Contribution to the book of diplomacy: The world is bigger than 5

BY: Yasin Aktay*

Also, as almost every country has its very own small- or large-scale diaspora in New York, every country’s diaspora holding demonstrations here to support or protest their own country has also become one of this festival’s routines. The Iranian diaspora protesting its own country ever since the revolution has become a common affair. Upon President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s attendance in the General Assembly meeting this year, the Turks in the U.S. gathered around the hotel he stayed in for four days in a display of support and love. The diplomacy traffic that ran with the acceptance of the presidents and businessmen of many countries at the hotel also exposed Turkey’s significance that is increasingly becoming central.Since this was the first meeting after the July 15 coup attempt, President Erdoğan’s primary agenda in both the General Assembly and all contacts was the coup attempt and the Turkish people’s legendary struggle for independence against this attempt. In both his General Assembly speech and all other following speeches, Erdoğan persistently emphasized his pride in his people and that this nation is one of those in the world that earned democracy.

He frequently stressed that the terrorist group leader who organized and activated this coup attempt is in the U.S. and hence drew attention to the U.S.’s contradiction on fighting terrorism. As if it is not enough that Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) leader Fethullah Gülen lives in the U.S., the U.S. government makes close to $300 million per year in revenue from the schools tendered to the organization linked to him. This picture clearly shows that another meaning of this is that it is the “financier of terrorism” against Turkey.

Erdoğan’s speech was like a manifesto that also radically criticized the U.N.’s structure, proposing that it be restructured anew in a more just, democratic and participating way. He displayed a stance opposing the U.N. system and by calling the world to be more just and democratic, he reiterated his theory that the world is bigger than five at the highest level.

This theory was further repeated in his following speeches and private contacts as well. It is possible to say that the messages given by the president are not and cannot be ignored by anybody. It is clear that some are disturbed, but even those who are disturbed cannot keep themselves from listening to these words. Because he speaks the truth and tells what nobody has the courage to say. Thus, being the sole leader to state the wrongness of an order by which the majority is disturbed, he earns and deserves the quality of being a world leader over and over again by the day.

In the round table meeting organized by major U.S. businessman and Bloomberg CEO Michael Bloomberg, the responses he gave when he was asked about this rhetoric in his meetings with numerous top level U.S. businessmen and politicians, were significantly showing his insistence on this matter and self-confidence in his theories. During this meeting, when former legendary U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for example, asked Erdoğan his thoughts on making his “the world is bigger than five” rhetoric a subject of diplomacy, the president recalled his famous book titled “Diplomacy” and said, “it was quite a thick book, but at the time you wrote it, there was nobody else criticizing the U.N. and its structure in such a way. I am sure if there was anybody saying such a thing back then, you would have had to add another section to your book,” re-explaining his reasoning on the subject.

At the same meeting, Blackstone President Hamilton E. Jones also interestingly pointed to this rhetoric and said, “Looking at the Islamic world’s disorganization and representation problem, you are currently physically representing the voice the Islamic world needs.”


When big investor Jean Paul Rammitt stated that he is aware of Erdoğan’s attitude against the Central Bank (CB) and that he is having trouble associating Turkey’s being such a well-developing economy and his interventions on the CB which should be independent, he was destined to get a lesson from Erdoğan on economy and real life.

Asking what the maximum interest rate could be in a normal economy, for example one that would be reasonable in the U.S. that would also make investment possible, he insisted for a response from the participants. When the majority decided on 3 percent he asked, “just think that our interest rate is 15 percent, is investment, stability or development possible in such a country?”

Frankly, this answer alone was convincing enough, but he made another lesson-like statement regarding the politician’s role on the CB’s independence: “The people hold the politician responsible for the problems caused by money policies – and want an account from the politician – not the CB president. Of course, we can’t say we don’t care about an interest policy that destroys the investment atmosphere and makes the investor give up and say this is the CB’s job. The politician’s job is to pave the way for life in every direction the people want, to make their jobs easier and contribute to development. Also, I do not think that your CB is any more independent than ours.”


*Yasin Aktay is the vice chair of the ruling Justice and Development (AK Party) in Turkey.

(Published in Yeni Şafak Turkısh newspaper on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016)