President Erdoğan’s UN speech: justice, morals, conscience - SELÇUK TÜRKYILMAZ

President Erdoğan’s UN speech: justice, morals, conscience

I repeat, the phrase “The world is bigger than five” used by President Erdoğan to criticize the permanent UN Security Council members -- China, France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S., is the most important criticism aimed at the global system established after World War II. This statement made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the UN General Assembly shows the pursuit to redetermine the principles of international relations. Erdoğan’s speech was woven around the meaning this statement expresses. The whole speech questions the unjust politics applied by Western imperialism after 1945 across the entire world and Turkic Islamic countries. As the speech was made at the UN General Assembly, there is no harm in considering it as being among the most important texts that offer a country’s viewpoint in terms of its content and scope. Surely, since it is expressed by a country within the West bloc, the speeches made at the UN General Assembly are of grave significance. Under the current conditions, Turkey is not the West’s “other.”

Erdoğan’s speech was not given its due credit in Turkey. Most circles ignored it, and some of those that were aware of it glossed over it with a couple of sentences. The currently-limited number of extensive analysis texts need to increase. Because this speech, in which the most comprehensive objection towards the system established after World War II is made, includes the emphasis of the need to establish a new world order. Erdoğan’s speech is as important in terms of expressing Turkey’s fundamental approaches as it is in terms of content. Therefore, Turkey’s position should be discussed.

Turkey is a country that was defeated against West European imperialism and left the global stage after losing its place in history. The fact that Turkey isn’t a colonizing state rendered it as extraordinary and extraneous from West European countries. However, losing the great war made its extra-ordinariness insignificant. The rare intellectual region that has been able to produce an “ideology” against the West in the 19th century is Istanbul-based. As Islamism, nationalism, and Westernism was usually tried to be understood within the boundaries of Turkey, its historical context is yet to be fully revealed. Any studies on our history of ideology should also ask new questions to reveal the international context. Modernization age thinking movements being reduced to the level of “-isms” is not something to be explained through ignorance. It should be comprehended that this too is a political attitude. Because Turkey is saying something today as well. We cannot consider what Erdoğan said to the UN General Assembly independent of the ideologies we produced against the West in the 19th century. A good analysis of his speech will show the continuity in our ideological history. Important things were being said yesterday; today is not independent of yesterday.

What makes Erdoğan’s speech powerful is more than simply a good tone of voice and eloquence. What makes this speech important is the massive history behind the speaker. Having a reliable history that will turn the content of the speech into an idea makes Turkey’s words even more valuable. A reliable past is very important. Nobody can say that other nations trust the history of the British, the French, the Germans, Belgium and the Dutch, the Hispanics and Portuguese and other colonial empires. Everybody knows that the modern world system established under the leadership of the U.K., France and U.S. is not trusted and that it was built on fear. What makes Turkey’s words powerful is its reliable history.

Discussing Erdoğan’s speech within the context of the above-mentioned continuity will allow us to determine the basic terms of the new Turkey view. Important developments that cannot be limited within the strict boundaries of the internal political agenda need to be seen. Relations, ideology, and views from the 1970s have expired. The people of that era had developed an ideology based on conflict. The majority could not escape the quagmire they got themselves into. They also confined the generations that followed within that conflict culture. Despite Erdoğan having addressed the whole world with a 150-year legacy, he could not break the cliches that were prevalent in the 1970s. These hackneyed concepts cannot be explained away with ignorance. It is a futile dream to expect minds that are dependent on the Soviets and the U.S. to lead a new world.

We need to pay attention to the excitement forming among the people and its reflections in the region.


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