Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın, on the other hand, used expressions that would offend Turkey’s friends against the turn towards Asia.
While Turkey has been talking about the normalization process with Syria in recent days, according to Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın, no political contact with Syria is planned. The words Kalin used on the subject of membership to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in a live broadcast the previous evening, are of a kind that will create distrust among Turkey’s friends in Eurasia: “Our message is actually a message to Europe. We want the EU membership process to continue. We do not want to be in a dilemma at a choice point. EU membership is Turkey’s strategic choice.”
Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın was a guest on NTV live broadcast the previous day. He said that Samarkand and New York contacts are a link of intense and dynamic diplomatic initiatives that are now customary in Turkish foreign policy.
‘RUSSIA AND THE WEST’S STRUGGLE’
Kalin, who opposes the referendum held by the people of Donbass to join Russia, stated that ‘they do not find the unilateral initiatives correct’ and said, “We do not recognize the 2014 Crimean referendum and its result, namely the annexation of Russia, and our situation is clear in such referenda. When you look at the bigger picture in a larger frame, it constitutes a new phase of the ongoing struggle between Russia and the West.” used the phrases.
Noting that the MIT played an important role in the prisoner swap process, Kalın shared the following information: “Actually, this process was a negotiation process that had been going on for about 3.5 months. There are so many details about names, listings, who to drop off, where to go. We did not make much public statement until the issue was concluded, but our President kept this issue very warm at the level of leader diplomacy. He had many meetings with Mr. Putin and Mr. Zelensky. There were 200 names, but 15 names could not be understood. It was disputed. Then that list narrowed, it did not reach Lviv. Then we said let’s continue the discussion a little more. At that time, it was reduced to 5 names. Those 5 names came to Turkey and they will be in our security until the war is over.”
‘WE ARE WITH UKRAINE’
Unlike President Erdogan’s statements on the Russia-Ukraine issue, Kalın said that Turkey is a party. “We stand with Ukraine in this war.” Kalin said, “We do not recognize the referendum decision that Russia wants to make. We recognize the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.” he said.
‘WE CAN’T BE INTERESTED IN OCCASIONS IN ASIA’
Kalin made the following statement on whether Turkey will become a member of the SCO: “This approach of ours can also be seen as a part of the ‘Asia Again’ initiative that we announced in 2019. Earlier, we made an African initiative in 2005 and within that framework, we brought our relations with Africa to a very different point in the last 15-16 years. There is a similar paradigmatic shift in our relations with Asia. It is of course impossible for us to remain indifferent to the formations in Asia, especially at a time when it is said that the world’s economic axis has shifted from the West to the East, and the Asian perspective is reconsidered in the world arena.
“The total economic volume of the countries that are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is around 20 trillion dollars and 40 percent of the population is Muslim. We are talking about an organization with which we have very serious relations, both historically and culturally, and geographically and economically. In a sense, we, as an Asian country in the West and a European country in the East, position ourselves here as an Afro-Eurasian country, and as a country at the intersection of both Europe, Asia and Africa, we are in harmony with this geography and these structures. We strengthen our relationships.
‘MESSAGE TO EUROPE’
“Our message is actually a message to Europe. While Turkey has fulfilled its important obligations for EU membership, the EU’s failure to open or prevent chapters creates a suspension. We want the EU membership process to continue. Even if Turkey is not a member of the EU, it already continues and will continue its trade with European countries. The EU side needs to be in a constructive position. We do not want to be in a dilemma at a choice point. EU membership is Turkey’s strategic choice.”
‘NO POLITICAL CONTACT PLAN’
“When and to what extent will there be political contact with Damascus?” Answering the question, Kalın stated that there is no such plan at the moment and said, “There is no plan for political contact with Syria at the moment. Intelligence is making contact. Turkey’s stance on Syria is clear. The Astana process continues. Constitution work continues. As stated by our President, our intelligence units hold meetings with relevant authorities when necessary.” used the phrases.
