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 does not provide any form of support and/or assistance to Non-State Actors that attempt to develop, acquire, manufacture, possess, transfer or use WMD and their means of delivery and fully supports all international efforts to prevent the proliferation of WMD.
The proliferation of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and their means of delivery continue 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, while following other PSI activities, has herself hosted a land, sea and air interdiction PSI exercise in 24-26 May 2006 with the participation of 37 guest nations. Turkey 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 and the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEA) for dual
-use items described in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) control list
- registration by the Ministry of Economy (ME).
- For military equipment, arms and ammunition, the first tier is regulated by the newly adopted Law Number 5201 dated 03.07.2004 which replaced Law Number 3763 of 1940 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 ME 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 ME avails itself of the 13 exporters' unions located around the country. Istanbul Metals and Minerals Exporters' Union (IMMIB), like other exporters' unions, is responsible for the implementation of the general export policy, under the auspices of the ME. 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 which denotes this registration on the customs declaration. 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 UN embargo lists and OSCE commitments and principles. The control lists of the international instruments against proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or export control regimes that Turkey is a party to, are also taken into consideration. Regarding 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), the “catch-all” legislation is also finalized and incorporated into the export control regime 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 ME General Directorate for Exports 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 Number 5201.
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. Finally, a matrix prepared for Turkey by the Committee has been updated and submitted to 1540 Committee in December-2007.
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 the basic parameters of the international legally binding non-proliferation regimes. Strengthening and effective implementation of the international non-proliferation instruments and 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, 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, which is currently undergoing national ratification procedures.
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.
At the beginning of 1996, Turkey announced that it would ban the production and transfer of the anti-personnel land mines for three years. Then it extended the period for another three years in 1999 and for an indefinite duration in 2002. Turkey stopped the mining activities and started the clearing studies in January, 1998. Under the provisions of the Convention, Turkey has the obligations to destroy its stockpiled anti-personnel land mines 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.
Furthermore, Turkey became a State Party to “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.
The OSCE, of which Turkey is a participating State since its inception, has a unique place in the Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security architecture. Its comprehensive approach to security through three pillars (politico-military; humanitarian; economic and environmental) includes principles, commitments and mechanisms that seek to enhance security by promoting openness, transparency and cooperation among participating States. On the other hand, the OSCE role and mandate in the European security has been increasingly questioned after the Istanbul Summit of 1999 and the sense of ownership for the Organisation has eroded. The new politico-strategic landscape that occurred following to the NATO and the EU enlargements, protraction in the settlement of the South Ossetia, Abkhazia, Transdniester and Nagorno-Karabakh conflicts, the EU’s attitude that restricting the OSCE’s activities and finally, different interpretation of the commitments related to the human rights, the democracy and the rule of law are the factors have feeded this process. The security dialogue launched in 2009 in order to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the OSCE and the Astana Summit held under the Kazakh presidency in 2010 have resuscitated the Organisation. However, we have yet to see whether these recent dynamics will help the OSCE carry out its main functions and mandate thoroughly.
Confidence and Security Building Measures (CSBMs) are designed to contribute to creating a climate of trust through reducing the possibility of armed conflict and establishing military transparency. Thus they are significant tools which complement the arms control and disarmament arrangements. The Vienna Document, adopted in 1990, embodied the first generation of CSBMs. The Vienna Document has been reviewed in 1992, 1994 and 1999 (OSCE Istanbul Summit) in order to meet the evolving security challenges in the OSCE area. Lastly, the Astana Summit of 2010 has mandated the participating States to start adaptation work regarding this Document.
As an indication of the importance attached to regional security cooperation and drawing upon the experience gained from the Vienna Document, Turkey started to conclude bilateral CSBM arrangements with her neighbours in the Balkans. In this context, Turkey has CSBM arrangements with Albania and with Macedonia. Turkey has also proposed to sign similar documents with other regional countries.
