Statement by Ambassador Birnur Fertekligil - International Atomic Energy Agency 59th General Conference

Birnur Fertekligil 16.09.2015
(14 – 18 September 2015)

Mr. President,

Allow me to begin by congratulating you on your assumption of the Presidency of the 59th Session of the IAEA General Conference and the members of the General Committee on their election. You can rest assured of my delegation's full support for your efforts to bring this session to a successful conclusion.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to Turkmenistan, Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados as new members of the Agency. Turkey stands ready to cooperate with all new members in the work of the IAEA.

I would also like to extend our appreciation to Director General Amano, under whose able leadership the IAEA Secretariat continues to deliver on its myriad tasks with exemplary dedication and professionalism. For almost 60 years, the IAEA has occupied a central role in international nuclear cooperation. Through its mandate to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to prevent its use for military purposes, the Agency has contributed to global development needs and non-proliferation.

In the face of evolving challenges to non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear technology, the IAEA successfully keeps its work relevant and abreast of developments. The Agency's activities are indispensable in ensuring that nuclear energy remains a source of hope and prosperity for humanity and not a tool for destruction.

Mr. President,

Proliferation of nuclear weapons continues to pose a complex challenge and is the most dangerous threat to international peace and security. As such, non-proliferation occupies a prominent place on the international security agenda, towards the common goal of a world without nuclear weapons.

Turkey believes that, the achievement of this goal depends first and foremost on the successful and universal implementation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Turkey sees the NPT as the fundamental instrument for nuclear disarmament, the centerpiece mechanism of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, and the guarantor of the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy. Therefore, we remain fully committed to its objectives and provisions, as well as to its further strengthening and universalization.

Turkey, like many others, is disappointed that, NPT 2015 Review Conference (RevCon) was unable to agree on a Final Document. However, this does not change the fact that the NPT continues to be the fundamental reference point for nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses; the 2010 Action Plan is still in place. Turkey believes that, the long term relevance of the NPT depends on its effective implementation. To this end, we should be unrelenting in our efforts.

For its part, Turkey is party to all international non-proliferation instruments and export control regimes and advocate global overall disarmament. We call on the non-NPT states that have nuclear weapons programmes to sign the NPT and eliminate their military nuclear capabilities.

Turkey also follows closely the international efforts aimed at drawing attention to the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. While sharing the humanitarian and moral concerns about these weapons, Turkey believes that an incremental approach is necessary, and that the NPT is the cornerstone for nuclear disarmament.

Mr. President,

IAEA Safeguards system, through which the Agency is able to provide credible assurances that states are honouring their international obligations under the NPT, is a vital component of the global non-proliferation regime. Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) and its Additional Protocol are the essential tools establishing a solid verification standard. As such, Turkey welcomes that the number of States with Additional Protocols in force has reached 126, with 20 more pending ratification. We call on those states that have not yet done so, to sign, ratify and implement their CSAs and Additional Protocols without further delay.

Turkey earnestly welcomes the long awaited agreement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) between Iran and the P5+1. We congratulate the parties for their commitment to reaching a mutually acceptable solution through diplomatic means. Turkey believes that, the implementation of the agreement is as equally important as reaching the agreement itself. Uninterrupted and full implementation in a manner that inspires confidence is crucial for peace, security and stability in the region. Turkey acknowledges and supports the central role of the IAEA in the implementation of the JCPOA, as well as of the Road Map under the Framework for Cooperation, and believes that this role once again proves the importance of the Agency to global security.

DPRK's nuclear programme remains a serious concern. Turkey adds its voice to those urging DPRK to abandon its intransigence and return to the Six Party Talks.

On the issue of implementation of safeguards agreement in Syria, Turkey takes note of the Director General's recent report to the Board of Governors and trusts that continued engagement of and with Syria would help the Agency in eliminating ambiguities and eventual closure of this case.

Turkey supports the establishment of nuclear-weapons-free zones, wherever feasible and on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among States of the regions concerned. In this regard, Turkey fully endorsed the 2010 RevCon decision on the convening of an International Conference in 2012 for the establishment of a nuclear-weapons-free-zone in the Middle East. The failure of the convening of this Conference has been a major disappointment.

Mr. President,

Nuclear terrorism is one of the most serious threats to global security and stability. While the responsibility for nuclear security lies with the state, the need for an effective global nuclear security regime should not be ignored. Measures commensurate with the risk and consequences of nuclear terrorism can only be achieved through international cooperation.

With this understanding, Turkey has been involved in the Nuclear Security Summit process from its inception. We believe that the upcoming Summit to be hosted by the United States in March-April 2016 will be important in shaping the future for nuclear security from an institutional perspective.

Turkey recognizes the central role of the Agency in developing and enhancing the nuclear security regime. In this regard, Turkey is also looking forward to the 2nd International Nuclear Security Conference to be held on December 2016.

