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Last Updated: 23 August 2014

Cluster Munition Ban Policy


The Republic of Turkey has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Turkey expressed its support for the humanitarian objectives of the Convention on Cluster Munitions in 2013 and 2014, but did not articulate why it is not able to join the ban convention at this time.[1] In April 2014, a government official informed the CMC that Turkey’s position remains unchanged in that it is unable to accede to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.[2] In October 2013, a representative stated that “Turkey…fully shares the humanitarian goals of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and strongly condemns their use against civilian populations.”[3]

Turkey is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and supported efforts to conclude a draft protocol on cluster munitions. Turkey is not known to have reviewed its position on accession to the Convention on Cluster Munitions since the CCW failed in 2011 to conclude a cluster munitions protocol, ending its deliberations on the weapons and leaving the Convention on Cluster Munitions as the sole multilateral instrument specifically dedicated to cluster munitions.

Turkey attended several of the diplomatic conferences of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Conventional Weapons. However, it participated only as an observer in the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008 and the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008 and did not sign the convention.[4]

Despite not joining, Turkey has continued to show interest in the Convention on Cluster Munitions since 2008. Turkey has attended every meeting of States Parties of the convention as an observer, including the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in Lusaka, Zambia in September 2013, but it has never made a statement at these meetings. Turkey participated for the second time in the convention’s intersessional meetings in Geneva in April 2014, but it did not make any statements.

Turkey has voted in favor of UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions condemning the Syrian government’s cluster munition use, including Resolution 68/182 on 18 December 2013, which expressed “outrage” at Syria’s “continued widespread and systematic gross violations of human rights…including those involving the use of…cluster munitions.”[5]

The Initiative for a Mine-Free Turkey, a CMC member, works to garner domestic support for the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

In the past, Turkey has produced, exported, and imported cluster munitions; it currently has a stockpile.

In September 2013, an official informed the CMC that Turkey does not intend to use cluster munitions.[6] In March 2009, Turkey stated that it “is not making use of cluster munitions.”[7] It is not known if Turkey used cluster munitions in the past.[8] A United States (US) Department of State cable from February 2008 made public by Wikileaks in May 2011, states that “there exists a de facto moratorium on the use of cluster munitions by the Turkish armed forces [but] Turkey’s military doctrine continues to call for the use of cluster munitions in the event of an ‘all out war.’”[9]

In June 2010, a government official informed the Monitor that “Turkey does not use, transfer, produce or import cluster munitions.”[10] In August 2011, another official told the Monitor, “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.”[11]

According to its website, the Turkish company Makina ve Kimya Endüstrisi Kurumu (MKEK) produces an extended range M396 155mm artillery projectile which contains self-destructing M85 dual-purpose improved conventional munition (DPICM) submunitions.[12] MKEK has also produced, under license from the US, M483A1 155mm artillery projectiles with DPICM submunitions.[13] It is unclear if this latter projectile is still in production.

The firm Roketsan has produced the TRK-122 122mm rocket, which contains 56 M85 DPICM submunitions.[14] Turkey sold 3,020 of the TRK-122 122mm rockets to the United Arab Emirates in 2006–2007.[15]

The US supplied Turkey with 3,304 Rockeye cluster bombs, each with 247 submunitions, at some point between 1970 and 1995.[16] In 1995, the US announced that it would provide Turkey with 120 ATACMS missiles with submunitions for its multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) launchers.[17] Turkey also possesses US-supplied M26 rockets, each with 644 submunitions, for its MLRS. In 2004, the US announced its intent to transfer to Turkey two CBU-103 Combined Effects Munitions cluster bombs, each with 202 submunitions, and two AGM-154 Joint Stand-Off Weapons (JSOW), each with 145 submunitions.[18] In 2005, it announced the proposed sale of another 50 CBU-103 and 50 JSOW.[19]

Slovakia reported the export of 380 AGAT 122mm rockets, each containing 56 submunitions, to Turkey in 2007.[20]

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.[21]


[1] In 2009, Turkey stated that “for the time being” it was not able to consider accession because its primary aim was to fulfill its obligations under the Mine Ban Treaty, to which it is a State Party. Letter from Amb. Tomur Bayer, Director-General, International Security Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Human Rights Watch (HRW), 2 March 2009. Turkey has not articulated its position on joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions since it completed the destruction of its stockpiled antipersonnel landmines in June 2011 after missing the initial stockpile destruction deadline in 2008.

[2] CMC meeting with Ramazan Ercan, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the UN in Geneva, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, 8 April 2014.

[3] Statement of Turkey, UNGA First Committee on Disarmament and International Security, New York, 30 October 2013.

[4] For details on Turkey’s cluster munition policy and practice through early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 246–249.

[5]Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic,” UNGA Resolution A/RES/68/182, 18 December 2013. Turkey voted in favor of a similar resolution on 15 May 2013.

[6] 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.

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

[8] 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. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union, NATO, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States (US). 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.

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

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

[11] Email from Ramazan Ercan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 8 August 2011.

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

[13] Leland S. Ness and Anthony G. Williams, eds., Jane’s Ammunition Handbook 2007–2008 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2007), pp. 635636.

[14] Ibid., p. 702; and Roketsan, “122 mm Artillery Weapons Systems, Extended Range Rockets and 122 mm MBRL System,” undated, www.roketsan.com.tr.

[15] 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.

[16] US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “Cluster Bomb Exports under FMS, FY1970–FY1995,” obtained by HRW in a Freedom of Information Act request, 28 November 1995.

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

[18] US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “Notifications to Congress of Pending US Arms Transfers,” No. 05-12, 7 October 2004.

[19] US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “Turkey – Munitions and Aircraft Components for F-16 Aircraft,” Press release, Transmittal No. 05-29, 8 September 2005,; and US Defense Security Cooperation Agency, “Turkey Wants the AGM-154A/C Joint Standoff Weapons,” Press release, Transmittal No. 05-33, 6 September 2005.

[20] Submission of the Slovak Republic, UN Register of Conventional Arms, Report for Calendar Year 2007, 12 June 2008.

[21] “Exports of Cluster Bombs Authorized in the Years 1991–2001,” official document by General Directorate of National Mobilization (Dirección General de Movilización Nacional), Chilean Ministry of National Defense document provided together with letter from the Brig. Gen. Roberto Ziegele Kerber, Director-General of National Mobilization, Ministry of National Defense of Chile, 18 May 2012.