Turkey

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 23 November 2020

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.

Policy

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.[1] 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.[2]

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.[3]

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.[4]

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.”[5] 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 has condemned the use of cluster munitions on several occasions.[6] It has voted in favor of UNGA resolutions expressing outrage at the use of cluster munitions in Syria.[7]

Turkey is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Use

In 2009, Turkey told the Monitor that it was “not making use of cluster munitions.”[8] Since then, officials have repeated that Turkey has not used and does not intend to use cluster munitions.[9]

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.’”[10]

There is some evidence to indicate that Turkey may have used cluster munitions at least once in the past, in 1994.[11]

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.”[12] 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.”[13]

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.[14] It has also produced M483A1 155mm artillery projectiles with DPICM submunitions, under license from the US.[15]
  • Roketsan has produced the TRK-122 122mm rocket, which contains 56 M85 DPICM submunitions.[16]

Turkey sold 3,020 TRK-122 122mm rockets to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2006–2007.[17]

The US supplied Turkey with 3,304 Rockeye cluster bombs, each containing 247 submunitions, at some point between 1970 and 1995.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20] In 2005, the US announced another sale to Turkey of 50 CBU-103 and 50 JSOW.[21]

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.[22] 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.[23]



[1] 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.

[2] Turkey is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty and in 2011 completed the destruction of its stockpiled antipersonnel landmines.

[3] 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.

[4] 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.

[5]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 74/62, 12 December 2019.

[6] 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.

[7]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.

[8] Letter from Amb. Tomur Bayer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to HRW, 2 March 2009.

[9] 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.

[10]Turkey Shares USG Concerns About Oslo Process,” US Department of State cable dated 12 February 2008, released by Wikileaks on 20 May 2011.

[11] 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.

[12] Email from İsmail Çobanoğlu, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN in New York, 24 June 2010.

[13] 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.

[14] MKEK, “155 mm M396 ERDP Ammunition,” undated.

[15] Leland S. Ness and Anthony G. Williams, eds., Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2007–2008 (Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 2007), pp. 635–636.

[17] 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.

[18] 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.

[19] Congressional Record, “Proposed Sale of Army Tactical Missile System to Turkey,” 11 December 1995, p. E2333. Each ATACMS missile contains 300 or 950 submunitions.

[20] US DSCA, “Notifications to Congress of Pending US Arms Transfers,” No. 05-12, 7 October 2004.

[21] 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.

[22] 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.

[23] “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.


Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 18 December 2019

Policy

The Republic of Turkey acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty on 25 September 2003, becoming a State Party on 1 March 2004. Turkey has not enacted domestic implementation legislation but has indicated that its constitution and criminal code, as well as directives from Turkish Armed Forces General Staff, give legal effect to the treaty’s provisions.[1]

Turkey has attended most meetings of the treaty, most recently the Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in November 2018, where it made statements on victim assistance and support for mine clearance.[2] Turkey also provided an update on its Article 5 obligations.[3] Turkey also attended the intersessional meetings in May 2019. It served on the Committee on the Enhancement of Cooperation and Assistance in 2018–2019.

Turkey is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines.

Production and transfer

Turkey halted production of antipersonnel mines concurrently with a moratorium on the transfer of mines in January 1996. Its production facilities were then closed.[4] Turkey is not known to have exported antipersonnel mines. It has imported mines from Germany and the United States (US).

Use

Turkish Armed Forces

Even prior to joining the Mine Ban Treaty, the chief of the Turkish General Staff issued a directive banning the use of antipersonnel mines by the Turkish Armed Forces on 26 January 1998.[5] However, there have been serious allegations of at least two instances of use by members of the Turkish Armed Forces in southeastern Turkey near the border with Iraq, in Sirnak province (April 2009) and Hakkari province (May 2009).

In the first incident, the Turkish newspaper Taraf published a document allegedly belonging to the 23rd Gendarmerie Division Command that indicated that on 9 April 2009 members of the Turkish Armed Forces emplaced M2A4 antipersonnel mines in Sirnak province.[6] Turkey did not announce that an investigation into this incident was underway until May 2012.[7] In May 2013, Turkey informed States Parties that “A detailed investigation comprising a consequent administrative legal scrutiny were [sic] undertaken. Let me share with you, for the record, that there has not been an explosion. Moreover the registry of Turkish Armed Forces shows that the mine allegedly in question was destroyed before the end of 2009, together with the stockpiled ones.”[8] It remains unclear if further mines from this alleged mined area remain in the ground as Turkey’s report only indicated the destruction of one mine.

The second case relates to seven Turkish soldiers who were killed and eight wounded by an antipersonnel mine near Cukurca on 27 May 2009.[9] The Turkish army initially alleged that the Kurdistan Workers Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, PKK) planted the mine, but in June 2009 the Turkish media reported that the mine was in fact laid by Turkish forces not long before the detonation.[10] An investigation by the chief prosecutor in Van determined that the mine belonged to the Turkish military and was planted on the orders of a Turkish commander.[11] The case was forwarded to the Turkish General Staff military prosecutor’s office.[12]

According to media accounts, a report on the incident in September 2010 provided to the Military’s prosecutor’s office found that the device used was an “anti-personnel landmine.” Brigadier General Zeki Es, who allegedly ordered the placement of the mine, was arrested in November 2010 and a case was opened in the Turkish martial court.[13] General Es was released in February 2011 after several soldiers recanted their previous testimony.[14] In October 2011, according to a media account, an expert report prepared at the request of the military court found that commanders were responsible for the deaths due to negligence and poor planning.[15] In February 2012, the Turkish General Staff’s martial court continued hearing the case against two generals and four other officers.[16] In May 2013, Turkey informed States Parties that “The most recent hearing of the trial was held by this Military Court on April 19, 2013. The court rendered its verdict and sentenced a Turkish Brigadier General to 6 years and 8 months of imprisonment due to “causing death and injury by negligence.” Turkey informed States Parties that this was an initial verdict, not a final decision, and that “the work on producing the reasoning of this decision is still underway.”[17] No mention was made of a violation of the ban on antipersonnel mines in the court’s proceedings, findings, or judgment.

Under the Mine Ban Treaty, Turkey must take every measure to prevent the use of antipersonnel mines, including the application of penal sanctions. The ICBL has previously called on Turkey to thoroughly investigate the use allegations, to report to States Parties on its findings, and undertake measures to prevent further use.[18] It has also emphasized the need to establish the origin of the mines used, which could have been lifted from the ground and re-laid or could have been taken from stocks retained for training purposes, and to clarify what specific law or laws had applied during the trial.[19] Several States Parties and the ICRC have expressed their deep concern about these allegations of mine use since they were reported in 2010.

PKK/Kongra Gel

Turkish officials have previously accused the PKK/Kurdistan People’s Congress (Kongra Gel) of use of antipersonnel mines.[20]

In the past, the Turkish General Staff published information on mines recovered without specifying the types and locations of the mines.[21] The Turkish General Staff no longer lists this information on its website. Turkey did not specifically report on recovered mines and their disposition in previous Article 7 reports.

The Monitor was not able to obtain from Turkey specific dates and locations, or other concrete details, of the allegations of use of antipersonnel mines by the PKK/Kongra Gel or of specific incidents that led to casualties from antipersonnel mines.

