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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Turkish delegation to visit Russia ahead of foreign ministers’ meeting

Next week, a Turkish delegation will fly to the Russian capital for technical discussions ahead of a planned meeting of the foreign ministers of Turkey, Russia, Iran, and Syria.

A Turkish delegation will visit Russia’s capital next week for technical talks ahead of a planned Turkish, Russian, Iranian, and Syrian foreign ministers’ meeting, Türkiye’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.

“An offer came from the Russians to hold a meeting at the technical level in preparation for a possible meeting of foreign ministers. We will also send our deputy minister to Moscow next week.

“The Iranian side will also attend this meeting. At this meeting, preparations for the foreign ministers’ meeting will be made,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a news conference with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian in the capital Ankara.

Cavusoglu said the only surviving mechanism for Syria is the Astana format.

“Therefore, we said to the Russians that there is nothing wrong with Iran’s participation,” he added.

On Dec. 28, 2022, the Turkish, Russian, and Syrian defense ministers met in Moscow to discuss counterterrorism efforts in Syria and agreed to continue the tripartite meetings to ensure stability in Syria and the wider region.

About the possibility of the inclusion of Iran into the talks, Türkiye previously said Ankara would be “pleased if Iran is involved in this process.”

Although no date or location have yet been announced, the foreign ministers’ meeting would mark another high-level talk since the Syrian civil war began in 2011.

Read More: Turkish earthquake survivors reconsider election loyalty to Erdogan

Abdollahian, for his part, said Iran is ready to play a role to resolve the different points of view between Türkiye and Syria under the regional cooperation.

“Iran declares that it is ready for any kind of quadrilateral format between Tehran, Moscow, Ankara, and Damascus,” he added.

Earthquakes in Türkiye

Cavusoglu thanked Iran for solidarity after last month’s powerful earthquakes in Türkiye’s southern region that claimed the lives of at least 46,104 people.

On Feb. 6, the magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes struck 11 provinces — Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Hatay, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa. More than 13.5 million people in Türkiye have been affected by the devastating quakes, as well as many others in northwestern Syria.

Condolences have poured in from around the world, expressing solidarity with Türkiye, with many countries sending rescue teams and aid, including Iran.

“Iran acted quickly. A search and rescue team of 150 people came to Türkiye and pulled 11 of our citizens from the rubble in Gaziantep,” Cavusoglu said.

Türkiye did its part to deliver international aid to earthquake victims in Syria, Cavusoglu stressed.

“To date, 475 aid trucks have passed through the Cilvegozu gate. UN aid continues uninterrupted,” he added.

Türkiye has opened its airspace to all planes that carry humanitarian aid to Syria, Cavusoglu said, noting that planes landed directly in Aleppo or Damascus.

“As Türkiye, we did not remain indifferent to our Syrian brothers while we heal our own wounds. We gave our best support for the aid to be delivered to them,” he added.

Abdollahian said that from the first hour of the earthquake, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi gave directives on cooperation and assistance.

“We see Türkiye’s humanitarian pain as Iran’s pain,” he added.

Later, Abdollahian will visit the quake-hit Adiyaman, where Iran set up a field hospital.

Bilateral ties

Cavusoglu said he will visit Tehran soon, without giving a specific time. He also added that Raisi will visit Türkiye to meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which was planned ahead of the earthquakes.

The minister also said that besides regional and international issues, they also discussed energy, trade, economy, and transportation.

“There was a decrease in natural gas coming to Türkiye for about two months. Now it’s back to normal again. We are pleased with that. We want to further develop our cooperation on energy,” Cavusoglu said.

He added that the fight against terrorism is a common issue, saying: “We need to be more diligent in the fight against terrorism.”

Abdollahian said Iran believes there is no good or bad terrorists, and added: “We see Türkiye’s security as Iran’s security.”