Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey was always against external interventions and added that all countries except for Netanyahu and Trump were being “cautious” in the face of protests in Iran.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu delivers a speech during his meeting with Ankara representatives of national press at the Ankara Palas State Guesthouse in Ankara, Turkey on January 3, 2018.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu delivers a speech during his meeting with Ankara representatives of national press at the Ankara Palas State Guesthouse in Ankara, Turkey on January 3, 2018. (AA)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with media representatives in Ankara today and spoke about Turkey’s stance on critical issues such as Iran protests, a transition period in Syria, relations with the US and Trump’s Jerusalem decision.

Talking about the protest in Iran, Cavusoglu said that Turkey wished for the unrest in Iran to come to an end and stability to be resored immediately. 

He said that the Iranian government was democratically elected by the people and added that, “So, if there were to be a change in government, Iranian people could make it happen in the next elections.”

After underlining the importance of democratic elections, he criticised Israel and the US for supporting the protests and their double standards.

He drew attention to two leaders openly supporting the unrest in Iran, saying “One of them is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the other is the US President Donald Trump.”

Cavusoglu also criticised the double standards of some other countries, without naming them, regarding Iranian protests and gave Egypt as an example.

“There is praise for them [Egypt] in other countries, but there is criticism against Iran and the government there, as well as external intervention. We find Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s statements positive,” he said.

Cavusoglu has talked his counterpart Zarif on the second day of the protests. Zarif has said that Iran was acting carefully against demonstrators. 

He added that Iran was not opposing peaceful protests by staying open to dialogue with protestors.

Visa crisis with the US

The visa crisis between Turkey and the US, which had lasted for nearly two months, ended last Thursday. But there was an inconsistency with the written statement by both sides.

The US embassy in Turkey released a written statement to declare a restart of visa applications in Turkey. 

The statement said, “We have received initial high-level assurances from the government of Turkey that there are no additional local employees of our mission in Turkey under investigation.”

However, the written statement from Turkish embassy in Washington, which came around 40 minutes later, said it had not given the United States any assurances, and that any decision regarding legal procedures on US mission workers would be left to Turkey’s judiciary. 

The statement also criticised the US embassy in Turkey saying, “Despite our previous clarifications to the contrary, it is inappropriate to misinform Turkish and American public that such assurances were provided.”

When asked about this inconsistency, Cavusoglu said Ankara conveyed the information that no employees in the US missions in Turkey are under investigation but at the same time he denied calling it as an assurance.

“[They asked] ’If any other Turkish citizen who work for us is under investigation. Can you inform us about that?’… They asked when they [The US delegation] came here. Our Interior and Justice ministers took on it and told them that there is no such investigation on your employees. Even if there is or is not, those kinds of information sharing can always happen. That’s not an assurance.”

Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi

Russia is spearheading a conference to talk about the future and a transition period for Syria. The YPG, which is the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, claimed that they were invited as well. PKK is a designated terror organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU, which has been fighting the Turkish state for more than 30 years.

“Turkey certainly rejects a terrorist group to attend Sochi conference,” Cavusoglu said. “YPG will not attend, but other Kurdish groups such as Syrian National Kurdish Coalition will be there‘’ he added. He did not deny that Russia has a relation with the YPG.

He also talked about future of Syria, ‘’I believe that we will come to a very important progress in 2018. According to [previous] Sochi Declaration, Syria should prepare for the elections with a transparent process under the UN monitoring. All parties should vote in the elections in Syria.”

Trump’s Jerusalem Decision

The foreign minister also highlighted Turkey’s leading role in denouncing the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate Washington’s embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city.

"Turkey has been the country to display the most vivid stance against the decision. The support of the Vatican, the Western countries as well as the entire world was gained with the efforts of our president,” Cavusoglu said.

In this file December 18, 2017 photo, the Security Council votes on a resolution concerning Jerusalem's status at United Nations headquarters.
In this file December 18, 2017 photo, the Security Council votes on a resolution concerning Jerusalem's status at United Nations headquarters. (AP)

Cavusoglu criticised the US administration for threatening the entire world after UN General Assembly members recently voted overwhelmingly against the decision.

"In fact, some countries, even great countries said 'We are resisting but the US is pressuring too much and we do not know how long we can resist'," Cavusoglu added.

Iraq and KRG

The foreign minister also highlighted Turkey’s geopolitical significance for Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq and said, “Without Turkey, KRG is nothing… Turkey is a gate to the world for [KRG]. They can’t go out without Turkey’s permission.”

“Turkey will extend all kinds of support for stability of Iraq,” Cavusoglu said, adding his country would also continue supporting Turkmen people in Iraq.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies