Statement by Turkey at the Security Council Arria-Formula Meeting on Cyber Stability, Conflict Prevention and Capacity Building

Bilge Koçyiğit Grba 22.05.2020
Mr. President,

I would like to thank Estonia for organizing this Arria-formula meeting, which we consider very pertinent and timely. Our appreciation also goes to the co-organizers and the distinguished briefers today.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the essential role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the importance of their free, open and secure use around the world.

The malicious use of ICTs has serious impacts over the entire world community, its peoples and businesses. Unfortunately, cyber attacks are increasing in terms of frequency, complexity and severity. This holds especially true for vital sectors, notably health, telecommunications, finance and energy. These cyber threats risk having destabilizing effects, to the level of threatening international peace and security.

Mr. President,

Turkey has a fast-growing ICT sector. Broadband subscriptions have doubled during the last decade, making the Turkish society to be the 4th largest online population in Europe. E-government services have expanded in recent years and there is a remarkable growth in telecommunications sector, e-commerce and public cloud market.

All these factors render cybersecurity particularly important and sensitive for Turkey. Hence, we have increased our efforts to secure our national cyberspace in recent years. Central to these efforts was developing and successfully implementing two National Cyber Security Strategy and Action Plans since 2013.

Furthermore, the National Cyber Emergency Response Team of Turkey plays a vital role in the implementation and coordination of preventive measures against cyber threats.

Training programs as well as national and international cybersecurity exercises complement our efforts. Most recently, Turkey hosted the international cyber security exercise, “Cyber Shield 2019”, last December in Ankara, with 90 participants from 17 countries.

We have also taken steps to strengthen our national legislative framework. As a result, Turkey has become the 20th country globally, in terms of cyber resilience, according to the 2018 Global Cybersecurity Index.

Mr. President,

The transborder nature of cyber risks inevitably calls for increased international cooperation. Turkey engages in cyber threat intelligence sharing and contributes to policies and cooperation strategies within regional and international organizations including OSCE, G20 and OECD. Turkey also participates in international exercises, including those within ITU and NATO.

Since cyberspace is a borderless field, the efforts under the UN is also extremely significant for strategic and effective cooperation. Turkey supports the applicability of international law, especially the UN Charter in cyber space. We can build on the previous work undertaken within the UN system and find ways to operationalize rules, norms, principles and recommendations for responsible state behaviour. It is our hope that through the work of OEWG and GGE we will make headways in producing tangible results in this regard.

For our future work, we must give priority to establishing communication channels among member states for emergency situations and sharing information and resources through those channels. This would highly contribute to mutual trust and accelerate our capacity-building efforts.

In addition, we also need to urgently review and strengthen existing international instruments in order to enhance cooperation within the framework of new technologies such as cloud computing, the Internet of Things, 5G and Artificial Intelligence.

Conducting a survey of national regulatory approaches towards ensuring the security of new technologies and preparing code of conducts to guide and inform the national frameworks can be useful tools. Also, we need to develop a common understanding and definitions of threats. There is a particular need to define the boundaries of the right of self-defense in cyber space.

In the context of capacity building, we believe that the UN as well as the regional organizations can promote exchange programs for cybersecurity experts and establish common training platforms. International exercises must be encouraged in order to enhance national cyber incident preparedness and response capacities.

Turkey will continue to engage in dialogue through relevant existing international mechanisms for the advancement of international cybersecurity.
Thank you.