Turkey, Iran agree to boost cooperation for peace in Syria

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif hold a joint press conference in Ankara.

Photo by:
Photo by:

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu shakes hands with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif after a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, August 12, 2016.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that Ankara will strengthen cooperation with Iran for "peace and a permanent solution in Syria."

"We stress the importance of Iran's constructive role in providing a permanent solution in Syria from the beginning," Çavuşoğlu said at a joint press conference alongside his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif in Ankara on Friday.

"We say the same thing today," he added.

The Iranian foreign minister said Iran "has always had positive dialogues with Turkey on the Syria subject."  

"We also have great ties with Russia on the issue and we believe that all parties must cooperate to provide security, peace and stop conflicts," Zarif said.  

Çavuşoğlu also said that Turkey and Iran are "on the same page" about Syria's territorial integrity, adding that dialogue between the countries never stopped.

Çavuşoğlu also mentioned that Turkey did not see "any difference between the PKK, PYD and PJAK," adding that these terrorist groups are a security threat to Iran and Turkey.   

"We need to fight against those together," Çavuşoğlu said.

Energy cooperation   

Zarif said that Iran was "delighted" to see Turkey starting new cooperation with Russia.  

"We are also ready to cooperate and help. These three countries Russia, Iran and Turkey should work together to bring peace and prosperity to the region," he said.  

He also said Iran and Turkey should increase cooperation on tourism.   

"We are ready to facilitate the connections of electricity, natural gas and energy lines to Turkey and Europe," Zarif said. "We are ready to do business with Turkey in that field."  

Zarif also mentioned the foiled coup attempt and hailed the Turkish people for being "a reason for the region's people to feel proud."  

"I would like to congratulate the Turkish people for the resistance they put up against the putschists," Zarif said.

"They showed the other people in the region that they would not let their democracy and their rights to be taken away from them."

Zarif said ties between Iran and Turkey are "strong and permanent," adding that past relations provide lots of business opportunities for the two sides.

Dozens of diplomats at large after recalls

Dozens of diplomats have failed to answer recalls to Turkey in the wake of the July 15 failed coup attempt, the Turkish foreign minister said.  

Since the coup bid, the government has arrested or suspended tens of thousands of public employees suspected of links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which is accused of trying to overthrow the government.  

Çavuşoğlu revealed that 208 Foreign Ministry staff had been recalled from posts around the world and 32 had failed to return without permission.  

Speaking alongside his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif, Çavuşoğlu said two personnel based in Bangladesh had fled to the US. The remaining 30 had gone to a number of different countries, he added.

"Some of them escaped by sea, some of them escaped by air," he said.

"Some of them have not confirmed their whereabouts. We will locate them shortly."

The figure does not include two military attaches who left Athens for Italy last week.

As part of the investigation into FETO, two ambassador-level diplomats – Gurcan Balik and Tuncay Babali – have been suspended.  

Çavuşoğlu said a delegation from the US Justice Department would visit Turkey on August 23-24 to discuss the extradition of Fetullah Gulen, the Pennsylvania-based cleric accused of leading FETO and the coup plotters.  

He added that Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry were also due to arrive in Turkey but the dates were yet to be confirmed.

TRTWorld, AA