Last week, the public agenda in Turkey has been busy with three main topics.
The first topic was the telephone call between the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Chinese President Xi Jinping, late at night last Tuesday.
The second was the 2-day visit of the Turkish President Erdogan to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the announcements he made during that visit.
The third was the ongoing vaccination efforts and the growing concerns over the new delta variant of the COVID-19 virus.
Phone call between the leaders of China and Turkey
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, held a phone conference late night on Tuesday, where they discussed enhancing cooperation in many fields, including the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine development.
The telephone call was announced by both countries’ official websites.
According to the Turkish Presidential Office website “Regional developments and steps to advance Turkey-China relations, particularly in trade, investment, energy, transportation and healthcare, were discussed” during the talk.
Noting that 2021 was the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and China, President Erdogan expressed his wish to celebrate this significant anniversary in a way befitting the longstanding friendship between the two countries.
Pointing to the great potential for cooperation between Turkey and China in every area of regional and global economy and diplomacy, President Erdogan underscored that the High Level Joint-Working Group would add great momentum to the cooperation between the two countries.
Highlighting the importance of the Uyghur Turks living in prosperity, freedom and peace as equal citizens of China, President Erdogan voiced Turkey’s respect for China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Turkey has adhered to and will continue firmly to adhere to the one-China policy. Turkey supports China in safeguarding its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and in combating terrorism. Turkey does not allow anyone to use Turkish territory to engage in separatist activities that endanger China’s sovereignty”, said the Chinese Foreign Ministry official website.
According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry website, President Xi Jinping pointed out that since last year, “The practical cooperation between China and Turkey has yielded encouraging results, showing strong resilience and great potential. Noting that China and Turkey are about to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, the Chinese side is willing to work with Turkey to promote greater development of China-Turkey strategic cooperative relations.”
Xi Jinping emphasized that “Both sides should respect each other’s core concerns and enhance strategic mutual trust. China is also willing to strengthen cooperation with Turkey in counter-terrorism, security and other fields. The two sides should promote the synergy between the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Middle Corridor project of Turkey, explore new ideas and measures to optimize bilateral trade structure, and improve economy and trade cooperation so as to push for more fruitful results in the practical cooperation”.
“The Chinese side stands ready to conduct in-depth vaccine cooperation with Turkey and help it defeat the COVID-19 pandemic at an early date. Both sides should jointly oppose politicizing origin tracing and labelling the virus, and promote the building of a global community of health for all.” Announced the Chinese Foreign Ministry website.
Erdogan’s Visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has paid a two-day official visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), starting this Monday.
During his visit, Erdogan addressed a special session of the Turkish Cypriot parliament and attended the celebrations of July 20th Peace and Freedom Day, marking the 47th anniversary of Turkey’s 1974 Peace Operation, which protected the island’s Turkish Cypriot community from the Greek Cypriot violence.
Speaking in the TRNC’s parliament, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey “fully” supports the proposal of TRNC President Ersin Tatar in Geneva. “We cannot and will not compromise,” he added.
Earlier in the day, the president said any new negotiation process in Cyprus could only be held between two equal and sovereign states.
If there will be a new negotiation process for the Cyprus issue, it can only be held between two equal and sovereign states, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said ahead of his official visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
The president said that Turkish Cypriots have been fighting for equality and justice on the island for more than half a century.
He reiterated his call to all parties who desire a just, lasting and sustainable future in Cyprus to seize the historic opportunity.
He will also meet with Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar to exchange views on the latest developments in the Eastern Mediterranean and bilateral relations.
President Tayyip Erdogan promised the Turkish Cypriots that Turkey would build a new government complex to symbolize the state of Northern Cyprus, which he said the world would “sooner or later” recognize despite near universal opposition for now.
“The project work on the TRNC presidential complex has been completed and we will start construction soon,” Erdogan said, adding that the complex would include a new parliament.
“This is the expression of being a state. The project will reflect the statehood of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which the people will see”, he said.
Erdogan said in February that the only way to resolve the dispute was to establish two states, but the leaders of Greece and the Greek Cypriot government rejected this, saying they would only accept a peace deal based on UN resolutions.
“On the island there are two separate states and two separate peoples. The international community will accept this reality sooner or later,” he said. “We cannot lose another 50 years”.
In April, the United Nations failed to bridge disagreements over restarting peace talks between the two sides, which collapsed in acrimony in 2017.
Vaccination efforts and growing concerns over the new Delta variant of COVID-19
Turkey has administered nearly 63.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since it launched a mass vaccination campaign back in January, according to figures released on Monday.
The country continues its intensive vaccination campaign to curb the spread of coronavirus, and all residents aged 18 and over are eligible for vaccine shots.
According to the Health Ministry, nearly 39.1 million people have received their first dose, while over 21 million are fully vaccinated.
To date, over 63.68% of the adult population has received at least one vaccine dose.
The ministry also confirmed that 7,667 new infections and 50 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours occurred, which is a slight increase over the past week, even though as many as 4,152 more patients have recovered.
After a nationwide drop in cases and an expedited vaccination drive, Turkey has entered a normalization phase back in July 1st, lifting almost all virus-related restrictions.
However, seeking to limit the spread of the virus’ Delta variant, the country has suspended flights from India, where the strain was first detected.
Meanwhile, arrivals from the UK, Iran, Egypt, and Singapore are required to have negative COVID-19 test results within 72 hours before their departure.