Erdoğan: Türkiye supports Azerbaijan’s anti-terror op in Karabakh
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Türkiye supports Azerbaijan’s counterterrorism operation in Karabakh to preserve its territorial integrity, as he addressed the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on Tuesday, where he touched upon a trove of ongoing global problems, including racism, xenophobia, the crisis in Niger, Cyprus issue and more, according to Azerbaijan in Focus, reporting Daily Sabah.
Erdoğan said that Karabakh is a part of Azerbaijan’s sovereign territory and the imposition of another status for the breakaway region is unacceptable.
“We have supported the negotiation process between Azerbaijan and Armenia from the beginning. However, we see that Armenia has not fully seized this historic opportunity,” Erdoğan said.
“Armenia needs to keep its pledges, including respect for the Zangezur corridor,” he said.
His remarks followed Azerbaijan’s counterterrorism operation in Karabakh, nearly three years after fighting a brief but brutal war with Armenia over the mountainous region.
Baku’s military operation against Nagorno-Karabakh, saying it was addressing “justified” security concerns in the ethnically Armenian breakaway region.
The Foreign Ministry also supported Azerbaijan’s operation.
“As a result of the legitimate and justified concerns it has repeatedly expressed regarding the situation on the ground in the nearly three years since the end of the Second Karabakh War, Azerbaijan has had to take the measures it deems necessary on its own sovereign territory,” the ministry said.
Ankara said the operation was sparked by “long-standing armed attacks and provocations” against Azerbaijani forces in the region.
But it added that only direct talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan could permanently resolve the decadeslong conflict.
“We believe that ensuring the continuation of the comprehensive negotiation process between Azerbaijan and Armenia… is the only way to establish peace, security, prosperity and permanent stability in the region,” the Turkish statement said.
Karabakh authorities reported rockets and artillery fire along the entire front line around the mountain enclave while Baku assured a humanitarian corridor was established on the Lachin road – the only land route connecting Armenia to Karabakh – and other directions for the evacuation of Karabakh civilians.
Türkiye thanks the global community for earthquake efforts
The president thanked the global community for their support during the Feb. 4 twin earthquakes, which killed over 50,000 people in the country. He noted that Türkiye continues to heal the wounds of the quakes and rebuild the provinces destroyed in the disaster.
He continued by touching on the recent disasters in Libya and Morocco.
“A few days ago, Libya, with which we have strong historical ties, suffered heavy destruction and loss of life caused by storms and floods,” he said, adding that Ankara took immediate action to help the country, where at least 10,000 people lost their lives and thousands of other remain missing.
He called on the global community to extend a helping hand to the people of Libya and Morocco, as they try to heal the wounds of the flood and the earthquake, respectively.
‘Global institutions do not reflect today’s realities’
The president continued by highlighting the necessity of U.N. Security Council reform. Noting that Ankara is pleased to see that the UNGA’s theme for this year coincides with Türkiye’s centennial goals, Erdoğan said Türkiye calls for an international system that eliminates global injustices, addresses economic inequalities, generates peace, security, stability and prosperity, is efficient, inclusive and embraces humanity.
“The U.N. Security Council is no longer a guarantor of world security but became a battleground for 5 permanent members,” he said.
“We agree with Secretary-General Guterres’s recent assessment that the institutions established after the Second World War do not reflect today’s world,” he said, as he reiterated his famous motto: “The world is bigger than five.”
Erdoğan warns against Xenophobia, anti-Muslim hatred
The president also highlighted the importance of fighting xenophobia, racism and anti-Muslim hatred, which have turned into a crisis, reaching alarming levels in the past year.
“Racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia, which spread like a virus, especially in developed countries, have reached intolerable levels,” Erdoğan said in his address at the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Signs of xenophobia, racism, and Islamophobia spiraling into a new crisis have reached alarming proportions in the past year, he said.
Stating that hate speech, polarization, and discrimination against innocent people hurt the public conscience in all corners of the world, the Turkish leader lamented that populist politicians in many countries continue to play with fire by encouraging these dangerous trends.
“The mentality which encourages heinous attacks against the holy Quran in Europe by allowing them under the guise of freedom of expression is in fact darkening its own future,” said the president.
He stressed that Türkiye will continue to support initiatives to combat Islamophobia on all platforms, in particular the U.N., Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The president also called on world leaders who he said reject such attacks on sacred values to instead support Türkiye’s struggle.
Erdoğan’s speech followed a rash of attacks on the Quran such as burnings and other desecrations, particularly in northern European countries, and often committed with police protection.
The attacks have drawn widespread outrage and condemnation.
‘Türkiye expects EU to fulfill ‘its long-neglected obligations’
Regarding relations with the European Union, Erdoğan said Ankara expects the bloc to fulfill “its long-neglected obligations toward our country.”
“The increasingly complex nature of regional and global challenges indicates that there is a need, now more than ever, to advance Turkish-European Union relations on a healthy basis,” said Erdoğan.
“We expect the European Union to swiftly start fulfilling its long-neglected obligations towards our country,” said the president.
“Especially the ambivalent attitudes toward Türkiye have to come to an end,” he added.
Türkiye applied for EU membership in 1987 and has been a candidate country since 1999.
Negotiations for full membership started in October 2005 but have stalled in recent years due to political hurdles erected by some countries.
‘Niger military intervention may have consequences’
Erdoğan issued a stern warning Tuesday about the potential consequences of military interference in Niger as he emphasized the risk of deeper instability for that nation and the entire Sahel region.
“Any military intervention in Niger risks plunging this country and the entire region into deeper instability,” he warned. “We hope that Niger, which has been going through troubled times recently, reaches a constitutional order and a democratic governance as soon as possible.”
Niger was plunged into turmoil on July 26 when Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, a former commander of the presidential guard, led a military intervention that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.
The furor against French presence in the country provoked a row with Paris.
Military administrations took power in neighboring Burkina Faso in 2022 and in Mali in 2020.