Turkish FM to meet US counterpart in Washington

By Betul Yuruk

NEW YORK (AA) – Turkish foreign minister said on Saturday that he will hold talks with his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo on Tuesday in Washington to discuss the ties between the two countries "broadly".

Mevlut Cavusoglu’s remarks came during his meeting with Turkish citizens at Ankara's New York consulate.

The minister arrived New York on Saturday to attend the 8th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) on partnerships for prevention and sustaining peace.

It will be held at the UN headquarters on Monday and Tuesday.

The visit is first from Turkish side after the release of jailed pastor Andrew Brunson, which caused a tension in relations between the two NATO allies.

Cavusoglu said the tensioned relations were not only limited to Brunson issue.

"There were two subjects that tensed the relations. One of them is the U.S. support for YPG/PKK," said the minister, adding that American cooperation with the terror group was a "grave mistake".

Turning to Manbij roadmap agreed by the two countries in northern Syria, Cavusoglu said it was not just limited to Manbij but includes the east of Euphrates River occupied by YPG/PKK terror group.

He said liberating the area from the terror group was part of Manbij roadmap.

The Manbij deal between Ankara and Washington focuses on the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the city to stabilize the region, which is in the northeast of northern Syria's Aleppo province.

Cavusoglu said Washington also failed to fulfill Turkey's request for extradition of the U.S.-based Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) leader in the wake of July 15, 2016 coup attempt, calling it the second issue between the two countries.

"This has been a serious cause of tension" said Cavusoglu, asserting that Turkey is not "one hundred but one thousand percent” right in both issues.

He said FBI recently has begun "inclusive investigations" into the FETO breaches of the U.S. laws.

The agency started to see how this organization trespassed the laws, defrauded the American banks and evaded tax, said the minister.

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

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

*Servet Gunerigok in Washington contributed to the story

Advertisements

Turkish FM: Saudi remarks on Khashoggi 'unsatisfying'

By Meryem Goktas

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey is "unsatisfied" by the statements made by Saudi Arabia's chief prosecutor's office on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the country's foreign minister said on Thursday.

"I want to say that I find some explanations [of the prosecutor’s office] unsatisfying," Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a conference held in the Mediterranean resort town of Alanya in southern Antalya province.

"We find the steps taken positive but inadequate," he added.

The foreign minister's remarks come shortly after Saudi Arabia’s chief prosecutor’s office announced it had charged 11 out of 21 suspects in relation to the killing of Khashoggi.

Cavusoglu urged Saudi authorities to reveal the instructors behind the killing of Khashoggi in order to close the process of the Khashoggi case.

The foreign minister further asserted that the main question which remains unanswered is where the body of Khashoggi is, adding: "There is so far no answer on this matter".

He added that Turkey will continue to closely follow the issue.

At a press conference held in capital Riyadh, the chief prosecutor announced his intention to call for the death penalty against anyone found guilty of ordering and carrying out the journalist’s murder.

The prosecutor’s office also said it was awaiting Turkey's response to its request for evidence and sound recordings of the crime.

Khashoggi, a frequent contributor to The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

After weeks of denying any involvement in the crime, Saudi Arabia later admitted that Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate but claimed the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of any plot to murder the journalist.

UPDATE – Turkish FM calls for int'l probe on Khashoggi case

UPDATE WITH MORE REMARKS

By Tugrul Cam, Nazli Yuzbasioglu and Tevfik Durul.

ANKARA (AA) – International investigation on the case of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is crucial at this stage, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Wednesday.

"In any case, Turkey will do whatever it takes to clarify all aspects of this murder," Mevlut Cavusoglu told the parliament’s planning and budget commission, referring to the killing of Khashoggi.

Turkey has conducted a transparent process and the whole world has admitted it, Cavusoglu noted.

Khashoggi, a frequent contributor to The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

After weeks of denying involvement, the Kingdom admitted Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate but claimed the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of any plot to murder the journalist.

So far, 18 people — including security officers — have been arrested in Saudi Arabia in connection with the murder.

Commenting on Yemen's ongoing conflict, Cavusoglu said Turkey supports efforts of the UN, which has called for a cease-fire.

