Statement by Mr. Kerim Uras, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Mission of Turkey to the UN, General Debate at the First Committee

Kerim Uras 04.10.2006
Madame Chair,

Let me begin by congratulating you and the other members of the Bureau on your well deserved election. You can be assured of my delegation's full support as you steer the work of the Committee to its successful conclusion.

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the new Under-Secretary-General, Ambassador Tanaka and wish him every success in his new post.

Madame Chair,

Turkey has already aligned itself with the statement made by Finland on behalf of the European Union. I will therefore elaborate on some issues from our national perspective.

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 universalization and effective implementation of these instruments.

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 last year 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 next year will prepare the ground for a successful Review Conference in 2010, through an early agreement on many pending issues.

In this respect, Madame Chair, let me underline the critical and indispensable role of the International Atomic Energy Agency. 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.

Turkey supports the establishment of an effectively verifiable zone, free of WMDs and their means of delivery in the Middle East and encourages all efforts for developing a common regional understanding on this project, with the participation of all parties concerned.

Turkey welcomes the establishment of a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone by five Central Asian states, last September.

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 also voiced its support for the recently announced Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and expressed its readiness to host the second meeting of this Initiative in Turkey.

Turkey 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 verification.

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 continue 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 signatories to the deadlines established for the verifiable destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles remains essential.

The Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Review Conference will commence in Geneva this November. We believe that the BTWC also needs to be strengthened with a verification mechanism.

The progressive increase in the range and accuracy of ballistic missiles make 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 the HCOC endeavour.

Madame Chair,

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 in SALW 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.

However, 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, which aims to cease unregulated and uncontrolled trade of arms worldwide and establish common standards for the global trade in conventional arms.

The proliferation and unauthorized use of Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) continue to be a matter of serious concern in connection with the 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.

Another worrying issue in the field of conventional weapons is the scourge of indiscriminate and inhumane weapons called Anti-Personnel Land Mines (APMs). Turkey fully supports the efforts for the universalization 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 are being implemented in Turkey since 1998. The work in Turkey 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 emphasize that, 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 would be necessary in order for such an engagement to take place. Activities conducted in the scope of the implementation of the Ottawa Convention should in no way serve the purposes of terrorist organizations.

I would also like to inform 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 the 2nd September 2005.

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

Madame Chair,

In conclusion, let me assure you once again, the full support and cooperation of my delegation.

Thank you.