STATEMENT BY ERSİN ERÇİN DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF TURKEY TO THE UNITED NATIONS DEBATE OF THE FIRST COMMITTEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 60TH SESSION

Ersin Erçin 06.10.2005
Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, let me congratulate you and other members of the Bureau on your appointments. My delegation will not spare any effort to support your endeavours during the work of the Committee.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey has already aligned itself with the statement made by the United Kingdom on behalf of the European Union. I will therefore briefly elaborate on some issues to which my country attaches particular importance.

I wish to start with the global security environment which has changed dramatically in recent years.

Today, non-state actors, terrorists and states in non-compliance with non-proliferation and disarmament requirements, and delays in the fulfillment of nuclear disarmament engagements and obligations, challenge the delicate balance that the system of treaties has established over the last four decades. This balance should be preserved and the United Nations should be able to respond to those challenges.

Nevertheless, as many speakers have pointed out, the UN family failed to take concrete steps over the last year on the pressing issues of non-proliferation and disarmament. We were not able to bridge the various positions on the draft disarmament portion of the World Summit Outcome Declaration. These setbacks should not discourage us. On the contrary, it should enhance our resolve to work together in order to give a new life and energy into the disarmament and non-proliferation agenda. Turkey will support all efforts to this end. In this context, we would like place particular emphasis on the necessity to re-invigorate the work carried out within the Conference on Disarmament. This body bears the brunt of the efforts displayed by the international community in this field and we should strive to keep it at pace.

Mr. Chairman,

Arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament are important elements of Turkey's national security policy. 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.

In addition, Turkey also supports UNSCR 1540 and the Proliferation Security Initiative which, in our opinion, complement the global efforts against the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery.

Despite the failure of the Review Conference last May, 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. One indispensable component of this regime is no doubt the verification authority of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This authority should be strengthened and the Model Additional Protocol should be adopted as the universal norm for verifying compliance with the NPT. This is all the more true in view of the recent crisis we face within the IAEA.

Located in a region of particular concern to global nuclear non-proliferation, Turkey also attaches great importance to the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and appeals once again, in particular to the remaining Annex II states to sign and ratify the Treaty.

In this context I would also like to reiterate our support to the longstanding idea of creating a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East. Turkey encourages all efforts for having a common regional understanding on this project with the participation of all parties concerned. This, inter alia, necessitates a wider adherence to, and an effective implementation of, the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) in our region. We urge all countries in our region which are not party to these instruments to do so promptly.

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.

Mr. Chairman,

Conventional Weapons Proliferation also constitutes a serious concern for my country. 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 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.

Proliferation and unauthorized use of Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) is also a matter of serious concern in connection with the small arms and light weapons. Turkey strongly believes that the international community should act decisively to improve stockpile security and strengthen export controls in countries that import and manufacture MANPADS. In this respect, Turkey will again sponsor the MANPADS resolution this year with the hope that the resolution will enjoy consensus in the Committee.

Another worrying issue in the field of conventional weapons is the irresponsible and indiscriminate use of Anti-Personnel Land Mines (APLM). Turkey fully supports the efforts for universalization and effective implementation of the Ottawa Convention and the vision of a world, free from anti-personnel mines.

I would also like to inform that Turkey became party to the Certain Conventional Weapons Convention and its Additional Protocols I., II. and IV. as of March 2005. In line with our obligations under the II. Protocol, Turkey submitted its report on its activities.

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.

Mr. Chairman,

In concluding my remarks, I would like to stress once again the importance Turkey attaches to global overall disarmament and the continued support my country provides to all efforts in the field of sustaining international security through arms control and disarmament. While the task ahead of us is a difficult one, we stand ready to take actively part in all efforts towards that end.

Thank you.