the twenty-first century. Universalization, effective implementation and further strengthening of these instruments should be our common goal and priority.

In this respect, Turkey regards the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as the core of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. We are fully committed to the implementation of the NPT in all its three mutually reinforcing pillars, namely, non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The integrity and credibility of this Treaty require the renewed commitment of all. We shall continue to promote issues of key importance for the sustainability of the NPT in the long run. These include universalization of the Treaty, strengthening of the Agency's safeguards system, reinforcement of export controls, early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty.

Turkey is therefore dedicated to full compliance with the NPT, Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and with Additional Protocols. We consider those Agreements and Additional Protocols as the current IAEA verification standard. We will continue to work constructively towards a substantive outcome for the 2010 NPT Review Conference, including at the Preparatory Committee meetings.

As to the Conference on Disarmament, Turkey has been encouraged by the structured and substantive discussions that took place in Geneva this year. A momentum has been created and we hope that it will be possible to build on it. Turkey, as one of the countries who will assume the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament next year, will spare no efforts in order to allow the CD to resume its negotiating role in 2008, with the aim to conclude a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty.

Mr. Chairman

Turkey welcomes the establishment of nuclear weapons free zones and in this context, supports in principle the establishment of an effectively verifiable zone, free of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery in the Middle East. We continue to encourage efforts for developing a common regional understanding on this project, with the participation of all parties concerned.

We will continue to support the work of the 1540 Committee which complements the global efforts against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. We also regard the Proliferation Security Initiative and Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism as important cooperative action, complementing the existing non-proliferation mechanisms in various international instruments and export control regimes.

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) are two important components of the global system against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Non-accession to these conventions continues to pose a serious challenge to our global security. Once again, we reiterate our call for a wider adherence to, and an effective implementation of these conventions. We particularly support the efforts to promote their universality in the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East, and neighboring regions.

The progressive increase in the range and accuracy of ballistic missiles makes the proliferation threat all the more worrying. Turkey believes that the Hague Code of Conduct (HCOC) against ballistic missile proliferation constitutes a practical step towards an internationally accepted legal framework in this field. We wish to see the universalization of this endeavour.

The use of outer space and space based research should exclusively be for peaceful purposes. In this regard, Turkey also supports the views and proposals on strengthening the existing international legal framework directed at preventing an arms race in outer space.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey looks forward to the peaceful solution of the current non-proliferation issues that are of common concern to the international community. We attach great importance to the settlement, through peaceful means and as soon as possible, of the ongoing crisis of confidence between Iran and the international community as regards the scope and nature of its past and current nuclear programmes. We welcome the recent progress achieved through the Six-Party Talks for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Turkey will continue to abide by its international commitments and fulfill its responsibilities on these issues.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey attaches great importance to the fight against terrorism. It is our firm view that terrorism in all its forms is a crime against humanity and constitutes a serious threat to international peace and security which cannot be justified under any pretext. We are committed to combat all forms of terrorism, including possible heinous acts involving nuclear and radioactive material. We strongly support all measures aimed at preventing terrorists from acquiring nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological weapons and their means of delivery. In this respect, we also welcomed the adoption of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy by the General Assembly last year and look forward to its effective implementation.

Mr. Chairman,

Conventional Weapons Proliferation is a global concern. 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 close relationship between the illicit trade of those arms and terrorism. Turkey will continue to actively contribute to all efforts within the UN and other fora to foster international cooperation and the establishment of effective norms and rules, with a view to combating and eradicating illicit trade in SALW, in all its aspects. Turkey remains committed to the effective implementation and further strengthening of the UN Programme of Action on SALWs.

Cognizant of the damage small arms inflict on peace and security worldwide, Turkey will continue to support the conclusion of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

The proliferation and unauthorized use of Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) is another serious concern in connection with small arms and light weapons. Turkey maintains the view that the international community should act decisively to improve stockpile security and strengthen export controls in countries that import and manufacture MANPADS. With this understanding, Turkey will co-sponsor this year again the draft resolution on MANPADS.

Another worrying issue in the field of conventional weapons is the scourge of Anti-Personnel Mines (APMs). Turkey fully supports the efforts for the universalisation and effective implementation of the Ottawa Convention and the vision of a world, free from anti-personnel mines. In line with her commitments deriving from the Convention, Turkey exerts efforts to clear all emplaced anti-personnel mines as of 2014. In this context, since rights and obligations enshrined in the Convention and in the Nairobi Action Plan apply to State Parties; when engagement with armed non-State actors is contemplated, State Parties concerned should be informed and their consent should be sought. Utmost attention should be paid, so that the activities conducted by armed non-State actors in the scope of the implementation of the Ottawa Convention should not serve the purposes of terrorist organizations.

My statement would not be complete without mentioning our support for the UN Register System for Conventional Weapons. This tool in hand is a very useful mechanism, complementing our work in this field.

In concluding, Mr. Chairman let me express my Delegation's continued cooperation and full support to the work of the Committee throughout our deliberations.

Thank you.