"Turkey also supports Oman's mediation efforts and has made contact with Iran. It disapproves the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia's policies of besieging all the people in Yemen," he said.

Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a devastating air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.

Turkish FM calls for int'l probe on Khashoggi case

By Tugrul Cam

ANKARA (AA) – International investigation on the case of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is crucial at this stage, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Wednesday.

"In any case, Turkey will do whatever it takes to clarify all aspects of this murder," Mevlut Cavusoglu told the parliament’s planning and budget commission, referring to the killing Khashoggi.

Turkey has conducted a transparent process and the whole world has admitted it, Cavusoglu noted.

Khashoggi, a frequent contributor to The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

After weeks of denying involvement, the Kingdom admitted Khashoggi had been killed inside the consulate but claimed the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of any plot to murder the journalist.

So far, 18 people — including security officers — have been arrested in Saudi Arabia in connection with the murder.

2019 Yılı Bütçesi Plan ve Bütçe Komisyonunda

TBMM (AA) – Dışişleri Bakanı Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Suudi gazeteci Cemal Kaşıkçı cinayeti konusunda "Bulunduğumuz aşamada artık uluslararası soruşturmanın şart olduğunu görüyoruz." dedi.

TBMM Plan ve Bütçe Komisyonunda, Dışişleri Bakanlığının 2019 yılı bütçesi hakkındaki görüşmelerde soruları yanıtlayan Çavuşoğlu, Suudi Arabistanlı gazeteci Cemal Kaşıkçı'nın öldürülmesi konusunda Türkiye'nin şeffaf bir süreç yürüttüğünü ve bütün dünyanın bunu kabul ettiğini söyledi.

"Uluslararası toplumla şeffaf bir şekilde bu süreci götürüyoruz." diyen Çavuşoğlu, şöyle devam etti:

"İlk başlarda 'şimdilik biz Suudi Arabistan ile bir çalışma grubu kurduk, şu anda uluslararası mahkemeye götürmeyi düşünmüyoruz' dedik ama şu bulunduğumuz aşamada da artık uluslararası bir soruşturmanın şart olduğunu görüyoruz. Ne olursa olsun biz bu cinayetin tüm yönleriyle açıklığa kavuşması için ne gerekiyorsa yapacağız. Kapatmaya çalışmak, anlaşmaya çalışmak olmaz."

Kaşıkçı'nın vahşi bir cinayete kurban gittiğini belirten Çavuşoğlu, istihbarat ve emniyet birimlerinin toplanan delilleri görmek isteyenlere gösterdiğini ifade etti.

Çavuşoğlu, "Türkiye herhangi bir blöf yapmıyor. Türkiye'nin elinde ne varsa uluslararası toplumla paylaşmamız lazım." diye konuştu.

(Sürecek)

UPDATE – Turkey sent files on 452 FETO members to 83 countries'

UPDATE WITH MORE REMARKS

By Sibel Ugurlu and Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu

ANKARA (AA) – Turkey has sent dozens of countries extradition files on over 450 suspected members of the terrorist group behind the 2016 defeated coup, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Wednesday.

"We continue to pursue a resolute fight with FETO both at home and abroad,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission, referring to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization or FETO.

“We are pursuing FETO terrorists wherever they are in the world. We will bring the FETO members to Turkish justice to hold them accountable."

He added: "We prepared files on 452 FETO-linked figures as part of investigations of senior members of the terror group's overseas presence. We sent files to 83 countries where these figures are living."

Cavusoglu said that with the cooperation of 21 countries, a total of 104 FETO members have been extradited to Turkey to date.

On Turkey's successful cross-border counter-terrorism operations, Cavusoglu said that over 260,000 refugees had returned to areas of Syria cleared of terrorists during Turkey’s operations.

Turkish troops — backed by the FSA — liberated large swathes of northwestern Syria from terrorist groups during Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016-2017, while Operation Olive Branch liberated Afrin, Syria from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists in early 2018.

Turkey has also succeeded in closing FETO-linked schools abroad, he said.

"FETO schools and language schools have been closed in 21 countries," said Cavusoglu, adding that Turkey's Maarif Foundation has assumed administration of the schools in 16 countries.

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

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the security forces, judiciary, and schools.

