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Peace at home, peace in the world

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Interview of H.E. Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to Qatar Tribune, Qatar-Turkey Business Magazine, 5 October 2017

“OUR ENGAGEMENT IS A NECESSITY”

The Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu: “The military presence of Turkey will contribute not only to security and stability of brotherly Qatar but also to that of the entire gulf region.”

The Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, evaluates about Qatar crisis. Çavuşoğlu says that the demands from Qatar should have due regard to Qatar’s national pride and sovereignty. “The military presence of Turkey will contribute not only to security and stability of brotherly Qatar but also to that of the entire Gulf region. As we underlined on several occasion before, it is worth noting that the deployment is not against any country” said Çavuşoğlu.

Here is the full interview of The Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu:

The power balance at Middle East changes regularly with critic movements. Qatar crisis brings this situation to a different dimension. How does it effect to Turkey-Qatar relations?

Turkish-Qatari relations are as solid as ever. Both countries share the strong political will to maintain the momentum in their relations. Thanks to the shared vision of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, a comprehensive intergovernmental cooperation mechanism, the Supreme Strategic Committee, was set up in 2014. The mechanism serves as a tool to further deepen our cooperation by facilitating conclusion of new agreements wherever necessary, initiating new cooperation projects and reviewing the progress made. We view our ties with the brotherly countries of the Gulf region from the angle of cooperation rather than that of power politics. Therefore, the main objective of our policies towards each and every country in the region is to enhance our bilateral relations in all areas. Likewise, we wish to see the same in all the Gulf countries. It is cooperation that will pave the way for peace, stability and prosperity, not power politics. Therefore we pursue friendly relations with all in the region.

The crisis between Qatar and the four countries is an unfortunate development. It has the potential of harming the unity and fraternal ties within the Gulf Cooperation Council with whom Turkey enjoys a strategic relationship at institutional level. It is our sincere wish that common sense prevail and a peaceful settlement be achieved sooner rather than later.

What is Turkey’s expectation towards Qatar?

Owing to the steps taken in the context of the work of the Supreme Strategic Committee, our bilateral political, military, trade, investment, cultural cooperation is leading us to new synergies. Our economic relations are flourishing and business world is in a good position to observe this. Increased touristic visits thanks to the visa exemption strengthen people-to-people contacts thereby creating new friendships. Deployment of the Turkish Armed Forces in Qatar, which is a clear manifestation of the trust between the two countries, is also underway. So, there is a bright perspective ahead of us.

It is told that the Qatar crisis could be solved by the end of Ramadan, but the crisis is still continuing. Is there a new formula to resolve it?

When the crisis between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt broke out in early June during the holy month of Ramadan, we expressed our wish for the crisis to be put an end by the end of Ramadan. It was the common wish of the whole Islamic world as Muslims around the world were uncomfortable with the sanctions imposed on a Muslim people by other Muslims. Unfortunately the crisis persists. As the Chair of the Islamic Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation we stepped in to facilitate a peaceful settlement and encouraged our brothers to act wisely. Kuwait is playing a mediation role and Turkey supports the mediation efforts by Kuwait. There are some other initiatives as well. The key for a lasting settlement is to respect the national pride and sovereignty of Qatar.

What is the importance of Turkey-Qatar relations when we are talking about the other countries and the political ground?

The Middle East is confronted with too many serious challenges and these challenges range from terrorism, armed conflicts to sectarian divides. Turkey and Qatar share similar approaches towards these challenges, and coordinate their efforts. We both are fighting against terror and working to encourage inclusive policies. That is what the region needs most. Furthermore, the deployment of the Turkish Armed Forces in Qatar is continuing in line with the agreements signed between Turkey and Qatar. Establishment of a Turkish military base complies with the broad vision we share with the Gulf Cooperation Council as well. The military presence of Turkey will contribute not only to security and stability of brotherly Qatar but also to that of the entire Gulf region. As we underlined on several occasion before, it is worth noting that the deployment is not against any country.

“WE SHARE OUR ADVICES”

Some countries think that Turkey’s support to Qatar is risky. What is your evaluations?

Firstly, Turkey is not taking sides in this crisis. We enjoy friendly relations with all parties and we consider it a duty to share our advices when we see a need for it. Moreover, as is known, Turkey is the current Chair of the Islamic Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and we are expected to step in to offer assistance to defuse the tension among the Muslim countries. In that vein, our engagement is a necessity and all parties are well aware of it.

We keep sharing our advices on what we think may deepen the divisions in the region. We call on all parties to show utmost restraint in their dealing with the situation. Continuation of the crisis will only lead to further divisions in a region where solidarity is needed the most. We say the demands from Qatar should have due regard to Qatar’s national pride and sovereignty. The sanctions targeting the Qatari people should be lifted as a sign of confidence building measure. Following this we believe the parties may feel comfortable to sit around a negotiation table.