Turkey has entered the new year with some hot topics.
The bilateral meetings between the Turkish and Chinese officials in Chinese Capital Beijing, was among these hot topics for Ankara.
On the other hand, tensions between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean also increased this week.
Another hot topic discussed in Ankara were the recent incidents in Kazakhstan.
The critical meeting between Turkey and China
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing on Wednesday and addressed the situation of Uyghur Turks.
“Discussed our bilateral relations and regional issues with Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China,” said Cavusoglu on Twitter.
Saying they have “evaluated economic cooperation opportunities,” the minister also conveyed Turkey’s “views, expectations and sensitivities regarding the issues on our agenda, especially the Uyghur Turks.”
Cavusoglu stated that Turkey respects the one-China policy and is not going to allow any hostile activities against China in their country.
Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said that the new currency swap agreement between the two sides is very timely and Turkey will encourage its enterprises to make full use of this arrangement.
Stating that Turkey stands ready to seek greater synergy between the Middle Corridor project and the Belt and Road Initiative, Cavusoglu said Turkey is willing to actively promote bilateral cooperation in nuclear power and fully tap the huge potential of cooperation in new energy and other fields.
The Turkish side agreed that sports should not be politicized and Turkish athletes are looking forward to participating in the Winter Olympic Games in China. Wang Yi welcomed Turkish athletes’ participation in the Olympic Winter Games in China, saying that China will facilitate their smooth participation.
Wang Yi said, Turkey is the first country to sign an inter-governmental cooperation document with China on jointly building the Belt and Road, which demonstrates the importance Turkey attaches to the pragmatic cooperation between the two countries.
Rising tensions over the Aegean
Addressing a news conference in the capital Ankara, Hulusi Akar said Athens was pursuing expansionist policies in the region, violating international law.
Akar said the two countries were at odds on a number of issues, including Greece’s aggressive armament policy, its arming of non-militarized islands in the Aegean Sea, policy of suppression of its Turkish minority, and unfounded claims in the Eastern Mediterranean violating the rights of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
Disputes on maritime delimitation, air space and flight information, were also among the major issues between Ankara and Athens, he said.
“Despite all these problems and provocations we urge them to negotiate. We want negotiated solutions based on good neighborly relations,” Akar underlined.
He also slammed aerial and maritime space violations by Greece, as well as provocative statements by Greek politicians against Turkey.
On Greece’s arms purchases and maximalist claims, Akar said Athens was punching above its weight.
Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected the maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that the excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.
Akar further criticized Greece’s policy to push back asylum seekers trying to reach its shores via the Aegean Sea, reiterating that these actions were a gross violation of international law, as well as basic human rights.
He also maintained that Athens was using its EU membership as a tool and that the bloc overlooks Greece’s illegal and illegitimate claims.
Turkey remains resolute in protecting its interests and rights, as well as those of Turkish Cypriots, Akar added.
On Tuesday “The anti-Turkey statements made by Greek Foreign Minister (Nikos) Dendias almost every day are populist and unrealistic claims that do not serve peace and stability,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a statement.
Dendias reacted to Turkey’s statements regarding Greece’s arming of Aegean islands placed under demilitarized status, which is against international law, at a press conference he held in Athens with Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
He said if Turkey wants to show its goodwill, it should cancel the agreement with Libya on the determination of maritime jurisdiction areas, claiming that Ankara was following an aggressive policy in the region.
Support for Kazakhstan from Ankara
Turkey is ready to provide all possible support to bring life back to normal in Kazakhstan, said Chairman of the Council of Elders of the Organization of Turkic States, Former Prime Minister of Turkey, Deputy Chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party Binali Yildirim.
“We hope that what is happening in Kazakhstan these days will end without compromising the peace and stability of the country. As elders of the Organization of Turkic States, we want to emphasize our strong alliance with Kazakhstan. May God rest the souls of our brothers who died in the incidents in peace, and we wish healing to the wounded,” he tweeted.
In a phone call with his Kazakh counterpart on Thursday, the Turkish president expressed solidarity with Kazakhstan, where people have been protesting rising fuel prices.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Kazakh counterpart Kassym-Jomart Tokayev that Turkey is closely following the unfolding situation and stands in solidarity with the country, said a statement by Turkey’s Communications Directorate.
“In a phone call to Tokayev, our president expressed his wish for a new government to be established in Kazakhstan as soon as possible to end the country’s tension,” it added.
As the Organization of Turkic States’ term president, Erdogan has been calling the leaders of member states about developments in Kazakhstan.
The leader of the government-alliance party Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahceli called Tuesday for an investigation into the involvement of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) in the recent protests in Kazakhstan.
“In our opinion, it is urgent and essential to investigate FETO’s involvement in the illegal demonstrations in Kazakhstan,” Devlet Bahceli, told his party’s parliamentary group.
Bahceli noted that Turkey knows best about FETO and said the terror group is “used as a tool in the target countries.”
“The problem is not only Kazakhstan’s problem. It is the common and unpostponable problem of everyone who says ‘I am a Turk,'” he said.
“We respect Kazakhstan’s internal affairs, and this is undisputed. But if our (Kazakh) brothers are in trouble, standing by their side, rushing to their aid and being in solidarity with them is an infallible and indisputable fact of our national will and cultural reputation,” he added.
While the leader of the Vatan Party Dogu Perincek stated that the uprising in Kazakhstan is resembling the 15th of July FETO coup attempt, the armed protestors in Kazakhstan are the pawns of the United States. Perincek stated “They are positioning against Russia, China, Turkey and the other Turkic Nations. We need to clearly grasp this global clash.”
Political parties in the parliament condemned the violent events in Kazakhstan, assuring support for peace and stability in the Central Asian country.
“We condemn acts of violence that endanger human life, disrupt public order and damage property,” read a joint declaration signed by all parties in the Turkish parliament, except for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
Turkey will continue to provide all kinds of support for peace and stability in Kazakhstan, which is of vital importance for the region, the statement further said.
“We are pleased that the incidents have started to calm down and the situation in the country has started to return to normal due to the common sense of the people of Kazakhstan and the prudent attitude of the (Kazakhstan’s) administration,” it added.