Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said his country’s rivals in the eastern Mediterranean are being forced into resolving a dispute over territory through negotiation.
“Those who have been trying to ignore Turkey, impose their theses and maps in the Eastern Mediterranean, are (now) approaching the negotiating table,” Erdoğan said late on Monday following a meeting of his cabinet, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.
Greece, Turkey’s western neighbour, says the two countries could shortly start talks to end a military standoff over rights to explore for hydrocarbons around Greek islands adjacent to Turkey. Ankara has withdrawn the Oruç Reis survey ship to port to help ease tensions. The European Union is due to discuss possible sanctions against Turkey at meetings later this week.
Turkey, a NATO member, has also become embroiled in a dispute with Cyprus after it searched for natural gas in the republic’s offshore Exclusive Economic Zone. Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded the ethnic Turkish north in response to a brief Greek Cypriot coup backed by the military junta then ruling Greece.
“Those who turn their backs on historical facts, international conventions, customs, and visible truths for the sake of protecting the interests of a few countries on the Cyprus and Eastern Mediterranean issue, will have nothing to say to the world,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan also criticised the United Nations, which celebrated its 75th anniversary on Monday, for successive failures, the latest of which he said was its response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The U.N., which failed at every front from Syria to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, to developments in volatile regions such as Africa and South America, has failed once again during the pandemic,” he said.
Erdoğan said the U.N. Security Council should be reformed to include other nations, reviving a long-standing grievance about its limited membership.
The Security Council, which leaves the fate of 7 billion people to the fate of 5 countries, should be reformed to empower the U.N. system, Erdoğan said. The current structure is unsustainable because humanity needs democratic, equitable and effective representation, he said.
The U.N. marked the anniversary with a one-day high level meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on Monday on the theme, ‘The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism’.