Statement by Turkey at the THEMATIC DISCUSSION on NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT First Committee of the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Statement by Turkey 21.10.2015

Mr Chairman,

Allow me to begin by reaffirming Turkey’s unwavering commitment to seeking a safer world and creating conditions for a world without nuclear weapons to this end.

Turkey associates itself with the statement delivered by Japan earlier on behalf of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), and the following are our remarks in a national capacity:

The Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is “the essential foundation for nuclear disarmament, the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and the basis for the development of the peaceful uses of nuclear technology”.

The NPT regime was built on “disarmament”, “non-proliferation” and “peaceful use” as its three equal pillars. Commitment by States Parties, nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states alike, to fulfilling the respective legal and political obligations contained in all three pillars should be reaffirmed and upheld.

As to nuclear disarmament, the primary responsibility lies with the nuclear weapon states. Special attention also needs to be given to nuclear armed states outside the NPT regime. We also urge those countries who remain outside the NPT, to immediately accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States without any conditions.

Mr Chairman,

Turkey supports the calls for systematic, progressive, verifiable and irreversible nuclear disarmament and encourages all states that possess nuclear weapons to take further practical steps in that direction.

In fact, it was with this expectation that we took part in the 2015 NPT Review Conference, which in turn could not adopt a consensus document.

Notwithstanding this outcome, we continue to believe that the 2010 Action Plan still constitutes a clear guideline towards our goal. An incremental approach stands out as the best way forward.

We closely follow the discussions around the provisions of Article VI of the NPT concerning effective measures towards nuclear disarmament. While we are ready to discuss which practical steps will be more effective, we wish to urge all stakeholders that there should be no action, which could undermine the integrity of the NPT or create an alternative to its full implementation and universalization.

An important confidence building measure would be the establishment of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction free zones. Turkey supports the establishment of internationally recognized and effectively verifiable zones, wherever feasible. We encourage the full ratification of the treaties and protocols of all five regional zones. Despite the failed efforts to convene an international conference on the establishment of such a zone in the Middle East until 2012, we reiterate our firm commitment to work collectively to make this this conference happen within the current review cycle.

Mr Chairman,

The cessation of all nuclear weapon tests constitutes another important building block towards both nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. In this regard, we stress the centrality of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in achieving these objectives.

While moratoria are certainly important confidence-building instruments, for an important issue like nuclear testing, legally binding treaties are indispensable.

The international community has spent enough time waiting for the CTBT to enter into force. We once again encourage all States, especially Annex-2 States, to ratify the Treaty as soon as possible.

It is our firm belief that starting negotiations on Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament (CD) will be another significant building block towards our shared objective of nuclear disarmament. This might pave the way for parallel advances in the other core agenda items of the CD (namely the nuclear disarmament, negative security assurances and the prevention of arms race in outer space).

In this regard, let me reiterate Turkey’s firm conviction concerning the efforts to revitalize the CD: we believe that the Conference possesses the mandate, rules of procedure and membership to assume substantive work and start negotiating as it has been mandated.

Thank you.