Article by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu published in Spectrum, the Biannual Publication of the CTBTO

Vaşington Büyükelçiliği 12.05.2012

New Approaches to Security

Investing in a Safer World Free of Nuclear Weapons

By Ahmet Davutoğlu, the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs

In the dramatically changed global security environment of the 21st Century, the risks, challenges and threats faced by humanity are more multifaceted than ever. They also recognize no boundaries and therefore call for multilateral approaches in countering them. A shared commitment to embrace comprehensive security has thus become key to sustainable peace, security, stability and development.

Contrary to the old thinking, in today’s world 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, security 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.

In this context, creating conditions for a world without nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) is a major investment towards a safer world and undiminished security for all. For a better future, nations should rely on the reconciling effect of cooperation and dialogue among themselves rather than the deterrent impact of nuclear arms. Global peace and security can be achieved only through a sense of common vision and interdependence, not the balance of nuclear terror.

Maintaining the NPT’s integrity and credibility

It is in this frame of mind that we can find the virtue of non proliferation and disarmament. Despite its imperfections, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. At the core of this regime lies the grand bargain under which non-nuclear weapon States renounced the acquisition of nuclear weapons in exchange for nuclear disarmament and for the right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. If we fail to keep this bargain, we sacrifice the integrity and credibility of the NPT regime, which requires a firm commitment to and equal treatment of all its three pillars, namely non-proliferation, disarmament and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The NPT regime has suffered a number of setbacks in recent years. There are countries which still remain outside the Treaty. In the past, we have witnessed cases of non-compliance with regard to non-proliferation obligations. One country has announced its withdrawal from the Treaty, conducted nuclear tests and declared the possession of nuclear weapons. The proliferation of WMD becomes all the more worrying in the context of terrorism. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is yet to enter into force. Despite the progress achieved in reductions of deployed strategic warheads and their delivery systems, the goal of complete disarmament is still a distant achievement.

Against this background, the pivotal Prague Speech of U.S. President Obama has ushered in a new era, one which will hopefully be defined as a turning point by future generations. The entry into force of the new START Treaty as well as the successful NPT Review Conference of 2010 gives us hope for the years to come. Admittedly, such momentum is not always easy to achieve. Therefore we must strive hard to maintain and make maximum best use of it.

Possible benchmarks for the sustainability of the NPT in the long run include universalization of the Treaty, strengthening of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards system, reinforcement of export controls and the early entry into force of the CTBT. An overall reduction of the global stockpiles of nuclear weapons in a transparent, irreversible and verifiable manner is also of key importance. Recognition of the importance of ensuring the peaceful use of nuclear energy in the best security, safety and non-proliferation conditions, and of the crucial role of the IAEA in this respect, is equally essential.

Another priority area is the establishment of effectively verifiable nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZ). Given the volatile and unstable situation in the Middle East, developing a common regional understanding on the establishment of such a zone in this region is all the more important. The 2012 Conference to be organized in Helsinki to discuss this prospect will be an initial step in a long process, the success of which will depend on the genuine political engagement of all States in the Middle East from the very beginning.

A confidence and security building measure

The ratification of the CTBT by all countries in the Middle East as an effective confidence and security building measure is also key to our common non-proliferation efforts. This and the broader linkage between the CTBT and NWFZ was indeed the particular focus of a cross-regional workshop on the role of the CTBT in regional and global security, jointly organized with the CTBTO under my patronage in Istanbul last November.

Apart from an active cooperation with the CTBTO at the technical level, including through its International Monitoring System, Turkey is also politically engaged in raising broad awareness about the objectives of the Treaty and encouraging its ratification. We pursue these efforts with steadfast commitment not least through the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Initiative (NPDI), jointly established by ten countries from different parts of the world to take forward the outcomes of the 2010 NPT Review Conference. The upcoming Ministerial Meeting of the NPDI which I will host in Istanbul just before the NPT Review Conference will allow the opportunity for a timely exchange on possible ways forward.

Of course, Turkey is not alone in its quest for the entry into force of the CTBT. Today the Treaty enjoys worldwide support and commitment to its objective of a verified, permanent, global ban on all types of nuclear explosive tests. Following the recent ratification by Indonesia, we need only eight more Annex 2 countries’ ratification for the entry into force of the Treaty. The international community has spent enough time waiting. Now we need to make progress particularly on two fronts, and do so simultaneously and rapidly. One is by making the CTBT universal; the other is having the remaining eight Annex 2 countries ratify the Treaty. Moratoria are certainly important confidence-building instruments. Yet, in an issue like nuclear testing, legally binding treaties are indispensable. When it comes to ratifying the CTBT, one bold step will lead to another which in turn will create leaps.

Hence, 2012 will be a decisive year in the non-proliferation and disarmament fora. Undoubtedly, we have significant, complex and mostly intertwined challenges. Nevertheless, it is incumbent upon us to transform these challenges into opportunities. This is a must to achieve lasting stability, welfare and peace. To this end, political will and determination are extremely important. We ought to mobilize our efforts and resources, establish efficient cooperation and act with staunch determination. As to individual cases of proliferation concern, we should keep in mind that only negotiated, cooperative solutions can provide lasting solutions.

A fruitful NPT Review Conference, a constructive Middle East Conference, the end of stalemate at the Conference on Disarmament and last but not the least, further positive developments at the CTBT front, will bring us closer to our objective of a world free of nuclear weapons and thus make the world a safer place to live. In 2012, we have an important opportunity to make progress on all these fronts. Let us not miss this chance and dodge the hopes of future generations. Turkey is fully committed to take an active part in this honourable journey.


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