UN needs ‘structural reform’, Erdogan says

The United Nations needs “structural reform” to make it more inclusive and ensure that it is able to fulfill its mission towards world peace, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday in New York City.

“Despite all its shortcomings, the UN remains the sole global umbrella organization where everyone can make their voices heard and seek solutions to their problems,” Erdogan said. “However, the world is not the world during which the UN was founded.”

Erdogan said the structure of what is arguably the most impactful UN organ, the Security Council, is unjust, resulting in a global organization that is unable to perform its duties as a vanguard of world peace.

The council features 15 members, five of which are permanent — the victors of World War II. One veto from a permanent member is enough to derail any resolution tabled at the council.

“The UN needs to be reformed so that it can adapt to a changing world,” Erdogan said. “Today, reforming the UN is on the agenda. However, that reform is not what we understand from the word ‘reform’.”

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The Turkish president was referring to a reform-themed meeting Monday at the onset of the UN General Assembly attended by US President Donald Trump.

Trump, who has made UN reform one of the goals of his four-year tenure, said during the meeting that the global body suffered from “bureaucracy and mismanagement”.

Erdogan has on numerous occasions said “the world is bigger than five”, a reference to the five permanent Security Council members: China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

These countries have used their veto power to defend national interests, rendering the UN dysfunctional in the face of global crises. The most recent example has been the Syrian war, which has continued for six and a half years and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement of millions.

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Despite myriad attempts to find common ground, Russia – a close ally of the Syrian regime – has shielded the Damascus government from international pressure.

Erdogan attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Turkish House, a planned 32-story cultural center across the street from the 65-year-old UN headquarters.

Regarding its construction, he said he wanted the cultural and diplomatic center to be a “safe haven for those in trouble”, as well as a building that “will remind the UN of its mission and responsibilities”.

Its construction is scheduled to be completed in 36 months.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the building would be “one of the tallest high-rises” in New York City and “will contribute to its silhouette and richness” and serve to cement the unity and solidarity of the Turkish-American community.

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