Cluster Munition Ban Policy
Five-Year Review: Non-signatory Turkey supports the humanitarian objectives of the convention, but has not taken any steps toward accession. It has participated in every Meeting of States Parties of the convention and has condemned new use of cluster munitions.
Turkey states that it has not used or exported cluster munitions and has not produced them since 2005. Turkey has imported cluster munitions and possesses a stockpile.
The Republic of Turkey has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Turkey has expressed its support for the humanitarian objectives of the Convention on Cluster Munitions on several occasions, most recently in October 2014, but generally does not elaborate on its position concerning accession to the convention.
Government officials have repeatedly said that there has been no change in policy since Turkey articulated its views in a March 2009 letter to Monitor editor Human Rights Watch. In the letter, Turkey said it shares the “humanitarian concerns behind the efforts limiting the indiscriminate use of cluster munitions” and “attaches importance to the restriction of the use of cluster munitions” but said it was not considering signing as its primary aim was to fulfill its obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty.
Turkey is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty.
Turkey is also a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and supported efforts to conclude a CCW protocol on cluster munitions that failed in 2011, ending the CCW’s deliberations on cluster munitions and leaving the Convention on Cluster Munitions as the sole multilateral instrument specifically dedicated to cluster munitions. Since 2011, Turkey has not proposed that cluster munitions be added back on to the CCW’s program of work.
Turkey attended several of the diplomatic conferences of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions. However, it participated only as an observer in the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008 and did not sign at the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008.
Turkey engages in the work of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, despite not acceding. It has participated as an observer in all of the convention’s Meetings of States Parties, including the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in San José, Costa Rica in September 2014. Turkey has attended all of the intersessional meetings of the convention in Geneva since 2013, most recently in June 2015.
Turkey condemned new use of cluster munitions on several occasions in 2014 and 2015. At the intersessional meetings in June 2015, Turkey stated “we share the concerns” and are “deeply concerned” by new use of cluster munitions “against civilian populations.” It condemned the use and affirmed that Turkey has never used cluster munitions. At the Fifth Meeting of States Parties in September 2014, Turkey said it is deeply concerned at the use of cluster munitions against civilian populations and condemns this action.
At the UN General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee on Disarmament and International Security in October 2014, Turkey stated it “strongly condemns [cluster munition] use against civilian populations” and expressed its support for the convention’s humanitarian goals. Turkey also condemned new use of cluster munitions at the UNGA First Committee in October 2013. Turkey has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions condemning the use of cluster munitions in Syria, including Resolution 69/189 on 18 December 2014, which expressed “outrage” at the continued use.
CMC member the Initiative for a Mine-Free Turkey works to garner domestic support for the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
In March 2009, Turkey stated that it is “not making use of cluster munitions” and officials have since continued to affirm that Turkey has not and does not use cluster munitions. There is some evidence to indicate cluster munitions may have been used at least once in the past, in 1994.
A United States (US) Department of State cable from February 2008 made public by Wikileaks in May 2011, states that “there exists a de facto moratorium on the use of cluster munitions by the Turkish armed forces [but] Turkey’s military doctrine continues to call for the use of cluster munitions in the event of an ‘all out war.’”
Production, transfer, and stockpiling
In the past, Turkey produced, exported, and imported cluster munitions. It stockpiles cluster munitions, but has not disclosed information on the quantities or types possessed.
In a June 2010 letter, Turkey informed the Monitor that it “does not use, transfer, produce or import cluster munitions.” Officials continue to state that Turkey “no longer produces, transfers, exports or imports cluster munitions; has not produced cluster munitions since 2005; and has never used cluster munitions in the past.”
At least two Turkish companies have produced ground-delivered cluster munitions:
- Makina ve Kimya Endüstrisi Kurumu (MKEK) has produced an extended range M396 155mm artillery projectile containing self-destructing M85 dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) submunitions. It has also produced M483A1 155mm artillery projectiles with DPICM submunitions, under license from the US.
- Roketsan has produced the TRK-122 122mm rocket, which contains 56 M85 DPICM submunitions.
Turkey sold 3,020 TRK-122 122mm rockets to the United Arab Emirates in 2006–2007.
The US supplied Turkey with 3,304 Rockeye cluster bombs, each containing 247 submunitions, at some point between 1970 and 1995. In 1995, the US announced that it would provide Turkey with 120 ATACMS missiles with submunitions for its M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launchers. Turkey also possesses US-supplied M26 rockets, each with 644 submunitions, for its MLRS. In 2004, the US announced its intent to transfer to Turkey two CBU-103 Combined Effects Munitions cluster bombs, each with 202 submunitions, and two AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapons (JSOW), each with 145 submunitions. In 2005, it announced the proposed sale of another 50 CBU-103 and 50 JSOW.
Slovakia reported the export of 380 AGAT 122mm rockets, each containing 56 submunitions, to Turkey in 2007.
