With Sweden and Finland agreeing to cooperate on Türkiye's fight against terrorism, the three countries are set to convene on Aug. 26 for the first meeting of the joint mechanism committed under the trilateral memorandum, the Turkish foreign minister said on Thursday.
Addressing reporters on the last day of the 13th Ambassadors Conference in Türkiye's capital Ankara, Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sweden and Finland are yet to deliver their commitments arising from the trilateral memorandum signed at the NATO summit in Madrid in June and they haven't taken any solid steps on Türkiye's requests on extradition of terrorists yet.
The top diplomat described the remarks by Swedish and Finnish authorities on their promises as "well intentioned," and reiterated Türkiye's desire to see concrete steps from the two countries.
- Normalization with Armenia
As the process for the normalization of ties between Türkiye and Armenia is underway, Cavusoglu said Ankara is doing everything in this process very openly and transparently.
He called on Armenia to be "a little more determined and courageous ... We, as Türkiye, are sincere in this regard. Armenia should also be sincere. We also see that Azerbaijan is sincere."
The Turkish foreign minister also urged Armenia to end "stalling tactics."
"Although our dialogue in the normalization process is bilateral, we all need to take steps for the stability of the entire South Caucasus," he said, referring to the important role of Azerbaijan in relations.
- Türkiye's EU accession bid, ties with Greece
Cavusoglu also addressed the EU relations and Türkiye's EU membership process, saying that the "EU would have been a global actor" had it accepted Ankara's accession bid and "if we had done with the EU what we have done and are doing alone until today."
Regarding relations with Greece, Cavusoglu recalled Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar's remarks on the need to take confidence building steps.
Neither the Greek defense minister nor other related parties have yet visited Türkiye for years, he said, adding that the exploratory talks were due to be held for some time and that Türkiye is showing willingness but Greece is not.
He said the problems between the two neighboring countries need to be addressed from a "very comprehensive" point.
- Possible Syria anti-terror operation
Responding to a question about a possible Turkish operation in northern Syria to eliminate terrorists, Cavusoglu underscored that Türkiye's counter-terrorism operations abroad are solely to eliminate the areas from terrorists.
The top Turkish diplomat said he had a brief chat with Faisal Mekdad, the Syrian regime's foreign minister, at the non-aligned movement meeting in October in Serbia's capital Belgrade, where he also talked with other ministers at the meeting.
"We have to somehow bring opposition and the regime in Syria together to reach an agreement. Otherwise, there will be no lasting peace," he stressed.
There must be a strong administration in Syria to prevent any division of the country, Cavusoglu said. "The will that can dominate every corner of its lands can only be achieved through unity and solidarity," he added.
He emphasized the need to take steps for rebuilding of civil war-torn Syria since 2011.
"No one wants to help in rebuilding without cease-fire and peace. This includes the EU, the important actors of the world, as well as the international community. Therefore, we, as Türkiye, are doing our best, but the basis for all this is a cease-fire. We will of course intensify our work in this regard."
Cavusoglu also stressed that Türkiye supports Syria's territorial integrity more than anyone else. "The border integrity, territorial integrity and peace of a country next to us directly affects us," he said.
Syria has been mired in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
UN estimates show that more than 8 million Syrians have either been internally displaced or become refugees in other countries since 2011.
The Syrian regime held presidential elections in May in which authorities say Assad won 95.1% of votes.