'Centuries-old hegemony of West is over': Turkish president
Erdogan says reform 'of great necessity' for UN as world no longer in post-World War II era
"We have come to the end of problem-causing understanding that the West is superior. Everyone acknowledges and accepts this now. Even the West itself has begun to acknowledge this. The hegemony of the West that lasted for centuries is now over. A new international system is emerging," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.
In an interview with Turkey-based magazine Kriter, Erdogan delivered remarks on his book, titled A Fairer World Is Possible, the latest developments about Paris Climate Agreement, the Syrian crisis, and criticisms as well as solutions about the UN Security Council (UNSC).
"The world is going through a period of crisis, and the pandemic has deepened this crisis," he said, adding that the troubles haunting the global community would further deepen unless they were solved immediately, or else no existing mechanism would be able to function anymore.
Arguing that the global governance mechanisms are not able to operate now and a problem of governance has subsequently emerged, the Turkish leader said the UN also had its share of this problem.
"We, as Turkey, have to produce a response to this deep global crisis we are going through. As a country, we have been the voice and conscience of humanity for the past 20 years," he said. "We have made the voice of the silent majority heard loudly in all international platforms."
The president went on to note that Turkey always adopted a humanitarian stance to all injustices around the world regardless of religion, language, or race, whether it be about the Syrian refugees, oppression of people in Myanmar, the suffering of Palestinian Muslims, developments in New Zealand as well as anti-immigration, Islamophobia, and extremism growing in the West along with developments in Africa.
Erdogan said he wanted to bring together the issues he had spoken loudly in a book in an effort to determine the current state and offer a solution.
"We propose a restructuring of the UN by taking an initiative of reform. ... With this proposal, we say the world can be fairer. We want the real problems of the world to be discussed," he said.
Deepening North-South inequality
Erdogan said the "collapse of the global system" was multi-dimensional and was not only related to the economy but also a crisis of politics and security, which were resurfaced more vividly following the eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"North-South inequality worldwide has deepened even more. The current political-economic order failed to ensure global prosperity and deepened the inequalities," he said, adding that the existing order does not help underdeveloped countries catch up with the developed countries, but it rather worked in the opposite way. "In the book, we put emphasis on the need for a global society with a focus on multilateralism."
Bipolarity following Cold War
The US emerged as the winner of the Cold War and the global politics revolved around the US ever since, said Erdogan, adding: “However, it was understood that it was not possible to control the whole international system all by itself. The US has tried this and failed. (The US) has withdrawn from Iraq, and was forced to withdraw from Afghanistan. It could neither build democracy nor state in both countries.”
The West's efforts of promoting democracy also ended up with greater destruction in some countries, while the West acted with hypocrisy, and the democracies of the West yielded to populism and extremism, he stressed.
Crisis in Syria
Criticizing the West, Erdogan said they never adopted a humanitarian position but solely focused on ways to stop the incoming refugee flows at a time when hundreds of thousands were getting slaughtered and millions were fleeing the atrocities of the Syrian regime.
"What did the UNSC do when (Bashar al-) Assad used chemical weapons? Nothing. Moreover, the regime continued its attacks later on. Well, the UN was supposed to protect the victim against the assailant, stand by the innocent against the tyrant and contain them. None of this happened," he said and noted that similar incidents could also be seen in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Palestine, Kashmir, Crimea, and Myanmar. "This shows us that the global governance does not produce efficient and fair solutions."
Lack of representation in UN
The Turkish president said the UN did not have a global representation as it was established by five countries -- the permanent five of the UNSC, including the US, China, Russia, France, and the UK -- while today's world is much more different compared to the post-World War II era.
"Could there be a system ignoring 1.5 billion Muslims? Can a UNSC, which is not diversified and not inclusive for (all) civilizations, provide peace and tranquility? Surely very difficult. It obviously cannot," he said.
Arguing that the UN does not represent the new global political balance either, the president said the fate of the whole world has been left to five countries that also need to come up with decisions on matters outside of their geography.
Erdogan also stressed all that these countries cared about is their own national interests.
Wrong policies that pursued constant growth and development have taken a toll across the world, with resources exploited brutally, said Erdogan, noting that mother nature provided all for humanity, which in response acted as if there were no limits to the resources and faced a great threat in the end.
Humankind is now facing air pollution, water, and food insecurity, loss of biodiversity, environmental disasters, and many other risks and threats, the president added and underlined that the international community must immediately discuss these matters in a more serious manner as urgent solutions are needed.
He also said the climate deal was one of the key parts of the country's vision set for 2053 and that he had already announced that the climate deal would be brought to the agenda of the Turkish parliament -- which is expected to ratify it soon.
Erdogan reiterated his call that the world must be fairer in the climate change issue, stressing that those who did more damage to nature should make the greater contribution and that nobody has the luxury to say the opposite.
*Writing by Ali Murat AlhasAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.