Statement by Turkey at the UN Security Council meeting on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2118 (2013)

Bilge Koçyiğit Grba 11.12.2020
Mr. President,

I would like to express our thanks to both High Representative Nakamitsu and the Director-General of the OPCW Ambassador Arias for their comprehensive briefings.

I would also like to express our appreciation to Mr. Director-General for his able leadership in ensuring the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention despite the unprecedented difficulties caused by the pandemic.

We take note of the 86th monthly report on the activities of the OPCW towards ensuring the elimination of the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons programme.

The report draws attention to ongoing alarming situation regarding that stated goal. That is to say, there are still 19 outstanding issues concerning the Assad regime’s chemical weapons declaration.

One of those issues is particularly concerning as it proves the existence of a chemical weapons production facility.

Such examples indicate yet again the urgent need to address identified gaps, inconsistencies and discrepancies in the regime’s fraudulent declaration.

The Syrian regime’s non-compliance with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention cannot be condoned and requires a firm response by the international community, particularly by the Security Council.

If we overlook this collective task, the global norm against the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction will be irreparably undermined.

If we do not take the necessary action, the efforts to hold the regime accountable for its well-documented crimes against humanity risk not succeeding.

To reverse this ominous trend, concrete steps are required. The Syrian regime must fully cooperate with the Declaration Assessment Team (DAT) and immediately declare the full extent of its chemical weapons programme to the OPCW.

It is with this understanding that Turkey co-sponsored the OPCW Executive Council decision of 9 July 2020, which set clear and verifiable parameters for action. The decision required the Syrian regime to return to full compliance with the Convention within 90 days.

Regrettably, the report of the OPCW Director-General in October established that the Syrian regime failed to fulfill its obligations under this decision.

We therefore support concrete measures, particularly during the second part of the 25th session of the Conference of States Parties, to address the persistent non-compliance of the Syrian regime with the Chemical Weapons Convention, including its repeated use of chemical weapons and failure in declaring and destroying all of its chemical weapons and production facilities in a fully verifiable manner.

Turkey has co-sponsored the relevant draft decision, along with 45 States Parties, which will be considered during the second part of the 25th session of the Conference of States Parties.

Mr. President,

We look forward to seeing the results of the current investigations by the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) and the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT).

Turkey reiterates its full support to the IIT, which performs a valuable role in identifying the perpetrators of chemical weapons use in Syria.

We have full confidence in the professionalism, integrity and impartiality of the OPCW Technical Secretariat, DAT, IIT and FFM. Their dedicated work is commendable and needs to be supported by all of us. We regret attempts aimed at undermining their integrity and credibility.

Mr. President,

Turkey remains steadfast in its call for accountability in Syria.

The reports by the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), the FFM and most recently the IIT report on Ltamenah provide sufficient basis on which we can act to end impunity.

In this context, we once again condemn in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in Ltamenah, on 24, 25 and 30 March 2017, by the Syrian regime air force, as established by the IIT report.

To conclude, Mr. President, the Syrian regime must be urged for a result-oriented cooperation with the OPCW.

It is crucial that the Security Council acts in unity and ensure the implementation of its resolution 2118. This is the only way to prevent the repeated use of chemical weapons by the regime against its own people.

We once again recall the special responsibility of those who have influence on the Syrian regime in this regard.

We need to act decisively in order to ensure accountability in Syria and honor the victims of those chemical weapons attacks.

As for the absurd claims by the Syrian regime representative about my country, it is quite clear that after 7 years, 86 progress reports and many concrete cases of blatant breach of its obligations, this is nothing but a futile effort of the regime to distract the attention of the Council from its well-known crimes against humanity, particularly its well-documented use of chemical weapons. We refute its fabrications in their entirety and express once again that we will continue to stand by the Syrian people.

Thank you.