The PKK/Kongra Gel have admitted to the use of command-detonated mines, but denied any use of mines or other explosive devices that can be activated by a person or a vehicle.[22] In July 2006, the NGO Geneva Call reported that the PKK had unilaterally halted antipersonnel mine use by signing the Geneva Call Deed of Commitment.

Stockpiling and destruction

Turkey announced in December 2011 that its stockpile destruction program was completed on 21 June 2011. It had missed its 1 March 2008 treaty-mandated deadline for stockpile destruction, and was in violation of the Mine Ban Treaty for over three years. Turkey had previously reported that its munitions disposal facility had not been officially inaugurated until 8 November 2007.[23]

Turkey stated that in 2004, when it became a State Party, it had a stockpile of 2,973,481 antipersonnel mines. In early 2006, Turkey indicated it had a stock of 2,866,818 antipersonnel mines to destroy. In its Article 7 report issued after the announcement of the completion of the destruction program, Turkey stated that 2,938,060 mines had been destroyed in total.[24]

In the past, Turkey also reported possession of 18,236 M18 Claymore mines, but in 2007 it reported that M18 mines were removed from its stockpile destruction list due to their “specific technical features” and “will not be used as victim activated.”[25] In 2008, officials said that the tripwires for M18s had been destroyed.

Mines retained for research and training

On becoming a State Party in 2004, Turkey initially retained 16,000 antipersonnel mines for training and research purposes.[26] In its Article 7 report submitted in 2019, Turkey reported 9,259 mines retained for training and research.[27]

Turkey retains the fourth-largest number of antipersonnel mines among States Parties. In December 2012, it repeated that the “large size, as well as the different types of mine action units, necessitate the Turkish Armed Forces to retain a certain number of APLMs [antipersonnel landmines] for training purposes.”[28] In December 2012, Turkey defended its large number of retained mines by stating, “Article 3 recognizes the specific and different needs of States Parties by not fixing numbers or ceilings for mines retained for training purposes.”

In December 2012, Turkey repeated that it is “considering reassessing the number of mines retained for permitted purposes.”[29] It made similar statements in 2010.[30] Similarly, in May 2006, it stated that “after covering some more ground in mine clearance, Turkey may review the number of mines retained for training purposes.”[31] In June 2005, Turkey said, “This figure [16,000 mines] may be reassessed as the process of downsizing the armed forces progresses.”[32]



[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Reports, Form A, and Annexes A, B, and C, 1 October 2004 and 10 May 2005. Turkey’s Form A in 2013 states only that “Turkey stopped using APMs [antipersonnel mines] and commenced clearing APMs in 1998.” In July 2011, Turkey stated that two laws apply in cases where death or injury is caused due to explosion of mines or improvised explosive devices (IEDs): Articles 81, 86, and 89 of the Turkish Penal Code (Law No. 5237) and Articles 87 and 89 of the Turkish Military Penal Code (Law No. 1632). Email from Serhan Yigit, Head of Arms Control and Disarmament Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4 July 2011.

[2] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 27 November 2018; and statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 29 November 2018.

[3] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Seventeenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 29 November 2018.

[4] In the past, Turkey had produced both antipersonnel and antivehicle mines. The Turkish company, Makinave Kimya Endustrisi Kurumu(MKEK), produced copies of two United States (US) antipersonnel mines (M14 and M16).

[5] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Fifth Meeting of States Parties, Bangkok, 17 September 2003.

[6] Melìs Gönenç, “Mine news became evidence,” Taraf online, 16 April 2010; and “Allegation: Turkey breaking landmine ban,” United Press International, 16 April 2010.

[7] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on General Status and Operation, Geneva, 25 May 2012. Notes by the ICBL.

[8] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on General Status and Operation, Geneva, 27 May 2013.

[9] “Tripwire mine incident kills six soldiers,” Radikal (Hakkari), 29 May 2009; and Mustafa Yuksel, “Explosion which killed seven soldiers under desk investigation,” Zaman (Ankara), 9 April 2010.

[10] The article stated that the mine was a handmade victim-activated explosive that was only referred to as a “Special Alert Warning System.” “Shocking allegations on 6 killed in mine explosion,” Zaman, 24 June 2009; and Metin Arslan, “TSK mine martyrs seven soldiers,” Zaman, 8 April 2010.

[11] Metin Arslan, “Last photo of TSK mine victims in Çukurca revealed,” Zaman, 7 May 2010.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Metin Arslan and Fatih Karakiliç, “General who planted deadly Çukurca mines sent to jail,” Zaman, 8 November 2010.

[14] “Turkish general released after soldiers change testimony,” Hurriyet Daily News, 22 February 2011.

[15] Metin Arslan, “Expert report: Commanders responsible for land mine deaths of 7 soldiers,” Today’s Zaman, 23 October 2011.

[16] Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, “Senior officers tried in the case on the mine explosion,” 9 February 2012.

[17] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on General Status and Operation, Geneva, 27 May 2013.

[18] ICBL, “Grave concerns over allegations of landmine use by Turkey,” Press release, 19 April 2010; and letter to Ahmet Davutoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, from Sylvie Brigot, Executive Director, ICBL, 18 May 2010.

[19] Turkey has reported that M2 mines are among those retained for training purposes. Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2011), Form D.

[20] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on General Status and Operation, Geneva, 21 May 2012. Notes by the ICBL. The PKK/Kongra Gel is listed as a terrorist organization by Australia, Canada, the European Union, NATO, the United Kingdom, and the US. As a matter of practice, the Monitor does not apply the term “terrorist” to any individual or organization except within an attributed quotation.

[21] Turkish General Staff, “The number of IED and mine incidents perpetrated by the terror organization in 2009 (1 January–25 December 2009),” and “The number of IED and mine incidents perpetrated by the members of the terror organization in 2010 (1 January–20 August 2010),” undated, www.tsk.tr.

[23] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Eighth Meeting of States Parties, Dead Sea, Jordan, 19 November 2007.

[24] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011), Form G. In the first half of 2011, Turkey declared that its remaining 631 stockpiled Area Denial Artillery Munition (ADAM) artillery projectiles (each containing 36 mines, or a total of 22,716 ADAM mines) had been transferred for destruction. See, statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Geneva, 20 June 2011; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for the period 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2010), Form D. On behalf of Turkey, the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency had signed a contract in November 2010 with Spreewerk Lübben GMBH, a company in Germany, to destroy the ADAM mines as Turkey’s Munitions Disposal Facility could not complete this task. Destruction of the first ADAM mines began in Germany in March 2011 and the program concluded on 21 June 2011. Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Phnom Penh, 1 December 2011.

[25] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form B, 23 April 2007. Use of victim-activated Claymore mines is prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty, but use of command-detonated Claymore mines is permitted. In May 2006, Turkey stated that “the victim activation components of M18 Claymore mines have recently been added to the list of mines to be destroyed and the necessary steps have been taken to stock only command detonated M18 Claymore mines.” Statement of Turkey, Standing Committee on Stockpile Destruction, Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 11 May 2006.

[26] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 1 October 2004. This included 4,700 each of DM-11 and M14, and 2,200 each of M16, M18, and M2 mines. In 2006, Turkey reported the number of mines retained for training had decreased to 15,150 “because 850 mines have been used for mine detection, mine clearance and mine destruction programmes carried out to train military personnel involved in mine action, as well as for related training at various military training institutions.” Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on General Status and Operation, Geneva, 12 May 2006. This information was also indicated in Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, Form D, 30 April 2006. However, neither document specified how many of each type of mine were destroyed, and how many remained.

