Opening Remarks by H.E. Mr. Halit Çevik, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN, at the Seminar The Turtle Bay Security Roundtable "Proliferation Challenges in a Flat World"

Halit Çevik 11.01.2013
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a privilege for me to be one of the co-organizers of today’s seminar, and to address this distinguished audience for the first time, together with Ambassador Nishida and Ambassador Sarkowicz (Sarkoviç). I am also grateful for the efforts of the Stimson Center in making this seminar possible.

Distinguished Guests,

Contrary to the old thinking, in international relations, one can no longer argue that more arms bring more security. Indeed, the notion of security cannot be confined to merely military terms. On the contrary, a security concept under the shadow of arms is a dangerous delusion which can lead to more tension and instability. It is the social, cultural, political and economic factors that increasingly enter into play and ensure a reliable and lasting security environment.

Proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, as well as the illicit trafficking of conventional weapons remains to be a matter of serious concern. We therefore encourage all efforts towards sustaining regional and international security through multilateral arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament measures. Turkey is party to all international non-proliferation instruments and export control regimes, and support their universalization and effective implementation in good faith and consistency.

Turkey does not want to see proliferation of WMD and any nuclear weaponry power anywhere in the world, including in our region. Our security policies exclude the production and use of all kinds of WMD and we take a firm stance against their proliferation.

Acquiring weapons of mass destruction does not enhance the security, on the contrary, such ambitions could only breed further insecurity and instability. We therefore support all efforts aimed at developing a common regional understanding on the establishment of an effectively verifiable zone free of WMD in the region. We were utterly disappointed with the decision to postpone the 2012 Conference on the establishment of a WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East. We support the efforts of the Facilitator and would like to see this conference held as soon as possible.

We bear the view that the proliferation of conventional weapons is also a global concern. The excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread of small arms and light weapons pose a significant threat to peace and security, as well as to the social and economic development of many countries. Human security is paramount for development. There is also an undeniably close relationship between the illicit trade of those arms and terrorism.

Distinguished guests,

Since today’s discussions will also be focused on sanctions, I also wish to make a few comments on the subject. It is clear that effectiveness of sanctions can be achieved through their implementation. Therefore we have to be very careful when we craft such sanctions. We have to take into account that sanctions may have many unintended consequences, including the following.

Firstly, sanctions can effectively do more harm to the people, than to their targets. Sanctions may have negative impact on the local economy and the lives of the people. We have to make sure that sanctions have no humanitarian impacts. As sanctions are felt by the people, this may in turn strengthen those we essentially target.

Secondly, sanctions can harm third countries, as well as the global system. For example comprehensive sanctions in the energy and financial sectors, evidently affect the economies of the countries that have economic relations with the target country, including neighbors who naturally have such relations. These countries are forced to acquire new economic partners, which are never without costs. Such changes in the economic patterns of some countries also have a consequence on the global economy. Furthermore, as the targets of the sanctions seek alternatives for transactions, parallel economies by-passing international markets can come about.

Thirdly, efforts to implement sanctions are not shouldered equitably by all countries. Neighboring countries unavoidably bear more burden. It is important for all countries to assume their part and effectively implement sanctions at their end, in order to alleviate this burden.

Distinguished Guests,

Without further due, I would like to end my words here, to allow the much anticipated discussions to begin. We look forward to your contributions.

Thank you for your attention.