By Ecenur Colak, Tevfik Durul and Ahmet Furkan Mercan
Turkey will revive the intercultural UN “Alliance of Civilizations” initiative, the country's foreign minister pledged on Tuesday.
"We co-chair the Alliance of Civilizations with Spain and we'll revive it again. We'll revive it to hold back extremist currents and boost intercultural and inter-civilizations dialogue through religion,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told a Turkish university's school year opening ceremony.
“If we don't take these steps, reverse these trends, I’m afraid the world especially Europe will go back to the pre-World War II days, making them the victims of extremist and racist currents.”
Co-sponsored by Turkey and Spain, the Alliance of Civilizations was formed in 2005 with the aim of building mutual respect among people of different cultural and religious identities.
Cavusoglu stated that under the initiative, Turkey encourages all countries to have peace and stability.
He stressed the importance of Turkey's soft power at the international level through, for instance, humanitarian aid and jobs projects.
"Strengthening soft power is one of our foreign policy priorities," he remarked.
Actor for peace
Cavusoglu also called Turkey a key actor for peace, as it showed its determination for peace in the deal to protect Idlib, Syria.
A demilitarized zone was set up in Idlib under the Sept. 17 deal between Turkey and Russia, which also called for the “stabilization” of Idlib's de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
Under the deal, opposition groups in Idlib will remain in areas in which they are already present, while Russia and Turkey will conduct joint patrols in the area with a view to preventing renewed fighting.
Cavusoglu added that Turkey will remain sensitive to the Islamic world's problems, including Palestine as it suffers under Israeli attacks.
Cavusoglu criticized the U.S. for its trade and foreign currency wars.
The U.S. only looks after its own interests and makes unilateral decisions, he said.
In addition, Cavusoglu said that Turkey fights terrorist groups like Daesh and PKK, but the fight in the field does not suffice, as there must be a fight against terrorist ideology.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people, including women and children.