World, Europe

N.Macedonia should embrace peace: Turkey

Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar supports North Macedonia in NATO, EU accession process

Sarp Ozer   | 03.04.2019
N.Macedonia should embrace peace: Turkey Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar (2nd L) attends a meeting with Speaker of Macedonia's parliament Talat Xhaferi (3rd R) in Skopje, North Macedonia on April 3, 2019. ( Husamedin Gina - Anadolu Agency )

SKOPJE 

Turkey's sincere wish is that the Balkan nations and North Macedonia embrace peace, stability and trust, the defense minister said Wednesday. 

Hulusi Akar made the remarks in Skopje following a meeting with his North Macedonian counterpart Radmila Shekerinsa.

Addressing a joint news conference, Akar said there are strong ties between the two countries.

"It is Turkey's sincere wish that all Balkan countries, specially North Macedonia, embrace peace, stability and trust," Akar said.

"I would like to once again state....that we will cooperate with Northern Macedonia in all matters, including the economy," he added.

Akar noted that Turkey has always done its share to support North Macedonia politically, economically and in the military sphere and will continue to do so in the coming period.

"We support any initiative of North Macedonia in the path of strengthening its Euro-Atlantic ties," he said.

"We are ready to do our part to accelerate [North] Macedonia's accession process with the EU and NATO," Akar added.  

Fight against terror

Speaking about the fight against terrorism, Akar said Turkey is carrying out operations against Daesh, PKK/YPG, and Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), both locally and internationally.  

"Turkey's struggle will continue until the last terrorist is neutralized," he said, noting that Turkey respects the territorial integrity of all its neighbors.

"We do not want anyone's land but it should be clear that we will put all kinds of effort for the security of our country, sovereignty and independence of our nation," he added.

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 in Turkey, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children in its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey. 

Akar also noted that Turkey and North Macedonia should work together against FETO for the sake of bilateral relations between the two countries.

"We are unfortunately aware of the existence of some FETO factors in North Macedonia," he said.

"This is how they sabotage our fraternity and friendship.

"We have also shared the names of these ringleaders with Macedonian institutions.

"We trust the Macedonian authorities and believe with all our hearts that the necessary steps will be taken," he added.

Last June, North Macedonia’s parliament approved a constitutional amendment to change the country's name after inking an agreement with Greece, which required Greece to drop its objection to North Macedonia joining NATO and the EU.

The name issue had kept the country from joining the EU and NATO since its independence in 1991.

Turkey has long recognized the country, now known as the Republic of North Macedonia.

*Writing by Dilara Hamit from Ankara

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