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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan complained about the bright-colored decorations at the United Nations General Assembly this week in New York City, saying the “LGBT colors” upset him.
The multi-colored lights were installed to promote the U.N.’s sustainable development goals, which the session was intended to feature.
Erdoğan told Turkish media that he wants to bring up the issue with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as Reuters reported. The Turkish leader’s islamist government has recently toughened its stance on LGBTQ rights.
“One of the issues that bothers me the most … is that when entering the United Nations General Assembly, you see the LGBT colors on steps and other places,” he was quoted as saying by broadcaster Haberturk and others, according to Reuters.
“How many LGBT are there in the world right now? However much right they have on these steps, those against LGBT have as much right as well,” he said.
While the United Nations has made statements in support of the LGBTQ community, there are no explicit displays of pride flags or other displays specifically for the LGBTQ community at the U.N. building in New York.
The development goals are a list of 17 aspirational tasks for world leaders, with a deadline of 2030, including improving hunger, extreme poverty and climate change.
President Biden addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, using the opportunity to focus on the war in Ukraine.
“Russia believes that the world will grow weary and allow it to brutalize Ukraine without consequence,” Biden said. “But I ask you this: If we abandon the core principles of the U.N. Charter to appease an aggressor, can any member state feel confident that they are protected?”
“If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?” he said. “I respectfully suggest the answer is no. We must stand up to this naked aggression today to deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also addressed the U.N. this week and called for reform in the body, citing Russia’s deadlock on the Security Council.
“We should recognize that the U.N. finds itself in a deadlock on the matters of aggression. Humankind no longer pins its hopes on the U.N.,” Zelensky said in a speech at the Security Council.
“Ukrainian soldiers now are doing at the expense of their blood what the U.N. Security Council should do by its voting; they’re stopping Russia and upholding the principles of the U.N.”