While walking along skyscrapers with a few colleagues in Manhattan, New York on Wednesday, just after we passed the Rockefeller Center, the writing on a LED screen mounted on a mobile vehicle caught our attention.
It was a billboard ad and on it was the English edition of President Tayyip Erdogan's newly released book "A Fairer World Is Possible."
I don't know if that vehicle was sent there on purpose, but even if it wasn't, it was certain that we chanced upon an interesting “encounter.”
A promotional billboard for “A Fairer World Is Possible right next to a skyscraper that belongs to the Rockefeller family, said to own half of Manhattan (somewhat exaggerated, of course), and considered among the “magnates” of the international order (especially in finance), that lends money to countries, not individuals.
While we were taking a picture of the billboard, a 25-year-old young man came up to us and asked where he could find this book.
I asked him why he was interested, he said he wanted to read it.
We told him that the easiest way to get is from the Turkish House.
Right at the intro of the abovementioned book, President Erdoğan expresses the opinion that the United Nations, especially the 5-permanent-member Security Council, that controls this institution, needs serious reform.
This is where the slogan "The world is bigger than five" comes in play.
The next day, when we met along with journalists accompanying him on his trip to New York, I reminded Erdoğan of this view expressed in his book, and asked the question "Are you hopeful about these issues?"
He laughed and said, "you can’t get things done without hope" and then continued:
“When you set out on the road, you set out with hope and you are giving a signal to the whole world, to all humanity. What is this signal? Turkey’ view is the following: The world is no longer resembles that of the post WWI or WW2 era. So let's give a signal to humanity. If we can all be in solidarity together as 194 countries, if we can lay the ground to do this thing, if the whole media world and NGOs can push towards this, then these permanent members have to hold themselves accountable again.”
Erdogan’s messages to the US, Biden administration
After the question and answer session was over, Erdoğan signed his book one after the other for all of us.
Director of Communications Fahrettin Altun, with whom we chatted after the press conference, told us that the proceeds from the book, which is being translated into various languages other than English and Arabic, will be donated to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
As for Erdogan's answers to our questions.
Undoubtedly, the “critical” words towards the U.S. made itself evident in the answer given to the first question.
He asked the following questions:
“Why did America enter Afghanistan 20 years ago? What was it doing there? And why is it leaving Afghanistan now?"
The President also voiced these criticisms on American CBS news channel, where he made a statement from the margins of the New York summit.
He told us even more.
“As two NATO countries, the current trajectory does not bode well,” said Erdogan.
“The point we have reached in my nearly 19-year life as Prime Minister and President in my relations with America is unfortunately not a good one. I worked well with Bush jr., I worked well with Mr. Obama, I worked well with Mr. Trump, but I cannot say that we started on right foot with Mr. Biden.” he continued.
He brought up the issue of the unpaid money from the F-35 program, saying, "The S-400 thing is over and done," and reiterated that there will be no backing down on this issue.
Afterwards, when a question was asked about relations with Russia regarding Idlib and the Sochi summit on September 29, he spoke comparatively, suggesting that he wanted to make a point.
"We haven't seen any wrongdoing in our relations with Russia so far," he said.
More importantly, he made strong statements stressing the importance of his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 29 in Sochi.
He stated that during this meeting, an important decision would be reached regarding Turkey-Russia relations.
Erdogan's words about the United States, and in turn what he had to say about Russia were undoubtedly linked to one another.
There are some who attribute this to the absence of a meeting with Biden in New York.
But that's not the impression I got.
This should in no way be considered information, it’s only my impression.
The way I see it is the U.S. is forcing Turkey to accept a new formula through the S-400s, and that Erdogan is also uncomfortable with this situation and has thus expressed his discomfort in this way.