Turkey’s president on Monday gave a message conveying both best wishes and challenges on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
"I convey to you, on my own behalf and on behalf of my nation, my warmest greetings and respects. Anniversaries are as much a celebration as a valuable opportunity to make reviews," said Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a statement released in English.
Erdogan stressed that the 75th anniversary of the United Nations also provides such an opportunity for the entire world.
"We, as humanity, are confronting many important challenges which affect our health, economy, social peace and future, most notably the coronavirus pandemic. We are faced with a picture where 170 million people around the world are in urgent need of aid and protection," Erdogan said.
Stressing that the number of people suffering from hunger worldwide now exceeds 820 million, he added that more than 70 million people had to flee their homes due to conflicts and oppression.
The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated injustices and inequalities around the globe, he said.
"As the most generous country in terms of aid taking into consideration the ratio of Turkish assistance to its GDP, we tried to alleviate the problems caused by the pandemic with our available means,” said Erdogan.
"In this process, while attending to the needs of our own citizens, we have also sent medical equipment and aid materials to 141 countries of the world, regardless of religion, language, race, or continent," he added.
Reforms needed for effective, fair UN
Erdogan decried how excessive greed, egoism, monopolization of power, and the desire to continue colonialism using new methods is the biggest obstacle to justice spreading in the global system.
"Failure to achieve stability in various parts of the world, especially in Syria, Palestine, Yemen and Afghanistan, is proof of this. Despite the ideals that have been set out, the United Nations system can neither prevent conflicts nor end those that have already begun," he said.
Erdogan said in order to re-empower the United Nations system, first the UN Security Council – with its traditional five permanent members – must be reformed.
"A council with a structure that leaves the fate of 7 billion people at the mercy of five countries is not fair, and it is not sustainable either.
“A council architecture that is democratic, transparent, accountable, effective and based on an equitable representation has become a necessity – rather than a choice – for humanity," he said.
Erdogan has long championed reforming the security council, using the slogan “The world is greater than five.”
"I believe that strengthening and revitalizing the United Nations General Assembly will contribute to finding solutions to our problems,” he added.
Turkey and the UN
Establishing a UN center in Istanbul, Turkey’s commercial capital and the crossroads of continents, will also support global peace and stability efforts, he said.
Erdogan said that Turkish Ambassador Volkan Bozkir, a senior diplomat and politician, presiding over the current 75th UN General Assembly presented an opportunity to the international community and was also a source of pride for Turkey.
"I would like to thank you for the kind consideration you have shown to Turkey, and on this occasion, I would like to state once more that we will continue to support and contribute to the work of the United Nations system.
"Before I end my words, I wish that the 75th anniversary of the United Nations will bring blessings to the world and humanity and I salute everyone with respect," said Erdogan.