Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Jan. 10 published an article in Newsweek magazine warning that peace efforts in Syria would remain elusive if terrorist organizations are given a free hand and weapons.
“The vision for a politically united and territorially integrated Syria would be elusive if separatist terrorist organizations are given a free hand and weapons to advance their goals,” he added.
“It is the very core idea of the NATO alliance that the security of an ally is prioritized over short-term tactical gains that only help create a vicious cycle of violence,” he wrote, also adding that the Geneva process should be “resuscitated”.
“Paying lip service to its primacy as the essential platform in the political process takes us nowhere. The international community has to make the best out of all means at its disposal,” Çavuşoğlu stated.
Touching on a presidential summit in the Russian city of Sochi last November, the Turkish foreign minister wrote that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had laid down two conditions for the upcoming Sochi congress in January.
“[They include] a clear and strong link with the U.N.-mediated Geneva process [and] a clear rejection of anyone affiliated with terrorist organizations, including PYD/YPG,” he wrote.
Sochi is the designated venue of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, set to be held on Jan. 29-30 with the participation of nearly 1,700 people.
Çavuşoğlu described the Syrian conflict as “the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II,” which led to “the emergence of a global threat.”
He argued that Turkey had suffered the most from terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Nusra Front and “the PKK/PYD/YPG.”
He added that the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army had cleared 2,015 square kilometers of Syrian territory of ISIL and eliminated 2,647 militants.
“Turkey spent $30 billion to meet the needs of 3.4 million Syrians seeking refuge in their northern neighbor. Free access to medical care, education, as well as the right to join the labor force have been extended to our Syrian guests to help them better integrate into their host society,” Çavuşoğlu also wrote, adding that almost 70,000 Syrians have returned from Turkey to the liberated areas.