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Interview of H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to TRT World, 15 January 2016, Ankara

Question – Mr. Çavuşoğlu, thank you very much on this busy day. Can you tell us a bit about what you achieved at the Ambassadors Conference? 

H.E. MEVLÜT ÇAVUŞOĞLU - First of all, this is my first time speaking specially to TRT World. I wish you all the best. You had an excellent start and I hope eventually TRT World will cover everything all over the world.

Regarding the Ambassadors Conference, this is the 8th Ambassadors Conference. It became our Ministry’s tradition and during these conferences, we bring the Ministers and the heads of institutions together with our Ambassadors coming from all over the world. We also invite guests from different countries. This year, we hosted Foreign Ministers of the UK, Kenya, Chile and Norway as well as the First Vice President of the European Commission and the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations for Humanitarian Assistance. We also had internal discussions regarding what has happened last year and what we should do in 2016 and in the future. I had the opportunity to listen many ambassadors, too. Each of them had different questions or different problems. Personally I’m involved in all these kind of issues as well and I have to assist my ambassadors. Every year we go to another city. This year, we are visiting Gaziantep. Gaziantep is now well-known for the camps. We host many international refugees there. In Gaziantep we will meet local and regional authorities. Deputy Prime Minister Şimşek is going to address us there and we will be visiting camps. We will be meeting NGOs helping these vulnerable people in this region as well.

So I’m very happy that this year I’m taking my ambassadors to Gaziantep. The migration and refugee issue is on the top of the agenda of many international organizations, particularly the EU and European countries as well as Turkey.

Question– Let me ask you one question about something that’s really in the portfolio and that is relations with Russia. The sanctions began this year. I mean the shooting down of the jet was when you actually became Foreign Minister on that day. So a lot of work for you. What are you doing to repair relations with Russia?

H.E. MEVLÜT ÇAVUŞOĞLU – Well since that incident, everybody appreciated Turkey’s position. We have been doing our best not to further escalate the situation. Russia acted emotionally and they took some actions. Turkey is the only NATO country that hasn’t joined the sanctions against Russia by the West despite the fact that Russia actually had taken some action against us. We have been patient. We have been very constructive. It was an incident that we had never preferred. But it happened. Russia is not only a neighbor, a geographically neighbor for us but Russia is a strategic country for Turkey. Russia has been a partner for Turkey.

Therefore, I hope Russia will also understand this and it will take some positive steps as well. We are ready to normalize the relations with Russia and we are not in favor of further escalation.

Thank you so much for your time.