[28] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 7 December 2012; and statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on General Status and Operation, Geneva, 25 May 2009.

[29] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 7 December 2012.

[30] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on General Status and Operation, Geneva, 25 June 2010.

[31] Ibid., 12 May 2006. It made a similar statement in October 2005. Letter No. 649.13/2005/BMCO DT/8805 from Vehbi Esgel Etensel, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN in Geneva, 3 October 2005.

[32] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Geneva, 13 June 2005.


Mine Action

Last updated: 30 October 2018

 

Treaty status

Mine Ban Treaty

State Party
Article 5 deadline: 1 March 2022
Not on track

Mine action management

National mine action management actors

Turkish Mine Action Center (TURMAC)

United Nations (UN)

UN Development Fund (UNDP)managing demining operators and quality assurance along the eastern border and supporting capacity development of TURMAC

Mine action legislation

Law No. 6586 on the “Establishmentof a National Mine Action Center and Amendment of Some Other Laws” adopted in January 2015

Mine action strategic plan

Draft national strategic mine action plan for 2018–2020 not yet adopted

Mine action standards

Provisional standards based on the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS)

Operators in 2017

Turkish armed forces
Denel MECHAM (MECHAM) with national sub-contractor Altay
RPS-Explosive Engineering Services (quality assurance and quality control)

Extent of contamination as of July 2018

Landmines

164km2 CHA in addition to 701 SHAs (extent unknown)
Extent of contamination: massive

Cluster munition remnants

None

Other ERW contamination

Contamination includes IEDs

Land release in 2017

Landmines

0.82km2 cleared, 0.07km2 released and 7.5km2cancelled. 26,381 antipersonnel mines and 29 antivehicle mines destroyed (this includes results from 2016)

Progress

Landmines

Phase 1 of the European Union Eastern Border Mine Clearance project on border with Iran completed at end of 2017. Phase 2 due to start in May 2018
Demining is being conducted to enable safe construction of a Border Security Surveillance System along the Syrian border. Once completed, this is expected to allow for planned demining of the Syrian border to commence
In 2017, no clearance was conducted along the southeastern/Iraqi border or in non-border areas

Notes: CHA = confirmed hazardous area; SHA = suspected hazardous area; ERW = explosive remnants of war; IEDs = improvised explosive devices; UXO = unexploded ordnance.

 

Contamination

The Republic of Turkey is contaminated with antipersonnel and antivehicle mines, as well as improvised explosive devices (IEDs), with more than 164kmof confirmed mined area across 3,061 confirmed hazardous areas (CHAs), as summarized in the table below. A further 701 areas are suspected to be mined, but the area they cover and the number of mines that may lie within them remain to be qualified,[1] therefore the total contaminated area is likely to be significantly larger.

This is a reduction in baseline contamination compared to the end of 2016, when 177km2of mine contamination was reported across 3,080 CHAs.[2] The suspected mined area at the end of 2017 was unchanged from a year earlier.

The great majority of antipersonnel mines in Turkey are found alongits borders. The mines were laid in 1955–1959 all along the border with Syria, as well as on some sections of the border with Armenia, Iran, and Iraq in 1992–1995,[3] and with Azerbaijan.[4] According to Turkey, its western borders with Bulgaria and Greece, as well as the border with Georgia, are mine-free.[5] Mines were also laid around military installations.[6]

Contamination by region (as of end 2017)[7]

Region

CHAs

Area (m2)

AP mines in CHAs

AV mines in CHAs

SHAs

Area (m2)

Syrian border

1,301

139,040,431

413,117

194,649

84

Unknown

Iraqi border

596

2,862,835

79,017

0

373

Unknown

Iranian border*

455

17,974,376

171,844

0

38

Unknown

Armenian border

42

1,097,077

20,275

0

0

0

Non-border areas

667

3,107,849

34,410

0

206

Unknown

Total

3,061

164,082,568

718,663

194,649

701

Unknown

Note: AP = antipersonnel mine; AV = antivehicle mine.
* A section of mined area also intersects with the Azerbaijan border.

Government forces emplaced landmines during the 1984–1999 conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, PKK) in the southeast of the country. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, these mines have been progressively cleared since 1998.[8] In addition to mines laid by Turkish security forces, non-state armed groups have also emplaced mines and IEDs, rendering the clearance process more complex.[9]

The number of mined areas along the Iraqi border, as well as part of the Iranian border, is an estimate, as, according to Turkey, precise calculation is hampered by terrorist activities and the presence of unconfirmed mined areas. In addition, fewer mines are expected along the Syrian border than indicated because of detonations by smugglers and as a result of wildfires.[10]

Mine contamination in Turkey has both a humanitarian and economic impact. Up to 80% of mined areas along the Syrian border are on arable land, which cannot be used. The risk to livestock is widespread, especially where fencing is damaged. Mined areas have also prevented access for development activities.[11]

Northern Cyprus

Turkey’s original Article 5 clearance deadline was 1 March 2014. In 2013, States Parties granted Turkey an eight-year extension until 1 March 2022, for clearance of mines in Turkey, but Turkey did not request additional time for clearance of the areas it controls in northern Cyprus[12] (see the Cyprus Mine Action profile for further information).

Program Management

In January 2015, Law No. 6586 on the “Establishment
of a National Mine Action Centre and Amendment of Some Other Laws” was adopted by the Turkish Grand National Assembly; the law entered into force on 3 February 2015. The law aims to define the modalities
and identify the functions, jurisdictions, and responsibilities of the national mine action center (NMAC), which will carry out clearance of mines and/or unexploded ordnance (UXO) to humanitarian standards in Turkey.[13] The law entitles the NMAC to elaborate policies for this clearance; to plan and steer related activities and monitor their implementation; and to carry out the necessary coordination and cooperation with domestic and foreign institutions.[14]

The NMAC was established on 3 February 2015 under the Ministry of National Defense, and called the Turkish Mine Action Center (TURMAC).[15] A director was appointed in August of the same year.[16] By February 2016, core staff had been recruited and the center was in the initial stages of becoming operational.[17] However, there has been a high level of turnaround in senior-level positions at TURMAC, including the directorship. Under Law 694 of 15 August 2017, TURMAC reports directly to the Undersecretary of the Ministry of National Defense.[18]

TURMAC’s capacity-development efforts are being implemented in partnership with the UNDP and the GICHD, as well as other national partners.[19] A capacity needs assessment conducted by the UNDP and the GICHD in October 2016 highlighted several capacity gaps for TURMAC.[20] Responding to the findings of the assessment, Turkey subsequently reported significant progress in improving the structure of TURMAC, taking steps to better coordinate with other state institutions, and conducting recruitment of qualified personnel and intensive training to strengthen capacity.[21] Development of standing operating procedures (SOPs) and “other organizational arrangements” are still underway.[22]

Strategic planning

Turkey does not have a national strategic mine action plan in place. Delays in developing a plan were attributed to the general elections in November 2015 and the attempted coup in July 2016. As of June 2017, a national strategic mine action plan for 2017–2019 had been drafted and Turkey reported it expected the strategy to be adopted by the end of 2017.[23] However, in December 2017, Turkey reported that a draft national strategic mine action plan for 2018–2020 was expected to be adopted by the Council of Ministers before the end of 2018.[24] Subsequently, Turkey declared in its latest Article 7 transparency report that a national strategic mine action plan for 2019–2021 was drafted and was expected to be approved and published in the Official Gazette in 2018.[25] The three-year plan reportedly covers national capacity development, survey and clearance of mined areas, provision of mine risk education, and assistance to mine victims.[26] It includes plans for survey of SHA and CHA on the southeastern/Iraqi border, the Syrian border, and non-border areas.[27]

