Holding a press conference at Istanbul Atatürk Airport before leaving for Russia, President Erdoğan underlined that Turkey’s relevant agencies mobilized their units in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake on Iraq-Iran border, and said: “The AFAD, Turkish Red Crescent and other relevant agencies of ours are currently providing help to the search and rescue activities in the region. An aid convoy of 50 trucks has entered Iraq through Habur under the coordination of the AFAD and Turkish Red Crescent.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan went to the Russian city of Sochi, the first stop of his official visits to Russia, Kuwait and Qatar. Before embarking on his trip, President Erdoğan spoke about the agenda of his visits at a press conference at Istanbul Atatürk Airport.
Commencing his remarks by offering his condolences to the peoples of Iraq and Iran for the last night’s earthquake on the two countries’ border, President Erdoğan wished Allah’s mercy upon the dead and a speedy recovery to the injured. Stating that some 340 people lost their lives in the border regions of Iran, particularly in Kermanshah, President Erdoğan underscored that Turkey mobilized all its relevant agencies to send help to the region in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.
“NECESSARY INSTRUCTIONS HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO DRESS THE WOUNDS”
“The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), Turkish Red Crescent and other relevant agencies of ours are currently providing help to the search and rescue activities in the region. An aid convoy of 50 trucks has entered Iraq through Habur under the coordination of the AFAD and Turkish Red Crescent,” President Erdoğan said, noting that emergency relief materials such as medication, blanket, tent, etc. have been delivered to the region hit by the quake. The President continued: “As you know, Turkey has always stood by its brothers and sisters in the region in difficult times. Necessary instructions have been given to all our institutions to swiftly send the needed relief materials, meet the needs, and dress the wounds. We hope and pray that the number of casualties doesn’t rise any further.”
“OBSTACLES IN FRONT OF THE $100 BILLION TRADE VOLUME WITH RUSSIA HAVE BEEN LIFTED”
The first stop of his trip will be a return visit to the Russian Federation at the invitation of Russian President Putin, President Erdoğan noted, and said that they will address during their meetings in Russia the trade relations between the two countries and discuss the latest developments with regard to the Syrian conflict. Recalling the goal of raising the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Russia to 100 billion dollars, President Erdoğan emphasized their continuing determination to this end, and added: “Obstacles in front of the $100 billion trade volume with Russia have been lifted. We will hopefully remove the remaining trade restrictions as well before long.”
“THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS SURROUNDING THE SYRIAN CONFLICT ARE OF CRUCIAL IMPORTANCE”
President Erdoğan continued: “I will once more express to Mr. Putin our expectation for the restoration of visa exemption. We have a positive picture in tourism. We have hosted over 4 million Russian tourists in Turkey in the first 9 months of this year. We want to reach this level in all the other domains as well. We are in close cooperation in the field of energy. The TurkStream project is progressing fast. We also keep up our efforts to make the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant operational by 2023. During my visit, we will exchange views on regional issues as well as on our bilateral relations. The latest developments surrounding the Syrian conflict are of crucial importance. Our talks about Idlib are of importance. We will exchange views about the National Dialogue Congress, put forward by our Russian friends with a view to supporting Geneva. We will evaluate the joint statement Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump issued concerning the Syrian crisis.”
“WE WILL STRENGTHEN OUR RELATIONS WITH KUWAIT”
“We will proceed from Sochi to Kuwait at the invitation of Kuwait Amir Al-Sabah,” President Erdoğan went on to say, and added: “We enjoy very close, friendly and brotherly ties with Kuwait. We have further consolidated and strengthened these ties with the steps we have recently taken. It is a great opportunity for us that our companies are undertaking construction projects in Kuwait.” Describing 2017 as an exceptional year in Turkey-Kuwait relations, President Erdoğan recalled the visits he paid to Kuwait, and made the following remarks: “With this visit as well, we want to further strengthen our relations with Kuwait. We will seek ways to diversify and boost our trade and to step up our cooperation in the field of construction.”
President Erdoğan continued: “We will also evaluate joint projects in such areas as military, defense industry, education, culture, consular services, etc. We also hope to sign various agreements during our visit. We will exchange views on the latest developments in Syria and Yemen as well as in our common neighbor Iraq. We will address the Palestine issue and the fight against terror. As you know, the crisis within the Gulf Cooperation Council is still continuing. Kuwait is maintaining its role as a mediator in the settlement of this crisis. As the term president of the OIC we have also pursued an active diplomacy for the resolution of the crisis. We support Kuwait’s mediating efforts. Every single day the crisis is prolonged amounts to a grave loss for our region. We will discuss what steps might be taken to overcome the crisis.”
“OUR DECISION TO DEPLOY THE TURKISH ARMED FORCES IN QATAR SHOWS THE IMPORTANCE WE ATTACH TO THE SECURITY OF THE GULF”
Stating that he will depart from Kuwait to Qatar for the 3rd meeting of the Turkey-Qatar Supreme Strategic Committee, President Erdoğan said that they will sign various documents on the occasion of the Supreme Strategic Committee meeting and that among the agenda items to be addressed during meetings in Qatar will be economic, trade and investment cooperation.
Qatar and Turkey want to further increase their bilateral trade volume, which amounted to 710 million dollars in 2016, President Erdoğan underlined, adding that they are planning to take new steps in the fields of defense industry, energy, LNG, transportation, food security and healthcare. The President continued: “We are exerting efforts to boost mutual investments. The deployment process of the Turkish Armed Forces is continuing. This process shows the importance we attach to the security of Qatar and the Gulf. All the countries in the Gulf are our brothers and our old friends. The stability and peace in both Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman are of primary importance to us. However, for a while now the politics of pitting brothers against each other are being pursued in the region. We, and the world, know very well by whom these politics are being implemented. It is imperative for the leaders in our region to foil this game by acting with wisdom, sagacity, foresight.”