RECEP TAYYIP ERDOĞAN, President of Türkiye, regarding his country’s response to the pandemic, noted that it has provided humanitarian assistance to 161 countries and 12 international organizations, as well as its national vaccine, “Turkovac”. The international community is experiencing a new wave of shock due to the situation in Ukraine. He stressed that the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which was established due to efforts by his country and the Secretary-General, allowed Ukrainian grain exports to reach other parts of the world. He added that this is one of the greatest accomplishments of the Organization in recent decades. Referring to the efforts made to settle the conflict in Ukraine and highlighting the importance of diplomacy in this regard, he emphasized that “the war will never have a triumph, and a fair peace process will not have a loser”.
Pointing out that his country has taken a facilitating position to solve disputes in the Middle East, he went on to underline that a peace settlement needs to be reached for the conflict in Syria in line with Security Council resolution 2254 (2015). He emphasized that his country has hosted 4 million civilians of Syrian descent, while also fighting with the PKK [Kurdish Workers’ Party], which “poses a threat to Türkiye”. Continuing with the topic of refugees, he stated that “Greece is turning the Aegean Sea into a graveyard for refugees.” He also pointed out that recently two refugee children aged nine months and four years, respectively, lost their lives “because the Greek coast guard forces sank their boat”. He urged European countries, the United Nations and other international organizations to call for a stop to such “crimes against humanity”.
On the situation in Iraq, while stressing that his country has invested efforts for its peace and stability, he also underscored the importance of a political reconciliation based on “Iraqi identity”, as well as the need to stop the advance of terrorist organizations in the country. Turning to Libya, he expressed the need to implement a fair election and therefore establish a strong Government with support of its people, so that the country could achieve the desired level of prosperity. He also stressed that the two-State solution should be established to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He added that it is the international community’s responsibility to help UNRWA increase its financial capacity.
Expressing concern over the state of the nuclear negotiations among Iran and other States, he stressed that diplomacy and dialogue are needed to settle the dispute about the country’s nuclear programme. On the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, he emphasized that despite the recent escalation of tensions it is possible to establish a permanent peace between these countries. On Afghanistan, he noted that the “intermediary government” needs to take steps to ensure fundamental rights and liberties of the country’s people. Responding to the recent floods in Pakistan, in addition to noting that Ankara has provided humanitarian assistance, he also urged the international community to step in. Concerning the Balkans, he referred to his recent official visits to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia, and expressed hope that the upcoming elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina would contribute to stability in the region.
Referring to Muslims in other parts of the world, he stressed that Rohingya Muslims will have to go back to their motherlands safely, in a voluntary and dignified fashion. He added that he has been “sensitive” towards the protection of rights and liberties of “Muslim Uyghur Turks”, in such a way that does not threaten the sovereignty of China. As for his country’s neighbouring relations, he called on Greece to leave its “escalation and provocation policies” aside and to respond to his country’s calls for cooperation, adding that Türkiye’s proposal to organize an Eastern Mediterranean Conference would serve as a step in this direction. On the issue of Cyprus, highlighting that there are “two States and two different nations” on the island, he stressed that this should be accepted by all. He also asked the international community to stop imposing sanctions on the “Turkish Cypriots”. Finally, referring to the General Assembly resolution proclaiming 15 March as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia, he expressed hope that the day would be observed widely. “Islamophobia is equal to antisemitism and is a crime against humanity,” he said.