ADDS DETAILS, MORE REMARKS FROM TURKEY'S FOREIGN MINISTER
By Merve Berker and Dilan Pamuk
ANKARA (AA) – The US wants to cooperate with Turkey not only on Libya and Syria but also in many other areas, including the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Caucasus regions, Turkey’s foreign minister said Wednesday.
In an interview with state broadcaster TRT Haber, Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara is approaching an upcoming meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Joe Biden with a positive agenda, adding his country has received similar signals from Washington.
A face-to-face meeting between the two leaders is scheduled to take place on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels on June 14.
Cavusoglu also talked about Turkey’s purchase of air defense systems, underlining that “if the US does not guarantee Patriot [missiles], we can get air defense systems from our other allies.”
On Turkey’s relations with France, he said the French trade minister will visit Turkey.
“We will take important economic steps together in the upcoming period, as well as strengthen our bilateral relations,” he said.
He said the NATO summit to be held next week is of great significance in that the organization’s document on its 2030 vision will be discussed.
Cavusoglu also drew attention to US sanctions on Turkey, the support Washington provides to the YPG terrorist organization active around Turkey’s border with Syria and the US’s attitude toward the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which is responsible for the attempted coup in Turkey in 2016, as well as disagreements between Washington and Ankara over Turkey’s acquisition of Russia’s S-400 air defense system.
“We see that the US is willing to work with Turkey in many strategic fields. We have been observing this with all of our contacts, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Biden,” Cavusoglu said.
“How are we going to solve these issues? Will we be able to strengthen cooperation while repairing future-oriented relations?”
On the issue of the FETO terror group, Cavusoglu said Turkey has certain expectations but has not received a signal that they will be met by the US.
He added that his contacts and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) told him they have seen FETO’s “dark face.”
“They make good use of technology and people. We have seen many illegal activities committed by them in many fields, from visa smuggling within the US to money laundering,” Cavusoglu said he was told.
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 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.
Concerning the S-400 defense system that Turkey purchased from Russia, Cavusoglu reminded the audience that NATO’s secretary-general had previously said the allies could purchase any desired defense industry product from any desired country.
He noted that the US does not approve of the S-400 system for being against NATO systems, and continued: “We made the offer for a technical committee, but they did not accept. Because they, too know their claims are not right.”
Cavusoglu said French President Emmanuel Macron requested a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of next week’s summit.
“It is being scheduled as well. There will be meetings held with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis among other leaders.”
Stating that negotiations between Turkey and France have begun despite disagreements, he said “France now wants to have talks over Africa as well, which is good. We do not regard anyone as rivals. We do not compete in Africa.”
Cavusoglu commented that contacts and dialogue result in less issues in dispute.
Touching on Israel’s ongoing violent attitude towards Palestine, Cavusoglu said: “In order for relations between Turkey and Israel to continue normally, Israel should desist from aggressive policies.”
He avoided commenting on the formation of the new government in Israel, noting that commenting on a country’s domestic affairs would not be a right act, and underlined what matters is how the new government will meet the expectations of Turkey and the international community.
Cavusoglu said Israel should avoid any steps that would harm the two-state solution, adding “a permanent peace is only possible through a two-state solution.”
“I hope the new administration, the new government, if it is to be formed, will not resort to inhumane means against international law which have been adopted so far during the rule of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu but prefers permanent peace.”
He added that only under these conditions can Israel have Turkey’s help and support.