Turkey, World

Turkish FM urges 'sincerity' in counter-terrorism

Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterates Turkey’s fight against all terror groups of FETO, PKK, YPG, Daesh

Tugcenur Yilmaz, Zuhal Demirci   | 24.04.2019
Turkish FM urges 'sincerity' in counter-terrorism Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu


A "sincere" combat against terrorism will prevent all kinds of terrorist attacks regardless of its motivation, Turkish foreign minister said on Tuesday.

“If we are sincere in our fight against terrorism, and unite against any kind of terrorism, there will be no similar attacks as in Christchurch [in New Zealand] or Sri Lanka,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said in Ankara, Turkey’s capital.

His remarks came during a joint news conference alongside Didier Reynders, Belgian minister of foreign affairs and European affairs.

On March 15, at least 50 Muslim worshippers were massacred and as many injured in an alleged white supremacist terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch, while multiple terror attacks on churches and hotels left at least 310 people dead in different parts of Sri Lanka.

"We are against all the terror groups of FETO, the PKK, the YPG and Daesh, and we are fighting against all," he added.

Reynders, for his part, said that Turkey and Belgium need to share more information in fighting terrorism.

Turkey and Belgium have been allies for a long time, he added.

Reynders also stressed that Belgium immediately condemned the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, and reiterated that the PKK is considered a terrorist group by the EU.

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

The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU. It has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including numerous civilians, in its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey.

Trilateral ministerial meeting

Cavusoglu said the top diplomats of both countries agreed to hold a trilateral ministerial meeting of Turkey and Belgium after Belgian federal election on May 26.

The third meeting of Turkey-Belgium Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Interior took place in Ankara on March 9, 2016.

The first and second trilateral meetings at ministerial level were held in Istanbul in 2008 and in Brussels in 2013.

“The amount and number of investments are increasing, but we know that we are behind our potential,” Cavusoglu said, stressing the importance of the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO).

In addition to encouraging diversity and investment in trade between the two countries, Cavusoglu said that maintaining cooperation between Belgian and Turkish companies in third-party countries, especially in Africa and Iraq, could increase the bilateral trade volume.

Sanctions on Iranian oil

Cavusoglu said the U.S. move to end sanctions waivers on countries importing oil from Iran would have negative effects on all countries.

"We support an international system and multilateralism established under the rules of law," Cavusoglu said, adding that putting a pressure on everyone to abide by a single country's decision is “a move that does not fit the international diplomatic maturity”.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration reimposed sanctions on Iranian oil exports in November after the president pulled out of the 2015 Iran Nuclear deal between Tehran, Washington, and five other countries.

The administration then announced it would give 180-day waivers, called Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs), to eight countries to help them wean off their supply of Iranian oil, including China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey. On Monday, the U.S. announced that it would end sanctions waivers on those countries.

Reynders, for his part, said that many companies are experiencing difficulties due to the U.S. sanctions.

He added: "There are some activities at European level to continue business activities with Iran and to avoid these sanctions."

"We are not a party to the U.S. sanctions and we will, of course, check the correct implementation of the rules with the agreement on Iran," he added.

* Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur and Jeyhun Aliyev

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