Arms Control and Disarmament

Turkey´s Approach to Arms Control and Disarmament

Turkey attaches particular importance to arms control and disarmament. Active participation in international efforts in these areas, adherence to relevant international instruments and their full implementation, as well as maintaining the coordination among relevant institutions are important elements of Turkey’s national security policy. As a result of the momentous changes that took place in the European security architecture over the last decade, the general aspiration for a new security system based on cooperation has given a fresh impetus to arms control and disarmament endeavours, which was welcomed by Turkey.

Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and their delivery means is a growing tangible threat in the 21st century. Easy access to these weapons through trafficking and willingness of some states to cooperate with terrorist, extremist or organized crime groups increase the concern that such weapons might end up in illegal hands. In the light of the threatening dimension of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, Turkey sincerely desires to see that all countries will come to share the goals of non-proliferation and collectively work towards a safer and more stable world. In this vein, Turkey has welcome the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 on the non-proliferation of the weapons of mass destruction. Turkey, regularly reports to and contributes to the work of the Committee established pursuend to the UNSC Resolution 1540.

Turkey supports all international efforts to prevent the proliferation of WMD.

The proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and their means of delivery continues to be a matter of serious concern for Turkey. Since Turkey is situated close to regions posing high risks of proliferation, she monitors with vigilance the developments in this field and takes part in collective efforts aimed at devising measures to reverse this alarming trend. Turkey attaches great importance to arms control and non-proliferation treaties and also to export control regimes as means to prevent such proliferation. In this context, in order to follow the developments and enable an effective exchange of views in the field of non-proliferation regarding Turkey’s obligations; regular meetings are held in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the participation of representatives of all related institutions.

Turkey became party to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in 1979 and to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 2000. Turkey is also party to both the Chemical Weapons Convention since 1997 and the Biological Weapons Convention since 1974. In 1996, Turkey became the founding member of the Wassenaar Arrangement regarding export controls of conventional weapons and dual-use equipment and technologies. Turkey joined the Missile Technology Control regime in 1997, the Zangger Committee in 1999, the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Australia Group which seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons, in 2000.

Within the framework of Article VII. of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the “Law on Prohibition on the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons” (Law no. 5564) entered into force at the end of 2006.

In line with her general stance against proliferation of WMD, Turkey has declared her support to the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) which was launched by the President of the USA during a speech in Krakow, Poland, in May 2003. The PSI builds on wider efforts by the international community to prevent the proliferation of WMD, including through existing treaties and regimes. The scope and aims of the PSI are set out in the statement of Interdiction Principles (Paris, 4 September 2003). Turkey, having itself hosted a land, sea and air interdiction PSI exercise in 24-26 May 2006 with the participation of 37 guest nations, continues to actively contribute to the PSI activities.

Pursuing an active policy against terrorism, Turkey has joined, as initial partner state, the “Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism” (GICNT), launched by Presidents Putin and Bush of the Russian Federation and the USA, following a joint statement in St. Petersburg on 15 July 2006. Turkey has hosted the Initiative’s second meeting in Ankara on 12-13 February 2007.

Turkey has also welcomed the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 regarding the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery. With a view to fulfilling the provisions of international non-proliferation instruments and arrangements to which Turkey is party, an enhanced system of export controls is implemented in Turkey. The Turkish export controls system is in line with the standards of the European Union.

The export of sensitive and dual-use materials covered by international instruments and export regimes is controlled by virtue of a two-tier mechanism that involves separate processes of licensing by:

- the Ministry of National Defence (MND) for military equipment, arms and ammunition;

- the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority (TAEA) for material and dual use items described in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) control list;

- the Ministry of Economy (MoE) for the items described in the list of “Chemical Weapons Precursors” of the Australia Group; Dual-Use Items lists of Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group.

- the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock for the items mentioned under the Australia Group biological lists.