Turkey’s workplan is divided into planned survey and clearance per region and will be finalized after TURMAC has adopted its national mine action strategic plan. Further revisions were probable due to ongoing investigation and survey of mined areas in the border regions.[28]

Syrian border

The Syrian border is estimated to account for two-thirds of the mines and close to 90% of the remaining mined area in the country. Officials observed it is also the easiest border to clear because the terrain is flat and there has been minimal displacement of mines as a result of factors such as land erosion.[29] Minefields in this region are clearly mapped, marked, fenced, and reported to be well known to the local population.[30]

Clearance has been delayed due to armed conflict in Syria.[31] This is with the exception of the demining being conducted to enable safe construction of a Border Security Surveillance System along Turkey’s border with Syria, which commenced in 2016.[32] According to online media sources, the three-meter-high wall is being built behind minefields and deep ditches, and is reinforced with barbed wire and steel fences, and there are also watch towers and around the clock military patrols.[33] Demining efforts in support of the construction of the surveillance system also include survey and clearance of areas suspected or confirmed to contain mines of an improvised natureand other explosive devices deployed by non-state armed groups.[34] As of December 2017, TURMAC expected that the Border Security Surveillance System would be completed in May 2018. Once completed, the Border Security Surveillance System will reportedly allow for planned demining of the Syrian border to commence.[35]

Eastern borders

In May 2015, an Integrated Border Management Project was launched, under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior in a joint project with the UNDP. The project, which is funded by the EU, Turkey, and the UN, aims to address the humanitarian and border management challenges posed by mine contamination, and to contribute to social and economic development through demining and more secure borders in eastern Turkey.[36] Under the project, the UNDP is managing the demining operations and quality assurance along the eastern border and supporting the capacity development of TURMAC.[37]

Clearance operations for Phase 1 of the project began in June 2016, and were completed by the end of 2017.[38] The demining component was implemented by Denel MECHEM (MECHEM), as part of a consortium in which national operators were sub-contracted by MECHEM.[39] A total of almost 3.3kmof mined area was released (637,685mcleared, 75,445m2reduced, and 2,583,110mcancelled) and more than 24,000 mines were destroyed in 2016 and 2017.[40] This was considerably less than the expected results of clearance of 223 mined areas over an area of just less than 11.67kmand the destruction of 189,863 antipersonnel mines.[41]

Phase 2 of the project, which was expected to start in May 2018, was planned to result in the release at least 1.2km2.[42]

Areas currently being cleared as part of the EU Eastern Border Mine Clearance Project will remain as restricted areas (due to their location) even after completion of mine clearance. TURMAC reported that survey and clearance is conducted geographically from north to south in order to improve cost, time, and labor efficiency; but that clearance of other areas was prioritized according to impact.[43]

Southeastern/Iraqi border

Under the draft strategic mine action plan for 2017–2019, survey is planned of suspected mined area in Sirnak province (in parts of the province bordering Iraq) in 2018 and of confirmed mined area in this province in 2019; and of suspected mined area in Hakkari province in 2019.[44] Clearance along the southeastern/Iraqi border was not scheduled to commence until 2019, after completion of Phase 2 of the Eastern Border Mine Clearance Project,[45] and because of the conflict in Syria.[46] Clearance of the 969 mined areas, totaling just over 2.86km2, was scheduled to take place in 2019–2021, with the destruction of 79,017 antipersonnel mines. This represents all known mine contamination in this region.[47]

Non-border areas

The draft national mine action plan for 2017–2019 reportedly includes plans for survey of suspected mined area in interior areas of Mardin, Siirt, and Sirnak provinces in 2018, and Hakkari province in 2019; and survey of confirmed mined area in Diyarbakir and Siirt in 2019.[48]

Turkey reported at the Mine Ban Treaty Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties in December 2017 and in its Article 7 report for 2017 that demining activities will soon commence in the non-border areas, which account for less than 2% of all contaminated areas in Turkey, and that non-technical survey is planned for 2018.[49]

Legislation and standards

As noted above, national mine action legislation was adopted in January 2015.

To date, demining has proceeded on the basis of provisional standards, using the International Mine Action Standards (IMAS) as a template.[50]

The UNDP and the GICHD are assisting TURMAC to formulate new national mine action standards based upon IMAS and the provisional standards elaborated for the EU eastern border clearance projects.[51] Turkey reported that it had developed a land release policy relating to the Eastern Border Mine Clearance Project, which will allow for efficient land release.

In April 2017, a set of National Mine Action Standards, including a land release policy, were sent to the National Standards Institute of Turkey for approval; this was expected to occur in the course of 2018.[52] The first meeting of the National Standard Review Board was due to be held in the first half of 2018 and twice a year thereafter, attended by the relevant agencies.[53]

In its latest Article 7 transparency report, Turkey reported that development of SOPs was still underway.[54]

Quality management

Following an international competitive tender process, the UNDP awarded a contract for quality assurance (QA)/quality control (QC) services to RPS-Explosive Engineering Services in March 2016. In April 2016, the UNDP and TURMAC completed the accreditation of RPS-Explosive Engineering Services, and the company then began the accreditation process for the mine clearance contractor, MECHEM, under the Eastern Border Mine Clearance Project.[55]

In addition, TURMAC oversees on-site operations and regularly attends operational working group meetings in the field.[56]

In 2017, TURMAC personnel were given training in ISO 9001 quality management system (a total of 12 courses), as well as mine action quality management training by the GICHD. The quality management of military demining troops will be conducted by TURMAC personnel.[57]

Information management

The UNDP and the GICHD are supporting TURMAC for the establishment of a functioning information management system.[58] The UNDP maintained a project database to record all operational data related to Phase 1 of the Eastern Border Mine Clearance Project, until a national mine action database could be established in TURMAC.[59]

In 2017, the Information Management System for Mine Action (IMSMA) was established[60] and was expected to become fully operational in 2018.[61] A significant number of personnel both from TURMAC and military demining troops have been trained on IMSMA. In addition to military demining troops, IMSMA will also be used in Phase 2 of the Eastern Border Mine Clearance Project.[62]

Due to national security concerns, much of the minefield data remains classified, presenting a challenge to mine action information management in Turkey.[63]

Operators

In 2017, mine clearance operations in Turkey were conducted by MECHEM, under the Eastern Border Mine Clearance project, and by the Turkish armed forces along the Syria border, to support construction of the Border Security Surveillance System.[64]

MECHEM, a South African company, which is partnering with national sub-contractor Altay, was awarded the tender for mine clearance under Phase 1 of the EU Eastern Border Mine Clearance project by the UNDP in December 2015.[65] MECHEM was subsequently accredited in Turkey, and as of June 2017, was employing 140 deminers. Accreditation for mine detection dogs (MDDs) was granted in 2017, and as of June 2017, 30 MDDs were being deployed by MECHEM, along with one MineWolf machine.[66] As noted above, RPS, a United Kingdom-based company, was contracted for QA and QC.[67]

Military demining troops were accredited for their manual demining capacity in 2017.[68] As of June 2017, demining units of the Turkish armed forces had a total operational capacity of 85 deminers, six MDDs, and four machines.[69] In December 2017, Turkey reported that it planned to triple the number of military demining units in 2018,[70] and in its latest Article 7 report, Turkey reported that the establishment of five new demining companies had been approved by the Ministry of National Defense. The procurement of equipment, including demining equipment, for the new demining companies was reported to be underway and was planned to be finalized before the end of 2018. Three of the five new teams were planned to be operational by the end of 2018 and the remaining two teams in 2019.[71]

Land Release

In 2017, Turkey reported a total of more than 0.82kmof clearance, during which 26,381 antipersonnel mines and 29 antivehicle mines were destroyed.[72] In addition, Turkey released a further 0.07kmthrough technical survey and cancelled more than 7.5kmthrough non-technical survey.