We commend the Agency's work aimed at increasing adherence to international legal instruments. Accordingly, bringing into force the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM) must be a priority in our efforts to curtail nuclear terrorism. To this end, Turkey has submitted its instrument of ratification of the 2005 Amendment last July. We wish for its earliest entry into force.

Turkey makes full use of the services offered by the IAEA in this field. We lend support to and benefit from the IAEA publications and review services to improve our nuclear security infrastructure. We hosted a national workshop to update our understanding about International Physical Protection Advisory Service (IPPAS) in 2014 and requested the Agency to organize an IPPAS mission in Turkey.

Mr. President,

Turkey recognizes the indispensable role of nuclear safety in ensuring public benefit through the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology. As an embarking country, Turkey diligently follows the IAEA's standards and advice, as well as drawing on international mechanisms such as the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS), to put into place sound nuclear safety measures.

In this regard, Turkey participated in the "Diplomatic Conference to consider a proposal to amend the CNS" held last February in Vienna. Turkey sees the outcome of the Diplomatic Conference as a confirmation of the resolve of the contracting states in the area of nuclear safety.

The Fukushima Daiichi accident has explicitly demonstrated the critical importance of nuclear safety. The report on "the Fukushima Daiichi Accident", is a unique reference point for enhancing the resilience and robustness of safety in nuclear power plants. Turkey is confident that the lessons learned will form the basis for enhancing IAEA assistance and guidance in this field.

I would also like to underline that, safety of aged NPPs remains to be of particular concern to Turkey. We once again emphasize that complacency only exacerbates the dangers and no measures should be spared to eliminate the risks emanating from such NPPs.

Mr. President,

Turkey attributes singular importance to the technical cooperation programme of the Agency and tries to take advantage of it as extensively as possible. We are convinced that, technical cooperation projects are some of the most direct and tangible services of the Agency, geared towards introducing and improving the peaceful uses of nuclear technology and help sustainable development worldwide.

Cognizant of the fact that the technical cooperation programme needs to be adequately funded, Turkey takes care to meet its TCF targets. We also resort to government cost sharing for financing our national TC projects. We support the IAEA's work on the revised guidelines to strengthen the application of the Due Account Mechanism and call upon all member states to meet their TCF targets on time and in full.

Turkey supports IAEA activities by hosting training courses, workshops, scientific visits and providing experts to the Agency's activities on several aspects of use of atomic energy such as, infrastructure development for nuclear power, siting of nuclear facilities, nuclear safety and nuclear security, nuclear material accounting and control and use of radiation in plant breeding and environmental protection.

Radiation technologies are widely used in Turkey, in medicine, agriculture, industry and environmental protection. Recently, a Proton Accelerator Facility constructed in Ankara by the Turkish Atomic Energy Authority has received the necessary licenses to produce radiopharmeuciticals vital for cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Mr. President,

Nuclear power figures prominently in Turkey’s economic growth. Over the last decade, Turkey has become one of the fastest expanding energy markets in the world. Due to the scarcity of Turkey’s domestic energy resources, its growing energy demand results in dependency on energy imports, primarily of oil and natural gas. At present, almost three quarters of our total energy demand is being met by imports. In order to meet the immense growth in demand, sustain its dynamic economy and industry, offset the risks of energy dependency and ensure energy security, Turkey is integrating nuclear energy to its energy supply mix by building NPPs.

In 2010, Turkey and the Russian Federation signed an agreement for the construction and operation of the first nuclear power plant at the Akkuyu site (Akkuyu NPP) in southern Turkey, as a BOO (build-own-operate) project. The construction of Akkuyu is ongoing and the first of Akkuyu’s four units, with a total capacity of 4800 MWe, is scheduled to be commissioned in 2021. With respect to the second nuclear power plant, which is to be built at the Sinop site on the Black Sea, an intergovernmental agreement has been signed with Japan and the siting and pre-feasibility studies are proceeding. The third project is also under consideration.

Taking into account the developments following the Fukushima accident in 2011, Turkey diligently takes all necessary precautions in generating nuclear energy. We will be employing state-of-the-art technologies and methods to achieve the highest possible level of nuclear safety. Turkey is also enhancing its human resources and nuclear knowledge capacity and updating its existing nuclear legislation, by taking into consideration the latest safety standards issued by the IAEA.

Turkey strengthens its national regulatory framework especially for the use of nuclear energy through issuing new regulations and updating the existing ones. Turkey uses IAEA review services and other assistance provided by the Agency to enhance its infrastructure for nuclear power.

We are glad to see that the IAEA gives priority to ‘advanced newcomers’ - that is countries that have made a clear decision and are moving forward with plans for nuclear power. Turkey, with its high level of nuclear knowledge and its development status certainly falls within this category.

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 particular regard to the needs of those Member States that consider developing nuclear power as part of their national energy strategy.
Thank you Mr. President.

Pazartesi - Cuma

09:00 - 13:00 / 14:30 - 18:00

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