“All these disasters affecting millions of people show the United Nations will have to be much more effective, much more influential,” he said.
Erdogan has emerged as a key player in the Ukraine conflict. Turkey is a NATO member and has supplied Ukraine with lethal drones targeting Russian troops, but Erdogan has also met multiple times with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey was a broker alongside the United Nations in securing the safe passage of Ukrainian grains exports through the Black Sea.
Turkey, he noted, has also hosted 4 million Syrian refugees in that country's long-running war. At one point during his speech, Erdogan held up a photo of dead Syrian refugee children to emphasize the need for continued support.
He said the United Nations needs to be more inclusive — and the Security Council should be more democratic and functional.
“The world is greater than five,” he said, referring to the Security Council’s five permanent members.
Erdogan, 68, has led the country for almost 20 years, first as prime minister and then as president. Support for him and his party, however, has declined due to the cost-of-living crisis. He survived an alleged coup in 2016, unleashing in its wake a widespread crackdown against government critics, journalists, politicians and activists.
Aya Batrawy, a Dubai-based correspondent for The Associated Press, is on assignment at the U.N. General Assembly. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ayaelb.