Turkey attaches great importance to enhancing confidence and security in the Black Sea. The document on “Confidence and Security Building Measures in the Naval Field in the Black Sea” constitutes a landmark in this direction. On the other hand, the Document constitutes a unique example of an endeavour to establish a regional confidence and security building regime in the naval field. Turkey firmly believes that implementation of this document will be highly instrumental in increasing confidence among the Black Sea littoral states and thus substantially contribute to peace, security and stability in the region. Turkey has been making her utmost effort to cooperate in good faith for putting into practice the provisions contained in this Document.
Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) was signed in 1990 and entered into force in July 1992. The CFE Treaty ensured significant reductions in five categories of conventional arms and equipment, namely battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, artillery systems, combat aircraft and attack helicopters and imposed certain numerical limitations on states parties both at strategic and regional levels. Therefore, Turkey considers the Treaty as the cornerstone of the European conventional security architecture. Turkey participated, in an active and constructive manner, in the negotiations for adapting the CFE Treaty to the new conditions that emerged with the end of the bipolar structure of the Cold War era.
The Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe was signed in Istanbul on 19 November 1999, during the OSCE Istanbul Summit. The maintenance of the Flank regime and its reconciliation with the structure of the new Treaty was the most vital and determining aspect of the adaptation process. The substance of this important element of the Treaty is maintained under the adapted CFE. However, the adapted Treaty has not entered into force due to disagreement between NATO and Russian Federation regarding the withdrawal of Russian military presence from Georgia and Moldova.
The Russian Federation has suspended its CFE obligations as of 12 December 2007 and based its unilateral decision to the national security concerns originating from the NATO enlargement. Thereafter, The CFE Treaty is being implemented by 29 States Parties. The NATO allies have undertaken two initiatives (“parallel action plan” and “consultations at 36”) in order to overcome the existing deadlock. Unfortunately these initiatives have failed and negotiations have been adjourned in May 2011. This situation increased the ambiguity with regard to the future of the CFE regime and the European conventional security architecture. In the upcoming period, the process of reviewing the treaty obligations by the NATO allies will start.
The CFE Flank Agreement, an integral part of the legally binding CFE regime, is the basic international instrument to maintain military stability and security in the Black Sea and the Caucasus. This arrangement establishes a relative military balance among the countries of the region, restricts the deployment of armed forces in the region by the third parties, increases the military predictability through additional transparency measures and contributes to prevention of a regional arms race. Thus, the maintenance of the basic principles incorporated in the flank arrangement will remain one of the chief objectives that Turkey will pursue both in the CFE regime and any other new security arrangement which may replace the CFE Treaty.
The Treaty on Open Skies was concluded in 1992 as a major confidence-building instrument and an important and unique mechanism for facilitating the monitoring of compliance with existing or future arms control agreements. The Treaty establishes a regime that permits States Parties to conduct aerial observation flights over the territories of other States Parties. Turkey ratified the Treaty in 1994. The Treaty has entered into force on 1 January 2002 and the observation flights under the Treaty have started on 1 August 2002. Turkey has its own Open Skies Aircraft, CN-235 Casa, which was certified on 6 May 2004.
Turkey initiater of bilateral CSBMs in the Balkans since 1991, also attaches importance to the confidence and security building arrangements in South East Europe. In this context, Turkey supports the Regional Arms Control Verification and Implementation Assistance Centre (RACVIAC), which was established within the framework of the Stability Pact for South East Europe and activated in October 2000. Turkey provides personnel for the permanent staff in RACVIAC since the beginning of the project. The role of RACVIAC is originally designed to provide a forum to promote regular dialogue and cooperation amongst the regional states in all arms control and CSBM matters and facilitate the implementation of the arms control agreements they have concluded, and to help them improve implementation standards through training programmes. Within the framework of reorganizing the RACVIAC, a new agreement (“Agreement on RACVIAC-Centre for Security Cooperation”) was signed in Budva, Republic of Montenegro and will come into force upon the completion of the legal procedure.
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 and Seoul Summits. Turkey is actively contributing to the process and the preparations of the forthcoming third Summit to be held the Hague
Turkey is also part of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI) along with 11 other countries ( Germany, Poland, Netherland, 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 İstanbul on 16 June 2012.