Turkish diplomacy is having its most successful period in recent centuries, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan highlighted on Saturday as Ankara is strengthening its axis by simultaneously maintaining diplomatic relations on the basis of national interests, reports Daily Sabah.
“Türkiye does not have the luxury of closing in, isolating itself from the outside world and watching the events in its region by sitting on the fence,” Erdogan said at Parliament in the capital Ankara.
Erdogan described Ankara’s policy as “constructive and active,” taking initiative in solving global and regional problems.
He underlined that Türkiye does not “seek escalation” with other countries, nor would it “yield to pressure no matter where it comes from.”
“We strongly defend Türkiye’s rights in all areas with an honorable, patient, determined and prudent attitude,” he said, vowing not to harm the nation’s dignity.
Erdogan also said that a climate of diplomatic normalization had begun to make progress in Türkiye’s vicinity, the Middle East.
“Our relations with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Israel are developing on the basis of mutual interests, and a similar process is underway with Egypt,” Erdogan said.
He reiterated the importance of the Palestinian cause for Türkiye and that Ankara would always stand with the Palestinians.
Erdogan also voiced support for Azerbaijan, underlining that Türkiye was doing its part to ensure lasting peace in that country’s region.
“Through the special representatives we have appointed, we have demonstrated our will to take our relations with Armenia to a new level. Armenia should make good use of the peace opportunity we are extending,” he stressed.
About the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Erdogan said Türkiye had opted for peace, dialogue and being a “fair referee.”
“Given our close relations with both countries, we preferred to strive to end the war instead of fanning the fire and inciting sedition,” he said.
“The U.N., whose prestige has been shaken due to its inadequacy in the face of global crises, saw one of its greatest achievements in recent years through this agreement resulting from the intensive efforts of our country,” Erdogan said.
Also, he said, a recent prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine under Ankara’s initiative has moved Turkish diplomacy up to a “much higher league.”
“In our contacts on the occasion of the 77th General Assembly of the U.N., we were pleased to see the level achieved by Turkish foreign policy.
“We have personally witnessed that the steps taken by our country in the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the migration issue, humanitarian aid, the fight against terrorism and peacekeeping have won the appreciation of the whole world,” Erdogan added.
Turning to the Eastern Mediterranean and the divided island of Cyprus, the Turkish president stressed that the island is home to two separate states and peoples.
Erdogan underlined that isolation and embargoes must come to an end on the island and that all promises on the international recognition of Turkish Cypriots must be honored.
He also reiterated Türkiye’s refusal to accept a recent decision by the U.S. to lift an arms embargo on the Greek Cypriot administration of Southern Cyprus.
“The encouragement shown to Greece, which is arming islands with non-military status in Aegean, goes against all reason, belief,” Erdogan said, adding that it also contradicts the “idea of an alliance.”
The president said pursuing a policy of provocation and tension in the region would not be in anybody’s interest.
“On every occasion, we repeat that we know who unleashed Greece on us once again after 100 years and that we are aware of the game that is being played,” he added.
Erdogan called on the Greek leadership to refrain from provocations that would lead it and its people to disaster.
Sweden, Finland’s efforts
Referring to Sweden and Finland’s bids to join NATO, Erdogan said Türkiye had clearly shown its commitment to the fight against terrorism during NATO’s most recent enlargement.
Türkiye will not ratify Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership bids unless the two Nordic countries “keep their promises,” Erdogan warned.
Ankara is “monitoring” Sweden and Finland’s efforts in fulfilling their commitments and “can not make concessions” on the issue of fighting terrorism, Erdogan said.
“We will maintain our principled and resolute stance until the commitments made to our country are upheld,” the Turkish leader added, without elaborating.