UPDATE 2 – Turkey expects Moldova's direct support against FETO

ADDS SIGNING OF TREATIES

By Burcu Calik and Ali Cura

ANKARA/CHISINAU (AA) – Turkey's president on Wednesday said the country expects the support of Moldova in the fight against Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) "without hesitation".

"In the joint fight against FETO, the Turkish people expect from their Moldovan friends to show the support needed without hesitation," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a joint news conference with his Moldovan counterpart Igor Dodon in Moldova's capital Chisinau.

Erdogan said that FETO infiltrated into Turkey’s armed forces, police, legal system and all institutions of the state, adding that Moldova is also under risk as the terror group could do the same to the country.

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 military, police, and judiciary.

Erdogan said that one or both of the Turkish public lenders Halk Bank and Ziraat Bank would open a branch in Moldova soon following the inspections of lenders in the country.

Pointing out that Gagauzia region has a special position in the relations with Moldova, Erdogan said that the two leaders spoke about the importance of the implementation of the legal changes concerning Gagauz Turks.

"High level strategic cooperation mechanism will be established," he stated.

Erdogan also said the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) spent $45 million on projects in Moldova over the past 24 years, stating that Turkey would continue to provide support to the country.

Speaking about the inauguration of the presidential building restored by TIKA, Erdogan said Turkey would continue to support Moldova in the future.

"This project will shine as a sign of Turkey-Moldova friendship," he added.

-Praise of Turkey's contribution to Moldova

Dodon said he was pleased by Turkey’s support in restoring the Moldovan state building.

"A state building which is a symbol of Moldova was restored again with the help of Turkey. This is a real aid made to Moldova," he said.

The Moldovan president also praised Turkey's contribution to the "strong and stable" Moldova.

"Turkey is an important example for the protection of our national interest and creating good relations," he added.

Mentioning more than 1,300 Turkish-owned companies in Moldova, Dodon said he would be pleased for the continuation of these investments.

Dodon also vowed to secure the autonomy of Gagauzia Region in the Moldovan Constitution.

In December, 1994, Moldova’s parliament offered some 160,000 Turkic Gagauz people within their borders a large degree of autonomy in order to create a favorable environment for maintaining a national identity and culture.

The autonomous territory is home to a mostly Gagauz population — an Orthodox Christian, Turkic community.

– New treaties between Ankara-Chisinau

Erdogan and Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip were present at the signing of five treaties between Ankara and Chisinau for cooperation in various areas including youth and sports, military training, education, land transportation and a protocol for the revision of the 2012 agreement on visa-free travel.

According to the protocol, only identification cards will be necessary when travelling between the two countries.

As part of his two-day official visit, Erdogan is also expected to meet Irina Vlah, the President of Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia (Gagauz-Gokoguz Yeri).

Political, economic and security ties will be discussed during President Erdogan's official visit. Regional and international issues as well as terrorism will also be on the agenda.

Erdogan will also attend a business forum and is expected to inaugurate a pre-school — which was established by Turkey's Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) with bilingual Gagauz-Moldovan educational material.

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