"I invite international organisations and all countries to give sincere support to Türkiye's peace efforts," says President Erdogan during his address at the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly.

President Erdogan spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by phone moments before his address.
President Erdogan spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by phone moments before his address. (AFP)

Türkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for a "dignified way out" of the seven-month Russia-Ukraine crisis. 

"Together, we need to find a reasonably practical diplomatic solution that will give both sides a dignified way out of the crisis," Erdogan told the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday. 

He spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by phone moments before addressing the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly with an urgent appeal for peace.

He said a lasting peace must be based on protecting Ukraine's territorial integrity.

"We will continue to increase our efforts to end the war that has flared up again in recent days on the basis of Ukraine's territorial integrity and independence.

"I invite international organisations and all countries to give sincere support to Türkiye's efforts."

READ MORE: 'Winter of global discontent': Guterres opens UN summit with stark warning

One of UN's greatest achievements

The Türkiye-brokered deal to resume Ukrainian grain exports has been one of the UN's greatest achievements in recent years, Erdogan said. 

"As a result of our intense efforts with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, we have ensured that Ukrainian grain reaches the world via the Black Sea," Erdogan added. 

"This agreement, which is of critical importance in maintaining global grain supplies, is one of the greatest achievements of the UN in recent years."

Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement in Istanbul on July 22 to restart grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which were paused after the Russia-Ukraine conflict began in February.

READ MORE: Türkiye: Grain deal could restart Russia-Ukraine negotiations

'Greece turning Aegean Sea into graveyard of refugees'

Erdogan lashed out at Greece for its "persecution" of migrants in the Aegean Sea and Eastern Mediterranean.

"While we are struggling to prevent the deaths of more babies like Aylan (Kurdi), Greece is turning the Aegean into a graveyard of refugees with its unlawful and reckless pushbacks," said Erdogan.

The refugee crisis cannot be solved by placing innocent people seeking a better future in concentration camps or leaving them on boats to die, he added.

"It is high time for Europe and the UN to put an end to these atrocities that are tantamount to crimes against humanity," he said.

READ MORE: Türkiye releases damning footage of illegal Greek pushback of migrants

“While we are struggling to prevent the deaths of more babies like Aylan (Kurdi), Greece is turning the Aegean into a graveyard of refugees with its unlawful and reckless pushbacks,
“While we are struggling to prevent the deaths of more babies like Aylan (Kurdi), Greece is turning the Aegean into a graveyard of refugees with its unlawful and reckless pushbacks," says Erdogan. (AFP)

Oppression of Turkish Cypriots

Ankara and global rights groups have repeatedly condemned Greece's illegal practice of pushing asylum seekers back into Turkish waters and denying them entry, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children. 

"We expect Greece to shun its politics of provocations and heed our calls for cooperation," Erdogan asserted.

He also urged the international community to make efforts to end the oppression of Turkish Cypriots, and to officially recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus "as soon as possible."

In addition to its inhumane pushbacks of irregular migrants, Greece also pursues “discriminatory and oppressive policies” against the Muslim Turkish minority, he added.

Türkiye hopes that Greece will stop these problematic actions and that international organisations, particularly the EU, will stop turning a blind eye to its "inhuman and unlawful practices," Erdogan stressed.

READ MORE: 'Unjust structure': United Nations Security Council must reform - Türkiye

Syria conflict

About the Syrian crisis, Erdogan reiterated the importance of finding a lasting solution in line with the legitimate expectations of the people and based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

"The continuation of the deadlock increasingly threatens both the security and stability of our region and the territorial integrity of Syria," he said.

Ankara cannot be expected to remain indifferent to the PKK and its offshoots which carry out terrorist attacks on Türkiye, its security forces and civilians, and threaten Syria’s territorial integrity, Erdogan said.

“We invite those who try to legitimise this terrorist group with cheap tricks like changing names to immediately halt arming and supporting terrorists, and correct their mistakes,” he added.

Ankara is ready to work with anyone who wants to contribute to the security and welfare of the region by cooperating with Türkiye, instead of terrorist organisations and “cruel” regimes, the president stressed.

“We strongly state that we are capable of taking all kinds of measures against terrorism and that we will never hesitate to do what is necessary against terrorist organisations,” he added. 

READ MORE: Türkiye expects US to cooperate against YPG/PKK, FETO terrorism — Erdogan

Two-state solution

Erdogan also reiterated that Türkiye strongly supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, which Ankara considers essential for the establishment of permanent peace and stability in the Middle East.

“There is no other possibility for a fair, lasting and comprehensive solution other than establishing an independent and sovereign Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he said.

It is essential to respect the historical and cultural identity of Jerusalem, to stop the illegal settlement activities in the occupied lands, and to ensure the security of life and property of the Palestinians, the president added.

“We are determined to continue to develop our relations with Israel for the sake of peace, stability and the future of ourselves, this country, the Palestinian people and the region,” Erdogan said.

READ MORE: Türkiye calls for long-term Mideast peace to end Israel-Palestine conflict

Source: TRTWorld and agencies