However, survey and clearance data reported by Turkey in its Article 7 report for 2017 includes the amount of land (in square meters) released by Turkish armed forces for both 2016 and 2017, which was not formally reported previously. The clearance results for 2016 for the armed forces, previously provided by the TURMAC and reported in Turkey’s mine action profile for 2017, appear to be incorrect. The survey output (in square meters) reported for MECHEM for 2017, also includes 2016 output.[73]

Survey in 2017

In 2016 and 2017, Turkey cancelled more than 7.5kmof mined area (2.58kmon the Iran border and 5kmon the Syria border) and reduced over 75,000mthrough technical survey (see table below).[74] Results of a comprehensive desk assessment of minefield records of the eastern and Syrian Borders conducted in 2016 were not reported in Turkey’s transparency report for 2016,[75] and were instead included in the latest reporting for 2017.[76]

Antipersonnel mine survey in 2016 and 2017[77]

Province

Operator

Area cancelled (m2)

Area reduced by TS (m2)

Iran border

MECHEM

2,583,110

75,445

Syria border

Turkish Army Demining Units

5,000,000

0

Total

 

7,583,110

75,445

Note: TS = technical survey.

On the Syrian Border, non-technical survey was conducted in Hatay region, where it was found that the areas registered as suspected had been used as agricultural land for many decades and the area has been mine-free. Consequently, approximately 5kmof SHA has been cancelled.[78]

In addition, with respect to non-border areas, Turkey reported that non-technical survey had been conducted at a previously used military range (2.5km2) in Eskişehir province, where the Trans-Anatolia Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project will be built. The area “was determined as safe and delivered to the relevant authorities.”[79] This area was not included in Turkey’s cancellation figures for 2017, and it is unclear whether or not this area was recorded as a suspected mined area in the first instance.

Clearance in 2017

In its Article 7 transparency report for 2017, more than 0.82kmwas reported as cleared: over 0.57kmon the eastern border with Iran and 0.25kmon the Syrian border (see table below). The area of land cleared on the Syrian border, however, relates to clearance in both 2016 and 2017.

Antipersonnel mine clearance in 2016 and 2017[80]

Province

Operator

Area cleared (m2)

AP mines destroyed

AV mines destroyed

Iran border*

MECHEM

514,921

15,667

0

Turkish Army Demining Units

59,195

10,679

 

Syria border

Turkish Army Demining Units

250,000

35

29

Total

 

824,116

26,381

29

Note: AP = antipersonnel mine; AV = antivehicle mine.
*A section of mined area also intersects with the Azerbaijan border. Demining operations in this area were initiated in 2017. The work along the Azerbaijani border segment is planned to be completed in 2018.

On the eastern border with Iran, MECHEM, with sub-contracting partner Altay, cleared 514,921min 2017, under Phase 1 of the EU Eastern Border Mine Clearance Project. In addition, military Demining Troops cleared a further 59,195mof land on the Iran border, which “accounts for approximately 1 million mof suspected hazardous area in Iğdır province and Doğubeyazıtz district of Agri province.” Turkey also reported that, “The land will be released in 2018 after verification. Additional minefields which accounts for 603,710m2of contaminated area will also be released.” During these operations, “IMSMA has been used and quality control is assured.”[81]

Turkey also reported clearance of 250,000m2by military demining units in Karkamış and Elbeyli regions on the Syrian border, with the destruction of 25 antipersonnel mines and 29 antivehicle mines.[82] However, this relates to land released through clearance for both 2016 and 2017.

Clearance on the Syrian border was conducted as part of demining efforts in support of the construction of the Border Security Surveillance System, with the released land delivered to the relevant authorities to be used as customs areas.[83] While Turkey did report destruction of 414 antipersonnel mines in its Article 7 report for 2016, as part of this Syria border project, it did not formally report the corresponding area cleared (in square meters), as QA/QC procedures had not yet been completed, and the Turkish armed forces demining units were not yet accredited operationally at that time.[84] The TURMAC previously reported that more than 3.3kmhad been cleared long the Syria border in 2016.[85] Based on the 250,000mclearance subsequently reported by Turkey in its most recent Article 7 report, it appears that the 3.3kmreported previously by the TURMAC was inaccurate and included a significant proportion of cancelled area, not just clearance output.

No mine clearance was conducted in 2016 or 2017 along the southeastern/Iraqi border or in non-border areas.[86]

Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 Compliance

Under Article 5 of the Mine Ban Treaty (and in accordance with the eight-year extension granted by States Parties in 2013), Turkey is required to destroy all antipersonnel mines in mined areas under its jurisdiction or control as soon as possible, but not later than 1 March 2022. Turkey will not meet this deadline.

Turkey’s original Article 5 deadline was 1 March 2014. In 2012, Turkey acknowledged to the Twelfth Meeting of States Parties that it would seek an extension to its deadline.[87] In March 2013, Turkey submitted a request for an eight-year extension to its deadline until 2022 to complete clearance of all mined areas. Turkey stated that the envisaged timeframe was subject to revision pending progress with tenders and clearance activities on the ground.[88]

In its 2013 extension request, Turkey cited a number of circumstances that had impeded it from carryingout mine clearance, including: delays in
the establishment of an NMAA and NMAC that
will supervise clearance activities; adverse weather conditions allowing clearance to be conducted for only five or six months a year; security problems posed by the continuation of the terrorist threat; mined territory contaminated with metal residue resulting from the fight against terrorism; uncertainties about the mine-free status of some areas due to the irregular completion
of registration forms; and topographical challenges. According to Turkey, the eastern and southeastern borders and non-border areas are the most complicated to address due to topographical difficulties.[89]

In granting the 2013 Article 5 deadline Extension Request, the Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties recalled the number of efforts to be carried out during 2013–2014, crucial to the success of the implementation of Turkey’s plan, and requested that Turkey report to the Third Review Conference in June 2014 on: the tendering processes for clearance along Turkey’s border with Syria and the results of any related demining efforts and annual milestones of expected progress; the tendering processes for the clearance of areas along Turkey’s eastern borders; developments in the establishment of the NMAA and NMAC; and process in clearance of mined areas in non-border areas.[90] Turkey did not provide an update on clearance progress at the Third Review Conference, but did subsequently submit a workplan in March 2015.[91]

Turkey revealed in its 2013 extension request that since 1998 it had only cleared a total of 1.15kmof mined area, close to three-quarters of which took place in one year (2011), with destruction of 760 antipersonnel mines and 974 antivehicle mines. In addition, military teams had cleared 24,287 mines, but only to allow safe movement of troops, not to release a contaminated area.[92]

Turkey’s total mine clearance to date only amounts to a tiny fraction of its overall mine contamination, and more than 14 years after becoming a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty, Turkey has only made marginal progress in addressing mine contamination. While mine clearance has subsequently also taken place in 2014, 2016, and 2017, little more than 1.1km2of mined area has been cleared in total over the last five years (see table below).

