Turkish mosque in Ukraine’s Mariupol not damaged: Turkiye's foreign minister
At least 14,480 Turkish citizens evacuated from Ukraine since start of war on Feb. 24, according to Turkish foreign minister
Turkiye's foreign minister on Sunday confirmed that a Turkish mosque in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol remains intact after reports of a rocket landing 700 meters (2,300 feet) from the building.
In a news conference concluding the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in southern Turkiye, Mevlut Cavusoglu said the "pulse of diplomacy" had beaten at the event over the past four days, adding that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had held 11 bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the forum, while Cavusoglu himself held 67.
He added: "600 members of the press from 27 countries attended the second edition of the forum."
Noting that ADF has become an internationally recognized event, he said more than 3,000 people from 75 countries, including 17 heads of state and government, 80 ministers, 39 representatives of international organizations attended the forum this year.
"More than a third of the states in the world, about 40%, were represented here at the highest levels," he said.
Citing President Erdogan's opening remarks on Friday, Cavusoglu said the forum focused on "how to better utilize diplomacy with aims to eliminate global inequalities."
He also noted that Turkiye welcomes talks held at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum contributing to diplomacy and dialogue.
Cavusoglu further informed that at least 14,480 Turkish citizens were evacuated from Ukraine since the start of the war on Feb. 24.
The Turkish foreign minister stressed the need for a humanitarian cease-fire and corridor, including in the city of Mariupol, noting that the issue was discussed at a trilateral meeting with Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers in Antalya on Wednesday.
Citing the trilateral meeting, the Turkish minister said the "fact that both sides wanted us to attend this meeting, is an indication of the trust in our country."
Turkiye has taken a "principled and diplomacy-oriented attitude" from the very beginning, Cavusoglu said.
Also, in the trilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, Cavusoglu emphasized the necessity of opening a humanitarian corridor in the region of Mariupol.
"There are not only our citizens, but also citizens of other countries (in Mariupol). It is risky to evacuate the citizens, as the war has now turned into street fighting, and the clashes in the streets continue," Cavusoglu said.
He further stressed that Turkiye is continuing its efforts to bring the leaders of Ukraine and Russia to the table, as it was also mentioned by Lavrov and Kuleba during their press conferences on Friday.
"In principle, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin told our President (Erdogan) over the phone that he is not against such a meeting. Lavrov reiterated this at the press conference. The Ukrainian side is ready," the Turkish minister said while adding that "serious negotiations are continuing among themselves on technical and some other issues."
Commenting on talks with his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan, Cavusoglu said the Armenian minister voiced Yerevan's willingness to launch peace talks with Azerbaijan.
He stressed that both Turkiye and Azerbaijan are keen on the stability of the region, adding that Armenia should respond to this position.
"We are not talking about a conflict, a dispute, a mediation. Everyone, of course, should do their part for the stability of the region," he noted.
Emphasizing that Turkiye supports all steps to be taken between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Cavusoglu noted that Ankara also supports the projects they agree to implement as soon as possible.
Taliban's attendance at ADF
Responding to a question on inviting Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi to ADF, Cavusoglu said they invited everyone without any discrimination.
"It is very natural for us to invite the current interim administration of Afghanistan. Because everyone is saying something about Afghanistan, it would be beneficial to have Afghanistan there while they are saying it," he added.
The Turkish minister stressed that the urgent need for Afghanistan is humanitarian aid.
"There are other steps that need to be taken especially for the security and stability of the country's economy," he said while underscoring that Turkiye is in no rush to recognize the country's interim administration, and is waiting, like many other countries, for Kabul to take the necessary steps.