Al Sharq Gazetesi Genel Yayın Yönetmeni Al-harami'nin Dışişleri Bakanı Sayın Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu'yla Gerçekleştirdiği Mülkatın İngilizce Metni
Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, described the relations between Doha and Ankara as excellent, confirming on the privacy of the relationship between the two friendly countries and their initiatives to support the stability in the region. He stressed, in an exclusive interview to Al Sharq, that these joint efforts will push forward the political relations of the two countries so that they form a role model for countries in the region. He said that the two countries are cooperating towards the regional issues and resolving the crises in the region, and expressed the happiness of his country's authorities to receive the Qatari investors and provide the necessary facilities for them, stressing that the next year 2015 will be a common cultural year for the two countries.
With respect to the regional affairs, the Minister stressed that Turkey's foreign policy will be the same policy of the Justice and Development Party in the previous phase, and he welcomed the formation of the new Iraqi government, stressing the need to change the previous mentality in dealing with political problems and the marginalization of the Sunnis.
On the Palestinian issue, the Minister considered that lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip is the basis for the continuation of relations with Israel, and he stressed on the necessity to find a solution to the crisis in Syria.
Al Sharq has met with H.E the Turkish Foreign Minister in his first visit to the state of Qatar after he became Foreign Minister of Turkey.
How would you describe the Qatari Turkish relations at this stage and the political coordination toward the regional issues?
The Qatari Turkish relations are excellent, and we can say it's extraordinary on the political level. The Relation between H.H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a fraternal relationship, as well as relations at the ministerial, defense, and economic level. There are a lot of Turkish companies operating in Qatar and we hope thatthose companies will contribute in strengthening the brotherly relations and advancing the prosperity witnessed by Qatar.
With the help of the God, the year 2015 will be the Qatari Turkish cultural year, and we will open a Turkish school and Turkish cultural center in Qatar. The Qatari Turkish relations are strong fraternal relations based on the glorious past and a common history, and developing day after day. The cooperation between the two countries is characterized by privacy, and there is great potential to be utilized in the field of humanitarian, cultural, economic and political, and I can say that relations between Turkey and Qatar at the economic field is distinctive and impressive, so I feel proud when I follow the achievements of Turkish companies in Qatar. Doha and Ankara are cooperating toward the regional issues and solving crises in the region, and both of them are making all efforts to establish stability and solving problems, and these joint efforts will push forward our political relations so that they form a role model for countries in the region. Our joint initiatives to resolve the crises in the region are very responsible.
How can Qatari businessmen, on economic level, have investment projects in Turkey?
The Turkish economy has witnessed a great leap during the last ten years, and this progress is continuing at the financial and investment level. There are business opportunities on the levels of trade and agriculture, and we are happy that our Qataris brothers are investing in these fields and we support them.
Can we say that the Turkish foreign policy will witness a change after change of the Prime Minister and the presidency?
The Turkish foreign policy will be as the policy of the Justice and development party in the previous phase, and will follow our national interests and universal values. Also, our foreign policy will be a role model in the establishment of stability and support development in the entire region, and we will take a position for the benefit of the oppressed people and people in need all over the world. We will develop our relations with our traditional allies, and also our bilateral relations with all countries in the region. Besides, we will support multilateral diplomacy to solve problems and consolidate lasting stability.
Strained relationship with Israel
Turkish-Israeli relations have witnessed some tensions in the previous period, especially after the Israeli aggression on Gaza. How do you see for the future of those relations?
Turkey’s policy towards Israel, from the past to today, is linked to the achievement of two conditions. The first one is Israel has to respect the human rights, and the second to respect the rights of the Palestinian people. Israel had attacked the Marmara ship and killed ten innocent Turkish civilians on May 2010, and the ship was organized by civil organizations. Then we asked Israel to apologize and offer financial compensation to the families of the martyrs who have tried to provide relief aid to the Palestinian people besieged in Gaza, and Israel insisted not to apologize, therefore Turkey took a decision to reduce the diplomatic relations to the lowest level in 2011. Turkey's decision towards taking tough stance against Israel had forced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to offer an apology about the process of the attack on the Marmara Ship. Moreover, the third issue which relates our relationship with Israel is to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip.
Lifting the siege on the Palestinians
How can Turkey works in the future on lifting the siege and support the rights of the Palestinians?
Turkey always choose to stand with the oppressed and rights-holders and not for with the strong, and is Support the rights of our Palestinian brothers in all international forums. After the recent Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, last July, Turkey has sought through initiatives to establish a permanent truce and cease-fire, as the Turkish authorities always take the initiative to communicate with regional and international parties to install the truce, and the most important condition for the installation of the truce, which should focus on now is to Lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip. Finally, the former Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoğlu, who is now the Prime Minister in my country, suggested at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic cooperation to launch an action plan to resolve the crisis of the siege of the Gaza Strip, which based on establishing a permanent truce and Lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip completely. Turkey will continue to work hard to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip.
How do you see the rapid political changes in Iraq, what is your position towards the new government and how do you see the threat of ISIS?
Turkey stresses on preserving the unity of Iraqi territory and supporting its political stability, and in this context, it will continue to cooperate and communicate with all the political parties involved in the political process in Iraq. The parliamentary election in April 2014 has formed a beginning of the re-launch of the political process, and we welcome the formation of the new Iraqi government and give confidence to the new Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Abadi, and I, as a Foreign Minister, congratulate him. The former Iraqi government was pursuing a policy biased against Sunnis and this policy forced some parties to support some terrorist groups; and with the change of the government, the adopted mentality must be changed in order to resolve the political problems.
Turkey has strongly engaged in the Syrian crisis, how do you look at the recent developments and do you see the possibility for a political solution with the regime's insistence on a military one?
Syrian crisis has entered its fourth year, and with its disastrous consequences, more than two hundred thousand Syrian were killed and the crisis has affected ten million Syrians which is equivalent to half of the Syrian population. There are six and a half million of Syrian citizens that have been displaced from their homes, and still the Syrian government pursuing a starvation policy against the Syrians to force them to surrender, and this policy is considered among the war crimes. There are 250 000 Syrian in Aleppo and Damascus that are deprived of food and health supplies. The Syrian regime is solely responsible for this humanitarian crisis, and for the sake of staying in power he continues his oppressive campaign against the Syrian people and his land and air attacks by heavy weapons. The kinship and neighborliness that bind us the Syrian people have made us take a Position supporting the rights of the Syrian people since the beginning of the Syrian revolution, and we didn’t give up our position. We are following the open-door policy towards the Syrian people, so we have established more than 220 camps that are nearly sheltering a million Syrian refugees have spent more than three billion dollars for relief and shelter refugees.
We must work to reach a solution for the Syrian crisis, and our country is insisting on the fully application of the Geneva agreement, and we support the efforts of Mr. Staffan de Mistura, the envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, towards the Syrian crisis.
How would you describe your relationship with the European Union, and is there any news concerning Turkey's accession to the Union?
Joining the European Union will form the basis of the driving force for Turkey, and this includes several headlines, the most important one is to apply the requirements of the European Union. And we can say that the process is a political process, and if the political obstacles were removed, then we are ready to take the necessary measures for the joining. In the program of our new government, joining the European Union is considered as a strategic choice, and we are continuing the necessary reforms at all levels to suit with the laws of the European Union and I hope that our relations with the new European leaders will be strengthened. The most important problems facing the European Union is the belief of some that the entry of new peoples to the Union will affect the welfare of the Union, but the Union should expands for the benefit of the welfare of its peoples and for the promotion of democracy, besides, that the accession of Turkey to the European Union will strengthen the Union and its dynamism and diversity.
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