September 16, 2019
 In Articles

Disarmament and International Security Committee

Preventing the Illicit Arms Trade

Republic of Turkey

Toby Klooster

Forest Hills Eastern


The spread of small arms and light weapons has swiftly become a danger to peace and security in recent years, as it remails uncontrolled and unchecked across many regions. Militant groups such as ISIS have taken advantage of the illegal arms trade to commit acts of terror against multiple nations, including Turkey. Furthermore, the propagation of small arms and light weapons has emboldened terrorists in and around Syria, a nation already strife with warfare which has put Turkish security at extreme risk. Therefore, Turkey strongly supports global cooperation within the framework of the UN to completely extinguish the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons.


Turkey believes that the increasing death count from small arms and light weapons, along with the close relationship illicit arms trade has with terrorism, calls for immediate, unified action. In 2013, Turkey co-sponsored and actively contributed to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a previous resolution on the topic of the illicit arms trade. Additionally, Turkey has participated in the First Conference of State Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty held in Cancun, Mexico. Turkey also strongly supports the implementation of the UN Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. Lastly, Turkey is an active advocate for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) documents on small arms and light weapons. Some actions taken domestically to stop illicit arms trade include requiring licenses to be obtained from the Ministry of Defense for the export of all weapons and ammunition, as well as annually issuing a list of all weapons and ammunition that are subject to licensing.


Turkey believes that the current responses taken by the UN toward the problem of illicit arms trade provide an important basis for further efforts; however, complete implementation of the UN Programme of Action (PoA), in addition to reinforcing it with certain measures to compensate for the increasing danger of the issue at hand, occupy a vital role in fighting against imminent threat of the illicit arms trade. First, nations prone to harbor the arms trade epidemic must be encouraged to receive support from the UN Trust Facility Supporting Cooperation on Arms Regulation. Second, in response to the growing threat of the illicit arms trade, states should convene annually to discuss the application of the PoA. Lastly, the PoA should further emphasize the necessity for every nation to mark and trace all small arms and light weapons. The international community cannot tolerate the illicit arms trade or the threat it poses against global peace and security any longer.

  • Toby Klooster

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