Turkey ready to cooperate with Russia on Syrian cease-fire, aid: Turkish FM

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Turkey was “more than ready” to cooperate with Russia on a new Syrian cease-fire and the delivery of humanitarian assistance if Moscow was willing to do so, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Sept. 29. 

“In talks with our Iranian counterpart Mr. [Javad] Zarif yesterday, we discussed how we can maintain the cease-fire and deliver humanitarian aid. After the normalization of our relations, we are discussing the same issues with our ally Russia,” he told reporters in a joint press conference with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics.

“We have to try harder for a cease-fire and political resolution. If Russia is prepared to cooperate with us on the cease-fire and humanitarian aid, we are more than ready,” he added.

He recalled that Turkey had always supported and facilitated decisions for a cease-fire and delivery of aid, adding those decisions were violated by “the regime and its supporters.”

Ankara and Tehran are also discussing ways of paving the way for a new cease-fire and the delivery of humanitarian aid in the two countries’ spheres of influence in Syria, according to diplomatic sources.

Çavuşoğlu also said an extension of the state of emergency declared following the July 15 failed coup attempt, which was blamed on the Gülenist organization, was required due to the “complexity” in their methods and the “support they have seen.” The minister said the group’s “different links with new dimensions had come out of the investigation” into the group.

Ümit Yalçın named FM undersecretary

Meanwhile, current deputy undersecretary Ambassador Ümit Yalçın will be named the Foreign Ministry’s new undersecretary, Çavuşoğlu said. Turkey and Israel will mutually ask for agreation to be carried out to exchange ambassadors in the upcoming days, the minister said.

The appointment was verbally notified to the ambassadors by Çavuşoğlu, but the official process will follow after being published in the Official Gazette.

Yalçın was responsible for Middle East affairs, including the Syrian crisis. He had served in the Rotterdam consular, the Turkish embassy to Moscow and was appointed as Turkey ambassador to Kuwait in 2012.

After serving as undersecretary since August 2009, current Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu was appointed as the permanent representative of Turkey to the U.N.

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