Phase 1 of the EU Eastern Borders Mine Clearance Project (in the provinces of Ardahan, Kars, Igdir, and Agri) commenced in June 2016 was completed by the end of 2017. Phase 2 was due to begin in 2018.

Mine clearance in 2013–2017[93]

Year

Area cleared (m2)

2017

824,116[94]

2016

122,764

2015

0

2014

157,251

2013

Unknown

Total

1,104,131

 

Based on the current rate of clearance, Turkey will not complete implementation of Article 5 by its deadline in 2022. While TURMAC reported in 2017 that Turkey was planning to meet its Article 5 deadline it also recognized potential obstacles, including: the possibility that the demining contractor for the EU Eastern Border Mine Clearance Project will not meet its deadline for Phase 1; potential delays for Phase 2; the fact that political uncertainties in Syria and Iraq may hinder survey and clearance activities on these borders, in addition to non-state armed groups hindering demining operations in other areas; and weather conditions limiting clearance to no more than seven months a year.[95]

 

 

The Monitor acknowledges the contributions of the Mine Action Review (www.mineactionreview.org), which has conducted the primary mine action research in 2018 and shared all its country-level landmine reports (from“Clearing the Mines 2018”) and country-level cluster munition reports (from “Clearing Cluster Munition Remnants 2018”) with the Monitor. The Monitor is responsible for the findings presented online and in its print publications.



[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form D.

[2] Ibid.; and email from Lt. Col Halil Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017.

[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 29 March 2013, pp. A-1 and A-5.

[4] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form D.

[5] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Standing Committee on Mine Action, Geneva, 23 May 2012; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 29 March 2013, p. A-1.

[6] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 29 March 2013, pp. A-1 and A-5.

[7] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form D.

[8] Response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire by Elif Comoglu Ulgen, Head, Disarmament and Arms Control Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 14 July 2008.

[9] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 29 March 2013, p. A-5.

[10] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form C.

[11] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 29 March 2013, pp. A-4 and A-7.

[12] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 29 March 2013.

[13] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2014), “Workplan for mine clearance activities,” Annex 1; and Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form A, 2015.

[14] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2014), “Workplan for mine clearance activities,” Annex 1; and Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Amended Protocol II Article 13 Report, Form A, 2015.

[15] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2014), Form F.

[16] Interview with Gen. Celalettin Coban, Director, TURMAC, and Col. Ali Güngör, Mine Action Officer, Strategic Planning Branch, TURMAC, in Geneva, 18 February 2016.

[17] Interview with Gen. Coban, and Col. Güngör, TURMAC, in Geneva, 18 February 2016.

[18] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for 2017), Form A.

[19] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for 2016), Form H; statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Committee on Enhancement of Cooperation and Assistance, Geneva, 8 June 2017; and statement of Turkey on International Cooperation and Assistance, Mine Ban Treaty Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties, Vienna, 21 December 2017.

[20] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Form A; and statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Committee on Article 5 Implementation, Geneva, 8 June 2017.

[21] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A; and statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties, Vienna, 20 December 2017.

[22] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A.

[24] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties, Vienna, 20 December 2017.

[25] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Email from Lt.-Col. Halil Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017.

[28] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form F; and email from Lt. Col Halil Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017.

[29] ICBL interview with Ömer Burhan Tüzel, Serhan Yiğit, and Ramazan Ercan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Abdullah Özbek, Ministry of Interior, Ankara, 5 May 2011.

[30] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, Santiago, 29 November 2016.

[31] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2014), “Workplan for mine clearance activities,” pp. 3 and 8; and statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Fifteenth Meeting of States Parties, Santiago, 29 November 2016.

[32] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Reports (for calendar years 2016 and 2017), Form A.

[33] “Walls, drones and mines: Turkey tightens border as Syria incursion deepens,” Reuters, 3 March 2017; and “Amid terror threats, Turkey extends its ‘Great Wall’ on Syrian border,” Daily Sabah Turkey, 3 January 2017.

[34] Email from Lt.-Col. Halil Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017.

[35] Interview with Col. Zaki Eren, Director of Operations Department and Acting Director of TURMAC, and Maj. Can Ceylan, Head of Quality Management Section, in Vienna, 20 December 2017.

[36] UNDP, “Mine Action Programming: Turkey,” February 2016.

[37] Email from Hans Risser, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub, 3 October 2016.

[38] Email from Lt.-Col. Halil Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017; interview with Col. Eren, and Maj. Ceylan, TURMAC, in Vienna, 20 December 2018; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A.

[39] Interview with Gen. Coban, and Col. Güngör, TURMAC, in Geneva, 18 February 2016.

[40] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A.

[41] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2014), “Workplan for mine clearance activities,” p. 7. The UNDP subsequently announced slightly revised figures for Phase 1, reporting a plan to clear 551 minefields covering more than 15km2, and to destroy a total of 222,000 landmines along the border with Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran. UNDP, “Turkey, UNDP begin clearing landmines along eastern borders,” 4 April 2016.

[42] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A.

[43] Email from Lt.-Col. Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2014), “Workplan for mine clearance activities,” p. 7.

[46] Email from Lt.-Col. Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017.

[47] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2014), “Workplan for mine clearance activities,” pp. 7 and 8.

[48] Email from Lt.-Col. Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017.

[49] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties, Vienna, 20 December 2017; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A.

[50] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2014), “Workplan for mine clearance activities.”

[51] Email from Hans Risser, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub, 3 October 2016; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2015), Form F.

[52] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A; and statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties, Vienna, 20 December 2017.

[53] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Email from Hans Risser, UNDP, 3 October 2016; and UNDP, “Preparatory work for demining,” undated.

[56] Email from Lt.-Col. Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017.

[57] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A.

[58] Interview with Col. Güngör, TURMAC, in Geneva, 18 February 2016.

[59] Interview with Hans Risser, UNDP, Geneva, 7 September 2016.

[60] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties, Vienna, 20 December 2017.

[61] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A.

[62] Ibid.

[63] Interview with Hans Risser, UNDP, Geneva, 7 September 2016.

[64] Email from Lt.–Col. Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017; and interview with Col. Eren, and Maj. Ceylan, TURMAC, in Vienna, 20 December 2018; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A.

[65] UNDP, “Turkey, UNDP begin clearing landmine along eastern borders,” 4 April 2016.

[66] Email from Lt.-Col. Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017.

[67] UNDP, “Turkey, UNDP begin clearing landmine along eastern borders,” 4 April 2016.

[68] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A; and statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties, Vienna, 20 December 2017.

[69] Email from Lt.-Col. Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017.

[70] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Sixteenth Meeting of States Parties, Vienna, 20 December 2017.

[71] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A.

[72] Ibid., Form D.

[73] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2016), Forms A and D; Article 7 Report (for 2017), Form D; and email from Lt.-Col. Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017.

[74] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A.

[75] Ibid.; and statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Standing Committee on Victim Assistance, Geneva, 8 June 2017.

