Politics, World

Türkiye 'only NATO country' that visited Ukraine, Russia since war began: Cavusoglu

Greece disturbed by Ankara's role as global actor, says Turkish foreign minister

Merve Aydogan  | 11.10.2022 - Update : 11.10.2022
Türkiye 'only NATO country' that visited Ukraine, Russia since war began: Cavusoglu


Citing the latest rise in tensions between Ukraine and Russia, the Turkish foreign minister on Tuesday said Türkiye is the "only NATO country that has visited" the two warring countries since the Moscow-Kyiv war started in February.

"Unfortunately, the negotiation and peace process has been abandoned. The balances have changed as both sides seek gains on the field and as the efforts for supremacy continue," Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a televised interview in Ankara.

The latest actions by Ukraine and Russia have "made the situation even more difficult," Cavusoglu stressed, saying both sides are aware of Türkiye's balanced policy regarding the situation.

Türkiye continues its diplomacy without disrupting its relations with Russia and Ukraine, the Turkish minister affirmed, adding that his country displays a position in line with international law.

He also stressed that everyone, especially Ukraine, is paying the price for ending the dialogue with Russia.

Türkiye carries out policies that aim to minimize the effects of war, Cavusoglu also said, and noted that there would have been no grain deal if Türkiye had joined the Western countries' position and sanctions against Russia.

Ankara "supports Ukraine's territorial integrity," he added.

On relations with Greece, Cavusoglu said Athens is disturbed by Ankara's role as a global actor.

Underlining that Greece would have engaged in joint international meetings with Türkiye if it had "good intentions" towards resolving their differences, he stressed that Ankara would "resolutely" defend its rights to uphold its national security.

Greece displays an "unfair stance on the maritime jurisdiction" issue in the Aegean Sea, the Turkish foreign minister said, calling on Greece to stop "dreaming."

He further said Türkiye responds to Greek provocations in all areas, including sea, air, and ground.

No one should take Türkiye lightly, Cavusoglu asserted as he added that Ankara may take action "suddenly one night" against any threatening actor, not limited to Greece.

The Turkish minister also criticized the US position on Türkiye-Greece relations, saying Washington has lost its balanced policy approach on issues related to Cyprus and the Aegean Sea.

"US is gravely mistaken. It must return to its balanced policy and shouldn't take sides among its allies," Cavusoglu said, adding that Greece was violating the past international peace treaties.

Türkiye speaks to all parties in Libya

Asked whether there would be a meeting between Türkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian regime head Bashar Al-Assad, Cavusoglu said there were currently no plans for a meeting.

Stressing that Türkiye wanted an end to the bloodshed in Syria, he affirmed that his country's counter-terrorism efforts would continue at full capacity.

Countries supporting the PKK terrorist group and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG, also back the disintegration of Syria, he added.

Cavusoglu urged actors in Syria to take steps that would pave the way to elections in order to reach an agreement for a new Constitution in the country.

On ties with Libya, the top diplomat said Türkiye was in contact with all parties in the North African nation.

Underlining that Türkiye was the most important actor there, Cavusoglu said his country provided all means of support to Libya.

He said Ankara's only intention was for Libya to retain its territorial integrity and unity.

Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu, along with a high-level delegation including Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Trade Minister Mehmet Mus, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun and Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin came to the North African country’s capital last week for talks on bilateral ties and regional issues.

Cavusoglu met with Mohamed al-Menfi, chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya; Prime Minister Dbeibeh; Libyan counterpart Najla El Mangoush; and Khalid al-Mishri, head of Libya’s High Council of State, and signed memorandums of understanding on exploration for hydrocarbons in Libya's territorial waters and on Libyan soil by mixed Turkish-Libyan companies.

Oil-rich Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted after four decades in power.

For lasting stability in Libya, Türkiye deems the holding of free, fair, nationwide elections as soon as possible as crucial, in line with the aspirations of the Libyan people.

Asked about Sweden and Finland's bids to join NATO, Cavusoglu said Türkiye continued its relations with both Nordic countries regardless of their applications.

Noting that neither country has taken any concrete steps on extraditing terrorists, a key point in their June agreement on accession with Türkiye, he said Ankara expected sincerity in an alliance with Sweden and Finland, not merely in words.

Those supporting terrorism can be no ally to Türkiye as there are already many so-called allies in NATO, he added.

Sweden and Finland formally applied to join NATO in June, a decision spurred by Russia's war on Ukraine.

However, Türkiye voiced objections to the membership bids, criticizing the two countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.

A memorandum of understanding signed by Türkiye, Finland, and Sweden at NATO's June summit in Madrid, Spain stipulates that Finland and Sweden will not provide support to the PKK/YPG, or the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) -- the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Türkiye that left 251 killed and 2,734 wounded.

Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

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