Erdogan: Turkey to take step for UN reform

By Ilkay Guder

ANKARA (AA) – Ankara will discuss a UN reform initiative with several countries, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

"At first, it would be useful to discuss this issue with Germany, China, Russia, France and Spain which are well-esteemed countries in a narrow scope. It would be more appropriate to feel the air first and then move on. Our share is to take step on this issue," Erdogan told media representatives on Wednesday in the U.S. ahead of his departure for Germany.

It is also important to promote the issue on written and social media, the president underlined.

In his address to the 73rd session of UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Erdogan called for a "comprehensive reform" in the structure and functioning of the UN, particularly the Security Council.

He said the UN has carried out work and achieved considerable success over its 73-year history, adding: "However, it is also a fact that the UN moved away from meeting the expectations of humanity for peace and welfare over time."

Asked whether Turkish president had a meeting the U.S. counterpart Donal Trump, Erdogan said: "He told me 'See you' but I didn’t attend the dinner. As you know, there is a family photo in these meetings.

"During lunch, our tables were side by side. It was out of question for me to go to that table since Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi was sitting at his [Trump's] table," Erdogan said.

The president added he got a chance to discuss Syrian crisis with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

On the question whether the U.S. will make any contribution to the recent Turkey-Russia deal on Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, Erdogan said they didn’t think about "what America will say" upon the deal.

On Sept. 17, Ankara and Moscow agreed to turn Idlib into a demilitarized zone between the opposition and the regime-controlled areas.

Erdogan said Turkey has 12, Russia 10 and Iran has six observation points in Idlib.

– US not keep promise on Manbij

The president also said Turkey, Russia, Germany and France will have a quartet Syria summit in Istanbul without giving any details on date.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.

About Manbij, a northern Syrian city, Erdogan said: "America certainly didn’t comply with the Manbij roadmap and schedule. PYD/YPG didn’t leave the region."

In June, the Turkish and U.S. forces began patrols in Manbij in line with a deal focusing on the withdrawal of the PKK-affiliated YPG terror group from the city in order to stabilize the region.

– 'US aid cut to Palestine not right'

Erdogan stated that he had a bilateral meeting with his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.

Recalling the U.S. aid cut to Palestine and the closure of Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) diplomatic mission in Washington, Erdogan said: “These kind of acts don’t fit a country with the claim of fairness, for sure.”

The U.S.’ unilateral revoke of the deals including Palestine can’t be evaluated as “right” act, he added.

The president also reiterated Turkish support for the Palestine cause.

Last month, the U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert announced that Washington would “no longer commit funding” to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The U.S. had been UNRWA's largest contributor by far, providing it with $350 million annually — roughly a quarter of its overall budget.

Established in 1949, UNRWA provides critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.