Turkey, Politics

No lasting solution in Syria without Russia: Turkish FM

Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey is a 'loyal' friend to Moscow

No lasting solution in Syria without Russia: Turkish FM



Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday a "permanent solution" in Syria could not be found without Russia.

"Without Russia's contribution, there cannot be a permanent solution in Syria. We keep saying this. The same goes for Iran, too, with which we also have to boost our relations in this regard," Cavusoglu told the Russian Sputnik News Agency in an exclusive interview.

Cavusoglu said Moscow could not find a "more loyal" friend than Turkey.

"Unfortunately, the situation in Syria is getting worse. These problems cannot be solved in the short term through fighting alone. They cannot be solved single-handedly, either. That is why, we have to work together for a political solution and a cease-fire," Cavusoglu added.

The minister said Turkey and Russia may have "differences of opinion", but the essential aim is to bring mutual relations "to a level that is even better than before."

Moscow and Ankara support different sides in the conflict, with Turkey deeply opposed to Bashar al-Assad’s regime, of which Russia is a major backer.

As for a possible military-technical cooperation with Russia, Cavusoglu said Turkey wanted to develop and strengthen its own defense industry, and would be open to considering such a cooperation if Russia were inclined to do so.

"Unfortunately, we see countries in NATO are a bit hesitant when it comes to exchange of technology and joint investments," he added.

About the extradition of Fetullah Gulen, the leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), Cavusoglu said: "It is Turkey's most natural right to wait the extradition of the head of a terrorist organization that killed 240 people in Turkey."

Ankara accuses U.S.-based Gulen of masterminding the defeated July 15 coup, which left 240 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured. Turkey has sent the U.S. two official requests for his extradition to face trial.

*Reporting by Zuhal Demirci and Omer Naim Kucuk; Writing by Diyar Guldogan

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