‘WE DO NOT PUNCH SANCTIONS’
Asked about the allegation that Russia violated the sanctions through Turkish banks, Kalın said, “There is no basis for these allegations. Turkey is being tried to be implicated. What we call the MIR card is a card that is limited to the daily spending of Russian tourists when they come to Turkey. We are not in a position to ban Russian tourists from coming to our country. The tourist who comes here can use other cards, just as they use other cards.” said.
Evaluating the US decision to lift the arms embargo against the Greek Cypriot Administration (GCA), Kalın said, “We consider it a very wrong decision by the American administration to lift the arms embargo against the Greek Cypriot Administration. It is not possible for this to contribute to regional peace, peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is out of the question to contribute to the Cyprus peace process.” he said.
‘WE CONSIDER NORMALIZATION WITH ISRAEL’
Asked whether a return visit will be made to Israel, Kalın reminded that there will not be such a visit in the near term because their agenda is very busy, and that there will be elections in Israel. Kalin continued:
“We see normalization with Israel as important in terms of our bilateral relations, the Palestinian issue and the region. We have stated before, that our bilateral relations have continued in a good way in the commercial and humanitarian dimensions despite all the difficulties, but another issue as important as this is that a fair and permanent solution can be found in the Palestinian issue and a two-state solution can be implemented, Turkey’s commitment to this process It is very important to be in it.”
Noting that there is a serious willingness on energy cooperation, not only between Israel and Turkey, but also on the European side, Kalın continued as follows: “After the Ukraine-Russia war, Europe is once again faced with an energy crisis. There are two alternatives. One is the strengthening of TANAP. Azerbaijan gas going to Europe via Turkey. The second alternative is that the gas to be obtained from the Eastern Mediterranean would be Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, and go to Europe via Turkey. In both cases, Europe’s energy security depends on Turkey.”
‘INDIVIDUAL’S PREFERENCE IS ESSENTIAL’
After the death of Mehsa Emini, who was detained in Iran, protests against the headscarf were launched in the country. On this subject, Kalın said, “I am saddened by the death that took place. I believe that the Iranian side will act with common sense. The individual’s choice is essential. It is our preference to have an attitude that prioritizes social peace.” he said.
‘WE ARE NOT ALTERNATIVE’
Referring to the F-16 talks with the USA, Kalın said, “The US administration is very warm to the sale. In our opinion, if it goes to a vote, it will pass both the congress and the senate. If there is no sale, we always have alternatives.” said.
HE SAID ‘I WOULD SEE IF Assad had come’
Kalin’s words about Syria and the SCO drew attention, because they do not coincide with the recent developments and President Tayyip Erdogan’s statements:
President Erdogan was in Tehran as part of the Astana Summit between Turkey-Russia-Iran on 20 July. On August 5, he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi. In this process, a signal of normalization with Syria came from the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. Çavuşoğlu said, “Steps must be taken for lasting peace. It is not necessary for dialogue,” he said. Çavuşoğlu also announced that they had a face-to-face meeting with his Syrian counterpart, Faysal Mikdat.
President Erdoğan answered the questions of journalists upon his return from Ukraine on August 19, “We need to secure advanced steps with Syria. By taking these steps, we will disrupt many games in this part of the Islamic world with our neighbors.” used the phrases.
Hürriyet Newspaper columnist Abdulkadir Selvi wrote in his article dated September 16 that Erdoğan said at the AK Party MKYK meeting, “I wish Assad had come to Uzbekistan, I would have met him”. There was no denial of Selvi’s letter from the AK Party.
The SCO summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, was an important breakthrough for both the region and the organization’s dialogue partner Turkey. At the summit, which Erdoğan attended upon invitation, the leaders gave warm photos and had positive talks. On his return, Erdogan announced that the target on the plane was SCO membership. Erdogan, who went to the United Nations summit after the SCO, asked the Reuters reporter, “Would you like to meet with Biden?” He replied to the question “No, that’s Biden, I’m Erdogan”.