Ten-Year Review: Non-signatory Turkey has acknowledged the humanitarian concerns raised by cluster munitions, but has not taken any steps to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Turkey has participated as an observer in meetings of the convention, most recently in September 2018, but abstained from voting on a key United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention in December 2019.
Turkey has reported that it has not produced cluster munitions since 2005, and has never exported them. Turkey has, however, imported cluster munitions and possesses a stockpile.
The Republic of Turkey has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Turkey has expressed concern over the “indiscriminate use” of cluster munitions, but has not taken any steps to accede to the convention. It has given various reasons for not joining the convention, including concern over its capacity to meet the eight-year deadline for destroying stockpiled cluster munitions.
Turkey attended several diplomatic conferences of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions. However, it participated as an observer in the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008 and raised “interoperability” concerns regarding potential use of cluster munitions by states not party during joint military operations. Turkey attended the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008 as an observer, and did not explain why it could not sign the convention.
Turkey has participated as an observer at meetings of the convention, including the First Review Conference held in Dubrovnik, Croatia in September 2015. It was invited, but did not attend, the convention’s Ninth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2019.
In December 2019, Turkey abstained from the vote on a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution urging states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.” Turkey has not explained why it has abstained from voting on the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention since it was first introduced in 2015.
Turkey is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).
A 2008 United States (US) Department of State cable claimed that the Turkish armed forces have “a de facto moratorium on the use of cluster munitions” but “Turkey’s military doctrine continues to call for the use of cluster munitions in the event of an ‘all-out war.’”
There is some evidence to indicate that Turkey may have used cluster munitions at least once in the past, in 1994.
Production, transfer, and stockpiling
In the past, Turkey produced, exported, and imported cluster munitions. Turkey possesses cluster munitions but has not shared information on the types or quantities stockpiled.
In 2010, Turkey told the Monitor that it “does not use, transfer, produce or import cluster munitions.” Since then, officials have continued 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 (UAE) 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 a sale to Turkey of 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, the US announced another sale to Turkey of 50 CBU-103 and 50 JSOW.
States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions have reported transferring cluster munitions to Turkey in the past, before they joined the convention. Slovakia reported a transfer 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 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 could not consider accession until Mine Ban Treaty obligations are fulfilled. Letter from Amb. Tomur Bayer, Director-General, International Security Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Human Rights Watch (HRW), 2 March 2009. Turkey completed the destruction of its stockpiled antipersonnel landmines in 2011.
 Turkey is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty and in 2011 completed the destruction of its stockpiled antipersonnel landmines.
 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.
 Turkey attended every Meeting of States Parties in 2010–2018, as well as the First Review Conference in Dubrovnik in September 2015, and intersessional meetings in 2013–2015.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 74/62, 12 December 2019.
 Statement of Turkey, Convention on Cluster Munitions intersessional meetings, Geneva, 23 June 2015. Notes by HRW; and statement of Turkey, Convention on Cluster Munitions Fifth Meeting of States Parties, San Jose, 3 September 2014. Notes by HRW.
 “Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution 73/182, 17 December 2018. Turkey voted in favor of similar UNGA resolutions on Syria in 2013–2017.
 Letter from Amb. Tomur Bayer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to HRW, 2 March 2009.
 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, CCW 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.
 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; and Monitor interview with Ramazan Ercan, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN in Geneva, Geneva, 7 April 2015.
 Leland S. Ness and Anthony G. Williams, eds., Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2007–2008 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 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 (DSCA), “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 DSCA, “Notifications to Congress of Pending US Arms Transfers,” No. 05-12, 7 October 2004.
 US DSCA press release, “Turkey – Munitions and Aircraft Components for F-16 Aircraft,” Transmittal No. 05-29, 8 September 2005; and US DSCA press release, “Turkey Wants the AGM-154A/C Joint Standoff Weapons,” 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 provided by the General Directorate of National Mobilization (Dirección General de Movilización Nacional, DGMN), within the Chilean Ministry of National Defense. The document was provided along with a letter from Brig. Gen. Roberto Ziegele Kerber, Director-General of National Mobilization, Chilean Ministry of National Defense, 18 May 2012.