Erdogan pushes for UN balance at G20 summit


Erdogan pushes for UN balance at G20 summit

Erdogan pushes for UN balance at G20 summit
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds a news conference at the end of the G20 summit in New Delhi, India. (AP)
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The 18th G20 summit was held last week in New Delhi. A troika of countries (the past, present and future chairs) contributes to the organization of these summits. This year’s troika was composed of Indonesia, Brazil and India. However, the main responsibility is on the shoulders of the present chair.
Traditionally, G20 summits try to avoid binding decisions. In keeping with this tradition, the title of this year’s summit was uncontroversial: “One Earth, One Family, One Future.”
One of the important facts of this summit was that Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend. Putin had an excuse to be hesitant about participating, as the International Criminal Court in March issued a warrant for his arrest. The political motives were evident in this case, with many similar allegations having been ignored in comparable cases. This was the first example of such a warrant being issued against the head of state of a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
The chairman of next year’s G20, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, issued an important message. He said during the handing over of the gavel, which represents the chairmanship, that if Putin were to attend next year’s summit, he would not be arrested on Brazilian soil.
Xi’s absence from the G20 summit was likely related to the strained relations between China and India. The world’s two most populous countries have always had bilateral problems. Most of them relate to border incursions, but these have not escalated to all-out war. A full-fledged war between these two superpowers is not likely. Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said Xi’s absence would not affect the group’s ability to reach a consensus on the decisions to be adopted.
It was agreed that a transport corridor will be built from India to Europe via the Middle East. This will be complementary to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. While one suitable route for this important project goes through Anatolia and the Turkish straits, Turkiye was not included in this project. This is probably due to Ankara’s alienation from various channels of regional cooperation.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the G20 summit to share with his fellow leaders the impression that he gathered during his recent meeting with Putin. The most important issue related to the revival of the Black Sea grain deal. Putin is reluctant to revive this agreement if his conditions are not met. However, a semblance of an agreement seems to be evolving for sending either grain or flour to the least-developed African countries. Turkiye volunteered to get it off the ground with Qatari funding. But such trilateral cooperation may solve only part of the problem.
Russia is faced with a multitude of other problems. It is excluded from the international financial transactions system known as SWIFT. Its ships are not being insured by the international insurance companies. And it is not allowed to purchase agricultural machines or tools from the international market.
During Erdogan’s recent visit to Sochi, he discussed with Putin the question of linking Russia to the international SWIFT system through Turkiye’s state-owned bank Ziraat. There are also similar initiatives in the UN to launch such a mechanism.

Erdogan used the summit to share with his fellow leaders the impression that he gathered during his recent meeting with Putin.

Yasar Yakis

While Erdogan was in Russia, he also said that Ukraine has to be more flexible. This must have caused disappointment and the Ukrainian authorities negatively reacted to Erdogan’s statement.
Unlike on previous occasions, when Erdogan made tremendous efforts to meet the US president, this time he and Joe Biden only had a brief exchange of views. On his way back to Ankara, Erdogan said he had raised with the US president the chronic problem of Turkiye’s purchase and upgrade of F-16 fighter aircraft, but Biden said this was a matter for the US Congress. During his post-summit press conference, Erdogan raised this issue by saying: “The US sends the ball to the court of the Congress. If they have their Congress, we have our parliament. When the time comes for Sweden to join NATO, we will consult our parliament and whatever it says is binding for us.” Erdogan wants to give the impression that Sweden’s NATO membership is not yet a done deal. We will see which other strings the US will pull in its relations with Turkiye.
Erdogan also met several other leaders and, during the comprehensive press conference at the end of the summit, he responded in a detailed manner to almost all questions posed by the members of the media.
One of the subjects that he likes to elaborate on is his statement that “the world is bigger than five (the permanent members of the UNSC).” Turkiye’s weight is not enough to move the international community but, fortunately, there are other influential countries that are eager to share the responsibility of world peace. The current UNSC membership is a reflection of the power balance that emerged at the end of the Second World War.
Several reasonable proposals were made to improve the present imbalance. The need for a fairer share of responsibility is being pushed strongly and we do not know for how long the present state of affairs will be sustained. There are other countries with huge populations like India, Germany, Japan and Brazil that are pushing to change the present unfair situation. Erdogan used the opportunity of the press briefing after the G20 summit to reiterate once more the unsustainability of the present situation.
So, another uneventful G20 summit has come to an end.

Yasar Yakis is a former foreign minister of Turkiye and founding member of the ruling AK Party.
Twitter: @yakis_yasar

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