Statement by Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü Permanent Representative of the Republic of Turkey at the Conference on Disarmament

Ahmet Üzümcü 30.01.2007
Madam President,

Since this is the first time that I take the floor, allow me to warmly congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament. I also wish to thank you for the kind words of welcome you extended to me and other newcomers during the First Plenary Session. Please be assured that I will relay your kind words of appreciation to my predecessor Ambassador Kurttekin.

Madam President,

I would like to compliment you on your diplomatic and leadership skills along with your dynamism. A testament of these high qualities is the swift adoption of the 2007 agenda by the CD and the presentation of an innovative organizational framework. Turkey supports this framework and commends you on your efforts in its formulation.

You and the five incoming Presidents have, indeed, worked especially hard to kick-start the CD; invest it with creativity, and present inventive ideas. We sincerely hope that these initiatives will succeed.

As a newcomer, I notice that we hold our meetings in the historic Council Chamber of the League of Nations. This Chamber may at first remind us of a defunct organization and an era in which multilateral institutions were abandoned along the road to the Second World War. However, I do not think that this should be a source of pessimism. On the contrary, the magnificent gold and sepia murals, painted by José-Maria Sert, depicting the progress of humankind through health, technology, freedom and peace should remind us of mankind's past achievements and our duty to revitalise this Chamber. I think that it is high-time for the CD, the world's single negotiating forum for multilateral disarmament to reassert itself and play its envisaged role. We should also bear in mind that since taking office as Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon has staked out as one of his priorities the mission to invigorate disarmament and non-proliferation efforts.

Madam President,

Turkey favors global, overall disarmament and supports all efforts in the field of sustaining international security through arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament. Turkey is a party to all international non-proliferation instruments and export control regimes and wishes to see the universalisation and effective implementation of them.

Located in a region of particular concern with respect to proliferation, Turkey monitors with vigilance the developments in this field and takes part in collective efforts aimed at devising measures to reverse this alarming trend.

Despite the failure of the Review Conference in 2005 and recent developments contesting its standpoint, Turkey believes that the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is still a unique and irreplaceable multilateral instrument, the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime, and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. We should exert every effort to protect its integrity and credibility. Turkey sincerely hopes that the new review cycle of the NPT to be initiated this spring in Vienna will prepare the ground for a successful Review Conference in 2010, through an early agreement on organisational issues.

In this respect, Madam President, let me underline the critical and indispensable role of the International Atomic Energy Agency at a time when the agency is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its foundation. Turkey remains convinced that the verification authority of the Agency should be further strengthened and the Model Additional Protocol should be adopted as the universal norm for verifying compliance with the NPT.

In our view, the NPT regime will be further reinforced with the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Turkey also attaches special importance to the negotiation of a non-discriminatory and universal treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices (FMCT). The banning of the production of such material would strengthen both nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. A more comprehensive and non-discriminatory approach should include the issue of existing stockpiles and effective verification.

Turkey welcomes the establishment of nuclear weapons free zones, freely arrived at, and in this context, supports in principle the establishment of an effectively verifiable zone, free of WMDs and their means of delivery in the Middle East. Hence, we encourage all efforts for developing a common regional understanding on this project, with the participation of all parties concerned.

Turkey also welcomes the extension of the mandate of the 1540 Committee and will continue to support its work, which we believe complements the global efforts against the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery.

Turkey regards the Proliferation Security Initiative as an important cooperative action complementing the existing mechanisms enshrined in various international instruments and export control regimes. We will continue to support this initiative.

Similarly, Turkey has voiced its support for the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. It's with great pleasure that Turkey will be hosting the second meeting of this initiative on 12 and 13 February 2007, in Ankara.

Turkey supports the views and proposals of establishing political mechanisms, followed by legally binding international instruments, which will assure the non-use of nuclear weapons by nuclear weapon States against non-nuclear weapon States.

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.

Turkey considers the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) as two important components of the global system against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Non-accession of some states to these conventions continues to pose a serious challenge to global security. Once again, we reiterate our call for a wider adherence to, and an effective implementation of these conventions.

The Chemical Weapons Convention proved to be an effective instrument for prohibiting and eliminating an entire category of weapons of mass destruction under a strict and efficient international verification and control mechanism. Compliance by the states parties to the deadlines established for the verifiable destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles remains essential.

The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Review Conference took place last November-December here in Geneva. We are satisfied with the outcome of this meeting. We believe that the BTWC ultimately needs to be strengthened with a verification mechanism.

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.

Madam President,

Conventional Weapons Proliferation is also a cause of concern for Turkey. 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.

Failure to achieve a tangible result in last year's review conference has been disappointing. Nonetheless, 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 supports the project of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which aims to cease unregulated and uncontrolled trade of arms worldwide and establish common standards for the global trade in conventional arms. That is why Turkey co-sponsored the ATT resolution spearheaded by the United Kingdom during the First Committee meetings last year.

The proliferation and unauthorized use of Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) continue to be a matter of 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. Our views on this matter were summarized in a statement delivered to the Conference on Disarmament on 24 August 2006.

Another worrying issue in the field of conventional weapons is the scourge of indiscriminate and inhumane weapons called 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.

Turkey became a State Party to the Ottawa Convention in 2004. Yet, mine clearance activities date back to 1998. The work to clear all emplaced APMs is planned to be completed by 2014, in line with our commitments deriving from the Convention. In this context, I should also remind Turkey's strong and heartfelt views on engaging so called "armed non-state actors" within the context of mine action.

I would also like to inform Members of the Conference that Turkey became a State Party to the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention as amended in 2001, Protocol I, Amended Protocol II and Protocol IV. This Convention, along with the Protocols I have just mentioned, entered into force for Turkey on September 2nd 2005.

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

In concluding, let me once more pledge my Delegation's cooperation and full support throughout your tenure.

I thank you, Madam President.