UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS BY TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER; ADDS DETAILS, BACKGROUND; REVISES HEADLINE
By Burak Bir
ANKARA (AA) – Highlighting close ties with Turkmenistan in various fields, including energy, Turkey's foreign minister said on Tuesday that Ankara is ready to do its part to bring Turkmenistan's natural gas through Turkish soil to Europe.
"Our economic relations [with Turkmenistan] are gradually increasing, our trade volume is expanding despite the [COVID-19] pandemic," Mevlut Cavusoglu told a joint news conference with his Turkmen counterpart Rashid Meredov in the capital Ankara.
Mentioning that the two countries have ties on regional issues as well as energy and transportation, he noted that the cooperation in the fields will be enhanced.
Turkey and Turkmenistan will soon further strengthen their close cooperation on security, Cavusoglu added.
"We are pleased with the agreement reached between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea," he said.
– Opportunity for peace
In response to a question, Cavusoglu congratulated Azerbaijan once again for its victory over Armenia and pointed out the opportunity for peace and stability in the region.
"Now, there is an important opportunity for peace. If Armenia acts in this regard, it is Armenia that will benefit the most from the stability in the region," he noted.
Touching on the Baku administration's intense works towards the reconstruction of the cities that were destroyed by Armenia before the liberation of Azerbaijani territories, Cavusoglu reiterated that Turkey and other countries from the Turkic world stand by Azerbaijan in this process and are ready to give the best support for the reconstruction, development, and peace of this region.
"Once there is peace in the region, it will be much easier to implement energy and transportation projects and everyone will benefit from this," he added.
Azerbaijan and Armenia fought for six weeks last year after new clashes erupted on Sept. 27. The Armenian army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violated several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
During the conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from the Armenian occupation.
The two countries signed a Russian-brokered agreement on Nov. 10 to end the fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.
– Roadmap of cooperation
For his part, Meredov said they held a fruitful meeting and discussed strengthening bilateral relations.
"We have worked on a roadmap of our cooperation," he noted, saying they also discussed the ties in fields of culture, education, science, and health.
The two countries have high-level relations on trade and economy, Meredov said, adding that the trade volume between Turkey and Turkmenistan amounted to $2 billion in 2020, which is "not bad, considering the pandemic conditions."
Following the meeting, the foreign ministers signed the 2021-2022 Cooperation Program.
They also discussed preparations for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Turkmenistan, which is expected to take place this year.