International Atomic Energy Agency 55th General Conference

Tomur Bayer 19.09.2011



(19-23 September 2011)


Mr. President,


Allow me at the outset to congratulate you on your assumption of the Presidency of the 55th Session of the IAEA General Conference and the members of the General Committee on their election. I assure you of our delegation’s full support for your efforts to bring this session to a successful conclusion.


Mr. President,


I would like to begin with the recent developments concerning nuclear energy in my country. Due to the rapid annual increase in the national electricity demand, particularly, during the last two decades and inadequacy of indigenous energy resources, Turkey’s energy policy is focused on the security, sustainability and competitiveness of its energy supply. Long term plans requires diversification of our energy sources, which at present is heavily dependant on imported fossil fuels, more than 50%. Projections estimate that Turkey will require an additional 100.000 MWe installed capacity by 2030. Consequently, the nuclear power generation, in that respect, has become one of the most feasible options for Turkey.


In light of this summary reflecting Turkey’s energy  requirements, I would like to recall that Turkey concluded an agreement with Russia paving the way for the construction of four units VVER1200 nuclear power plants at the licensed Akkuyu nuclear site by 2020. Additionally, Turkey is also planning construction of nuclear power plant with 5.000 MWe total capacity at the Sinop nuclear site.  Therefore, Turkey  is expected to have at least 10.000 MWe installed nuclear capacity in the next 10-15 years. 


Along with its plans to construct nuclear power plants, Turkey is in the process of enhancing its human resources and nuclear knowledge capacity and updating its existing nuclear legislation by taking into consideration the latest safety standards series issued by the IAEA.


Turkey remains resolutely committed to the goal of ensuring safe, secure and peaceful utilization of nuclear energy. Therefore, we will continue our close cooperation with the IAEA for realization of our nuclear projects in a safe, secure and peaceful manner. The Director General has cited in his opening statement that the number of operating nuclear reactors are expected to increase by about 90-350 according to different projections. This is a clear evidence of the continuing importance of nuclear energy.


Mr. President,


Turkey supports the Agency’s efforts to promote and maintain high level of nuclear safety worldwide and encourages the Secretariat to continue to strengthen its efforts relating to nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety, particularly in areas that are vital for Member States.


Following the Chernobil and the Three Mile Island accidents, The Fukushima incident has once more brought to the attention of the world the significance of nuclear safety. In order to prevent recurrence of such an incident elsewhere in the world we must continue our efforts vigorously to enhance nuclear safety. The lessons learned from Fukushima surely guides us through this path. 


We also welcome activities of the IAEA in fostering a global nuclear safety regime. The Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety which took place under the auspices of the IAEA in June this year has been a remarkable event in this regard. We welcome the Declaration adopted at that meeting which, inter alia , called for the Director General to prepare a report on the Ministerial Conference and to present a Draft Action Plan, building on the Declaration of the Ministerial Conference and the conclusions and recommendations of the three Working Sessions.


We commend the efforts of DG and the IAEA staff in preparing the Action Plan. We believe that the Action Plan will serve the purpose of achieving a higher standard of nuclear safety around the globe. Needless to say, full cooperation and participation of the member states throughout the implementation of the action plan is of crucial significance.


We encourage the Agency to continue its efforts towards providing guidance, support and assistance to Member States in establishing and maintaining adequate safety regulations and infrastructure, with due regard to the needs of those Member States that consider developing nuclear power as part of their national energy strategy. Safety expertise and strong safety culture is an essential precondition for nuclear technology.


Especially the safety in old nuclear power plants needs to be thoroughly examined. In this respect the very old Metzamor nuclear power plant which is located in an earthquake zone in Armenia and which lacks protective structures remains to be a concern for Turkey and other neighbours of Armenia. We once again underline that all necessary measures must be taken to eliminate the risks associated with this NPP.


I would like to underline that Turkey’s support to the work of the IAEA with regard to safety issues will continue unabated. In this regard, we attach importance to “stress tests” for nuclear power plants program initiated by the EU. During the high level meeting held in Brussels on 24 June, Turkey voluntarily accepted to join the EU stress tests program.



Mr. President,


The significance of the role of the IAEA in maximizing the contributions of nuclear technologies to human well-being while minimizing the risks of proliferation is increasing. The Agency has achieved great strides in global nuclear cooperation over the years since its foundation in 1957. It has greatly contributed to the maintenance of international peace and security, as well as towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals for social, economic and environmental development.


Promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear energy is one of the main missions of the Agency and also is one of the fundamental objectives of the NPT. Non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy are two interrelated aspects of the Treaty: They are complementary and mutually reinforcing. Turkey recognizes the importance of peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology and the crucial role the IAEA plays in this regard. I would also like to re-emphasize the importance of the Agency’s role in providing guidance to Member States in launching a nuclear power programme for the first time and developing the necessary national infrastructure for its implementation.


Mr. President


The IAEA’s work in helping developing countries with nuclear applications is important not only for its direct contribution to human well-being but also because it helps to build broad support for the Agency itself and its larger energy, safety, security, and  verification functions . For the majority of member states, which have no nuclear power reactors, technical cooperation in applications of nuclear techniques in agriculture, human health, industry, environment, hydrology, or biological and physical research is a primary benefit of membership in the IAEA. These programs are crucial to making the Agency relevant to the entire human family.


Turkey underlines the important role the IAEA plays in facilitating the implementation of effective programmes in all these areas aimed at further improving the scientific and technological capabilities of Member States.


Strengthening the Agency’s technical cooperation activities relating to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy will, we believe, substantially increase the quality of life everywhere but particularly in developing countries.


Turkey has always attached utmost importance to the promotional activities of the Agency. We strongly support the Technical Cooperation Programme. We consider the funding of technical cooperation activities as a joint responsibility of all Member States.


We also believe that we should continue to provide IAEA with adequate resources through the regular budget that will enable it to conduct its statutory functions properly and effectively. For this purpose, Turkey will continue to support all reasonable, balanced and affordable budget increases in the face of the urgent and near future needs of the Agency.


Mr. President,


Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction constitutes one of the leading challenges of our century.  Creating conditions for a world without nuclear weapons is, therefore,  a major investment towards a safer world and undiminished security for all.


The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty  (NPT), based on the three mutually reinforcing pillars of  non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, represents a unique and  irreplaceable framework for maintaining and strengthening international peace, security and stability. The Treaty is  the cornerstone of  the global nuclear non-proliferation regime and an essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament in accordance  with  Article  VI, as well as for access to  nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under Article IV.


Possible benchmarks for the sustainability of the NPT regime include the universalization of the Treaty, strengthening of the IAEA safeguards system, including the universalization of the Additional Protocol, reinforcement of export controls and early entry into force of the CTBT.


Another important priority is the establishment of effectively verifiable zones free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction (WMD) wherever feasible. An overall reduction of the global stockpiles of nuclear weapons, in accordance with Article VI, in a transparent, irreversible and verifiable manner is also of key importance.


Proliferation of WMD and their delivery means becomes all the more worrying in the context of terrorism. The international community needs to remain vigilant about the risk of acquisition by terrorists of WMD and their delivery vehicles. 


Last but not least, recognition of  the importance of ensuring peaceful uses of nuclear energy in the best security, safety and non-proliferation conditions, and of the crucial role of the IAEA in this respect is essential. 


 The international safeguards system of the IAEA forms an essential part of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. We believe that the universalization of the Additional Protocol will strengthen the non-proliferation regime and would contribute to further enhancing security worldwide. More importantly, it will also significantly increase the confidence for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy to reach its full potential.


However, we are concerned that there are still a considerable number of countries without Additional Protocols, 15 of which have not yet brought comprehensive safeguards agreements with the Agency into force pursuant to their NPT obligations. We would like to call upon all States concerned to sign, ratify and implement their Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols without delay.


On the other hand, we would like to remind that the NPT does not delegate responsibilities only to non-nuclear-weapon states, there are also some important obligations for the weapons states, such as Article VI of the Treaty. Without a genuine commitment to the final elimination of nuclear arsenals, including non-strategic weapons, the objectives of the NPT are bound to fail. The goal of complete disarmament requires determined efforts on the part of the nuclear weapons states. The recent entry into force of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), reducing the number of deployed strategic warheads and their delivery systems  is a welcome development in this respect. We trust that a swift implementation of  the Treaty and continued negotiations for further reductions in the nuclear arsenals, including non-strategic weapons will follow this step.


We also believe that the Agency should be given a mandate for verification of disarmament activities. In our view, concrete efforts regarding nuclear disarmament are very important to encourage the non-nuclear states to accept and implement more strengthened safeguards system.


