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09/23/2021 United States (International Christian Concern) – This week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered an address at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) taking place in New York. The trip comes at a time when U.S.-Turkish relations are strained as a result of Turkey’s deteriorating religious freedom landscape as well as its expanding military presence throughout the Middle East, north Africa, and the Caucasus.

During his speech, President Erdogan explicitly condemned the use of terrorists as mercenaries for foreign engagements. “I would like to once again reiterate in your presence that making any distinction between terrorist organizations in the region and using them as subcontractors in the field is unacceptable,” said Erdogan to the UNGA.

Interestingly, many organizations, including International Christian Concern (ICC), have presented much evidence that suggests Turkey engaged in specifically this international law violation. Turkey hired former ISIS fighters from Syria to fight alongside Azerbaijani troops in the 2020 Karabakh War, who proceeded to commit a litany of war crimes against Armenian soldiers and civilians.

Erdogan also used his platform at UNGA to discuss a range of topics, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the Paris climate agreement, and Turkey’s desire for the UN to recognize north Cyprus, a region invaded by Turkey in the 1970s. Since the invasion, Turkey has attempted to eliminate the presence of Christianity in the north of the small Mediterranean island since its invasion, and has been advocating for the solidification of Turkish presence there since the invasion.

Despite Erdogan’s outward face to the West and the UN, the United States and its allies must remain poised to point out ways in which Turkey is not abiding by its own rhetoric.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected].