Turkey attaches importance to ties with US despite differences: Erdoğan

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Turkey places great importance not to undermine strategic partnership with the U.S., despite having differences from time to time, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

“Turkey and the U.S. have deep-rooted, multidimensional and strategic cooperation with Washington, and the main issue here is to maintain relations on the basis of bilateral interests, despite differences of opinion,” Qatar’s daily The Peninsula quoted Erdoğan as saying on Oct. 8.

“Although we have taken separate positions with the U.S. on various issues from time to time, we have placed great importance on not undermining the strategic partnership between us,” he told the daily during a visit to Doha.

Noting that there had been some difficulties between Ankara and the U.S., Erdoğan said, “Ankara, however,  in recent years has had some difficulties with the American administration with regards to supporting the PKK-YPG terrorist organization in Syria and the extradition of the FETÖ ringleader, the perpetrator of the July 15 bloody coup attempt to our country.”

Stating that as an ally, they had expectations to see strong solidarity in terms of both issues, but unfortunately, their expectations were not met, Erdogan said: “Even the PKK-YPG terrorist organization was seen as a partner in Syria, supported and protected by some circles under the American administration. Especially the remnants of the former administration who displayed an uncompromising attitude in some military and security bureaucracy issues.”

On the other hand, Ankara and Washington have acquired a positive atmosphere in their bilateral relations with U.S. President Donald Trump taking office.

“Our attitudes are increasingly overlapping, both on regional issues and on many other issues ranging from trade to investments. We focus on our common interests rather than disagreements. Mr. Trump and I have set a goal of increasing our bilateral trade to $100 billion, and we are committed to achieving this goal,” he said, noting that the two countries will continue to work together in all platforms, including NATO, on such issues as the fight against terrorism, democracy, instability and the termination.

Erdoğan calls on African countries to back Azerbaijan

Meanwhile, Turkey has expressed its expectation from African countries to lend support to Azerbaijan in its struggle for the liberation of its territories from Armenian occupation.

“We call on the African countries to stand with Azerbaijan in its struggle for the liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh from occupation,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at an online trade conference with the representatives of the African nations on Oct. 8.

Recalling that the African countries have lent support to Palestine against the Israeli occupation, Erdoğan said he expects the continent to adopt a similar position in defending Azerbaijan whose lands have been under the occupation of Armenia for the past 30 years.

Those countries advocating justice and rightness should back Azerbaijan just like Turkey is, Erdoğan stressed, reiterating that Azerbaijan is very determined to liberate its lands.

“The solution to this problem which was turned into a disease due to Armenia’s uncompromising stance is giving an end to the occupation. Therefore, the proposals that legitimize the occupation have no chance of implementation in the field,” the president said, criticizing the Minsk Group composed of France, Russia and the United States for failing to bring about concrete proposals for a settlement.

Armenia continues to occupy Azerbaijani lands for the past 30 years without listening to the resolutions of the international institutions, namely the U.N. and the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), he said.

In his address to the African countries, Erdoğan stressed that Turkey’s trade volume with the entire continent has increased from $5.4 billion to $26.2 billion between 2003 and 2019. “We should not allow the ongoing difficulties [due to the pandemic] decrease this trend. We should increase our trade volume to more than $50 billion in the coming years,” he added.

Hurriyet Daily News

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