Turkey’s Erdogan challenges world leaders at UN Assembly to end bloodshed in Syria

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session. UN Photo/Cia Pak

20 September 2016 – Drawing particular attention to the nearly six year crisis in Syria where hundreds of thousands have been killed and millions displaced, the President of Turkey called for urgent action to stop the conflict and persecution in the country.

“When will the United Nations and the Security Council stop tolerating the [Syrian] regime's policy of ‘either surrender or die,’ which condemn the civilians to hunger?” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked world leaders in his address at the UN General Assembly.

“The Syrian people are being exhausted in the grip of proxy wars which have been shaped by a cruel administration, merciless terrorist organizations, global and regional competition,” he added.

In his address, the President noted that Turkey has been hosting nearly three million Syrian refugees but expressed concern that the international community has failed to live up to its “humanitarian values and conscience.”

Making a particular call on European countries to find urgent solutions, he said: “It is a futile effort to look for peace behind the barbed wire and high walls.”

“If we cannot find a solution for the education, employment and housing problems of Syrian refugees quickly, we cannot prevent the irregular migration, social issues and security risks,” he added.

Further in his address, Mr. Erdogan hailed the Turkish peoples’ bravery in defeating the coup attempt in July this year and said that in doing so, the country became a source of inspiration for all others.

He further noted Turkey’s role at the global level and recalled its hosting of the World Humanitarian Summit, earlier this year, as well as its initiatives to include the subject of Syrian refugees in the last session of the General Assembly and the inclusion of migration and terrorism issues in the G-20 agenda.

Recognizing the efforts of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to pursue UN reforms, Mr. Erdogan emphasized that unless the Security Council, the main global body responsible for maintaining international peace and security is reformed, other efforts will not fulfil their purpose completely.

“For this reason, on every occasion, I remind the international community about the reality that ‘the world is bigger than five’,” he said, calling for the membership of the Council to be made more representative.

Concluding his address, President Erdogan underlined the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and informed the General Assembly of the country’s support to Least Developed Countries.


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Address by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey - 20 Sep '16

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