[76] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form A.

[77] Ibid.

[78] Ibid.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Ibid., and Form D.

[81] Ibid., Form A.

[82] Ibid., and Form D.

[83] Ibid., Forms A and D.

[84] Interview with Col. Imren, and Lt.-Col. Şen, TURMAC, in Geneva, 7 February 2017.

[85] Emails from Lt.-Col. Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017; and from Cpt. Gun, TURMAC, 16 November 2017.

[86] Email from Lt.-Col. Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form D.

[87] Statements of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Eleventh Meeting of States Parties, Phnom Penh, 1 December 2011; and Twelfth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 5 December 2012.

[88] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 29 March 2013, p. A-13.

[89] Ibid., pp. A-11, A-12.

[90] Decision on Turkey’s Article 5 deadline Extension Request, Mine Ban Treaty Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties, 5 December 2013.

[91] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2014), “Workplan for mine clearance activities.”

[92] Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 29 March 2013, pp. A-8 and A-9.

[93] See Landmine Monitor and Mine Action Review reports on clearance in Turkey covering 2012–2016; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 5 deadline Extension Request, 29 March 2013, p. A-9.

[94] Includes some clearance results for 2016.

[95] Email from Lt.-Col. Şen, TURMAC, 21 June 2017.


Last updated: 08 November 2018

In 2017, the Republic of Turkey provided US$10,000 through the ITF (International Trust Fund) Enhancing Human Security for victim assistance activities in Lebanon.[1]

Turkey is also affected by antipersonnel and antivehicle mines, as well as improvised explosive devices (IEDs).[2] Between 1998–2012, Turkey reported contributing approximately 68.7 million Turkish Lira (approximately $30 million) to its own mine clearance efforts.[3] Turkey has not reported the amounts contributed since then.

In 2014, the European Union (EU) contributed €19,800,000 ($26,328,060) for clearance activities in the eastern border regions, as part of an integrated border management project.[4] Turkey did not receive international funding in 2015, 2016, and 2017.



[1] ITF Enhancing Human Security, “Annual Report 2017,” March 2018, p. 25.

[2] For more details, see, Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, “Country Profile: Turkey: Mine Action.”

[4] Email from Jérôme Legrand, Policy Officer, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Conventional Weapons and Space Division (K1), European External Action Service, 11 June 2015. Average exchange rate for 2014: €1=US$1.3297. US Federal Reserve, “List of Exchange Rates (Annual),” 2 January 2015.


Casualties

Last updated: 09 November 2018

 

Casualties

All known casualties (between 1984 and 2017)

6,360 mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) casualties (1,269 killed; 5,091 injured) in the period 1984–2010; 404 mine/ERW casualties in 2011–2017 (98 killed; 306 injured)*

Casualties in 2017[1]

Annual total

42

Decrease from
57 in 2016

Survival outcome

7 killed; 35 injured

Device type causing casualties

14 antipersonnel mine; 5 improvised mine; 23 ERW

Civilian status

37 civilian; 4 deminer; 1 military

Age and gender

19 adults:
1 women; 18 men

23 children:
5 boys; 2 girls; 16 unknown

 

Casualties in 2017–details

The Monitor identified at least 42 new mine/ERW casualties in 2017 in the Republic of Turkey. Media reports collected by the Initiative for a Mine-Free Turkey (IMFT)included 38 casualties, including 37 civilian casualties and one military personnel. The majority of civilian casualties were children (23).[2] Four deminer casualties were also included among other casualties in Turkey’s Article 7 report.[3] The 2017 total represents a decrease from the 57 new mine/ERW casualties in 2016, but an increase from the 34 new mine/ERW casualties in 2015.[4]

Turkey reported that there were 23 civilian antipersonnel mine casualties in 2017, including nine people killed, and seven children among the injured. In a marked change from previous years, Turkey reported on civilian casualties and deminer casualties and excluded military personnel from its casualty reporting.[5]

Total casualties, details*

The total number of mine/improvised explosive device (IED)/ERW casualties in Turkey is unknown. Turkey had reported 4,602 mine/ERW casualties, including 919 people killed and 3,683 injured, as of the end of 2015.[6] However, according to a media report in April 2010, the Ministry of Internal Affairs had recorded 6,360 mine casualties since 1984; 1,269 people killed (625 security personnel; 644 civilians) and another 5,091 people injured (with the number of civilians compared to security personnel injured not reported) in mine incidents.[7] In 2007, a demining specialist reported at least 10,000 mine casualties (mostly civilians) along the Turkish-Syrian border since the 1950s (more than 3,000 killed and 7,000 injured).[8]

In its Article 5 deadline Extension Request of March 2013, Turkey provided information on antipersonnel mine casualties occurring between 2004 and the end of 2012: 882 military personnel (260 killed; 622 injured) and 168 civilians (56 killed; 112 injured). Turkey also included disaggregated information on the age and sex of civilian casualties for a similar time period (10 years); of the total civilian casualties reported, 15 were female and 50 were children.[9] In contrast, Monitor reporting, which included IMFT data for the period from 2004 to the end of 2012, counted more than twice the number of civilian mine/ERW casualties; 377 civilian casualties of 979 casualties recorded in total.



[1] Unless otherwise indicated, casualty data for 2017 is based on email from Muteber Öğreten, Initiative for a Mine-Free Turkey (IMFT), 25 July 2018; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Reports (for calendar year 2017), Form H.

[2] Monitor analysis of data in email from Muteber Öğreten, IMFT, 25 July 2018.

[3] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Reports (for calendar year 2017), Form H.

[4] Email from Muteber Öğreten, IMFT, 17 May 2016.

[5] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form H. See previous Monitor casualties and Victim Assistance profiles on Turkey for examples of past reporting.

[6] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Reports (for calendar years 2006–2014), Form J; response to Monitor questionnaire by the Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, 31 August 2005; and presentation of Turkey, Standing Committee on Victim Assistance and Socio-Economic Reintegration, Geneva, 13 May 2003.

[7] Melik Duvaklı, “Türkiye, 26 yılda 1.269 canını mayına kurban verdi” (“Turkey, in 26 years 1,269 lives victimized by mines”), Zaman, 13 April 2010.

[8] Email from Ali M. Koknar, President, AMK Risk Management, 5 July 2007; and Ali M. Koknar, AMK Risk Management, “Turkey Moves Forward to Demine Upper Mesopotamia,” Journal of Mine Action, No. 8, 2 November 2004.


Victim Assistance

Last updated: 09 November 2018

Victim assistance action points

  • Increase coordination of victim assistance obligations with the input of the General Directorate of Services for the Disabled and Elderly in the Ministry of Family and Social Policies.
  • Develop a plan and coordinate implementation of victim assistance in accordance with Mine Ban Treaty Maputo Action Plan commitments.
  • Make adequate prosthetic and rehabilitation facilities a priority in the mine-affected regions.