For military equipment, arms and ammunition, the first tier is regulated by Law No. 5201 dated 03.07.2004 regarding "The Control of Private Industrial Enterprises Producing War Weapons, Vehicles, Equipment and Ammunition". This law requires licenses to be obtained from the MND for the export of all weapons and ammunition. The MND issues every year a list of all weapons, ammunition, explosive materials and their parts, which are subject to licensing. As for items listed in the NSG list, TAEA’s licensing authority is regulated by the “Regulation on Export Licensing of Materials, Equipment and Related Technologies Employed in the Nuclear Field” published in the official gazette dated 15 February 2000, No: 23965.

As to the second tier, it is the duty of the MoE to take all monitoring, control, arrangement and orientation measures regarding exports and to draft the general export policy of Turkey. In fulfilling its duties, the MoE makes use of the 13 exporters' unions located throughout the country. Istanbul Metals and Minerals Exporters' Union (IMMIB), acts as the lead exporters union. All exporters are required to be a member of an exporters' union in order to be able to export any good or material.

Sensitive goods, technologies and dual-use materials are registered by IMMIB and the customs declaration for any such export item bears the notice that the item is subject to licensing. This mechanism enables a centralized monitoring of the export of sensitive goods, technologies and dual-use materials on the basis of exporting company, product, quantity and value. IMMIB determines whether or not the good to be exported is subject to export controls. If so, then this export is submitted to the procedure described above, where permissions from relevant institutions are sought.

The applications for export is evaluated in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. The control lists of the international export control regimes that Turkey is a party to, are also taken into consideration. “Catch-all” provision is applied to the control of dual-use items and technology (which can be used in the production of weapons of mass destruction, but not included in the control lists of any non-proliferation instrument or export control regime). This provision is incoporated into the export control legislation and practices of Turkey.

According to the “catch-all” legislation; “the export of dual-use items which can be used in the production of weapons of mass destruction, but not included in the Wassenaar Arrangement Dual-Use Items and Technology Lists and Australia Group Chemical Precursors Lists is subject to the permission of the MoE if the conditions stated below are present:

a) In case of a suspicion that the end-user is developing weapons of mass destruction;

b) If the exporter company declares its suspicion that the whole material or any part of it will be used in developing weapons of mass destruction;

c) In situations that may cause human rights violations and danger for national and international security.”

The MND has also made its own “catch-all” arrangement in the framework of Law No. 5201.

The TAEA and the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock also make use of this provision within their area of responsibility.

1540 Committe has been established in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 concerning “Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction”. 1540 Committee monitors the progress achieved by the UN member states concerning in the implementation of the said UNSC Resolution. Turkey submitted the first national report to the Committee on 1 November 2004. 1540 Committee reviewed the national reports and requested additional information from the member states. Within this context, Turkey had submitted a revised national report to the Committee in January 2006. An updated matrix is being prepared to be submitted to the 1540 Committee within the year 2016.

Turkey wishes to see, both in her region and at the global level that all countries adhere to the goals of non-proliferation and work collectively for their accomplishment. Turkey believes that it is important to maintain the legal framework and basic parameters of the legally binding non-proliferation instruments. Strengthening and effective implementation of the international non-proliferation instruments and export control regimes is equally important for Turkey.

Turkey considers the The Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC) as the first step towards an internationally accepted legal framework in this field. Turkey became party to the mentioned Code at the launching conference held in The Hague on 25-26 November 2002.

Conventional Weapons Proliferation also constitutes a serious concern for Turkey. The excessive accumulation and uncontrolled spread of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) pose a significant threat to peace and security as well as to the social and economic development of many countries. Death toll resulting from SALW is increasingly frightening. There is also a close relationship between illicit trade in SALW and terrorism. Therefore, Turkey strongly supports international cooperation to combat and eradicate illicit trade in SALW within the framework of the UN, the OSCE and other fora. The OSCE Document on SALW constitutes an important basis for our efforts in this field. The UN Programme of Action to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in SALW in all its aspects adopted in 2001 is also a milestone in placing the issue of SALW firmly on the international agenda. In this respect, full and comprehensive implementation of the UN Programme of Action, as well as strengthening it with new measures in accordance with evolving security needs bear significant importance in fight against risks and threats emanating from illicit trafficking and proliferation of SALW.

