Erdogan calls for fiarer world order with stronger UN
As part of his talks in New York, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at UN headquarters. Also attending the meeting were Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, State Minister and chief negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek, Turkey's Ambassador to the UN Ertugrul Apakan, and Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Affairs Feridun Sinirlioglu. The Cyprus issue, climate change, Turkish-Armenian relations, Afghanistan, the Middle East peace process and the situation in Gaza were discussed during the meeting. During the gathering, Ban praised Turkey's support for the efforts of Special UN Cyprus Envoy Alexander Downer on the island, adding that he is optimistic about the ongoing negotiations on Cyprus. On the same day, Erdogan delivered a speech at the State University of New York's Levin Institute. "Differences should be considered a rich resource for society, not a problem," Erdogan said in his speech entitled "The Alliance of Civilizations," apparently referring to the initiative of that name launched in 2005 by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and spearheaded by Erdogan and his Spanish counterpart José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Prejudice, humiliation and discrimination lay the groundwork for radical movements, while terrorist groups exploit differences among people for their own purposes, Erdogan said. He then cited the separatist activities in Turkey of the terrorist PKK, noting that around 30,000 people have lost their lives since the group launched its terrorist campaign against the state in the early 1980s. Erdogan yesterday also addressed a meeting at Princeton University on Ankara's democratic initiative to solve the so-called Kurdish question or southeastern Anatolia issue, and ongoing reconciliation talks between Turkey and Armenia. Stating that Turkey and Armenia have recently taken important steps towards normalized relations, Erdogan said, "If the process isn't blocked by prejudices or domestic politics, two agreements initialed by the two countries early this month under Swiss-mediated talks will be brought to our parliaments, and Turkey and Armenia will take the necessary steps to start normalized relations by the second half of next month before a World Cup 2010 qualifying match between the Turkish and Armenian national soccer teams in Turkey." Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan is expected to come to Turkey to watch this game with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul. On the democratic initiative, Erdogan also said, "This initiative should not be called the Kurdish initiative but a democratic initiative that will also include steps to solve the problems of minorities in Turkey." Stating that these steps would be taken gradually, Erdogan said the plan aims to ameliorate the problem. Stressing the need to build a common future, Erdogan continued, "I wonder whether the same amount of money that has been allocated to defense around the world is also being allocated to education, health, climate change, environment and culture." Calling for a new world order, Erdogan said, "A fairer world system, embracing everyone without any discrimination, seeing differences as richness, and based on trust and sharing, is a necessity. This requires a new understanding of leadership." Lamenting that the UN's authority and international law remain ineffective on many world issues, Erdogan urged world leaders to strengthen the hand of the UN and international law to fight injustice. Erdogan yesterday also attended a luncheon hosted by Ban in honor of the visiting world leaders. Erdogan is set to attend the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly today, and later will proceed to Pittsburg to attend a G-20 summit hosted by US President Barack Obama.