The Covid-19 outbreak has “sharpened injustice” in the world, says Turkey’s President Erdogan at Antalya Diplomacy Forum, urging world leaders not to permit vaccine nationalism to take hold.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during opening of Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Antalya, Turkey on June 18, 2021.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during opening of Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Antalya, Turkey on June 18, 2021. (AA)

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the international community "failed to give a good test" in managing the coronavirus pandemic.

The UN Security Council put "the biggest health crisis in history" on its agenda only 100 days after the outbreak erupted, Erdogan said on Friday during his opening speech at the three-day Antalya Diplomacy Forum held in southern Turkey.

Urging world leaders not to permit vaccine nationalism to take hold and not to repeat the same mistakes as the pandemic progresses, Erdogan underlined that the virus outbreak had "sharpened the injustice" in the world.

Since December 2019, the pandemic has claimed over 3.84 million lives in 192 countries and regions, with more than 177.5 million cases reported worldwide, according to the US-based Johns Hopkins University.

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Cooperation on energy resources

On the issue of energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, Erdogan said that it was in hands of all parties involved to ensure that these "lead to cooperation instead of confrontation."

This year, Turkey and Greece resumed consultative talks to resolve bilateral disputes in the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.

Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected maritime boundary claims by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that their excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

Last year, Ankara sent out several drill ships to explore energy in the Eastern Mediterranean, asserting its rights in the region as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

Erdogan also underlined that Turkey looks forward to boosting cooperation in all regions from Africa to Latin America and from the Pacific to Asia in the coming period.

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A lesson against 'xenophobic trend'

At the forum, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the success of German-Turkish scientists who produced the BioNTech/Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine should stand as a lesson against xenophobic trends.

Praising the efforts of scientist couple Ugur Sahin and Ozlem Tureci to quickly develop a vaccine to the global pandemic, Cavusoglu said: "The success of two esteemed scientists who moved to Germany from Turkey has also been a lesson to those who look at foreigners with hostility and fear."

The Antalya Diplomacy Forum is hosting 10 heads of state and government, 42 foreign ministers, three former heads of state and government, more than 50 representatives of international organisations or former government officials.

Debates of global importance, including the Balkans, the future of Europe, the trans-Atlantic relations, the refugees and migrants as well as the threat of terrorism, will be analysed in depth during the three-day forum. 

There will also be a session on Turkey's proposal for the Eastern Mediterranean Conference.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies