Indian, Turkish officials hold talks on bilateral ties

            By Ahmad Adil</p>  <p> </p>  <p>CHANDIGARH, India (AA) - Indian and Turkish officials met Wednesday in the capital, New Delhi, and discussed a wide range of topics.</p>  <p>  <p><br>

Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Sedat Onal had a meeting with Gitesh A Sarma, Secretary (West) under the institutional mechanism of Foreign Office Consultations, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.

It said the officials held cordial discussions on various aspects of bilateral ties, including examining opportunities for enhancing trade and investment relations.

The ministry said bilateral trade currently totals around $8.6 billion, with a target to reach $10 billion by 2020.

Enhanced cultural interaction, tourism and people-to-people contacts were also discussed, and the two sides also reviewed the current situation in their respective regions and exchanged views on several multilateral issues.

“India and Turkey enjoy close, friendly and deep-rooted ties dating back several centuries and share civilizational links. The recent political exchanges have imparted fresh momentum to our bilateral ties and opened several new avenues for cooperation,” the ministry added.

"Exchanging views. India and Turkey held Foreign Office Consultations led by Secretary West Sh. Gitesh Sarma & Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal. Discussed cooperation in trade, investment, cultural interaction, tourism, people-to-people contacts," said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Twitter.

Onal is visiting India from May 7-9 as part of a regular exchange between the two countries, said officials in New Delhi, adding he had earlier visited India as part of the delegation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in May 2017.

Turkey, Iran to hold political consultations in Ankara

By Zuhal Demirci

ANKARA (AA) – Political consultations between the Turkish and Iranian Foreign Ministries will be held in Ankara, Turkey's capital, on Tuesday.

The consultations will be co-chaired by Sedat Onal, Turkey’s deputy foreign minister, and his Iranian counterpart Abbas Araqchi, said a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.

Issues to be discussed at the meeting include bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues, the statement added.

The consultations will be held in the wake of an April 17 visit by Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to Turkey.

Zarif met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and was received by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of his official visit.

The talks also come amid a U.S. push to sanction countries that buy Iranian oil in defiance of Washington, which unilaterally walked away from the Iranian nuclear deal.

Turkey and other countries have criticized the U.S. move, calling it counter-productive, adding that they are not bound by the U.S. decision to break the deal.

  • Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

Turkey: Ministers discuss security, foreign relations

             By Sarp Ozer</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - Turkey’s defense chief and top diplomat met on Wednesday to discuss the regional security and foreign relations in the capital Ankara, the Defense Ministry said.</p>  <p>In an evaluation meeting between the delegations, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu addressed the latest developments in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as the proposed safe zone in Syria, in particular, a ministry statement said.</p>  <p>In December, U.S. President Donald Trump suddenly announced the withdrawal of American troops from Syria, however, since then Washington has backtracked and said in February a few hundred troops would remain for peacekeeping efforts and to create the safe zone.</p>    <p>The U.S. has also mentioned that the safe zone would not include the YPG, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization.</p>  <p>Also attended by senior Turkish officials, including Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler, Land Forces Commander Umit Dundar, Naval Forces Commander Adnan Ozbal, Air Forces Commander Hasan Kucukakyuz and Deputy Foreign Ministers Sedat Onal and Yavuz Selim Kiran, the meeting reiterated firm stance in defending Turkey’s rights and interests.</p>  <p>* Writing by Burak Bir

Turkish envoy holds several meetings in Iraq

            By Haydar Karaalp</p>  <p>BAGHDAD (AA) – Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister on Wednesday held meetings on bilateral relations and regional developments with Iraqi officials in Iraq's capital and in the northern city of Erbil.</p>  <p>Sedat Onal met the head of the Iraqi National Security Council (INSC) Falih Alfayyadh and Iraqi envoy for Foreign Affairs Nizar Hayrullah to talk about bilateral relations, according to a statement from the press office of the INSC.</p>  <p>Turkey’s Ambassador to Iraq Fatih Yildiz said on Twitter Onal’s meeting with Iraqi officials “aims to develop our relations with Iraq.”</p>  <p>Onal also met Iraqi parliament’s Turkmen bloc lawmakers in Turkey’s Baghdad embassy.</p>  <p>Apart from the Baghdad meetings, Onal met separately with the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Deputy Prime Minister Kubat Talabani and the Undersecretary of KRG Security Agency Mesrur Barzani in Erbil.</p>  <p>Onal also met the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Deputy Prime Minister Kubat Talabani and the Undersecretary of KRG Security Agency Mesrur Barzani in Erbil.</p>  <p> Onal and Barzani discussed regional developments, bilateral relations and the process of establishing a new government in the KRG, according to a statement from Mesrur Barzani's press office.</p>  <p>Barzani expressed his wish to develop better relations with Turkey in all areas.</p>  <p>Onal and Talabani discussed the recent situation of disputed regions in Iraq and relations between Erbil and Baghdad, according to a statement from the website of the Prime Ministry of the KRG.</p>  <p>Talabani pointed out that KRG wants Turkish investors to play a greater role in the KRG.</p>  <p>* Writing by Gozde Bayar</p>  <p> 

UPDATE – Turkey-US working group meets in Washington

            ADDS STATEMENT FROM TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTRY </p>  <p>By Hakan Copur</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - The Turkey-U.S. Joint Working Group held its final meeting in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, chaired by Turkey's Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal and U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale. </p>  <p>A diplomatic source who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed the meeting was held at the State Department. It tackled bilateral relations between Ankara and Washington and regional affairs.</p>  <p>In a statement, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said the two officials &quot;reaffirmed the strategic importance of the U.S.-Turkish relationship and committed to addressing shared concerns as allies&quot;. </p>  <p>The meeting was originally planned for Jan. 8 but was postponed due to a visit by National Security Advisor John Bolton to Ankara.  </p>  <p>&quot;Following a plenary meeting, senior U.S. and Turkish officials met in working group formats to discuss bilateral cooperation on Syria; counterterrorism; defense matters; and judicial and consular issues,&quot; said the statement. </p>  <p>It also said both sides expressed their determination to continue to work together to achieve further progress in all these areas.</p>  <p>Following a visit by former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Ankara in February 2018, Turkey and the U.S. established a mechanism to address separate issues in working groups, including stabilization of the northern Syrian city of Manbij and to prevent clashes between Turkish and U.S. troops.</p>  <p>The first working group was held on March 8, 2018, in which the main principles of potential cooperation between Turkey and the U.S. were termed &quot;constructive&quot;.</p>  <p>The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup attempt in Turkey, visa issues and the fight against the PKK terror organization were also discussed in working groups.</p>  <p>*Servet Gunerigok contributed to the story 

Turkey-US working group meets in Washington

            By Hakan Copur</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - The Turkey-U.S. Joint Working Group held its final meeting in Washington, D.C. Tuesday, chaired by Turkey's Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale. </p>  <p>A diplomatic source who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed the meeting was held at the State Department. It reportedly tackled many issues related to bilateral relations between Ankara and Washington. </p>  <p> The meeting was originally planned for Jan. 8 but was postponed due to a visit by National Security Advisor John Bolton to Ankara.  </p>  <p>Following a visit by former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Ankara in February 2018, Turkey and the U.S. established a mechanism to address separate issues in working groups, including stabilization of the northern Syrian city of Manbij and to prevent clashes between Turkish and U.S. troops.</p>  <p>The first working group was held on March 8, 2018, in which the main principles of potential cooperation between Turkey and the U.S. were termed &quot;constructive&quot;.</p>  <p>The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup attempt in Turkey, visa issues and the fight against the PKK terror organization were also discussed in working groups.

Türk heyeti ABD'ye gidiyor

ANKARA (AA) – Dışişleri Bakan Yardımcısı Sedat Önal başkanlığındaki bir heyet, 5 Şubat'ta ABD'ye gidecek.

Diplomatik kaynaklardan edinilen bilgiye göre, Bakan Yardımcısı Önal başkanlığındaki heyet, Türkiye-ABD Ortak Çalışma Grubu toplantıları çerçevesinde 5 Şubat'ta ABD'ye gidecek. Heyetin ABD'deki temaslarında Suriye, FETÖ ve PKK ile mücadele gibi konuların da ele alınması bekleniyor.

ABD Ulusal Güvenlik Danışmanı John Bolton, Brett McGurk'ün yerine Küresel Koalisyon Özel Temsilcisi olarak atanan James Jeffrey ve Genelkurmay Başkanı Joseph Dunford'ın yer aldığı ABD heyeti, 7-8 Ocak'ta Ankara'da temaslarda bulunmuştu.

“Uluslararası barış açısından Finlandiya sağlam bir partner”

ANKARA (AA) – Dışişleri Bakan Yardımcısı Sedat Önal, "Finlandiya ile ilişkilerimiz oldukça iyi. Yüzyılların sürdürdüğü bir dostluğumuz var. Uluslararası barış açısından da Finlandiya sağlam ve önemli bir partner." dedi.

Finlandiya’nın Ankara Büyükelçiliği'nin ev sahipliğinde verilen resepsiyonla "Finlandiya Milli Günü" kutlandı.

Programa Dışişleri Bakan Yardımcısı Büyükelçi Sedat Önal, Büyükelçilik Geçici Maslahatgüzarı Pekka Voutilainen, yabancı misyon şefleri, bakanlık yetkilileri, akademisyenler, basın mensupları ve davetliler katıldı.

İki ülkenin milli marşının okunmasıyla başlayan resepsiyonda konuşan Bakan Yardımcısı Önal, Türkiye-Finlandiya ilişkilerinin önemini vurguladı ve bunun gelişerek sürdürüleceğini söyledi.

"Yüzyılların dostluğu" ifadesini kullanan Önal, "Finlandiya halkına ve hükümetine 6 Aralık gününü kutladığımızı bildiririm. İki ülke ilişkilerimiz oldukça iyi. Yüzyılların sürdürdüğü bir dostluğumuz var. Karşılıklı münasebetlerimizin yanı sıra uluslararası barış açısından da Finlandiya sağlam ve önemli bir partner. Ortaklığımızı geliştirmeye çabalıyoruz." diye konuştu.

Büyükelçilik Geçici Maslahatgüzarı Voutilainen de ülkesinin yüzyıl önce kazandığı bağımsızlığa ilişkin bilgi verdi.

Finlandiya'nın 1917'de Avrupa'nın en fakir ülkelerinden biri olduğunu belirten Voutilainen, yaşanan süreçte on binlerce Finlinin hayatını kaybettiğini söyledi.

Voutilainen, aradan geçen yüzyılda ülkesinin ileri seviyede gelişme gösterdiğini kaydederek "Beşeri sermaye bizim en önemli kaynağımız." dedi.

Ülkesinin dünyanın en mutlu ülkeleri arasında olduğunu dile getiren Voutilainen, kadın ve erkek eşitliğine dikkati çekti. Voutilainen, şöyle devam etti:

"Dünyadaki en iyi eğitim ve sağlık sistemi bizde. Uluslararası kuruluşlar Finlandiya'nın en az yozlaşmış ülkelerden biri olduğunu ilan ediyor. Bu kadar az doğal kaynak ve ileri düzeyde bir fakirlik sürecinin ardından bu başarıların sebebi nedir? Fin başarısının altında insana yatırım yapmak yatıyor. İnsan kaynağı yani beşeri sermaye bizim en önemli kaynağımız. Eğitim sistemimiz ülkemize bu seviyede bir yükselme fırsatı sundu. Bir diğer nokta ise nereden, nasıl oldukları ve neye inandıklarını önemsemeden kadın ve erkek eşitliğidir."

Ülkesinin Türkiye ile ilişkilerinin oldukça iyi seviyede seyrettiğini kaydeden Voutilainen, "Ticaretimiz de oldukça iyi. Finlandiya'ya günlük birkaç sefer düzenleniyor. Daha önce gitmediyseniz bir an önce gitmenizi salık veririm." ifadelerini kullandı.

Konuşmaların ardından, davetliler Finlandiya mutfağının lezzetlerini tatma fırsat buldu.

Turkish deputy foreign minister in US for talks

By Tugcenur Yilmaz

ANKARA (AA) – Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister on Wednesday headed to the U.S. for high level talks with officials, diplomatic sources said Friday.

Sedat Onal continues meetings with the U.S. officials, particularly with the U.S. State Department, on the bilateral relations and regional issues, especially Syria, said the Turkish sources who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on Thursday discussed bilateral issues, including the latest developments in Syria — including Manbij and Idlib — in a phone call.

The phone call came after Turkish and U.S. troops began their first round of joint patrols in the northern Syrian city of Manbij, as part of a deal to rid the area of the YPG/PKK terrorist group.

The Manbij deal between Turkey and the U.S. 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.

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 those of women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.

Turkish, Russian, Iranian deputy FMs meet in Moscow

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) – Turkish, Russian, and Iranian deputy foreign ministers Sedat Onal, Sergey Vershinin, and Hossein Ansari held talks on the future of Syria in Moscow on Tuesday.

After the meeting Vershinin told reporters that Moscow appreciated interaction in the Astana format, and the efforts of Turkey, Iran and Russia in Syria allowed to change the situation for the better.

"Among our major achievements are the reduction of the level of violence in Syria, a decisive victory over the terrorists and the creation of conditions for launching and accelerating the process of political settlement in the interests of all Syrians," he said.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.