Once again, for the 77th time, the leaders of most of the world’s countries will gather at the headquarters of the United Nations, here on the East Side of Manhattan, to speak from the floor of the General Assembly, to exchange views with their colleagues, to see them and be seen by them.
Almost every year the assembled leaders also address some major problem that threatens world peace, the basic good that the UN was founded to protect after the end of World War II.
This year, of course, the great international challenge is the war in Ukraine. It must be considered certain that one speaker after another will have something to say about it, depending on the position each has taken.
Speeches by Putin or his representative, as well as the leaders of America, China, and Ukraine will attract the most interest. Everyone will be watching to see if there is any variation in their positions so far.
This year, however, Turkey’s role in both its relations with Russia and the threat it poses to peace in the Eastern Mediterranean should also be addressed from the podium of the General Assembly.
And the podium of the General Assembly provides an excellent opportunity to do this, because it offers the possibility to send messages to many heads of state and to millions of people around the world, including Turkey, who pay attention to the work of the UN.
It is perhaps the last opportunity to condemn Erdogan’s expansionist policy in front of an international audience and to warn of the consequences such actions would have for his country.
Washington has already sent a powerful, practical message with the lifting of the embargo on the sale of arms to Cyprus that has been in place, unfairly, for decades. And the message is clear:
Toleration of Ankara’s provocations must end. Turkey must be told it will pay a heavy price, just as Russia is paying, in the event of an armed conflict with Greece and Cyprus.
And this should be heard from the floor of the UN General Assembly.