Europe-Mediterranean forum: one step closer to Vienna

May 30, 2014

On the 21st and 22nd of June, campaigners and civil society from 23 countries in Europe and the Mediterranean will meet in Ankara, Turkey to discuss advocacy efforts to advance a global ban on nuclear weapons. The forum, hosted by ICAN Turkey, will allow campaigners to share their experiences and collaborate on strengthening advocacy efforts among and within different countries in the region.

The location of this forum is particularly important. In many ways, Turkey, and the Euro-Mediterranean region in general, represents a crossroads between various diverse political situations. This same political diversity is visible in the varying attitudes and reactions towards nuclear weapons. While some states in the region have strongly advocated for a ban on nuclear weapons, other states have been more timid in voicing their concerns. Arielle Denis, ICAN Campaign Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, points to these differences as an opportunity. “In those states where a nuclear weapon ban is not on the political agenda, raising awareness and strengthening ties among campaigners through this forum can build political interest in the issue domestically,” says Denis.

This forum is one attempt to discuss challenges and raise awareness about the challenges and opportunities of such an historic moment and understand the role of non nuclear weapon states in driving a process to ban nuclear weapons. This cooperative forum is particularly important to build momentum in advance of the ICAN Civil Society Forum to be held on December 6-7, 2014 in Vienna, Austria.

The forum will include public consultations on moving towards a ban on nuclear weapons, including meetings with Turkish Members of Parliament and a press conference. Participants will also contribute in interactive workshops focused on campaign management, advocacy and building networks.

Arife Köse, ICAN Turkey coordinator, emphasized that in light of the devastating chemical weapons attacks against civilians in Syria, negotiating a ban on nuclear weapons is more important than ever. “[These attacks] showed us how weapons of mass destruction are inhumane. Nuclear weapons are the most dangerous one among these kinds of weapons because of their indiscriminate and irreversible effects,” said Köse. “Our conference aims to prove this fact again and to put more pressure on the governments to ban these unacceptable weapons immediately.”

All those interested in the forum are encouraged to attend. Please contact Arife Köse for details.

  • aiweiwei

    “Let’s act up! Ban nuclear weapons completely and unconditionally.”

    Ai Weiwei Artist and activist

  • sheen

    “If Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr were alive today, they would be part of ICAN.”

    Martin Sheen Actor and activist

  • bankimoon

    “I salute ICAN for working with such commitment and creativity.”

    Ban Ki-moon Former UN chief

  • yokoono

    “We can do it together. With your help, our voice will be made still stronger. Imagine peace.”

    Yoko Ono Artist

  • jodywilliams

    “Governments say a nuclear weapons ban is unlikely. Don’t believe it. They said the same about a mine ban treaty.”

    Jody Williams Nobel laureate

  • desmondtutu

    “With your support, we can take ICAN its full distance – all the way to zero nuclear weapons.”

    Desmond Tutu Nobel laureate

  • herbiehancock

    “Because I cannot tolerate these appalling weapons, I whole-heartedly support ICAN.”

    Herbie Hancock Jazz musician

  • dalailama

    “I can imagine a world without nuclear weapons, and I support ICAN.”

    Dalai Lama Nobel laureate