Friday, December 5, 2008

Turkey (and the U.S.) Still Refuse to Ban Cluster Bombs

Another area of foreign policy in which Turkey is not joining with European states.

From Hürriyet:
Some 100 nations began putting their names to a landmark treaty banning cluster bombs yesterday, though Turkey was not among them.

Although it participated in the Oslo process, Turkey did not pledge to sign the treaty. Participants urged other countries to sign the treaty, including major arms producers China, Russia and the United States.

. . . .

In May, representatives of more than 100 countries decided to open the treaty to signature Dec. 3, the international day for persons with disabilities, in Dublin. However, Turkey, along with the world’s biggest producers and users of cluster bombs, the United States Russia, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and Brazil are not part of the accord.

"In a war against a legitimate enemy, cluster munitions remain the most effective weapons against area targets, and we've got a lot of these munitions in our stocks," one Turkish official had told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review earlier. "Unless you find a viable option to cluster munitions, you can't simply rule out their use." Rather than fully banning these weapons, making them safer for civilians should be the real objective, said the official.

Dropped from warplanes or fired from artillery guns, cluster bombs explode in mid-air to randomly scatter hundreds of bomblets, which can be just eight centimeters big. Many bomblets fail to explode, littering war zones with de facto landmines that can kill and maim long after a conflict ends. Worldwide, about 100,000 people have been killed or maimed by cluster bombs since 1965, 98 percent of them civilians, says Handicap International, a campaign group. More than a quarter of the victims are children who mistake the bomblets for toys or tin cans.
For full article, click here.

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