Statement by H.E. Ambassador Baki İlkin, Permamenet Representative of Turkey to the UN at the 2005 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

Baki İlkin 03.05.2005
Mr. President

At the outset, allow me to congratulate you on your election to the Presidency of the Review Conference. I am confident that under your able leadership, the Conference will be successfully guided to accomplish its challenging tasks.

My Delegation has subscribed to the statement of the European Union delivered yesterday by Luxembourg. I would therefore briefly elaborate my country's views on certain aspects of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

The international security environment has changed dramatically in recent years. Non-state actors, terrorists and states in non-compliance with non-proliferation and disarmament obligations and delays in the fulfillment of nuclear disarmament engagements and obligations, all challenge the delicate balance that the system of treaties has established over the last four decades.

Being one of these treaties, NPT is the cornerstone of the global non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament. The Treaty has helped to slow, and in some cases reverse, the spread of military nuclear capability, but it has not been able to prevent it completely. Yet, Turkey believes that the NPT is a unique and irreplaceable multilateral instrument which should continue to play a vital role in addressing not only the old but also the new security challenges in the nuclear field.

Turkey is of the opinion that the Review Conference should be able to contribute to the integrity and the credibility of the Treaty. Lack of will and trust in the fulfillment of non-proliferation obligations and backtracking from previous disarmament commitments would only erode the credibility of the Treaty.

The Review Conference should therefore address every aspect of the Treaty. Non-proliferation and disarmament are mutually reinforcing processes. Continuous and irreversible progress in each of these fronts is essential, but, as the UN Secretary-General said in his recent report, "neither should be held hostage to the other".

Mr. President,

On the non-proliferation aspect of the NPT, I would like to underline the following points in order to further elaborate my country's position:

The success of the non-proliferation regime depends not only on the adoption of the treaties but also on effective implementation of and compliance with their provisions.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) international safeguards system is an indispensable component of the global non-proliferation regime. Thus Turkey recognizes the need to strengthen the verification authority of the IAEA and strongly supports the idea that the Model Additional Protocol should be adopted as the universal norm for verifying compliance with the NPT.

We are pleased to note that since the 2000 Review Conference, the number of States adhering to the IAEA Additional Protocol has grown from 9 to 64. Nevertheless, a total of 40 Non-Nuclear-Weapon States party to the NPT have either not yet signed or ratified the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the Agency. We call on all states that have not yet done so to sign, ratify and implement the Comprehensive Safeguard Agreement, as well as the IAEA Additional Protocol as soon as possible.

It has long been known that the spread of nuclear technology, especially the means of producing fuel for nuclear reactors, could also provide the foundation for nuclear weapons program. We cannot deny this and we should prevent the nuclear technology and materials from being diverted to covert and illegal weapons programs. Yet we cannot also deny the inalienable right of all the parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy solely for peaceful purposes in conformity with articles I, II and III of the Treaty. Thus for the benefit of all, we need to address this question and find an acceptable solution to it. In this respect, Turkey takes note of the recent proposals made by the UN Secretary-General for multilateral controls on nuclear fuel cycle. We expect that these proposals will be subject to an extensive debate in the future.

While NPT remains the foundation of the non-proliferation regime, Turkey also welcomes the recent efforts to further strengthen it. With this understanding, we will continue to support the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 and the Proliferation Security Initiative. States Parties should take all necessary measures to prevent illegal trading of nuclear material and technology, weapons of mass destruction or any other WMD component that will threaten peace and security. Utmost attention should be paid to combating terrorism and preventing terrorists from obtaining access to weapons of mass destruction.

In this context, the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Zangger Group also deserve a special mention for their valuable work to enhance transparency and to foster dialogue and cooperation among all interested parties.

One final word on the non-proliferation aspect of the NPT. We fully support the view that States should not withdraw from the Treaty while continuing to benefit from the use of nuclear materials, facilities or technologies acquired through this Treaty. This is an issue we need to address.

Mr. President,

As I have underlined non-proliferation and disarmament are mutually reinforcing processes that require continuous and irreversible progress on both fronts. Thus, Turkey remains fully committed to the implementation of the 13 Practical Steps. With this mindset, I wish to make the following remarks regarding the disarmament aspect of the NPT:

Turkey attaches utmost importance to the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) at the earliest possible date. We call upon all states that have not yet signed and ratified the Treaty to do so unconditionally and without delay, in particular the 11 states whose ratification is required for its entry into force. Pending that, all states should continue to abide by a moratorium and refrain from any action, which would be contrary to the provisions of the CTBT.

Swift conclusion of a non-discriminatory and universal fissile material cut-off treaty (FMCT), banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices would indeed make an important contribution to nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The inability of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to start negotiations on this Treaty, alongside the state of inertia on its wider agenda are a source of disappointment. The CD must find a solution to start negotiations without further due.

Turkey recognizes the necessity of establishing an appropriate subsidiary body within the CD, with a mandate to deal with nuclear disarmament.

Turkey considers that an unequivocal undertaking by all nuclear weapon States , as well as non-NPT states with nuclear capabilities to eliminate their nuclear arsenals, is a fundamental prerequisite for achieving the common goal of general and complete nuclear disarmament.

While welcoming the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty signed in Moscow in 2002, Turkey also believes that reductions in strategic nuclear arsenals should be rendered transparent, irreversible and verifiable in accordance with the goals and principles agreed upon under START II and START III.

Mr. President,

Turkey fully recognizes the importance and value of the existing security assurances, as provided through the protocols on the nuclear weapon free zones and unilateral declarations of nuclear weapons states. We believe that legally binding security assurances will compliment and strengthen the NPT regime.

Turkey also highly values the WMD-free zones wherever practically feasible. Assurance of total absence of nuclear weapons and other WMD in a particular geographical area would have an important impact on the security concerns of the states in that specific region. In this context, 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 remains committed to all resolutions on the Middle East adopted by the UN General Assembly and the NPT Review Conferences. We call upon all states in the region that have not yet done so, to accede to the NPT as well as the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions.

Turkey also pledges its full support to the establishment of a Nuclear Weapon Free Zone in Central Asia and welcomes the recent agreement on a treaty text reached by five Central Asian states.

In conclusion Mr. President, I would like to reiterate my Government's full and continued support to the objectives of the NPT. We sincerely hope that the Conference will be able to produce substantial results which would arrest the erosion of the NPT, and thus promote both nuclear proliferation and nuclear disarmament.

Thank you.