President Erdoğan says UN needs structural reforms
NEW YORKTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Sept. 18 that the U.N. must undergo “structural changes” to reflect today’s world.
“It is a necessity that the U.N. is reformed. Once again reform is on the agenda at this year’s [U.N. General Assembly], but it is not the reform that we understand. What really matters is a reform of the U.N. structure.
As long as this does not happen, it is not possible to see a healthy U.N.,” Erdoğan said at a groundbreaking ceremony of a new “Turkish House” in New York.
The Turkish president, in New York to attend the General Assembly meetings, said the current structure of the U.N. “does not serve with an aim to provide the world peace.”
“While the number of countries is increasing, threats have also changed in form. There is a need to develop new methods to struggle with those threats,” Erdoğan said.
He also noted that Turkey had proposed for Istanbul to become a U.N. center.
Erdoğan arrived in New York on Sept. 18, where he is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with world leaders and attend the United Nations General Assembly.
Erdoğan, who flew to the U.S. with key regional issues and the ongoing violence Myanmar on his agenda, will address the General Assembly on Sept. 19.
The General Debate at the 72nd session of the U.N. General Assembly will open on Sept. 19, with the theme “Focusing on People: Striving for Peace and a Decent Life for All on a Sustainable Planet.”
Before he left Ankara Sept. 17 for New York, Erdoğan highlighted Ankara’s stance against the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) planned referendum for independence, adding that he would meet with both U.S. President Donald Trump and Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, who is also strongly opposed to the vote.
“This issue will be also be on my agenda during my meeting with Trump. I want this to be particularly known,” he said.
The Erdoğan-Trump meeting comes at a time when the two NATO allies are facing splits in Middle East issues.
Turkey is angered by the U.S.’s cooperation with the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara sees as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), in its struggle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Turkey has repeatedly told the U.S the weapons sent to the YPG reach the PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist group by both Ankara and Washington.
Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar recently met his U.S. counterpart Joseph Dunford on the sidelines of the annual meeting of NATO’s Military Committee in the Albanian capital of Tirana on Sept. 15, where the issue was reportedly discussed.
Erdoğan also said on Sept. 15 that he would discuss with Trump next week the case of former Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan, recently indicted in the United States for conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Çağlayan and former Halkbank general manager Süleyman Aslan were charged on Sept. 13 with conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran by illegally moving hundreds of millions of dollars through the U.S. financial system on Tehran’s behalf. Çağlayan was also charged with taking bribes in cash and jewelry worth tens of millions of dollars.
Erdoğan has repeatedly stated that he would stress the humanitarian plight of the Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar. The U.N. says 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have escaped from Myanmar to Bangladesh so far.
Amid widespread criticism due to the crackdown, Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has canceled her trip to New York.