I am in New York City, where the heart of diplomacy is beating, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. This year’s general debate theme, which takes place after the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) expansion and the G-20 summit in New Delhi, India, will be “rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity.”
Although all the summits have significant themes, it is no secret that the situation continues to move further away from those carefully selected words. Specifically, the rivalry between the great powers, including the United States, China, the European Union and Russia, deepens as tensions escalate in the Pacific.
At the same time, there is reason to fear that the Ukraine war could trigger violent conflicts in Central Asia, Africa and elsewhere. At the same time, there is talk of new projects involving rising powers such as the recently unveiled India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) – a response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The U.N. system, which reflects the post-World War II balance of power, has grown less capable of preserving peace and security over time. That Russia, one of the U.N. Security Council’s five permanent members, invaded Ukraine rendered the U.N.’s ongoing crisis more obvious.
Accordingly, humanity witnessed yet again that granting veto powers to the victors did not safeguard global security or stability.
This year, the U.N. General Assembly will discuss United Nations reform along with sustainable development, the fight against climate change, pandemic preparedness, flashpoints and wars. It is certainly ironic that the United States was the only permanent member to attend the opening session.
‘Fairer world is possible’
President Erdoğan, whose argument that “a fairer world is possible” proves more correct under the current circumstances, addressed the General Assembly on Tuesday. It is important to recall that his past remarks on U.N. reform, Palestine, Myanmar, Syrian refugees and Islamophobia received much attention. I personally witnessed world leaders competing to congratulate the Turkish president before others.
Having arrived in New York on Saturday, Erdoğan started working right away. He hosted the Georgian prime minister, representatives of Meskhetian Turks, and tech genius Elon Musk at the Turkish House (Türkevi) on Sunday before speaking at a dinner hosted by the Turkish-American National Steering Committee (TASC) to warn that failure to stop Islamophobia would make that campaign more aggressive.
On Monday, the Turkish leader attended a roundtable meeting, co-hosted by the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) and the Presidency’s Directorate of Communications, with U.S. think tank representatives. He also signed the Zero Waste Goodwill Declaration, addressed the Concordia Summit and received businesspeople. Erdoğan’s one-on-one meetings included the Algerian president, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and the president of Poland, Andrzej Duda.
Besides talking about a broad range of issues, from the Ukraine war to Islamophobia, at the U.N. General Assembly yesterday, the Turkish president held meetings with the prime ministers of Italy, Israel, Greece and Malaysia.
Erdoğan will persist in serving humanity
President Erdoğan represents the conscience of the international community with his strong emphasis on the international system’s unjust aspects. His statements are not mere complaints either.
The Turkish leader also advocates specific reforms to tell fellow world leaders what they need to do and leads efforts to address many crises to promote global and regional peace and security. Let us recall that Erdoğan made important diplomatic efforts to prevent the war in Ukraine and, later, for a cease-fire, the grain deal and the prisoner exchange.
One of the world’s most experienced leaders in terms of diplomacy, I am confident that Erdoğan will continue to serve humanity with new initiatives. For an analysis of various approaches to U.N. reform and President Erdoğan’s proposal, I encourage Daily Sabah’s readers to read SETA’s latest publication: “The U.N. Reform: New Approaches and Türkiye’s Perspective.”