ANKARA : The Organization of Turkic States expressed strong solidarity after last month’s earthquakes which hit Türkiye’s southern region, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday.
“The great Turkic world was deeply mourned for its brothers lost in the earthquake. However, you didn’t just share our grief. You have exhibited the best example of solidarity diplomacy,” Cavusoglu said at the opening speech of the Council of Foreign Ministers meeting of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) in the capital Ankara.
The meeting came ahead of the extraordinary summit of leaders of the OTS which will gather under the theme of Disaster-Emergency Management and Humanitarian Assistance.
“As my colleagues, you have personally shown your support. You sent search and rescue teams and field hospitals,” Cavusoglu said.
On Feb. 6, the magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes struck 11 provinces — Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Hatay, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa, claiming the lives of at least 48,448 people.
More than 13.5 million people in Türkiye have been affected by the devastating quakes, as well as many others in northern Syria.
Cavusoglu said the organization is expanding the cooperation to new areas.
“We have implemented large-scale energy projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and TANAP (Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline) together. We should increase cooperation for TANAP to carry additional natural gas from the Caspian region to the international market,” he added.
The minister said that in this period, when Asia comes to the fore again, the organization must increase the share of the “Middle Corridor” in global trade.
Turning to regional issues, Cavusoglu said the war in Ukraine and the developments in Afghanistan are closely related to the organization.
“We must strengthen our unity. The fact that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is among us as an observer is very meaningful in this respect,” he added.
The recognition of sovereign equality, rights, and equal international status of the Turkish Cypriot people, and the abolition of the isolation and restrictions that the TRNC is subjected to should be the common goal, Cavusoglu stressed.
The OTS, formerly called the Turkic Council, is an international organization comprising prominent independent Turkic countries that work together to elevate relations and union among themselves.
Its members are Türkiye, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, while the EU state Hungary, Turkmenistan, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus have observer status. — AA