Our last call on this subject will be to non-NPT states that have nuclear- weapons programmes, to sign the NPT and totally eliminate their military nuclear capabilities and programmes as soon as possible. We believe that the existence of non-NPT states having nuclear-weapons programmes is dangerously undermining the global safeguards system and the NPT.  


Mr. President,


Allow me to reiterate, on this occasion, our principled position on the establishment of zones free from nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, wherever feasible. We particularly support the establishment of an effectively verifiable zone free of such weapons and their means of delivery in the Middle East. We encourage all efforts aimed at developing a common regional understanding to this end, with the participation of all parties concerned. We strongly believe that all countries in the region should become party to all international arrangements for the prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, particularly the NPT. We believe that possession of weapons of mass destruction does not provide additional security to any country, but further increases instability. Moreover, Israel’s non-accession to the NPT and its widely acknowledged possession of weapons of mass destruction undermines international efforts to foster a regional environment conducive for the achievement of lasting peace and security.


With these considerations in mind, Turkey worked towards the adoption of the decision in the Final Document of the NPT 2010 Review Conference to convene a conference in 2012, to be attended by all States of the Middle East, on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction.In this regard, Turkey welcomes the convening of the IAEA Forum on NWFZs between 21-22 November 2011 in Vienna and hopes that it will pave the way to holding a Conference in 2012 on the establishment of a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. We congratulate Permanent Representative of Norway, H.E. Ambassador Jan Petersen on his assuming the post of Chairperson for this important Forum.


Turkey, in line with its commitment to a nuclear-weapons-free world, will continue to support international efforts aimed at implementing the recommendations enshrined in the Final Document of 2010.


Mr. President,


Allow me to underline once again that all States, which comply with their obligations emanating from the NPT have the undisputed right to benefit from nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under Article IV of the Treaty. Turkey is fully supportive of the greatest possible enjoyment of the benefits of peaceful use of nuclear energy for NPT States that are in full compliance with their Treaty obligations.


At the same time, all necessary steps need to be taken in order to ensure that there will be no increased risk of proliferation associated with the expansion of nuclear energy. In that respect, we advocate  the universalization of international non-proliferation instruments and support their implementation in good faith and consistency.


The international safeguards system of the IAEA forms an essential part of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. Turkey attaches great importance to the effectiveness of the Agency’s safeguards system and appreciates the meticulous manner in which the Secretariat operates in pursuing verification activities under its mandate.


In this regard, we positively note  recent meetings between Iran and IAEA which provided both sides the opportunity to directly discuss issues related to the implementation of Iran’s Safeguards Agreement.


We encourage further dialogue and cooperation between Iran and the IAEA to help clarify the outstanding issues with a view to reaching a common understanding and building confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear activities.


Turkey remains fully committed to a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, through peaceful means and dialogue. As we have repeatedly underlined in this forum and elsewhere, only  through a gradual process, including exploratory talks on a set of parallel actions aimed at overcoming the present impasse, is it possible to arrive at a  mutually satisfactory settlement of the outstanding issues.


As always, Turkey stands ready to contribute to all constructive efforts that would ease the way for dialogue and cooperation.


On the issue of implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in Syria, we trust that continued engagement of and with Syria will help the Agency in eliminating ambiguities and eventually closing this file. In this context we are pleased to note that a meeting between the Agency and Syria will take place in October with the aim of advancing the Agency’s verification mission in Syria.



On this occasion, I would also like to reiterate our grave concern over the decision by the government of the DPRK to cease all cooperation with the IAEA since April 2009. We carefully studied the report of the Director General prepared for the Agency Board meeting of last week. Turkey reiterates its deep concern at other actions undertaken by the DPRK, particularly testing of two nuclear explosive devices and recommencing operation of the reprocessing facility in Yongbyon and the uranium enrichment activities which were discovered at the end of last year. We consider that these acts represent a severe threat to international peace and security and, particularly, undermines the stability of the Korean Peninsula and the region.


Therefore, we call upon the DPRK to abandon all nuclear weapon related programmes in a complete and irreversible manner under the verification of the Agency, act strictly in accordance with their international obligations and return immediately to the Six-Party Talks without preconditions.


            As a final remark, we would like to express our full support for the activities to be organized by the IAEA during and after the General Conference, with regard to the water management and utilization of nuclear science and techniques for enhancing water resources.


            I wish you Mr. President and all the participants of the 55th General Conference a successful and fruitful meeting.


Thank you for your attention.

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