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Erdogan's UN Criticism Meant for Home Consumption But Others Will Listen

© REUTERS / SPUTNIKTurkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, Russia September 29, 2021.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, Russia September 29, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.10.2021
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used home media attention to his Africa trip this week to again call for a more inclusive UN Security Council, in what experts say is a popularity stunt that will in all likelihood resonate with African nations.
The 15-member council is the only UN body that can make legally binding decisions, with five permanent members wielding veto powers — Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Erdogan has long argued that the "world is bigger than five." He says the core UN body should be expanded to better represent the global Muslim population, for which he appears to feel responsible, as well as large portions of the world, including Africa, Gareth Jenkins, of the Stockholm-based Institute for Security and Development Policy, believes.
"Erdogan frequently uses the argument… without having any concern about who supports his argument. But I can say his argument and critiques are getting on the street of Cairo, Kabul, Algeria and in all Africa," Yousuf Alabarda, a Turkish political expert, told Sputnik.
Alabarda, an Ankara representative of the Turkish national defense magazine M5, said Erdogan offered African economies a level playing field, in a stark contrast to European "colonizers," whom he accused on Monday of ignoring the continent's calls for change.
Birol Baskan, of the Washington-based Middle East Institute, agreed that Erdogan was pursuing global ambitions by painting Turkey as the leader of the Muslim world, but he argued that nationalists within the Muslim world were not likely to rally behind him.
"Erdogan's statements are for domestic consumption... Other Islamist movements across the Muslim world might embrace the same view. But nationalists and other political currents in the Muslim world will hardly embrace it," he said.
Jenkins said to Sputnik that there was a growing gap between Erdogan’s perception of himself as a world leader and how the world saw him.

"The main reason for Erdogan’s statement is that the UN does not pay enough attention to his own views on global events or those of the world’s Muslims – of whom he believes he is the global representative," he said.

Erdogan’s calls for an expanded UN have gained little traction, Jenkins said, but he too suggested that the president was at least partially motivated by his desire to "halt the seemingly irreversible long-term decline in his popular support by trying to convince Turkish voters that he is able to change the world."
That said, the experts agreed that it was time for the UN to change, provided that the core five are ready to relinquish or dilute the power they possess.
"It is difficult to justify the UK and France being permanent members when the EU, Africa, South America and large areas of Asia are not. But there is a difference between supporting reform of the UN and supporting Erdogan in his attempts to reshape the UN according to his own wishes," Jenkins said.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the experts and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
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