Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Ankara supports an expected UN plan to form a commission on rewriting the war-torn Arab country's constitution.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says "we have opened a final window of opportunity for a political solution in Syria." (Reuters Archive)

Turkey supports an expected UN plan to form a commission on Syria to rewrite the war-torn country's constitution, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday.

"We have opened a final window of opportunity for a political solution in Syria," Cavusoglu told Turkey's parliament in a speech laying out Ankara's foreign policy priorities.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al Assad regime cracked down on protesters with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million others have been displaced, according to UN officials.

Cavusoglu reiteratedTurkey's resolve to fight terrorist organisations, including the PKK and its Syrian wing the YPG.

Cavusoglu added that there are cases, examples and witness testimonies on how PKK and YPG persecute Kurds, Assyrians and Yezidis in Iraq and Syria and send them into exile.

Cavusoglu also underlined that Turkey has never seen the Kurds as an enemy and has opened its doors to ones driven from their home by PKK and its Syrian wing.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK –– listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU –– has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children. 

Cyprus peace talks

Stating that the Greek Cypriot side did not cooperate with Turkey's efforts to reach an agreement on the eastern Mediterranean island, Cavusoglu stressed that Ankara would henceforth enter negotiations only after the "parameters and framework" of talks were determined.

He said Turkey's continued presence in Cyprus as a guarantor was a prerequisite for a potential deal.

Cyprus has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including the latest initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and Britain collapsing last year.

The UN has sought a peace deal to unite Cyprus under a federal umbrella that could also define the future of Europe's relations with Turkey, a key player in the conflict.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.

Hydrocarbon drilling

Noting that Turkey's position remains clear on hydrocarbon drilling around Cyprus, Cavusoglu said the Turkish Armed Forces would continue to take all necessary measures in the eastern Mediterranean.

In early 2018, the Greek Cypriot administration unilaterally launched exploratory drilling activities for gas in the eastern Mediterranean despite strong opposition from Turkish Cypriots, who argue the island's natural resources should be exploited jointly to ensure equal rights for both parties.

Source: AA