Turkey has no plans for alternative UN, despite PM’s statement

Despite Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s hint that countries opposed to the current U.N. system could establish an alternative international body, the Turkish Foreign Ministry has announced that it is not working on such a plan. However, it has intensified its efforts to be elected as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council for the 2015 and 2016 period. 

«It’s obvious that our prime minister underlined the need to reform the U.N. system, which has become a global issue. Apart from that, our only preparation is aiming to have Turkey elected as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council for the period of 2015 and 2016», – a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official told the Hürriyet Daily News on Aug. 23. 

While reiterating his government’s well-known criticism against the current structure of the U.N. Security Council, Erdoğan has this time raised the stakes higher, signaling that Turkey may seek to form a new and alternative international body alongside other countries that are not content with the Security Council’s performance. 

Erdoğan’s remarks came in an interview broadcast live on the private Ülke TV news channel late on Aug. 22, after he reiterated his resentment over the Security Council’s inaction vis-à-vis the atrocities in Syria and Egypt. He was asked the following questions: «What is the mechanism which will keep the five permanent members reserved? Is there any way that the five permanent members could be added to, and to what extent does the increase in discontented countries change the mechanism there? Finally, is an increasing of objections the way to change the organization?». 

«There is no easy way. At the moment, the U.N. has 196 members around the world, if I am not wrong. The majority of these members should manifest resistance there. Only when there is a manifestation of resistance, can a step like this be taken. It is even possible to go further», – Erdoğan said.

«If we are really saying that the world is bigger than ‘the five,’ then with other countries coming out, they would form their own United Nations. Such a boom could be realized. The realization of such a boom would prompt them [the permanent five] to reform themselves», – he said, adding that this could even be achieved by threatening withdrawal of membership from the U.N.

«There are several organizations now. Like the ASEAN [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations], and like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO]. When theEuropean Union was first established, it was not established as the European Union, it was established as the Iron and Steel Cooperation», – the prime minister said, apparently referring to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).

«Afterwards, it became the European Economic Community and then the European Community, the European Union, and now it stands both as a political and an economic union. This is progress, that is to say, it is possible to manifest a very different boom. Why? Because you [the U.N. Security Council] are not able to make a contribution to the world peace», – he added.

Meanwhile, at a joint press conference, the president of the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), Fuat Oktay; the head of the Representative Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Turkey, Carol Batchelor; and the head of the Representative Office of the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Turkey, Ayman Abulaban, were asked to comment on Erdoğan’s idea of forming a new alternative international body. Both Batchelor and Abulaban declined to comment on the issue, briefly replying that this was only the business of states.

Adapted from Hürriyet Daily News

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