Practice Relating to the Prohibition of Certain Types of Landmines
In 1995, during the debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly on Resolution 50/70, which encouraged “further immediate international efforts to seek solutions to the problems caused by anti-personnel landmines, with a view to the eventual elimination of anti-personnel landmines”, Turkey stated that it understood the definition of “eventual elimination” in that paragraph as “a political goal that we must strive to attain in the future”. Turkey further noted that it had joined the consensus on the basis of its understanding of the paragraph on eventual elimination but that it would have abstained had the paragraph been put to a separate vote.
At the First Meeting of the States Parties to the Ottawa Convention in 1999, the Turkish representative, attending the meeting as an observer, declared: “The security situation around Turkey so far precludes my country from signing the Ottawa Convention.” However, the delegate announced the government’s intention “to sign the Ottawa Convention at the beginning of the next decade if present conditions do not change adversely”.
In 2001, during a debate in the First Committee of the UN General Assembly, Turkey stated:
Turkey is fully conscious of the casualties and the ensuing human suffering caused by the irresponsible and indiscriminate use of mines. We attach importance to the mine-ban Treaty and consider it to be one of the major achievements of the international community towards the total elimination of anti-personnel mines. However, the security situation around Turkey is distinctly different from that faced by the proponents of the Ottawa process. This has prevented us from signing the Treaty. However, our commitment to the Treaty’s goals was manifested by our participation in the First, Second and Third Meetings of the States Parties … Furthermore, Turkey has initiated a number of contacts with some neighbouring countries with a view to seeking the establishment of special regimes in order to keep our common borders free of anti-personnel mines … I would like to stress once more my Government’s determination to become a party to the Ottawa Convention.
In 2001, Greece and Turkey made a joint statement in which they declared:
… They also recognize that a total ban on these [anti-personnel] mines is an important confidence building measure that would contribute to security and stability in the region.
With these considerations in mind, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey … and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic … have emphasized the desirability of the adherence of all states to the Convention on Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction, namely the Ottawa Convention. In this context, they have decided to concurrently start the procedures that will make both sides parties to the Ottawa Convention. For this purpose, while Greece initiates ratification process, Turkey will start accession procedures. It is also agreed that the instruments of ratification by Greece and accession by Turkey will be simultaneously deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations in due course.
In a press release issued in March 2002, the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs declared:
Turkey has come to the stage of submitting the Convention to the Turkish Grand National Assembly for finalization of the accession procedures. In the meantime, the duration of Turkey’s national moratorium on the export and transfer of anti-personnel land mines expired in January 2002. Turkey has decided to extend once again her moratorium on the export and transfer of anti-personnel land mines, this time indefinitely, as an expression of her sincere commitment to becoming party to the Ottawa Convention.