Civil wars and conflicts in various regions of Asia and Africa lead to mass population movements. Undoubtedly, the greatest migration movement among others has been caused by the Syrian civil war, which has been ongoing since 2011. Nearly half of the country's population of 20 million has migrated from Syria since the war broke out. United Nations' officials indicated the gravity of the situation by remarking that they "have not seen a refugee outflow escalate at such a frightening rate since the Rwandan genocide almost 20 years ago."
Having a long border with Syria of about 1,000 kilometers, Turkey hosts the largest part of the refugee influx.
Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly recently, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave some striking data with regard to the subject:
"Turkey hosts more than 3 million Syrian and 200,000 Iraqi refugees... Turkey has spent over $30 billion, including the expenditures of the public, NGOs and people, to meet the needs of the refugees in Turkey who are living either in camps or cities. Nevertheless, the European Union has sent only 820 million euros out of the promised 3 billion euros, plus an additional 3 billion it promised, while donations through the U.N. remain at $520 million," he said.
The figures are thought provoking. Although Turkey is the world's 17th biggest economy, the injustice becomes more evident considering the developed economies of countries that have a say in the administration of the U.N. and other global organizations.
Besides, Turkey does not only shoulder the responsibility of its neighbors on behalf of the world, but it also provides several billion dollars of humanitarian aid to suffering regions across the world, including several African countries, such as Somalia and the Rohingya in Myanmar, who have been subjected to ethnic cleansing.
According to OECD data, Turkey is the world's leading country when it comes to sending the greatest amount of humanitarian aid with $6 billion aid provided just last year. In this sense, it is one of six countries that meet U.N. objectives. Of the 193 member countries, Turkey shoulders a great deal of the U.N.'s burden, yet it is still not influential in the organization's decision-making mechanisms.
It is not included in mechanisms like the U.N. Security Council, which has only five global powers as permanent members. This structure must be reformed urgently. As a first step, the Security Council must consist of 20 countries as suggested by Turkey in the latest General Assembly meeting.
Suggesting structural reforms to the U.N. and being the most active member in the organization with the objective of achieving a sustainable world, Turkey is required to be among those 20 countries because the synergy that would be created by Turkey, which supports the development aid perspective both economically and with field activities, is crucial for the future of the U.N.
If Turkey has more influence in the U.N.'s administration, it will contribute a great deal to the transformation of the U.N., whose function has been under serious scrutiny in recent years. For instance, the transition from a "peacekeeping" perspective to a "peace building" mission can be easily accomplished with a partner like Turkey, which has experience and wisdom on the subject. But first, the 188 countries that de facto accept that five countries are bigger than the rest of the world are required to pay attention to Turkey's objections to the U.N. that are made on behalf of Turkey and the world.