FM Çavuşoğlu signals Turkey ready to open new phase of relations with Egypt
by Barış Şimşek
BRUSSELSJul 04, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Barış Şimşek
Jul 04, 2016 12:00 am
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu stated over the weekend that Turkey is prepared to reinitialize diplomatic and economic ties with Egypt, saying that "A meeting at the ministerial level could be held." Speaking to reporters during his visit to Brussels to open the "financial and budgetary provisions" for Chapter 33, Çavuşoğlu stressed that Turkey wants to see a stronger Egypt in the international arena.
Emphasizing that the fragility of the Egyptian administration is amplified by death sentences, politically motivated decision-making and a high number of political prisoners, Çavuşoğlu added that "We already had a quick word on various platforms with Egypt's foreign minister and have mutually shared opinions."
Also commenting on the recent counterterror operations launched in the district of Manbij in Syria's Aleppo, along with the logistic and military support of the U.S., Çavuşoğlu said that all units from the Syrian affiliate of the PKK terrorist organization, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the People's Protection Units (YPG) will be moving out of the area after anti-DAESH operations are completed. Stating that the U.S. has adhered to the agreement quite strictly, the foreign minister noted, "If the PYD and YPG do not retreat to the east of the Euphrates River as promised, then we are ready to take our own measures." Further expressing Turkey's discomfort with the latest criticism regarding cooperation with PYD and YPG forces, Çavuşoğlu added that "Even though the logistical contributions of the PYD throughout the operation have been minor, their presence has caused a big fuss on purpose."
Çavuşoğlu further stated that the postponed delivery of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), which were expected to be delivered by the U.S. this month, will play a significant role in the fight against DAESH. Also underscoring that Turkey and NATO have reached an agreement regarding the need for according engagement rules, Çavuşoğlu stated that Turkey's rules of engagement are now being rearranged, adding that "We fulfilled this ahead of the NATO Foreign Ministers' Council Meeting in May."
Touching on EU relations, Çavuşoğlu once more reiterated that Turkey will not soften its anti-terror laws in exchange for visa liberalization within the EU. "We are currently fighting against terrorist organizations. Thus, it is not possible for us to take steps to encourage terrorist organizations or to damage our capacity to fight terror," Çavuşoğlu added, also criticizing the EU for sending only 100 million euros to Turkey. "The EU now wants to transfer the 1 billion euros to Turkey as promised,"Çavuşoğlu said, expressing that the EU is requesting that 600 million euros of this money be directly transferred to the Ministry of National Education to renovate schools for the purpose of educating Syrian children in Turkey, while asking that the rest be transmitted to international civil society organizations. The remaining 2 billion euros plus 3 billion euros are to be spent on the Syrian crisis, until the end of 2018.