Statement by Turkey at the First Committee of UNGA70 Thematic Discussion on Conventional Weapons

Statement by Turkey 26.10.2015

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey aligns itself with the statement by the EU on Conventional Weapons, and the following are our views in a national capacity:

Conventional weapons, with their widespread use and accessibility, constitute the category of arms that cause the most substantial amount of casualties and gross suffering in all conflict areas across the globe, be they in developed or developing countries. On account of their rampant use and their toll on human lives, such weapons could be considered weapons of mass destruction in many parts of the world.

In this category of weapons, we would like to particularly highlight small arms and light weapons, as they are easily available and simple to use, allowing individuals with minimal or no training to wield them and consequently multiplying casualties. Small arms and light weapons are the most commonly used weapons and they are often transferred from one conflict to the next. Furthermore, they linger long after conflicts are over and hinder development and rebuilding efforts. As a result of these factors, they injure and kill far more than any other conventional weapons.

This issue can be taken up from two broad and distinct, yet closely interrelated dimensions:

- First, from an international, regional and national security perspective, making it a disarmament issue;

- Second, from the human life, safety and socio-economic perspective, making it a humanitarian and development issue.

In this context, the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation, uncontrolled spread and misuse of small arms and light weapons pose a significant and palpable threat to peace and security, as well as to the social and economic development of many countries. There is a well-documented relationship between their illicit trade, terrorism and organized crime. Until transfers of small arms and light weapons are effectively controlled and regulated, the human costs, suffering and the repercussions for long-term development will continue to be devastating.

As such, Turkey welcomes the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on December 24, 2014. Since its outset, Turkey supported and actively participated in the process, thereafter signing the ATT. We would like to reaffirm the Government of Turkey's intention to ratify the Treaty at the earliest.

The First Conference of State Parties that was held in Cancun in August 2015 has been an important achievement. We are looking forward to the next Conference of States Parties to take place in 2016 in Geneva.

Turkey will continue to actively contribute to all efforts within the UN and other fora, for the establishment of effective norms and rules aimed at eradicating illicit trade in small arms and light weapons in all its aspects. We remain committed to the effective implementation and further strengthening of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

We were thus pleased that the 2012 Review Conference yielded results. We also welcome the UN Security Council Resolution 2220 (2015) on Small Arms and Light Weapons.

Confidence building and transparency play an important role in our efforts to strengthen global peace and security. In this context, we value and support instruments such as the UN Register of Conventional Arms, and the UN Report on Military Expenditures. We are among the countries that report regularly, and invite all states to do so. Furthermore we support the inclusion of SALW as a mandatory category of the Register.

Turkey is committed to the full implementation of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. We actively participated in the Third Review Conference held in Maputo in June 2014 and confirmed our commitment to achieve a mine-free world. In our view the documents adopted during the Conference will serve as guidelines to those that are already enshrined in the Convention.

Turkey is also a state-party to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and views it as an important body, where many aspects of conventional weapons, especially with respect to the protection of civilians from unnecessary suffering, are discussed. We welcome the recent discussions on various aspects of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems held in CCW meetings.

We are deeply concerned with the indiscriminate use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). We value the discussion and the substantive Exchange of views on this topic in the CCW.

Turkey also fully shares the humanitarian goals of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) and strongly condemns their use against civilian populations.

On the other hand, in the face of the fast pace of technological developments, our approach to disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control need to be forward-looking. We need to be able to react to such advances and take advantage of them, by incorporating them effectively into our various instruments, arrangements and regimes.

Mr. Chairman,

Turkey is party to all international non-proliferation instruments and export control regimes, and wishes to see their universalization and effective implementation. Their faithful observance and full implementation are among the fundamental principles of Turkey's defence policy and doctrine. In this view, Turkey favours global overall disarmament, and supports all efforts towards sustaining international security through these mechanisms.

However, we believe that the most effective method to address the ill-effects stemming from conventional weapons is to tackle the root causes of conflict. The peaceful settlement of disputes, non-use or threat of use of force, respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty, international and regional cooperation, as well as development enshrined in the UN Charter, are vital in promoting and cementing regional and global peace and security, and hence providing a safer world for ourselves and future generations.

Thank you.