Victim assistance planning and coordination

Government focal points

Disabled and Senior Citizens Directorate General, Ministry of Family and Social Policies and the Turkish Mine Action Center (TURMAC)

Coordination mechanism

TURMAC meetings with relevant actors as necessary

Coordination regularity/frequency and outcomes/effectiveness

TURMAC planned that necessary coordination will be held with the relevant bodies “so that every mine victim may attain their legal rights”[1]

Plans/strategies

None reported

Disability sector integration

The Ministry of Family and Social Policies through its Disabled and Senior Citizens Directorate General is the government entity responsible for protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, including mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW)survivors and family members of casualties[2]

Survivor inclusion and participation

Survivors were not reported to have been included in the planning or implementation of services

Reporting

Statement, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, 7 June 2017
Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 reporting on victim assistance (Form H),updated for calendar year 2017

 

International commitments and obligations

Turkey is responsible for landmine and ERW survivors. Past Monitor reporting, found that more than 5,000 people were reported to have been injured by mines in Turkey since 1984.[3] In 2017, TURMAC stated that existing records indicated that there had been some 4,000 landmine casualties in Turkey[4]

Mine Ban Treaty

Yes

Convention on Cluster Munitions

No

Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Protocol V

No

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)

Yes

 

Laws and policies

In the Republic of Turkey, the law prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities and the constitution permits “positive discrimination” favoring them. NGOs that advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities reported that the laws were not enforced effectively.[5]

Accessibility of public services and buildings for persons with disabilities remained extremely limited.[6]

The Ministry of Family and Social Policies operated social service centers assisting vulnerable individuals, including persons with disabilities.[7] All public schools are required by law to accommodate students with disabilities, although disability rights activists reported that a large number of school-age children with disabilities did not receive adequate access to education.[8] Turkey had no mental health laws.[9]

The public sector’s employment rate for persons with disabilities remained well below its commitments 3% commitment.[10]

Major Developments in 2017–2018

In the context of the ongoing conflict in Syria, the influx of refugees coming into Turkey has continued to strain the national healthcare system,[11] especially in the provinces hosting the largest number of refugees: Șanliıurfa, Gaziantep, Hatay, Istanbul, Mersin, and Adana.[12]

A new data collection mechanism was established for victims of mine/ERW incidents who are taken to hospital with the Ministry of Health’s module for civilian casualties, the “Health Management System.” The system was designed for improved monitoring and assistance to mine victims.[13]

Needs assessment

National NGO the Initiative for a Mine-Free Turkey (IMFT) continued to collect information available on survivors and persons killed through media scanning and crosschecking with other organizations and local sources.

Turkey reported that efforts were being made to create a “shared database specifically designed for mine victims.”[14] Since 2016, the Ministry of Interior, through the gendarmerie and national police, updates TURMAC on the details of incidents and casualties in the areas under their responsibilitywithin a month of each mine/ERW incident, while the General Staff, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Family and Social Policies and other relevant ministries and bodies report quarterly on changes to personal data and health status of mine victims. Persons considered official mine victims according to the legislation were to be assisted to attain their legal rights in coordination with the other relevant bodies.[15]

Medical care and rehabilitation

Generally, healthcare facilities in towns in the mine-affected regions (other than the largest cities) have been underfunded, had inadequate staffing levels and equipment, and often were not able to address survivors’ emergencies or ongoing medical needs.[16] Emergency services are free-of-charge for all citizens in both public and private hospitals.[17] Access to healthcare services remained challenging for persons with disabilities.[18]

Mine/ERW victims who are unable to perform daily activities without assistance receive support for obtaining medicine and medical equipment at no additional cost.[19]

All persons with disabilities have the right to access the free first-aid services at public and private healthcare centers. According to the General Health Insurance system, payment of premiums based on income-level is required. General Health Insurance premiums for people in need are covered by state funding.[20]

There was a significant need for prosthetics and rehabilitation services to be established in other mine/ERW-affected provinces. The General Health Insurance system provides orthosis, prosthetics, and wheelchairs; however, the provision of these assistive devices is time-bound and limited to one new fitting every five years.[21]

Socio-economic and psychosocial inclusion

No specific economic inclusion or work programs existed for mine/ERW victims, however, some broader services exist that provide mine/ERW survivors and affected families with monthly payments, employment opportunities, enterprising grant, free job counselling, and courses according to their specific needs.[22]

Mine survivors took part in activities organized by the Sports Federation for the Disabled and the Veterans Physical Treatment, Education and Research Center.[23]

There is a lack of quantitative and aggregated data on the participation of persons with disabilities in economic and social life.[24]

Cross-cutting

In 2017, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) opened three High Technology Prosthetic Orthotics Centers in Istanbul, Şanlıurfa, and Hatay. The centers provided physical rehabilitation services to Syrian refugees, free of charge.[25] As of June 2018, 275 prostheses were provided by the centers.[26] The centers also provided psychological support to patients.[27]

The World Health Organization (WHO) supported Turkish health authorities providing access to health services to Syrian refugees.[28] The WHO trained Syrian refugees in providing health services to fellow Syrian refugees in Turkey.[29] It also trained Turkish and Syrian health workers in mental health and psychosocial support to serve refugees and host communities.[30]

Victim assistance providers and activities

Name of organization

Type of activity

Government

General Health Insurance system

Provides orthosis, prosthetics, and wheelchairs

Gulhane Military Medical Academy and the Turkish Armed Forces Rehabilitation and Care Center (TAF-RCC)

Specialized facilities assist people wounded by weapons with high-quality services: rehabilitation, economic and social inclusion, and psychological support

National

Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH)

Physical rehabilitation, including 3D printed prosthetic and orthotic devices,[31] psychological support[32] for Syrian refugees

International

IMFT

Advocacy and assistance to individual survivors and peer support

 

 


[1] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form H.

[2] United States (US) Department of State, “2017 Human Rights Report: Turkey,” Washington, DC, 20 April 2018; and interview with Gazi Alatas, Ministry of Family and Social Policy, 4 March 2013.

[3] Melik Duvaklı, “Türkiye, 26 yılda 1.269 canını mayına kurban verdi” (“Turkey, in 26 years 1,269 lives victimized by mines”), Zaman, 13 April 2010; and Monitor reporting.

[4] Interview with Lt. Col. Halil Şen, TURMAC, in Geneva, 8 February 2017.

[5] US Department of State, “2017 Human Rights Report: Turkey,” Washington, DC, 20 April 2018.

[7] US Department of State, “2017 Human Rights Report: Turkey,” Washington, DC, 20 April 2018.

[8] Ibid.

[10] Ibid., p. 20.

[12] Ibid., p. 17.

[13] Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form H.

[14] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 7 June 2018; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form H.

[15] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 7 June 2018; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form H.

[16] See previous victim assistance profiles for Turkey.

[17]The politics of healthcare in Turkey,” Hurriyet Daily News, undated.

[19] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 7 June 2018; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form H.

[21] Email from Muteber Öğreten, IMFT, 17 May 2016.

[22] Statement of Turkey, Mine Ban Treaty Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 7 June 2018; and Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2017), Form H.

[23] Ibid.

[25] IHH, “Syria activity Report 2012-2018,” Istanbul, July 2018, p. 30; and “Syrian refugees get prosthetic limbs in Turkey,” Hurriyet Daily News, 31 October 2017.

[26] IHH, “Syria activity Report 2012–2018,” Istanbul, July 2018, p. 30

[27] IHH, “Victims of war are given prosthetic limbs,” 6 November 2017.

[29] Ibid., p. 5.

[30] Ibid., pp. 46–47.

[31] IHH, “Syria activity Report 2012–2018,” Istanbul, July 2018, p. 30; and “Syrian refugees get prosthetic limbs in Turkey,” Hurriyet Daily News, 31 October 2017.

[32] IHH, “Victims of war are given prosthetic limbs,” 6 November 2017.