4 October 2018 - 19:00 to 20:00

Istanbul, Turkey

Moderator: Fatih Er, Director of News, Programmes and Visual at TRT World

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan initiated his speech by recalling the importance of learning lessons from history, and that if people were to take heed, history would not repeat itself. He criticised the UN for its inability to provide answers to global issues. He pointed to the ineffectiveness of the global system in resolving conflicts such as Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen and stated that the current system has collapsed. President Erdoğan reiterated his famous slogan that the “World is bigger than five” and added that the current world system is the aftermath of WWI and WWII and that we are no longer bound by these circumstances. A United Nations system should be formed in which all 193 members serve as permanent members. Otherwise it is impossible to establish peace and justice in the world if we were to only rely on these five permanent members. There should be a UN Security Council that represents all continents alike.

Commenting on the Turkish-Russian deal, President Erdoğan said that the country’s aim is to create a de-escalation zone in order to prepare for the full return of refugees. When free and fair elections are held in Syria, Turkey will leave the country and hand it over to its real owners; otherwise, unless stability and peace are established, Turkey’s troops will remain in Syria. On the issue of Turkey buying the S400 missile system from Russia, the US expressed its disapproval arguing that a NATO member cannot buy S400’s from a non-NATO member. However, President Erdoğan explained that NATO's Secretary General issued a statement giving Turkey freedom of preference. He also added that the US did not object to Greece buying S300’s from Russia but is objecting to Turkey buying S400’s. President Erdoğan rejected the US philosophy of “I am strong, therefore I am right” and stressed that Turkey’s philosophy is “I am right, therefore I am strong”. President Erdoğan finally added that Turkey is moving forward with new projects and initiatives, such as the nuclear energy plans with Russia, China and Japan. The fact that the US refused to sell Turkey drones has forced Turkish entrepreneurs to produce their own drones which have already been used successfully in Jarablus and Afrin. This is a sign that Turkey is no longer dependent and is slowly but firmly moving towards attaining its goals.