FETO also has a considerable presence outside Turkey, including private educational institutions that serve as a revenue stream for the terrorist group.

Cavusoglu said Turkey is trying to minimize the effect of sanctions imposed on Iran.

"[For this] We are in close coordination notably with both the U.S. and EU, and even with Asian countries," he said.

The U.S. administration announced Friday, Nov. 2 that it would temporarily allow eight importers to continue trading oil with Iran.

Cavusoglu also hailed Turkey-Russia relations, saying: "There is a strong will and a close dialogue between our leaders. We can find a way out even in hard times."

He also spoke about Turkey’s cooperation with the Central Asian countries. "Our relations with Uzbekistan has revived with the new administration [in the country]. Our relations with Turkmenistan have also strengthened," he added.

Turkey to revive Alliance of Civilizations initiative

By Ecenur Colak, Tevfik Durul and Ahmet Furkan Mercan

TUNCELI, Turkey (AA) – Turkey will revive the intercultural UN “Alliance of Civilizations” initiative, the country's foreign minister pledged on Tuesday.

"We co-chair the Alliance of Civilizations with Spain and we'll revive it again. We'll revive it to hold back extremist currents and boost intercultural and inter-civilizations dialogue through religion,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told a Turkish university's school year opening ceremony.

“If we don't take these steps, reverse these trends, I’m afraid the world especially Europe will go back to the pre-World War II days, making them the victims of extremist and racist currents.”

Co-sponsored by Turkey and Spain, the Alliance of Civilizations was formed in 2005 with the aim of building mutual respect among people of different cultural and religious identities.

Cavusoglu stated that under the initiative, Turkey encourages all countries to have peace and stability.

He stressed the importance of Turkey's soft power at the international level through, for instance, humanitarian aid and jobs projects.

"Strengthening soft power is one of our foreign policy priorities," he remarked.

– Actor for peace

Cavusoglu also called Turkey a key actor for peace, as it showed its determination for peace in the deal to protect Idlib, Syria.

A demilitarized zone was set up in Idlib under the Sept. 17 deal between Turkey and Russia, which also called for the “stabilization” of Idlib's de-escalation zone, in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.

Under the deal, opposition groups in Idlib will remain in areas in which they are already present, while Russia and Turkey will conduct joint patrols in the area with a view to preventing renewed fighting.

Cavusoglu added that Turkey will remain sensitive to the Islamic world's problems, including Palestine as it suffers under Israeli attacks.

Cavusoglu criticized the U.S. for its trade and foreign currency wars.

The U.S. only looks after its own interests and makes unilateral decisions, he said.

In addition, Cavusoglu said that Turkey fights terrorist groups like Daesh and PKK, but the fight in the field does not suffice, as there must be a fight against terrorist ideology.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people, including women and children.

French accusations go too far: Turkey's Cavusoglu

By Leyla Ataman Koyuncuoglu

ANTALYA, Turkey (AA) – French criticisms of the Turkish president’s handling of the case of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi crossed the line, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Monday.

"The French foreign minister went too far, and he has to know how to talk to a president," said Mevlut Cavusoglu, accusing Jean-Yves Le Drian of not telling the truth.

Le Drian on Monday claimed that — contrary to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statements — France doesn't have recordings related to the Khashoggi killing, saying Erdogan was playing “a political game” over the case.

On Saturday, Erdogan said Ankara had shared recordings related to the Khashoggi killing with Saudi Arabia, the U.S., Germany, France and the U.K.

"I know our intelligence service gave all the information, including wiretaps and transcripts, to French intelligence at their request on Oct. 24," said Cavusoglu.

He said that Turkey gave evidence about the Khashoggi killing to several countries, calling Le Drian accusing Erdogan “rude.”

French officials could soon "deny Khashoggi was killed, which even Saudi Arabia has accepted,” added Cavusoglu.

"We will pursue the Khashoggi case to the end. We’re cooperating with everyone internationally,” he said.

"As the whole world is praising Turkey’s stance, the French foreign minister’s accusations and rudeness are extremely puzzling. What’s behind this? Are they trying to cover up this killing?"

He pledged to look into any French-Saudi agreements.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

After weeks of denying involvement, the kingdom admitted he had been killed at the consulate and that it was premeditated.