By Janet Ekstract
UNITED NATIONS (TURKISH JOURNAL) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a riveting speech at the United Nations 74th General Assembly on Tuesday, a day after The Climate Action Summit that brings a multitude of international leaders together with the express purpose of making commitments and finding innovative solutions to the climate crisis and pressing global issues.
The Turkish president told the assembly that the UN has failed in its mission to keep its promises. Erdogan said: “We can’t remain indifferent in the face of current challenges.” He also sharply criticised the UN body for not taking action on resolutions passed by the UN.
As Erdogan said: “Under this roof, resolutions are being taken with no results.” He added: “Leaders are to blame.”
Turkey’s leader addressed two primary issues: Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Regarding Syria, the Turkish president gave no doubt on Turkey’s position when he explained: “The Syrian crisis has to end once and for all.”
Erdogan told the assembly that Turkish borders have been attacked and civilians killed. He stressed that the Euphrates Shield has been an instrumental technology in eliminating remaining ISIS strongholds. He added that Turkey is at “the forefront of identifying terrorists.” He added that Turkey “currently hosts 5 million asylum seekers.”
Erdogan explained that safe zones need to be further expanded and that if the safe zone is extended, three million refugees will be able to return to Syria. Erdogan said that already “365,000 refugees have safely returned to areas where we created protection zones.”
The Turkish leader commented that “The international community is too quick to forget.” He displayed a tragic photo of a young migrant boy’s body washed up on a Turkish shore.
Erdogan concluded on Syria by telling the assembly that if safe zones can be created then refugees can be saved from the camps. But he emphasized: “We can’t bear this burden alone.”
“We need to confirm this with Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon,” Erdogan said and commented that Iraq would be safer if everyone could agree on the safe zone issue.
Meanwhile, Erdogan expressed his indignation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict : “As Turkey, we have a very clear stance on this issue.” He added: “How can West Bank and Palestinian territories be seized in front of the eyes of the world?”
“The UN should provide complete support for Palestinian people, ” Erdogan said. And he also reiterated the call for a two-state solution reverting to the 1867 borders. Erdogan assured Palestinians that “Turkey will continue to stand by the oppressed people of Palestine.”
Erdogan displayed and compared the maps of ancient borders with modern borders between Palestine and Israel, insisting: “Show me which one is Israel , show me where is Israel.” His point was that the land that is now Israel, once wholly belonged to Palestine.
Additionally, Turkey’s president touched on the topic of religious freedom. He said Muslims have too often been the target of hate crimes and religious intolerance. In addition, the Turkish president said that what happened in Christchurch, New Zealand was a horrific act and that targeting Jews and Christians was “totally wrong.”
He expressed his affirmation for the secretary-general’s new initiative on religious freedoms and said it was crucial in the fight against hate.
President Erdogan reminded the assembly that Turkey has been the most “generous” and “proactive” nation when it comes to accepting and caring for refugees.
Erdogan emphasized that Turkey will continue to be “open minded” in working with international organization’s to solve all pressing issues. He also stressed that it is every nation’s duty to “adopt a tolerant rhetoric,” and said that Turkey will expand its international work.
In 2020, Turkey is slated to represent the 75th General Assembly on its 30th anniversary, Erdogan explained.
He also said he wants to turn Istanbul into an even larger center for NGOS and that Turkey has already made a proposal to host a youth center there.
Turkey’s president concluded with these comments: “It is within our reach to find fair, concientious solutions to these conflicts with love and respect on behalf of my people.”