Chile’s Ministry of National Defense has provided the Monitor with a document detailing the export of four CB-250 cluster bombs to Turkey in 1996.
 In 2009, Turkey stated that “for the time being” it was not able to consider accession because its primary aim was to fulfill its obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty, to which it is a State Party. Letter from Amb. Tomur Bayer, Director-General, International Security Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Human Rights Watch (HRW), 2 March 2009. Turkey has not articulated its position on joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions since it completed the destruction of its stockpiled antipersonnel landmines in June 2011, after missing the initial stockpile destruction deadline in 2008.
 Letter from Amb. Tomur Bayer, Director-General, International Security Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to HRW, 2 March 2009.
 For details on Turkey’s cluster munition policy and practice through early 2009, see HRW and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 246–249.
 Statement of Turkey, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 23 June 2015. Notes by HRW.
 Statement of Turkey, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San Jose, 3 September 2014. Notes by HRW.
 Statement of Turkey, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 23 October 2014.
 “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution A/RES/698/1892, 18 December 2014. Turkey voted in favor of similar resolutions on 15 May and 18 December 2013.
 Letter from Amb. Tomur Bayer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to HRW, 2 March 2009. See also email from İsmail Çobanoğlu, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN in New York, 24 June 2010; email from Ramazan Ercan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 8 August 2011; CMC meeting with Kultuhan Celik, Second Secretary, Embassy of Turkey to Zambia, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fourth Meeting of States Parties, Lusaka, 11 September 2013; and Monitor meeting with Ramazan Ercan, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN in Geneva, Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Meeting of Experts on Protocol V, Geneva, 7 April 2015.
 In January 1994, the Turkish Air Force carried out an attack on the Zaleh camp of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, PKK) in northern Iraq near the Iranian border. Turkish television reported that US-supplied cluster bombs were used. See HRW, “U.S. Cluster Bombs for Turkey?,” Vol. 6, No. 19, December 1994, citing Foreign Broadcast Information Network, Western Europe, FBIS-WEU-94-0919, 28 January 1994, p. 26, from Ankara TRT Television Network in Turkish, 11:00 GMT, 18 January 1994.
 “Turkey Shares USG Concerns About Oslo Process,” US Department of State cable dated 12 February 2008, released by Wikileaks on 20 May 2011.
 Email from İsmail Çobanoğlu, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN in New York, 24 June 2010.
 Email from Ramazan Ercan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 8 August 2011. This was confirmed in a Monitor interview with Ramazan Ercan, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN in Geneva, Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Meeting of Experts on Protocol V, Geneva, 7 April 2015.
 MKEK, “155 mm M396 ERDP Ammunition,” undated.
 Leland S. Ness and Anthony G. Williams, eds., Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2007–2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2007), pp. 635–636.
 Ibid., p. 702; and Roketsan, “122 mm Artillery Weapons Systems, Extended Range Rockets and 122 mm MBRL System,” undated.
 Submission of the Republic of Turkey, UN Register of Conventional Arms, Report for Calendar Year 2006, 22 March 2007; and Report for Calendar Year 2007, 7 July 2008.
 US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “Cluster Bomb Exports under FMS, FY1970–FY1995,” obtained by HRW in a Freedom of Information Act request, 28 November 1995.
 Congressional Record, “Proposed Sale of Army Tactical Missile System to Turkey,” 11 December 1995, p. E2333. Each ATACMS missile contains 300 or 950 submunitions.
 US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “Notifications to Congress of Pending US Arms Transfers,” No. 05-12, 7 October 2004.
 US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “Turkey – Munitions and Aircraft Components for F-16 Aircraft,” Press Release, Transmittal No. 05-29, 8 September 2005; and US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “Turkey Wants the AGM-154A/C Joint Standoff Weapons,” Press Release, Transmittal No. 05-33, 6 September 2005.
 Submission of the Slovak Republic, UN Register of Conventional Arms, Report for Calendar Year 2007, 12 June 2008. In 2014, Slovakia reported that it prepared a contract in 2011 to produce 8,000 AGAT cluster munition rockets for Turkish company ROKETSAN, which supplies the Turkish army, at a cost of €25.6 million. However, the transfer did not happen as the Turkish Ministry of Defense did not sign-off on it, apparently due to financial and other reasons. “Draft Action Plan for the Implementation of the Commitments of the Slovak Republic under the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” attached to Letter No. 590.736/2014-OKOZ from Miroslav Lajčák, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs to Sarah Blakemore, CMC, 25 April 2014.
 “Exports of Cluster Bombs Authorized in the Years 1991–2001,” official document by General Directorate of National Mobilization (Dirección General de Movilización Nacional), Chilean Ministry of National Defense document provided together with letter from the Brig. Gen. Roberto Ziegele Kerber, Director-General of National Mobilization, Ministry of National Defense of Chile, 18 May 2012.