Additionally, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), following seven years of negotiations, was adopted at the UN General Assembly on 2 April 2013 and was opened to signature on 3 June 2013. Hence, an important step was taken for a universal and legally binding mechanism that sets common standards at the highest possible level to regulate the exports, imports and transfers of conventional arms.

Having actively contributed to the process and co-sponsored the resolution, Turkey has, on 2 July 2013, signed the Treaty. Following the entry into force of the ATT on 24 December 2014, First Conference of State Parties was held in Cancun/Mexico on August 24-27 2015 and Turkey participated in the Conferece. National ratification procedures of the Treaty are ongoing.

In this context, proliferation and unauthorised use of Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) require particular attention. MANPADS pose an imminent and acute threat to civil aviation, peacekeeping, crisis management and anti-terrorist operations. In the hands of trained terrorists, these weapons have already caused substantial civilian casualties. Therefore, international community must act decisively to improve stockpile security and strengthen export controls in countries that import and manufacture MANPADS. Turkey fully supports the efforts of the international community, particularly in the UN, the OSCE and the Wassenaar Arrangement to establish stricter export controls and information exchange to combat the proliferation of MANPADS. In addition to the threats posed by the proliferation of SALW and MANPADS, Turkey is fully conscious of the human sufferings and casualties caused by the irresponsible and indiscriminate use of Anti-Personnel Land Mines (APLM). The Ottawa Convention constitutes the major international instrument aimed at eliminating the said mines as well as preventing their use, production, stockpiling and transfer. Turkey became a party to the Ottawa Convention which entered into force for Turkey on 1 March 2004. The existing legislation of Turkey is sufficient to give legal effect to all Treaty prohibitions.

Already at the beginning of 1996, Turkey had announced that it would ban the production and transfer of anti-personnel land mines for three years. This period was first extended for another three years in 1999 and then indefinitely in 2002. Turkey stopped mining activities and started clearing in January 1998. Under the provisions of the Convention, Turkey has the obligations to destroy its stockpiled anti-personnel landmines by 2008, and to clear mined areas by 2014. In order to destroy the stockpiled anti-personel land mines, the “Turkish Armed Forces Munitions Disposal Facility” was built and has been operational as of November 2007. The destruction of Turkey’s stockpiled anti-personnel land mines was completed in June 2011. As it was understood that clearence of mined areas would not be completed by 2014, Turkey requested an extension of eight years, exercising its options emaneting from the Convention. Turkey’s request for extension was accepted at the 13th Conference of State Parties of the Ottava Convention on December 2013. In this regard, work all mined areas in Turkey need to be cleared until the end of 2022.

Furthermore, Turkey became a State Party to the “Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons” (CCW) and its three Protocols (Protocol I, Amended Protocol II and Protocol IV) in 2005.

Turkey is an active member of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) since 1996. CD is the sole multilateral negotiation forum in the field of disarmament. However, the Conference has not been able to deal with substantial issues since 1996 as a programme of work could not be adopted, due to differences of view among its members. There are four substantial agenda items of discussions in the CD, namely “Nuclear Disarmament”, “Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty”, “Negative Security Assurances” and “Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space”. Turkey supports the efforts aimed at overcoming the current stalemate and developing an agreed programme of work in the CD.

At the same time, Turkey was one of the 47 countries that participated in the Nuclear Security Summit held on 12-13 April 2010 in Washington D.C. with a view to developing a common understanding on strengthening nuclear security and reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism. Turkey has taken an active part in the Washington, Seoul, Hague Summits as well as the final summit in Washington DC, on 31 March-1 April 2016. Turkey will continue to be actively involved in the process which will now be steered through international organizations such as the UN, IAEA and Interpol.

Turkey is also part of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) along with 11 other countries (Germany, Poland, Netherlands, Canada, Chili, Mexico, UAE, Australia, Japan and the two new members, Nigeria and the Philippines). NPDI was launched with a view to contributing to the implementation of the consensus outcomes of the 2010 NPT Review Conference and to take forward the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agenda. Turkey hosted the fourth Ministerial Meeting of NPDI in Istanbul on 16 June 2012.