Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan opened his speech by recalling the importance of learning lessons from history, and reiterated that if only people were to take heed, history would not repeat itself. He criticised the UN for its inability to provide solutions to global issues. He pointed to the ineffectiveness of the global system in resolving conflicts such as Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen and asserted that the current international system has effectively collapsed. President Erdoğan repeated his famous slogan that the “The World is bigger than five” and added that the current world system reflects conditions of the aftermath of WWI and WWII and that we are no longer bound by these circumstances. He suggested a number of different possible schema for reforming the UN system, and stressed that if the system remains unrepresentative of today’s realities, establishing peace and justice in the world will be all but impossible.
Commenting on the Idlib deal brokered by Turkey and Russia, President Erdoğan said that the country’s aim is to create a de-escalation zone in order to prepare for the full return of refugees. When free and fair elections are held in Syria, Turkey will leave the country and hand it over to its real owners; otherwise, unless stability and peace are established, Turkey’s troops will remain in Syria. On the issue of Turkey’s purchase of the S400 missile system from Russia, while the US expressed its disapproval, arguing that a NATO member cannot buy S400’s from a non-NATO member, President Erdoğan explained that NATO’s Secretary General issued a statement giving Turkey freedom of preference. He also added that the US did not object to Greece buying S300’s from Russia but is objecting to Turkey buying S400’s. President Erdoğan rejected the US philosophy of “I am strong, therefore I am right” and stressed that Turkey’s philosophy is “I am right, therefore I am strong”. President Erdoğan added that Turkey is moving forward with new projects and initiatives, such as the nuclear energy plans with Russia, China and Japan. The fact that the US refused to sell Turkey drones has forced Turkish entrepreneurs to produce their own, which have already been used successfully in Jarablus and Afrin. This is a sign that Turkey is no longer dependent and is slowly but firmly moving towards attaining its goals.