Turkey has acknowledged the harm caused by the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA) and committed to action on the issue.
Turkey aligned with the World Humanitarian Summit Core Commitment to ‘Uphold the Norms that Safeguard Humanity’ in its national capacity and as a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). This included the commitment “to promote and enhance the protection of civilians and civilian objects, especially in the conduct of hostilities, for instance by working to prevent civilian harm resulting from the use of wide-area explosive weapons in populated areas, and by sparing civilian infrastructure from military use in the conduct of military operations.”
During the February 2014 Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, Turkey referred to the use of EWIPA in Syria.
Turkey participated in the Vienna Conference on the Protection of Civilians in Urban Warfare in October 2019 and in the first round of consultations in Geneva in 2019. In the latter, it asserted that the political declaration should not aim to create new norms, and called for the consideration of non-state actors in the declaration. This was reinforced in its written contribution, when it argued that “non-state actor” is an ambiguous term, and that “in any further efforts in the context of the EWIPA, “role of non-state actors” should not be exploited.”
Turkey also participated in the second round of consultation in Geneva, when it reiterated its arguments against conflation of the term non-state actors with non-state armed groups (NSAGs). It also argued the political declaration should not open the door to NSAGs. In its written contribution after the event, it added paragraph 2.1 with the following text: “2.1 bis We urge states to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular their obligations under the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and under the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977 as applicable, to ensure protection of civilians from humanitarian harm during armed conflict, including urban warfare.” In addition, it suggested a different text for paragraph 4.8, in which it deletes the reference to periodic review meetings and replace it by “Identify any relevant additional measures by reviewing national legislation for the implementation of the commitments in this declaration and improving compliance with obligations of States under International Humanitarian Law.”
In the round of consultations held in 2021, Turkey made the following remarks:
- Though it did not address the distinction between the terms directly, Turkey did repeatedly offer language that included the phrase “urban warfare” rather than “EWIPA” or “conduct of hostilities/armed conflict in populated areas” (including for 2.1).
- It said the aim of this declaration is to strengthen protection of civilians through enhancing existing international humanitarian law (IHL), not by establishing new rules, concepts, or mechanisms. It suggested alternative phrasing for 2.1: “We urge states to comply with their obligations under IHL, in particular their obligations under the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols, to ensure the protection of civilians from humanitarian harm during conflict, including urban warfare.”
- It said a distinction should be made between NSAGs and terrorist groups and said that terrorist groups shouldn’t be considered as party to armed conflict. With this in mind, it repeatedly suggested deleting references to NSAGs entirely, including in 2.2.
- It said that only the UN and UN agencies should be assigned to disseminate data.
- It was wary of generic references to “other relevant stakeholders” in 4.1, asking for greater specificity on who or what would be included.
 Agenda for Humanity. ‘Turkey’. https://agendaforhumanity.org/stakeholders/commitments/273.html.
 UN Security Council (2014). ‘UN Security Council Open Debate on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict Meeting Transcript’. https://undocs.org/en/S/PV.7109.
 INEW (2019). ‘Vienna Conference Marks Turning Point as States Support Negotiation of an International Political Declaration on Explosive Weapons’. https://www.inew.org/vienna-conference-marks-turning-point-as-states-support-negotiation-of-an-international-political-declaration-on-explosive-weapons/.
 Reaching Critical Will (2019). ‘Towards a Political Declaration on the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas: States Need to Ensure that Expressed Commitments Translate into Real Impacts on the Ground’. https://reachingcriticalwill.org/news/latest-news/14451-towards-a-political-declaration-on-the-use-of-explosive-weapons-in-populated-areas-states-need-to-ensure-that-expressed-commitments-translate-into-real-impacts-on-the-ground.
 Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations (2019). ‘Written Submission’. https://www.dfa.ie/media/dfa/ourrolepolicies/peaceandsecurity/ewipa/Turkey-Written-Submission-18-November-2019.pdf.
 Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will (2020). ‘Impacts, not Intentionality: The Imperative of Focusing on the Effects of Explosive Weapons in a Political Declaration’. https://reachingcriticalwill.org/news/latest-news/14658-impacts-not-intentionality-the-imperative-of-focusing-on-the-effects-of-explosive-weapons-in-a-political-declaration.
 Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations (2020). ‘Written Submission’. https://reachingcriticalwill.org/images/documents/Disarmament-fora/ewipa/declaration/documents/Turkey-March2020.pdf.
 Ray Acheson, Reaching Critical Will (2021). ‘Report on the March 2021 Consultations on a Political Declaration on the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas’. https://reachingcriticalwill.org/news/latest-news/15213-report-on-the-march-2021-consultations-on-a-political-declaration-on-the-use-of-explosive-weapons-in-populated-areas.