Closing Keynote Speech: “Inspiring Change in an Age of Uncertainty”

His Excellency President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan participated in the TRT World Forum 2017 to give the closing speech under the moderation of Fatih Er, Director of News at TRT World. President Erdoğan’s remarks spanned from the failure of the current global order in sustaining international peace to the humanitarian crisis around the world. He pointed out in the very beginning of his speech – as he was asked by Fatih Er about the role of the United Nations Security Council – that the structure of the Security Council had to be changed urgently. Attitudes and actions of some of the European countries, namely Germany and France, and the United States vis-à-vis the PKK, YPG and PYD were also criticised by President Erdoğan. The war in Syria and the refugee crisis was discussed and crucial explanations and suggestions were laid out. “Western understanding of democracy is under serious crisis,” President Erdoğan said when asked about the double standards of the West with regards to the MENA region.

President Erdoğan kicked off his speech by criticizing the established world order after the end of the Second World War. “The world is bigger than five”, he said, referring to the powerful positions of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. He urged the international community to take action to reform the Security Council. “There is no justice in this world. We are living in a world where the powerful are considered righteous, and not where the righteous are powerful”, he said when asked about whether there is support from the international community for Turkey’s cause. Following this question, President Erdoğan gave the example of the West in applying double standards when it comes to YPG and PYD in northern Syria. He mentioned that Turkey offered support to the US and its army in its war against DAESH in Syria. However, the US had chosen to support one terror group, YPG, to fight another terror group, DAESH – which causes us to question the unreasonable decision of the US. He said the European countries are no different with regards to PKK and rallies of the PKK in the capitals of Germany and France were condemned.

Considerable emphasis was given to the refugee crisis and the war in Syria. President Erdoğan said Turkey is hosting over 3.5 million refugees within its borders: “Turkey has spent over 30 Billion dollars for the needs of these refugees.” He continued to clarify that the help that Turkey is getting from the European Union and the United Nations cover only a fraction of the cost. Moreover, he criticized the current world order where especially those who are economically powerful are presented as righteous, which leads to injustice in the world. Concluding his speech, the President invited Western countries to be sincere and urged the international community to respect the democratic demands of the people of Turkey.