Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan took his long-standing call for reform of the United Nations a step further on Friday, saying all nations should become permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC).
Erdogan, frustrated with the deadlock at the 15-nation UNSC over Syria, has repeatedly called for a reform of the world body. On Thursday, he said the fate of the world “cannot be left to what comes out of the mouth of the five permanent members,” complaining that the stalemate of the UN encourages President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to continue using violence to suppress rebellion against his rule.
Responding to questions on his call for reform on Friday at a panel session in Bali, Indonesia, Erdogan said he was opposed to world countries being divided into “permanent” and “non-permanent” members. “I believe this categorization is wrong. If there should be permanent members, then all members of the UN should be permanent members, because the UN Charter says, big or small, all member countries are equal,” he stated.
According to Erdogan, permanent membership could rotate among countries on an annual basis.
The UNSC comprises 15 members, five of which are permanent members with the right to veto any resolution put forward by the UN powerhouse. The remaining 10 are non-permanent members, each holding two-year rotating terms. Two permanent members of the UNSC, Russia and China, have blocked attempts by the US, France and Britain to harshly condemn the Assad regime for violence in Syria three times, fearing it could lead to a Libya-style military intervention there.
Turkey, which has been lobbying for months for greater international involvement in the 19-month Syrian crisis, has repeatedly criticized the UN’s inaction, although it avoids pointing the finger at either Russia or China over the stalemate.
Erdogan commented that the current permanent members of the UNSC represent only three continents: America, Europe and Asia. “Are the other continents represented? No. Are all faith groups represented? No. Then you cannot expect justice from here, because most of the time decisions are based on ideological stances,” he said.
The prime minister singled out the case of Israel, saying no sanctions could be imposed on this country for violating past UN decisions simply because there is no mechanism to enforce UN decisions. Likewise, 133 world countries are ready to recognize Palestinian statehood, but it is not endorsed by the UN because Israel does not want it, Erdogan noted, apparently referring to the US’s veto of such attempts.