September 16, 2019
 In Articles

Disarmament and International Security Committee

Private Military Contractors

Republic of Turkey

Toby Klooster

Forest Hills Eastern


Private military contractors are a natural part of warfare and armament. Often, they are used for humanitarian aid or protection; however, some groups have recently been accused of unethical and grotesque practices including torture and murder of non-combatants. The Nisour Square massacre occurred in Iraq, a neighboring country to Turkey. In addition, the notorious prison Abu Gharib, which was managed by private military contractors who tortured and sexually abused inmates, also occurred in Iraq. Therefore, Turkey will not stay idle while these military atrocities are committed so near to its own borders.


Turkey recognizes the responsible and even beneficial use of private military contractors, while also realizing that recent events demonstrate the danger they may pose to public safety. Turkey has faithfully followed international standards on the treatment of prisoners of war and non-combatants, even providing extensive humanitarian aid to occupied regions such as northern Syria. Furthermore, Turkey has been an active contributor to UN peacekeeping operations since the Korean War; nevertheless, Turkey acknowledges the necessity of private military contractors in the peacekeeping force to ensure troops are well equipped, adequately trained, and have personnel fluent in local languages during peacekeeping operations. Turkey has also ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).


Due to these barbaric events, Turkey believes that private military contractors must adhere to the standards set in place by international law, such as those stated in the Geneva Convention. Additionally, they must be held responsible by the international community for any humanitarian violations they commit, which is why Turkey recommends that the UN enforces humane treatment of prisoners of war and civilians to avoid any more cruel behavior by private military contractors. The UN has already made progress through treaties such as UNCAT, which can be strengthened through extra provisions aimed toward private military contractors, such as annual evaluations of every nation’s use of private military contractors. Although changes in the scope of current treaties to specify standards for private military contractors are strongly encouraged, Turkey warns against any attempts to prohibit private military contractors completely, as previously attempted in the UN Mercenary Convention. They must act on the issue of private military contractors to ensure the protection of prisoners of war and non-combatants during times of conflict.

  • Toby Klooster